Site Administrator's FAQ

FAQ for Staff Users of Turnitin

Who is entitled to use the Turnitin service?

A:

  1. The staff member requesting a Turnitin instructor account must be a direct employee of Oxford University, with "staff" status on their Oxford University card.
  2. The student(s) whose papers are to be checked must be registered with Oxford University and not any other (or affiliated) institution. The dissertations and theses of Oxford postgraduate students are covered by the licence and may thus be screened. Note that the maximum file size is 40 Mb.
  3. The Turnitin licence covers the work of registered Oxford students only, not the writings of researchers, academic staff, or prospective students.

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Can academic staff and researchers submit their own work through Oxford University's Turnitin licence?

A: The University's Turnitin licence covers the work of registered Oxford students only, to screen their course work, dissertations or theses. 'iThenticate' is a separate product (offered by the same company -- Turnitin.com) for screening the work of researchers and academic staff. See http://www.ithenticate.com. Authors need to purchase 'credits' for a small number of submissions, or negotiate a licence directly with the vendors, Turnitin. The University of Oxford has a limited licence for iThenticate, which is used to screen personal statements submitted by prospective students to Graduate Admissions.

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Can doctoral dissertations and theses be submitted through Oxford University's Turnitin licence?

A: The University's Turnitin licence covers screening of the work of ANY students registered for a degree programme at Oxford. This includes masters and doctoral theses and dissertations. Note that there is currently a 40 Mb file-upload limit, which might be a limiting factor. A thesis could be split into separate chapters to overcome this restriction.

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Turnitin cannot currently identify matches (and hence possible plagiarism) in computer code. Is there other software that can do this?

A: There's a system called MOSS written by Standford University. The URl is https://theory.stanford.edu/~aiken/moss/

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What account name should instructors click on when they log in to Turnitin direct (turnitinuk.com)?

A: After logging in to Turnitin direct (turnitinuk.com), instructors should click on the 'University of Oxford' account link. The 'sakai_tii' account should be ignored if you are wanting to use Turnitin direct as an instructor. It shows all the activity (behind the scenes, as it were) in WebLearn sites in which you are a member. The long number (e.g. a52feba2-709e-4f18-b31b-51f132eea01f) is the ID of a WebLearn site and shows students who were in the site at the time that a WebLearn assignment closed.

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Can students log in and practise using Turnitin themselves?

A: As a WebLearn site maintainer, you can set up an assignment using the Assignments tool in WebLearn. You can specify how many submissions are allowed, and whether or not students can see their Originality Report. Students can then submit their assignments in WebLearn and if you allow them to see their reports, the reports are returned within the WebLearn tool.

Oxford University has a policy that we don't provide student accounts for students to practice using Turnitin on their own. It is important that students work under the guidance of their tutor or supervisor who should help them interpret the Turnitin report, otherwise they might panic if the report shows a high percentage of matches.

Some departments (if approved by their Chair of Examiners) make available a practice assignment in WebLearn to allow students to submit their work multiple times. However, the person creating the assignment should be sure to select the option NOT to save the student submissions in the Turnitin repository, otherwise subsequent submissions would match their own work. And again, students should be able to consult their tutor for help in interpreting the Turnitin report and improving their academic writing.

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What happens if a student resubmits an assignment?

A: (for Turnitin direct): An assignment is usually part of a class with an instructor and a list of students. Students can improve their documents and resubmit to the same assignment, overwriting previous versions, up to the due date. The matching system will automatically bypass the student's previous submission/s. The only way a student's submission will match to itself is if he/she submits the same paper to a different class. The setting for the Originality Report (OR) can be set to “immediately”, which means that an OR is generated for every submission and is overwritten until the final one generated at the close of the due date.

(for Turnitin via WebLearn integration): In the WL Assignments tool, the maintainer can set the number of resubmissions allowed (from 0 to 10). Before resubmitting in WebLearn, the student must remove their original submission which will therefore no longer accessible; a new Turnitin Originality Report will be generated, which will replace the previous one. If a student submits the same paper to multiple assignments in the same WebLearn site, they will not match each other. This is to allow students and instructors to use the Turnitin Originality Reports as part of a review/resubmit process without generating a "false positive".

