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Turnitin is a cloud-based solution with capabilities in originality checking and online grading using their OriginalityCheck and GradeMark tools. Turnitin saves instructors time and facilitates personalized feedback for learners.


OriginalityCheck lets you monitor Assignment submissions and identify potential cases of plagiarism by automatically comparing submissions to an online database of original content. You can then view Originality Reports which highlight key areas, show a breakdown of matching sources, and provide direct links to the matching content.

You can also take advantage of the integrated GradeMark which lets you add comments, inline text, and highlight sections in file submissions, directly from the Assignments tool. Learners can view GradeMark feedback in User Progress under Assignments, in Grades, in Assignments, in User Progress under Grades, and in Content.

Note: The use of Turnitin combined with the Special Access features in the Assignments tool is not supported. If you set a due date for a user with special access that is different than the due date set on the Turnitin tab, the Turnitin due date does not change.

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To enable Turnitin for an assignment:

  1. On the navbar, click Assignments.
  2. On the New Assignment or Edit Folder page, in the Turnitin Integration area, select Enable GradeMark for this folder.
  3. Originality Check provides plagiarism detection. Check the box to enable Originality check. Note: To enable Originality Check®, GradeMark® must first be enabled.
  4. If you want students to see Turnitin similarity scores, check the box to ‘Allow learners to see Turnitin similarity scores in their submission folder’ below title ‘Display’.
  5. To set more advanced options, click More Options in Turnitin. This opens the Turnitin Assignment window.
  6. Configure the desired settings in the Optional settings area and hit Submit.
  7. Click Save and Close.
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More options on editing Turnitin-enabled assignments:

  1. When creating a new assignment, the name of the folder in Turnitin truncates after 99 characters, even though the Name field accepts 128 characters.
  2. When you copy course components from one course to another, confirm that all settings are configured for the Turnitin-enabled assignments in the new course.
  3. If you want learners to see instructions on the Submit Files page, you must enter them into the Instructions rich text field in the Properties tab. These instructions are automatically transferred into Turnitin. Any instructions you enter in the Properties tab overwrite instructions entered into Turnitin.
  4. If you want to automatically transfer scores as draft to Brightspace Learning Environment, on the Turnitin Integration page, select the Automatically sync grades as Draft in Brightspace radio button or select the Manually sync grades as Draft in Brightspace radio button to make it a manual step.
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Viewing Originality Check reports

You can view Originality Reports from the Submissions page. When a report is available, the status changes from In-Progress to a percentage rating, which indicates the level of matching content.

A lower percentage rating indicates that the content is likely original and has not been copied; a higher percentage rating indicates the content is likely not original and has been copied from another source.

The percentage ranges are associated with colours:

  • Blue >= 0 and < 20%
  • Green >= 20 and < 40%
  • Yellow >= 40 and < 60%
  • Orange >= 60 and < 80%
  • Red >= 80 and <= 100%

Click the coloured section beside the percentage rating to view the associated Originality Report. The Originality Report is comprised of two panes. The right pane lists all of the matching sources, including the percentage of text that matches and a link to the online content. The left pane displays the submission text using coloured highlights to draw attention to the matching content.

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File type and sizes

Allow any file type

If an assignment is set to allow any file type, Turnitin will accept any file:

  • that is less than 100MB;
  • that has a minimum of 20 words; and
  • that is less than 800 pages.
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File types not checked for similarity

Turnitin will not accept the following to generate Similarity Reports:

  • Password protected files
  • Microsoft® Works (.wps) files
  • Microsoft Word 2007 macros-enabled .docm files
  • OpenOffice Text (.odt) files created and downloaded from Google Docs online
  • Document (.doc) files created using OpenOffice, as they are not 100% Microsoft Word equivalent
  • Apple Pages
  • Spreadsheets created outside of Microsoft Excel (i.e. .ods)
  • Text with visual effects
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What file types are supported in Turnitin?

If the assignment is set to allow only file types that Turnitin can check for similarity, Turnitin will only accept files that can generate Similarity Reports.

This includes:

HTMLMicrosoft Word® (.doc/.docx)
Hangul Word Processor file (.hwp)OpenOffice Text (.odt)
Rich text format (.rtf)WordPerfect® (.wpd)
Plain text (.txt)PostScript (.ps)
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Google Docs via Google Drive™

If submitting with Google Drive™, third-party cookies must be allowed in your browser, otherwise, any attempts to sign into Google to upload from Google Drive will fail. Note that Google Drive functionality is not supported in IE8 or below. Do not upload Google Doc (.gdoc) files directly to file does not store the document, but contains a reference to it online, in Google Docs.

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Adobe® PDF

Turnitin will not accept PDF image files, forms, or portfolios, files that do not contain highlightable text (e.g. a scanned file – usually an image), documents containing multiple files or files created with software other than Adobe Acrobat®.

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Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps)

It is possible to submit PowerPoint® files through Turnitin. Turnitin converts the PowerPoint® slide deck into a static PDF, leaving all text and images in their original format but leaving out features such as presenter notes, embedded video, and animations. Text with visual effects is not supported, and it is recommended that any visual effects such as shadows and 3D be removed prior to submitting to Turnitin.

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Microsoft Excel® (.xls and .xlsx)

The version of the file that can be viewed in the Document Viewer will look the same as it would if the Excel file had been saved as a PDF and submitted to Turnitin. We highly recommend that users pay attention to the image preview provided in the single file submission to verify that the file is presented in an acceptable manner. Users can adjust the way the file looks by editing the page setup and print area settings for the file prior to saving it and submitting it to Turnitin.

Troubleshooting: I see an assignment submission showing an icon that says, “An originality report could not be generated for this file”.

If there are no other details in the icon’s message text, such as the file is not a supported type or does not include enough text, the generic error indicates an issue transferring the file to the Turnitin server.

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