Turnitin is a system designed to help faculty detect plagiarism. It compares each document with a database built from current and archived instances of the internet, millions of student papers previously submitted to Turnitin, and commercial databases of journal articles and periodicals.
The result is a report showing what portions of the paper "overlap" items from the Turnitin database..
NOTE: If faculty enable Turnitin, we request them to warn their students about two things:
When creating an assignment, the instructor will now see near the bottom a section "Turnitin" with two checkboxes
If the instructor clicks "Use Turnitin to review student submissions", all attachments submitted for this assignment will be sent to TurnitIn. It takes about 10 minutes to get the data back from TurnitIn. Note that only attachments are submitted, not text that the student types into the Sakai editor. Turnitin understands plain text, HTML, Microsoft Word, Postscript, PDF, and RTF. There is some indication of support for Wordperfect. It will not review attachments larger than 10.48576 MB
When the instructor clicks on the "Grade" link under the assignment there will be a new column in the list of student submissions: "Turnitin". Once we have gotten a response from Turnitin, there will be an icon in that column. For a quick overview, just look at the color of the icon. It is based on the percent that overlaps items in the Turnitin database:
If you place your mouse over the icon, you will see the actual percentage. Note that Turnitin doesn't check whether the content is properly cited, so you'll almost certainly have to look at the detailed report if you are concerned.
If you click on the icon, you will see a detailed report, showing what sections of the document match items in the Turnitin Database. The database items are identified.
When looking at the assignment, the student will see an additional row, "Turnitin Report." It will have the same icon that the instructor sees, with the same options.
Turnitin is one tool in what should be a larger effort to educate students about proper citation, references, and academic integrity. For additional strategies, refer to the plagiarism resources at the Judicial Affairs web site, and the list of plagiarism links provided by the Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research.