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How can a staff member request to see a student paper from another institution that has turned up as a matched source?

A: View the direct source box in the Originality Report. It says to click on the link provided. A 'view request' will automatically be sent by email to the instructor at the other institution where the matching submission was found. You need to then wait for their response by email - depending on privacy considerations, they may or may not provide you with the source paper.

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In the WebLearn assignments tool, a staff member can bulk download all assignments. Is there a way of bulk downloading all the Turnitin Originality Reports?

A: Yes -- this can be done in the Turnitin web interface: turnitinuk.com. Enter your Oxford email address as your user name, and click on the 'Forgotten password' link. (You have a TurnitinUK account 'behind the scences', by virtue of the WebLearn integration.) When you receive your password, go back to turnitinuk.com and log in. Go to the heading 'sakai_tii' - this is the WebLearn (Sakai) account within Turnitin. In the 'Class name' column, find your WebLearn site - this is identified by the long site ID (Site URL), which you can find in your WebLearn site on the Site Info page. Back in turnitinuk.com, click on the class ID. Within the class, find the required assignment title, and click the 'View' link. You will see the list of all student submissions to this assignment. Select those you wish to download; or to select all of them, click in the checkbox at the top of the list. Then click 'Download'.

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What is a Turnitin Paper View Request and what should I do about it?

A: When student work from one institution (A) is matched to a student paper from another institution (X), the paper from institution X is not shown by default, for privacy reasons. The instructor/administrator from institution A can click a button to request to view the student paper from institution X. Turnitin automatically sends a 'Turnitin Paper View Request' to the instructor at institution X, who can then decide whether or not to release the first student paper (which is done simply by replying to the requesting email). Here is an example of a Turnitin Paper View Request:

Dear Oxfordsaid Examsteam

TurnitinUK is forwarding this request on behalf of [Name], an instructor at University of {Name]. This instructor requests your permission to view the paper, "abcdef.pdf", submitted to your Dip ABC 2016 class at University of Oxford on 22-Mar-2017. This instructor has found a 33% match to this paper in a paper submitted to his or her PADM8221 class. If you choose to grant permission to the instructor to view the paper, simply reply to this email. Please confirm the text of the student's paper is displayed in your reply email. By replying to this email, you will be sending an email (including the text of your student's paper) to the requesting instructor, [Name].

The text of the paper previously submitted to your class is included below. Please remove any identifying student information in the text below to respect the privacy of your student prior to sending.

Thank you for using TurnitinUK, The TurnitinUK Team

There is no central Oxford University policy about making student papers available to other institutions on request. It is up to the administrator and/or lecturer as to whether or not they wish to grant access to the Oxford student paper. It is helpful for the other instructor to see and compare text in the Oxford student paper with their own student paper. Therefore we suggest that you respond to the Turnitin View Request, as they explain, after making sure that the Oxford student paper (included in the body of the Turnitin request message) is anonymised (to maintain privacy).

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How long do submitted student papers remain in the Turnitin database? (If the option to save them in the Turnitin repositry was selected when creating the assignment)

A: Papers or assignments submitted to the Turnitin repository (database) will remain there forever, unless the institution's Turnitin administrator puts in a request for a paper to be deleted.

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For how long will I be able to access the Turnitin Originality Reports?

A: 'Classes' in Turnitin (corresponding to 'sites' in WebLearn) will remain active for 5 years from date of creation; then the originality reports will remain available for a further 180 days after the end of the 5 years. Upon special request, a class life can be extended to 7 years. Contact turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk if you are experiencing problems accessing Turnitin reports for a WebLearn site that may have been created 5 or more years ago.

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How can multiple drafts be saved without overwriting each other in the Turnitin database?

