Account information and tutorials for generating text originality reports using the Turnitin software.
Faculty can obtain a Turnitin account by contacting Christina Acosta at the Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (850-473-7435, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please request an account a few days in advance of when you plan to begin submitting student work. You may want to provide yourself time to familiarize yourself with the interface, set up an account for your course, and learn about the process of uploading files.
Turnitin Self-Guided Training Resources on the Web
Turnitin provides self-guided training guides, manuals, and videos. These training aides can be accessed at Turnitin Support and Training Resources.
These webinars are free. If you pre-register for a Turnitin webinar, you will receive a certificate of completion, which you can use to document your professional development in your tenure, promotion, or annual evaluation portfolio.
Using Turnitin and eLearning Drop Boxes to Check Originality
Turnitin is now integrated with eLearning to offer OriginalityCheck for class dropbox submissions. To gain more information on using this feature in your course dropbox folders, see:
Desire2Learn Resource Center's "Using Dropbox OriginalityCheck"
UWF Guidelines for the Use of Turnitin
Faculty and student use of Turnitin
The University of West Florida (UWF) maintains a license agreement with iParadigms, LLC for the purpose of using their product Turnitin, an online text matching service. The Turnitin service has the potential to be an important resource for promoting information literacy as well as encouraging academic integrity. All UWF instructors (faculty, adjunct faculty, and other instructors and professional staff) have access to the Turnitin service, and each faculty member can also make the service available to students in his or her classes. Because the Turnitin service has implications for the privacy of student academic records covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), it is important that faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants use Turnitin appropriately.
University information resources
The Division of Academic Affairs will maintain a website containing essential information for UWF instructors and students regarding the Turnitin service. Course documentation and other notices should, whenever feasible, refer to this standard resource. The Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CUTLA) will have direct responsibility for maintenance of this web resource.
Protecting student privacy
Student papers are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) because student papers are considered educational records and they may contain personally identifiable information. When a student’s paper or an excerpt from a student’s paper is submitted to Turnitin, the student’s name and any other personally identifiable information must be removed prior to submission. This can be done by replacing the student’s personal information with some kind of alias information. Additional information about FERPA guidelines can be found on the resource page, Understanding FERPA.
When an instructor intends to use the Turnitin service to review some or all of student written work, a "best practice" to promote academic integrity is to notify students about the use of Turnitin in a statement included on the course syllabus. Instructors are also encouraged to remind students of the potential review of student work based on a Turnitin report or other technology when they discuss course assignments.
Recommended language for a Turnitin notice on course syllabi
Instructors may use following language as a Turnitin notice on their syllabus:
"UWF maintains a university license agreement for an online text matching service called Turnitin. At my discretion, I may use the Turnitin service to evaluate the originality of student papers. I may employ other services and techniques to evaluate your work for evidence of appropriate authorship practices as needed."
Evaluating originality reports
When a paper or excerpt is submitted to Turnitin, an originality report is created. This report tells the instructor what percentage of text strings in the paper match text strings in other sources found in the Turnitin database. The originality report provides links to all sources of matching text strings to enable the instructor to review and evaluate the suspected content. Instructors should evaluate the quality of the originality report and use their professional judgment to determine if the similarities identified represent plagiarized text. The originality report shows all matches, even those in which students may have cited the text properly. Faculty should examine the identified text to determine whether plagiarism has occurred.
CUTLA created a set of iThenticate Guidelines to help faculty and students determine which software to use for a document and how to interpret and use the similarity report to improve written work.
What should instructors do if they suspect that a student has engaged in plagiarism?
Turnitin is a powerful search tool for detecting common text strings in multiple documents, but is has its limitations. Instructors are encouraged to make informed use of Turnitin when evaluating reports for "false positives." Turnitin will report text matches for properly marked quotations, bibliographic citations, and small text matches, but instructors have the option to filter out such text matches to get a more reliable originality report. They should also be aware that Turnitin may not detect all problematic text (e.g., matches to text in print sources or online content publishers and databases that may not be included in the Turnitin database) and not rely solely on Turnitin to detect authorship problems. When plagiarism is suspected, instructors should consult the Academic Misconduct policy for guidance on procedures to follow when documenting and reporting a case of suspected academic misconduct.
How should instructors respond to requests for information about student papers submitted to Turnitin?
When a faculty submits a paper to Turnitin, that paper is stored in the Turnitin database and associated with the UWF instructor's name and email address. UWF instructors may be contacted by faculty from other educational institutions regarding the similarities in papers submitted to Turnitin. Please contact the Office of General Counsel before discussing a Turnitin report with any outside party.
Student use of Turnitin
Turnitin has the potential to be a positive instructional tool for teaching students about academic integrity and plagiarism. Instructors can create the ability for students to upload their papers into Turnitin and run their own originality reports.
Updated: 01/29/15 cma