Centre for Teaching Excellence

Resources | Academic Integrity

Using Turnitin in Your Courses/Students’ Turnitin use

Students’ Turnitin use

Wondering what your students experience when using Turnitin?  The following provides some insight.


How do I prepare my students for using Turnitin?

Turnitin is a new feature for both students and instructors at CapU.  CTE recommends the following steps to ensure that Turnitin is an effective tool in your course: 


  1. Include an advisory in your course syllabus to let students know that you will be using Turnitin in your course.  Suggested wording: 
    If you plan to use the Turnitin similarity detection services for ALL Assignment or Forum activities in your course…  If you plan to use the Turnitin similarity detection services for selected, suspect submissions… 
    Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third-party service licensed for use by Capilano University. Turnitin is used for text-matching to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to agree to Turnitin’s end-user license agreement when submitting the first submission on eLearn.  All submitted submissions will be included in the Capilano University dedicated database of submissions at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism during the grading process during this term and in the future. Any student with a concern regarding using this service should contact the instructor to make alternative arrangements. This service is compliant with British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  Students should be aware that suspect submissions (e.g., those without works cited, or with significant differences in style) may be submitted to Turnitin by the instructor for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism. Submitted submissions will be included in the Capilano University dedicated database of submissions at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism during the grading process during this term and in the future.  Students must provide an electronic copy of their submission to the instructor for submission to the service when plagiarism is suspected, to receive a grade on the submission and to avoid possible sanctions.  This service is compliant with British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 


  2. Include an overview on your course eLearn page or on your Forum/Workshop/Assignment handout explaining how Turnitin works.  Suggested wording is available here. 
  3. Include an orientation exercise in one of your classes before the first assessment is due so students know what to expect.  Suggested exercise is available here. 

Please note: CTE encourages faculty to allow students to view their Similarity Report prior to the date of submission for an Assignment activity so they can improve their writing.  For the Forum activity, the limited editing timeframe (30 minutes) may not make this a viable option. 


How does a student access their Similarity Report?
After submitting their paper, students will see “Turnitin status: Queued” on the Submission page. After 3 to 5 minutes, this message will change to a reference number, e.g., Turnitin ID: 1234567890.  A few minutes later, this message will change to the Similarity Score (percentage in a coloured box).  The student can click on the Similarity Score to view the Similarity Report which will open in a new page – Feedback Studio.   


This video demonstrates the student’s experience with Turnitin. 

Does Turnitin work in the CapU eLearn app?

At this point, testing has not been possible with the CapU eLearn app.  Testing will be conducted in late August.  Please return to this page for an update. 

Can students “beat” Turnitin?

Various websites offer “tricks” and “tips” that claim to beat Turnitin.  It is not possible to say whether any of these options work.  Turnitin makes efforts to find and address each of these tactics.  More information is available on Turnitin’s website.    

What is PeerMark?
PeerMark™ is a peer review tool available for the Assignment activity. Instructors can create and manage PeerMark assignments that allow students to read and review one or more papers submitted by their classmates. With the advanced options in PeerMark, instructors can choose whether the reviews are anonymous or attributed.  Students are not able to assign a grade to a peer-reviewed paper.  Instructors can grade the student’s review. 
What information have students received about Turnitin?
Students have not received any information regarding Turnitin.  Several resources are available: 

Is student intellectual property protected?
Under Canadian copyright laws students retain the copyright to any papers submitted to Turnitin.  The Turnitin system creates digital fingerprints of student papers – which are not “true derivative works for copyright purposes; they contain only uncopyrightable numerical algorithms regarding the papers but not the papers themselves.” (See their Privacy and Copyright document for more information.) 


The intellectual property of all students submitting to Turnitin is protected by the Master Registration Agreement between BCNET (of which Capilano University is a member) and Turnitin LLC.  In addition, this agreement ensures that student papers submitted to Turnitin will not be used for commercial purposes. 


Students are informed via the Turnitin End-User License Agreement (EULA) (available here): 

  • Assignment activity: They are prompted to accept the EULA the first time they submit a paper to a Turnitin-enabled Assignment on eLearn. 
  • Forum activity: They will be prompted to accept the EULA after they have submitted their first post in a Forum activity. Students should be instructed to refresh their screen until they receive the prompt after they’ve made their first post.  


To further protect students’ intellectual property, CapU stores all papers submitted by students in a dedicated database. This database is not directly searchable by other schools that subscribe to Turnitin. Only CapU faculty can search our student papers (exclusively for the purpose of grading course assignments). Instructors from other universities using Turnitin may request anonymous copies of papers which match submissions to their courses from CapU instructors.  Storing papers in this repository does NOT affect the content the students’ papers are compared to.   


Source: https://teaching.utoronto.ca/ed-tech/teaching-technology/turnitin/turnitin-faq/ 



What if one of my students does not want to use Turnitin?
There are several alternate methods that can be implemented, including: 

  • requiring annotated bibliographies from students. 
  • requiring students submit all rough work with their papers. 
  • requiring that students include the call numbers or web site addresses of all sources cited in their paper. 


Source: https://teaching.utoronto.ca/ed-tech/teaching-technology/turnitin/turnitin-faq/  


Where can students go for help with Turnitin?

You may wish to add one or more of these resources to your course eLearn page, course syllabus or assessment guidelines:


Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people. We respectfully acknowledge that our campuses are located on the unceded sovereign Indigenous Nations of Lil’wat, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm(Musqueam), Shíshálh (Sechelt), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh(Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh).


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