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Academic integrity and papers

Posted at 8:45 a.m. April 7, 2020, by in Uncategorized

Both Canvas and Sakai offer the ability to automatically run student assignment submissions through TurnItIn. TurnItIn is a plagiarism detection service that can also help deter plagiarism, according to its website. If used correctly, TurnItIn can help your students learn how to avoid accidental plagiarism and can also help you detect instances of plagiarism more easily. 

For each student’s assignment submission, TurnItIn highlights instances of suspected plagiarism and indicates matching sources in a Similarity Report. It generates a “similarity score percentage” which indicates the percentage of the student submission that has matched to text in the TurnItin database. A lower score indicates less matching text (and thus fewer instances of suspected plagiarism). Note that TurnItIn cannot actually identify plagiarism; depending on your settings, it might even include quoted text as “matched text” in the similarity score. Learn more about the TurnItIn similarity scores and reports here

TurnItIn Best Practices

  • Let students know that the assignment is being run through TurnItIn: Make it explicit to students that their papers will be run through the plagiarism detection software. This can encourage academic integrity and promotes transparency in your teaching. Here is a sample syllabus statement.
  • Use TurnItIn to help students learn from their mistakes: If you allow students to view their TurnItIn report after submitting a draft, students can review their report and determine where their paraphrasing might need improvement. They can use this information to improve on their final paper. 
  • Don’t rely on the similarity score percentage alone: The similarity score can give you a good idea of papers to look into further, but the score itself does not mean anything. Student grades should not be impacted by TurnItIn similarity scores alone. If a student has a high similarity score, you should review the report to see what has been flagged and determine whether it is plagiarism.

Setting up TurnItin

If you add TurnItIn to your assignment in Sakai or Canvas, student submissions will be automatically processed through TurnItIn. They do not have to submit assignments a 2nd time or log into any separate accounts.

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