(Modified from Penn State University's Teaching and Learning with Technology Department at tlt.its.psu.edu/turnitin/teaching)
Using Turnitin.com most effectively requires some preparation and planning on the part of the instructor, and is most successful when used to teach students correct uses of sources rather than being used surreptitiously for surveillance of students' work.
The following information can help instructors maximize the effectiveness of Turnitin for both evaluating results of an Originality Report and minimize plagiarism in AQ classes.
educational issue.instructors include the campus Integrity Statement on each of their syllabi. This statement reminds students that the college considers academic integrity to be a serious
For more information about the AQ Integrity Statement and campus intregrity, go to the Campus Integrity website.
Whether you use Turnitin as a detection tool, a teaching tool, or both, it's a good idea to place a statement in your syllabus to notify students of your intent to use Turnitin.com in your course and how the results will be used in determining grades. Following is a suggested statement (from Penn State):
In this course we will be using a tool, Turnitin.com, to confirm that you have used sources accurately in your papers. If you have any questions about how to cite your sources, please review the materials available on the . Students are responsible for ensuring that their work is consistent with Aquinas's expectations about academic integrity. Additional information about the Turnitin plagiarism prevention tool is available on the .
Giving students information about what plagiarism is and how to prevent it can help prevent cases of "accidental plagiairsm" including inappropriate paraphrase and mistaking information requiring citation for "common knowledge".
The resources on the page points to information for both students and faculty.
The library also has plagiarism and academic dishonety tutorials to help explain that they are and how to avoid them.
Probably the simplest method to add student papers to the Turnitin database is to have students do the uploading into your Turnitin course space.
Here's how an instructor would set up a CourseConnect page:
Here's what a student would do:
The instructor can then get into CourseConnect and review the originality reports and the full text of the submitted document.
Text in paper submitted to Turinitin are compared to sources within the Turnitin.com database. This database includes other course papers submitted to Turnitin.com as well as a large store of content available on the Inernet and material from other sources.
The Originality report flags passages similar to text in another source, but it does not mark it as plagiarized or unplagiarized. The higher the percentage, the more text similar to another paper Turnitin has identified. Note that for the reasons listed below a high percentage score is not "proof" of plagiarism. Faculty must evaluate passages individually to make a more accurate determination that a case of plagiarism may haveoccurred.
It's important to note that properly quoted and cited text will be included in the report. For this reason alone, all papers should be reviewed. If an assigment relies on quoting from outside sources, a paper could include multiple text matches and still not be plagiarized. An additional benefit of Turnitin is that instructors can evaluate the quality of a citation.
Note: An instructor should determine what the score of an acceptable assignment would look like ahead of time. One option would be to submit a test paper of a good assignment.
A false positive, that is a paper with a high similarity score that is not the result of a student committing plagiarism, can occur for the following reasons.
A false negative, that is a paper with a low similarity score, but actually plagiriazed or incorporating some other form of academic dishonesty can occur when the source is not in Turinitin. For instance this can happen if
Note that in both instances, an instructor may suspect plagiarism because the writing style is different from what is seen before. This type of academic dishonesty is one reason that it is advised that instructors collect research notes, drafts or early bibliographies in the paper writing process so that there is more documentation of the process.
In addition to using Turnitin.com to review final assignments, you may want to consider these strategies to reduce plagiarism.