What is Turnitin?


Turnitin is a web-based service available through ulearn to all JWU faculty to aid with verifying originality of student work. Turnitin compares papers submitted by students with over 150 million previously submitted papers, 14 billion pages of web content, and more than 90,000 subscription-based journals and periodicals. Turnitin generates originality reports which indicate textual similarities between student papers and content in its database.

Turnitin does not determine if a student committed plagiarism. It is up to the faculty member to review the report and the student paper together and make a determination on their own if plagiarism has occurred. Turnitin is simply a tool to aid faculty in identifying textual matches/similarities. Even materials that have been cited properly will show up as being a textual match in the originality reports. Therefore, faculty carefully analyze the originality reports and the student papers to understand the reasons for the textual matches/similarities.

In some courses faculty will use Turnitin as an instructional tool so students can learn about appropriate usage of published materials and citation methods.

How does Turnitin work?

Turnitin is used through ulearn as of the Fall 2011 term. If you used Turnitin previously at JWU, you had to log in to Turnitin.com using your student profile and your instructor provided you with a class ID and enrollment password. Now that Turnitin is accessed through ulearn, a profile, class ID and password are no longer needed.

If you see the icon below in ulearn for a specific assignment, the instructor is using Turnitin. See the link at the bottom of the page for instructions on submitting your assignment.

After the paper is processed, your instructor can view an originality report that shows textual similarities between your submitted paper and published materials in the Turnitin database. In some classes, instructors may allow students to see the originality reports.

Faculty may also use the GradeMark feature of Turnitin to digitally mark up your papers to provide you with feedback. Some instructors may use the GradeMark feature only and not generate Originality Reports. If they are using GradeMark, you will be able to view the instructor's feedback through the Turnitin assignment. If you are not sure which feature(s) of Turnitin your instructor is using, ask them.

Students submit papers to Turnitin themselves. Faculty will not submit a paper on behalf of a student.

What about student privacy?

Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as they are educational records containing personally identifiable information. According to the United States Department of Education, the submission of papers to Turnitin is not a violation of FERPA provided the student submits the paper to Turnitin themselves prior to turning the paper in to the instructor. If you are concerned about your privacy, talk to your instructor about submitting your paper to Turnitin with your name and contact information deleted from the paper.

What about student copyright?

Students retain copyright on their submitted assignments. The papers are stored in the Turnitin database solely for the purpose of using them as source material to prevent plagiarism.

How can I learn about proper citation?

The Library has a LibGuide about plagiarism and proper citations using the MLA Manual. You may also talk with your instructor or a librarian at your campus.

What if an instructor suspects plagiarism?

An instructor who comes to suspect plagiarism through the use of Turnitin follows procedures identified in the student handbook under the academic misconduct and plagiarism policies.

Can my instructor give me feedback on my paper through Turnitin?

Turnitin has a GradeMark feature that faculty can use to digitally mark up your papers with their feedback. Check with your instructor to ask if they will be using that feature.

What if I need help?

Talk to your instructor or contact Online Learning at 401-598-2778 or turnitin@jwu.edu.