A: There are two options:

1) If the instructor wishes students to submit multiple drafts without overwriting the previous drafts, the instructor can create additional assignments using the revision assignment type or,

2) the option should be selected to NOT save the draft submission in any repository.

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Can an instructor elect not to have a particular paper stored in the Turnitin database/repository?

A:(for Turnitin direct - not Quick Submit): Yes, the instructor can opt in advance for student papers not to be stored in the repository. This covers all papers in an assignment.

Answer (for Turnitin Quick Sumit): No, there is no choice. The submissions are automatically stored in the Turnitin repository.

Answer (for Turnitin via WebLearn integration): Yes, via WebLearn, there is an option to exclude submitted papers from the repository.

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How can a staff member have a student paper removed from the Turnitin repository?

A: You need to find the Paper ID. Do this by viewing the Originality Report and clicking on the 'i' icon (View information about this paper) (lower left of the screen). Send this paper ID and the Author name to turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk, requesting that the paper be removed from the Turnitin database, with a short motivation explaining why this is necessary. The Oxford administrator will request the removal by the Turnitin provider and report the outcome by email to you.

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Are there different databases for different countries? In other words, can a student send a paper to a friend in Hong Kong to run it through Turnitin there for preliminary self-checking?

A: There are two main databases where the student papers are stored. One holds all the submissions made to institutions on the UK service (submit.ac.uk), while the other holds all submissions that are made to the rest of the world, i.e. those institutions who are on the turnitin.com service. The UK student database is ring-fenced for use in the UK, therefore non-U.K. institutions do not get access to it (this was a JISC requirement when the service was first rolled out in the UK). In other words, in the UK submissions are checked against turnitin.com AND turnitin.co.uk SO anyone wanting to cheat in the UK would need to ensure the work wasn't in EITHER database. It's people elsewhere that don't see the UK submissions.

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What databases can Turnitin search?

A: Turnitin has partnered with leading content publishers, including library databases, text-book publishers, digital reference collections, subscription-based publications, homework helper sites and books. These partnerships have contributed over 130 million additional articles to our databases. The software is regularly updated with new content acquired through new partnerships. For example, Turnitin partner CrossRef boasts more than 500 members that include publishers such as Elsevier and the IEEE, and has already added hundreds of millions of pages of new content to our database.

  • CrossCheck - http://www.crossref.org/crosscheck.html participating STM publishers have provided us with more than 30M published research articles, books and conference proceedings (title list on CrossCheck home page)
  • Gale InfoTrac One File - http://www.gale.cengage.com/onefile/ - includes over 11,500 titles--periodicals, broadcast transcripts, travel guides, magazine, journals, and books
  • Emerald Journals - http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/menuNavigation.do?hdAction=InsightHome
  • ABC-CLIO - http://www.abc-clio.com/ history resources (title list is proprietary)
  • Acumen - http://www.acumenpi.com/ - research papers
  • SAGE Reference - http://www.sagepub.co.uk/reference.nav 160 encyclopedia titles (title list is proprietary)
  • PubMed/MedLine - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/journal.html - more than 1M abstracts and citations; medical resources
  • Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Wiley - more than 1850 academic textbooks
  • EBSCOhost - http://ebscohost.com/ - nearly 1M content items from a cross-section of databases periodicals, biographies, brochures, encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books (title list is proprietary)

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Does Turnitin search the Oxford ORA repository of Oxford theses and dissertations?

A: Yes, the database available at http://ora.ouls.ox.ac.uk/ is a searchable source for Turnitin.

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How can a staff member quickly screen one (or more) student essays?

A: A student might have submitted their document by email, or an administrator might need to quickly check particular student documents (i.e. not via the WebLearn Assignments tool). The best way for a staff member to submit one (or more) student files is to login to turnitinuk.com and use Quick Submit. You will need an instructor login to turnitinuk.com (If you don't have one, please request an instructor account from turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk, stating your credentials and intended purpose).

