Turnitin is an electronic text matching system that compares text in a student’s assignment against a database of sources. These include electronic text on the internet, published works, commercial databases and assignments previously submitted to Turnitin by students in universities all over the world, as well as assignments obtained from internet sites that sell student papers.

Turnitin allows students to upload their assignments in a digital format. In order to produce an originality report, submissions require selectable text. Turnitin can accept a wide range of file types if the setting "allow submission of any file type" is ticked, however only files with selectable text will produce an originality report.

The Academic integrity and misconduct policy and procedures describes the responsibilities of faculties, school, staff and students in maintaining and improving academic integrity, and the commitment of ACU to promote academic honesty as one of its core values.

Video: What is Turnitin, and how to access Turnitin assignments

The Turnitin assignment allows teachers to check student submissions against an originality report, identify areas of text matching, and provide feedback electronically including rubrics and numerical grades which can be displayed to students as letters in the Gradebook. The Turnitin assignment is only visible to the student or teacher, however there is a 'peer review' option which can be used in the feedback process.

  • Students can submit a draft version of their assignment and generate an originality report. The report will highlight text matches and indicate areas where students need to work on their writing or referencing skills.
  • Turnitin quickly identifies the source of matching text and can assist teaching staff in the decision-making process and assessment standards for all students.

Strategies to improve academic integrity include

  • Design curriculum to prevent plagiarism.
  • Model good practice (for example, acknowledge sources fully and accurately in unit resources).
  • Clarify what's required of students in assessments.
  • Clarify expectations and define acceptable academic writing.
  • Design assessment activities that require independent input.
  • Use Turnitin assignment in LEO for checking for plagiarism in written assessments.

Educational approach

The University values academic integrity and has adopted an educational approach to the issue of academic honesty in order to foster ethical scholarship and enhance student understanding of academic integrity. One aspect of the educational process is the adoption of Turnitin, an electronic text matching system.

The key benefits of Turnitin for students:

  • encourages students to review their assignment before the due date
  • encourages students to evaluate their assignment for referencing and citation errors
  • promotes critical thinking and original writing.

Creating an online assessment activity may also include providing students with feedback via comments, attaching rubrics, or peer review, or managing extensions, late submissions and group activities.

For more information about 'student perceptions of the value of Turnitin' refer (University of Wolverhampton, 2015) and 'Student and staff understandings of text matching software', refer to (Ascilite, 2014).

For your students

The first time a student submits to a Turnitin assignment they should receive an originality report within in few minutes. Student can submit 3 times within 24 hours, however on the third re-submission they must wait 24 hours for generation of a new originality report.

  • The learning and teaching centre do not define a safe level for the similarity index, nor is there a level that signals plagiarism has occurred.
  • The evaluation of plagiarism is an academic process that takes into account the evidence within the context of a specific assignment.
  • Interpreting the originality report requires using academic judgement as described in 'A model for determining student plagiarism: Electronic detection and academic judgement' (Journal of University and Teaching Practice, 2009).

Cheating at university is becoming increasingly sophisticated and text-matching software and various detection and deterrence measures such as Turnitin have their limitations. There are so many sites that it is difficult for Turnitin to manage this growing problem.

The focus of Contract cheating and assessment design: Exploring the connection was a two-year, national project (SP16-5383, 2016-2018), funded and supported by the Australian Government Office, producing a very useful website with links, hints and resource.





For more information visit Contract cheating and assessment design.

Policy and procedures

Australian Catholic University, through its mission and all its activities, is committed to the principles of ethical behaviour and integrity among its staff and students, and these principles underpin all aspects of learning and teaching, research and service.

It the responsibility of faculties to ensure compliance.

Academic integrity and misconduct – policy and procedures

Promotion of academic integrity procedures

2.1 The University will regularly review and publish its processes and systems for:

  • promoting academic integrity;
  • detecting academic misconduct including the use of text-matching and other relevant software; and
  • effective and timely processes for resolution of allegations of academic misconduct.

Academic misconduct procedures

3.1 The University may use text-matching software or other tools to assist in identifying cases of academic misconduct, provided that students are notified in the Unit Outline of the availability of self-evaluation tools and the intended use of software or tools in the detection of breaches.

Standard settings for Turnitin

In order to make the use of text-matching tool an educative process, the 'Standard settings for Turnitin' must be used in a Turnitin assignment setting. These standard settings provide students with the opportunity to use Turnitin prior to the assignment due date and enhance their understanding of academic integrity.


Why educators love Turnitin

Why Educators Love Turnitin from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Turnitin Feedback Studio walkthrough

Turnitin Feedback Studio Walkthrough from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Page last updated on 15/09/2020

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