Turnitin

*** Turnitin service status during Covid-19 ***

Turnitin have informed us that they "are committed to delivering reliable and consistent service to our customers across the globe who are now faced with new and unprecedented challenges." (https://www.turnitin.com/blog/how-turnitin-is-helping-you-minimize-disruption-from-covid-19 ).

Unfortunately, however, there has been some recent service disruption. The Digital Education Office monitors Turnitin service status and will notify our users, via the Digital Education Office blog, of any planned maintenance, or when significant disruption is occurring. You can also view Turnitin's own service status and opt to subscribe to their status updates at: https://turnitin.statuspage.io/.


What is it?

Turnitin is a text-comparison system which is available through Blackboard. When assignments are submitted to Turnitin, the text is compared with sources in the Turnitin database, which include websites, online journals, newspapers and e-books, as well as student work submitted either at Bristol or other institutions. A similarity report is automatically produced, which highlights any text matching a source in the database and provides links to the sources of these matches. Once matching text has been flagged up by the system, academic staff can then determine if the content has been used inappropriately. The system can also be used formatively to help students develop their academic writing.

It is most effectively used as part of an overall strategy for supporting academic integrity, including for example - raising student awareness, supporting development of study skills, and considering what forms of assessment may reduce opportunities for plagiarism.  For further information on academic integrity see the University policy on academic integrity.

Turnitin also includes Feedback Studio (previously called Grademark) for online marking and Peermark for peer review.

Why use it?

  • It can support academic integrity, helping students to improve their writing, and reinforcing appropriate ways to use and cite source material.
  • It can play a part in helping to deter and detect plagiarism, and provides a systematic, quick and easy way for staff to identify matching text.
  • It is integrated with Blackboard, so it can be easily incorporated in an online submission and marking workflow.

Considerations

While Turnitin has a number of benefits, staff also need to bear in mind a range of considerations and limitations, which include:

  • results need to be interpreted by academic staff with subject expertise
  • it only checks against selected electronic sources (not printed books)
  • it will not detect similarities in graphical materials, such as diagrams, images or equations
  • it may highlight "false positives", eg standard discipline-specific phrases, common sentences which - although not original - probably would not be considered plagiarism, or where a student has made a genuine mistake in referencing
  • it has limited coverage of password-protected/subscription sites (though Turnitin say that they regularly negotiate with providers to try to widen the coverage of their database)
  • the database is more limited for languages other than English
  • there can be delays (up to 24 hours) in producing the originality report, particularly at busy times.

How do I start using Turnitin?

Turnitin is primarily available through Blackboard. If you are using Turnitin for marking, students should submit to a Turnitin submission point in Blackboard. If you are using Blackboard for marking or downloading assignments to mark offline, students should submit to a Blackboard submission point, then assignments can be batch uploaded to Turnitin.  For more detailed guidance about online submission and marking workflows see EMA guides

What support is available?

If you would like any advice or consultation on planning for online submission and marking, including using Turnitin, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.

 

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