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Create Turnitin Assignment guide

Turnitin is an online assessment management system that you can use to support student submission, provision of grades and feedback. It also includes a similarity check. This guide provides an overview of how to set up Turnitin assignments.

About Turnitin Assignment

Turnitin is an assessment management system that includes a web-based text-matching software system. Students can submit their coursework to Turnitin and lecturers can use Turnitin's Feedback Studio to grade and provide feedback on the assignments. A Similarity Report is produced by comparing the text of a student's submission against text from a wide range of electronic material including journals, websites, and other students’ work, including work from many UK universities.

Turnitin provides a report on text matches. Turnitin does not interpret the report nor dictate action in response to the report, nor does access to the software, in itself, imply any requirement to act on the report. Those questions remain properly the responsibility of the University's academic processes.

Turnitin can also be used formatively to help students learn about the importance of good academic practices and good referencing. 

Contact the IT Self Service Portal to request training from the Digital Education team if you have not used Turnitin before.

Third party contact details

Why choose a Turnitin assignment?

A Turnitin assignment has a number of benefits.

  • Students can submit from a mobile device.
  • Staff can submit assignments on behalf of students.
  • A similarity report can be generated.
  • Assignments can be submitted anonymously.
  • Marks can be revealed automatically on a particular date.

To see how Turnitin assignments compare to the other most commonly used assignment tools in Moodle use the Assignment activity selector to see details of each assignment type.

Turnitin and group submissions

It's not possible to create a group assignment on Turnitin.

It is possible to enable Turnitin on a Moodle group assignment but Turnitin should only be used to view the similarity report. Turnitin does not support group marking. You must use Moodle's grading mechanisms to provide grades and feedback.

See our guidance on Moodle group assignments for more information.

Importance of a fair submission strategy

A matter for both Schools and for the University as a whole concerns what type of papers to submit to Turnitin. A preferable policy is to either submit all papers to Turnitin, to submit all papers for a given module/paper, or to submit a random sampling of papers (for example, 10%). It should also be made clear to students which policy is at work, and be made clear how they can access support resources both before and after any course work is due.

Turnitin maintenance

All Turnitin services may be unavailable for use during scheduled maintenance times. Times for these scheduled maintenance windows are the first and third Saturdays of each month.  Avoid scheduling assignment deadlines outside of core working hours. Avoid scheduling any marking on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Check the Moodle dashboard for information about upcoming Turnitin maintenance.

Accepted file types

Turnitin currently accepts the following file types for upload into an assignment:

  1. Microsoft Word® (.doc/.docx) 
  2. OpenOffice Text (.odt) 
  3. WordPerfect® (.wpd) 
  4. PostScript (.ps) 
  5. HTML 
  6. Hangul Word Processor file (.hwp) 
  7. Rich text format (.rtf) 
  8. Plain text (.txt) 
  9. Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets via Google Drive™ 
  10. Adobe® PDF 
  11. Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps) (Turnitin converts the PowerPoint® slide deck into a static PDF, leaving all text and images in their original format and excludes features such as presenter notes, embedded video, and animations. Text with visual effects is not supported. Any visual effects such as shadows and 3D should be removed. Please note that other file formats available in PowerPoint will not be accepted by Turnitin.) 
  12. Microsoft Excel® (.xls and .xlsx) (Advise students to pay attention to the image preview of the Excel file to verify that the file is presented in an acceptable manner. Students 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. If students have a .xls/.xlsx or .csv file that is 450 pages or more, save the file as a PDF for submission to Turnitin.) 

Similarity Report not required 

If you want to use Turnitin’s Feedback Studio for marking student coursework submitted via the Turnitin Assignment activity and you do not require a Similarity Report, you can enable the setting to Allow submission of any file type. This allows students to submit a few more file types. However, it does not cover all available file types. File types that will be accepted, in addition to the list above, when you enable the setting Allow submission of any file type are: 

  1. Password protected files 
  2. Microsoft® Works (.wps) files 
  3. Microsoft Word 2007 macros-enabled .docm files 
  4. OpenOffice Text (.odt) files created and downloaded from Google Docs online 
  5. Document (.doc) files created using OpenOffice, as they are not 100% Microsoft Word equivalent 
  6. Apple Pages 
  7. Spreadsheets created outside of Microsoft Excel (i.e. .ods) 
  8. Text with visual effects 

Non-supported file types

  • Zip files. If you require students to submit more than one file you will need to set up a multipart Turnitin assignment.
  • ODP files.
  • Any other file types not listed above.

File names

Punctuation in file names can generate errors when submitted to Turnitin. When students name their Turnitin assignment files, they should avoid using any punctuation except underscore.

Turnitin errors

When a student submits a file to a Moodle assignment with Turnitin enabled, they may receive an error message that prevents their submission from uploading successfully to Turnitin.
Some of the errors such as file exceeds maximum allowed size and user has not accepted end user agreement are clear to understand and easily rectifiable by following the guidelines set in the Submit Turnitin Assignment Guide.

There are other errors that are not so clear to understand such as:

  • problem creating the module in Turnitin (see API logs) 
  • problem editing the module settings in Turnitin (see API logs) 
  • no accessible content in the file pool 
  • XML response could not be parsed 

To rectify these errors, please try the following:

Note: If students were required to click the submit button you will need to revert their submission to a draft. If the cut-off date in the past you will need to give students an extension to a future time to enable them to resubmit.

  1. Ask student(s) to change their file name if it is over 40 characters and resubmit the file.
  2. If the file name is short but students converted the assignment file from Word to PDF, we have found changing the file name and resubmitting the assignment works.
  3. If the file name has any punctuation apart from underscores, ask the students to remove punctuation and resubmit.
  4. If the file name & file name conventions is OK, sometimes, simply changing the file name helps push the paper through to Turnitin. 

Alternatively, a staff member with the programme admin role can log in as the student to resubmit on their behalf:

  1. Log in as the student for whom you want to resubmit.
  2. Access the Assignment.
  3. Select Edit submission.
  4. Select the file from the File submissions field. An overlay window will open
  5. In the Name field, update the title of the submission (any change is sufficient)
  6. Select Update.

    Name of assignment being edited

  7. Go through all the other steps (academic integrity statements & submit & continue buttons to resubmit the file)

Digital Receipts

On submission of a Turnitin assignment, students will receive a notification to their City email stating that the file has been submitted. The full digital receipt can be viewed and printed from the Turnitin My Submissions screen. If you find you are also getting these receipts as a staff member refer to the Switch off email for Turnitin assignments guidance.

Related policies

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