Steps to follow:

  1. Login to turnitinuk.com (if you have forgotten password, pse click on 'reset password' link)
  2. If not already enabled, enable Quick Submit (this is a once-off step). If already enabled, you will see a tab saying 'Quick Submit'. Here are the steps outlining how to enable and use Quick Submit

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Is a paper submitted through Quick Submit automatically saved in the Turnitin repository?

A: Yes, papers submitted via Quick Submit will always be saved in the standard student paper repository, which is the default setting in Turnitin.

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Can one use Quick Submit with the anonymous feature to ensure that student papers submitted by a staff member are anonymous?

A: Quick submit does not offer the option of anonymity, BUT if a staff member is submitting the student papers, then do so using bogus names, e.g. student1, student2 etc. Then the only identifying information would be your name and email address. Of course it goes without saying that there should be no identifying information in the papers themselves.

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What are the thresholds for the colour coded Turnitin icons?

A: Thresholds for the icon colours are as follows: 0%--Blue icon; 1-24%--Green icon; 25-49%--Yellow icon; 50-74%--Orange icon; 75-100%--Red icon.

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If I refresh the Originality Report, can the score go up or down?

A: Yes. You can refresh the Originality Report at any time. A new report will be generated according to the matches found in electronic sources that exist and are searched at the new point in time.

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What happens if a newly-generated report shows a lower similarity score than on an earlier submission of the same student paper?

A: This could certainly occur. Therefore, if a case of dishonesty is suspected, the Originality Report at that point in time should be downloaded and retained as evidence. Use the 'download' button in the lower right of the document viewer.

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How can I exclude a 100% match with the same paper already in the repository?

A: It is possible to exclude a particular 100% match on viewing the report. Under the All Sources panel on the right hand side of the Document Viewer, there is an option to "Select Sources to be Excluded". Click this and select the 100% matched source. It will remove this match from the calculation of the similarity index.

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How do you restore a match that you previously exluded via the Match Breakdown > 'Exclude sources' option?

A: To re-include a match, when looking at the Originiality Report, click on the red icon that looks like a circle with a diagonal slash. This will reveal the Excluded Sources and you will able to restore selected ones.

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Why does it sometimes occur that the majority of a paper is ignored if I select 'Exclude Bibliography'?

A: Check if the student has included the word 'Bibliography' earlier in their paper, e.g. in their Table of Contents. If they have used a manual table (columns and rows) to create their Table of Contents, and the word 'Bibliography' appears on its own in a cell, then it is taken as being on a line by itself. This signals the actual Bibliography, and everything thereafter is ignored. Note that this does not happen for an automatically generated Table of Contents which uses Tabs before page numbers, so 'Bibliography (tab) (tab) (tab) page 41', for example, does not trigger the rest of the document to be ignored.

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If the work of two students is matched, how do I indentify who may have plagiarised whom?

A: There is no clearcut way to identify if Student A copied the work of Student B, or vice versa. It depends on whose paper was submitted and saved first in the Turnitin database of student papers. Further investigation would be necessary, for example, looking at the date of authorship in the properties of the original student files.

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What is Turnitin Feedback Studio?

A: Feedback Studio is the 2017 upgraded version of Turnitin. It offers a simplified, more intuitive interface which makes it easier to navigate the Originality Report and to use GradeMark. The PeerMark product is not included in Feedback Studio, but can still be used via Turnitin Classic. The key differences between Turnitin Classic and Feedback Studio are demonstrated in this video: http://youtu.be/tIKjBzJIe2g

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How can I toggle between Turnitin Feedback Studio and Turnitin Classic?

A: From 16 January until August 2017, it will be possible to toggle between Feedback Studio and Turnitin Classic while viewing the Originality Report.

  • To switch from Feedback Studio to Turnitin Classic: click the link at the bottom of the screen: "Return to Turnitin Classic".
  • To switch from Turnitin Classic to Feedback Studio: click the link at the top of the screen: "Try the new Feedback Studio"
.

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Why can students not see the feedback layer showing electronic comments inserted by a tutor?

A: The WebLearn assignment due date must have passed in order for students to view GradeMark comments.

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