How we use Turnitin

Turnitin is widely used around the University for assignment submission and returning marks and feedback to students. Within that, though, is plenty of room for difference in practice. We can give a snapshot of that difference.

71% of Moodle modules last year used Turnitin. Of those, just over 2/3 then used the online marking feature – though in many cases staff will have logged marks and feedback online without actually completing the whole marking process that way.

In this year’s Moodle there are over 3,000 Turnitin inboxes – that is a higher number than the number of modules (under 2,500) because some modules have multiple inboxes. And some modules offer a formative experience of Turnitin as well as its use in assessment.

Is late submission allowed?

81% of inboxes allow late submission. We recommend this setting – it does not sanction late submissions, and the due date still applies, with submissions made after that date clearly marked as late. But it allows students to make submissions after the due date, which might then be followed by whatever mitigating circumstances process is in use. If this setting is not set, students cannot submit after the due date, and so will have to contact administrators or teaching staff to ask advice.

Can students see the originality report?

The originality report is often seen as ‘the plagiarism bit’ of Turnitin, but it is also designed to help students discover poor academic practice, such as an over-reliance on quotation. Nevertheless, many feel that allowing students to see their originality report gives them a chance to game the system, adjusting their work to get a ‘better’ originality score. That belief may account for the only a relatively low 40% of inboxes allowing students to see their report.

There are three different settings, determining when students may see their report – immediately, but only once (32%), immediately, and for any submission made (42%) and only once the due date arrives (26%). Even the largest group, who can see multiple originality reports, will only receive a new originality report 24 hours after the first. So anyone attempting to sneak plagiarised work through by tinkering with an assignment needs to produce their work well before the deadline, and wait 24 hours after each resubmission to see the results.

Can students resubmit work?

The originality report options mentioned above also determine whether a student can resubmit work. The majority of inboxes, 60%, do not allow students to resubmit – if students need to, they must contact a member of staff, who can delete their submission to allow a new one. 40% of inboxes do allow resubmissions, so students can replace their essay up until the due date in case of error.

Anonymous marking

This setting is not currently widely used. Currently 6% of Turnitin inboxes have anonymous marking switched on.

University guidelines

The university has some advice on the use of Turnitin; of particular importance is that students should have a formative experience of the software if it is to be used in their studies, and that Turnitin is not a plagiarism detector on its own.

Academic guidelines on the use of Turnitin.


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