Notes Regarding Turnitin

Slippery Rock University subscribes to the plagiarism detection service. Student papers submitted to Turnitin are scanned for matching content from a variety of sources, including many web sites and journals, as well as every paper that has ever been scanned by the Turnitin service in the past. Although it is not meant to provide an instant judgment of academic honesty, it is a valuable tool that can guide you to papers that might contain plagiarized content.

How Do I Use Turnitin?

Turnitin operates as an extension of Desire2Learn. To check papers with Turnitin, you must create a Dropbox folder in your course shell, and have your students upload their papers.

1) Log  in to D2L and navigate to the course in which the student papers will be checked for plagiarism.

2) Click on the Dropbox button in the course navbar.

3) Click on the New Folder button.

4) In the following screen, fill in a name for your assignment. If it will be graded, use the Grade Item drop-down box to match the folder to a gradebook item, then type the point value in the Out of box.

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When you have done this, click the Turnitin tab.

5) In the next screen, check Enable Turnitin for this folder.

Optionally, you may allow students to view their originality results from Turnitin. To do this, check Allow learners to see Turnitin similarity scores in their dropbox folder

When you are done, click Save and Close.

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6) From here, you must instruct your students to log in to Desire2Learn, click in to your course, navigate to the Dropbox, then upload their paper (Note: be sure that you have made your course available!).

Viewing the Papers

1) Once the submission deadline for the paper has  passed, log back in to your course and click on the Dropbox tool.

2) In the list of Dropbox folders, click on the link for the assignment that you are checking.

3) The next screen will show a list of all of your students. Beneath each student will be a link to download their paper. Across from the paper will be a small icon:

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The percentage showing next to the colored box is the percentage of the text in the paper that Turnitin suspects might be lifted from another source. This means that the higher the percentage, the higher the probability of plagiarism.

To view the complete Originality Report for a suspicious paper, click on the colored square next to the percentage.

The Originality Reports

After clicking on the colored square, a new window will open and display the Originality Report for the paper:

The left column will display the text of the student paper. The colored highlighted sections are possible matches found by Turnitin. The color-coded links in the right column will take you to the Internet site or student paper where Turnitin believes the text originiated.

Important Reminder: Turnitin often automatically includes quoted material and bibliographical citations, which often leads to an inflated percentage.  Click on the “exclude quoted” and “exclude bibliography”  buttons to eliminate these matches.

Important Notes and Reminders

1) If you plan on using the service, we strongly encourage you to include a notice of this in your syllabus. This in itself will serve as a deterrent to academic dishonesty.

2) As stated above, the percentages displayed by Turnitin are NOT meant to be interpreted as “23% plagiarized” or “7% plagiarized.” This simply reflects the percentage of the paper in which matches were found from  other sources. These matches often include quotes, citations, and small coincidental strings of words. In fact, most papers will have a small percentage of matches. We strongly suggest that you closely review the full originality report before moving forward in a case of possible plagiarism.


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