Turnitin and Academic Integrity
Students at SCU are asked to submit their assignments for similarity checking using Turnitin. Accessed via unit Blackboard sites, Turnitin is a web-based text-matching system that compares your submission to sources held in its repository. The Turnitin repository is updated every day and contains:
- student papers submitted at SCU and universities around the world that use Turnitin
- internet pages
- online books
- journal articles
- conference papers.
Turnitin cannot detect plagiarism. Instead, it detects ‘matched-text’, or text your submission shares with sources held in its repository. Even so, the Similarity Report contains useful information about your writing, and is a great editing tool.
View a step-by step summary of the SCU Academic Misconduct Investigation Process.
Use Turnitin as a learning tool
Markers do check Similarity Reports while grading assignments. However, at SCU the focus is on students using Turnitin as an editing tool, to improve how they have used sources in their writing before the marker sees their work. This means:
- submitting a good draft for similarity checking so the report contains useful information
- systemically checking every highlighted section in the report where you have used sources
- editing and fixing any problematic sections then re-submitting your assignment for grading.
Using the Similarity Report as an editing tool can help you to use sources effectively, practice academic integrity, and avoid losing ‘easy marks’.
Turnitin for Students
While studying at SCU it is likely you will be asked to submit your work for similarity checking using Turnitin.
Turnitin is located on your unit Blackboard sites.
To submit work to Turnitin:
- Log onto MySCU and onto the relevant unit Blackboard learning site.
- Once on your unit site scroll down the left side of the screen until you see the ‘Assessment’ heading. Click on the button titled ‘Assessment and Task Submission’. You should find the Turnitin drop-box in this area.
One this screen click on the ‘View/Complete’ link for the relevant Turnitin drop-box.
- One the next screen, the first two fields will be filled in with your first and second name. You need to fill in the next field ‘Submission Title’. The title will only show on the Similarity Report.
- Scroll down the screen and you will see the Originality Declaration. Carefully read this section. By submitting your work through the drop box you are declaring that you have read and understood SCU policy about academic misconduct, and that you are submitting ‘entirely your own work’.
Submitting your own work means drawing upon credible, current sources to generate your own answer to the question, argument, or solution.
It also means:
- You have put in the effort expected
- You have mainly put sources into your own words (paraphrased)
- If you have used quotes they are correctly formatted and referenced
- You clearly show where your work ends and others’ work begins (usually via referencing).
A pop will appear that lets you see your computer. Click on the area where your file is located (e.g. a USB, in Documents or Desktop). Then click the relevant folder or file, then the ‘open’ button at the bottom right corner of your screen.
Click on the big blue ‘Upload’ button at the bottom left corner of the screen.
This will take you back to the Class Home Page where your Similarity Report will show as a percentage and coloured icon. It will take 2-5 minutes for the report to be available the first 3 times you submit through the drop box, and up to 24hours for any subsequent submissions.
Click on either the percentage of coloured icon to open your Similarity Report in the online browser.
Academic Integrity Resources
- The Academic Skills Quick Guides containing PDFs about Avoiding Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct to assist you further.
Avoiding Plagiarism (PDF Downloads)
Academic Misconduct (PDF Downloads)
Turnitin Resources in the SCU Service Centre
Step 1: In MySCU click on the blue question mark icon to the right of your page to access the support modal.
Step 2: From the list/buttons referring to topics at the top of the support modal choose All About Assignments.
Step 3: Now from the secondary list titled How do I? choose Turnitin Assignments.
SCU policy you need to read
I can’t find the Turnitin drop-box on my unit Blackboard site. What should I do?
First, check the ‘Assessment and Task Submission’ area on the unit site. Look for the ‘View/Complete’ link that lets you know you have found the Turnitin drop-box.
If you still can’t find the Turnitin drop-box contact your Unit Assessor. You can post a question on the Discussion Board. If you want to email you will find their contact details on the unit Blackboard site.
How do I submit my assignment to Turnitin?
Turnitin drop-boxes are located on your unit Blackboard site. To find out how to submit work to Turnitin watch this short clip.
I am submitting my assignment after the due date and I am having trouble accessing Turnitin. What should I do?
Contact your Unit Assessor. They might need to clear your previous submission, or set up a new drop-box for you. You will find their contact details on the unit Blackboard site.
I am having technical problems with Turnitin. Where can I get help?
Contact the Service Desk.
Where do I find my Similarity Report?
Re-trace the same steps you followed to submit your work for similarity checking. Go back to the unit Blackboard site, and click on the same ‘View/Complete’ link. This will take you to your Class Home Page. The Similarity Report will be visible under the ‘Similarity’ heading as a percentage and coloured icon. Click on the percentage to open your report in the online browser.
Does Turnitin detect plagiarism?
No. Turnitin cannot detect plagiarism. It is a text-matching software. It will identify text in your submission that matches sources held in its repository. However Turnitin cannot make any judgements about the nature of the matched-text. It can’t tell if it is a problem in terms of academic integrity. Watch this clip to learn more.
What score should I should aim for? I heard you need to get a Similarity Score of less than 30%. Is that right?
There is no ‘safe’ Similarity Score that says your work is free of plagiarism. This is because Turnitin does not measure plagiarism. It measures matched-text. Note the Similarity Score but don’t worry too much about it. To learn more watch this short clip.
I keep editing my work to reduce the Similarity Score. Is that the right thing to do?
This is not a good strategy. By focusing all your attention on reducing the score you can very easily go off track and lose sight of meeting assessment requirements, and ensuring your assignment is well written. It is a much better strategy to double-check the highlighted sections in your Similarity Report to make sure sources are used correctly, and fix up any issues.
I don’t know how to interpret the Similarity Report. Where can I find information?
The Similarity Report contains useful information about your writing that you get to access before the marker sees your work. Watch this short clip to learn how to interpret your Similarity Report.
I keep running out time and I never get to use my Similarity Report as an editing tool. Do you have any tips?
Close and careful editing phases can help you improve your work by up to two grades. Using the Similarity Report as an editing tool during the final editing phase can help you see the way you have used sources with ‘fresh eyes’.
Tips for finding time to use Turnitin as an editing tool include:
- Start assignments as early as you can
- Double the time you think you might need to edit your assignment
- Allocate editing time to your study schedule
- Submit a ‘good’ version of your work for similarity checking. This will ensure the Similarity Report contains useful information, and the editing process will be quicker.
* Turnitin information for staff can be found on the Teaching with Technology website under Academic Integrity.