TurnItIn as a Teaching Tool

Many of us know and use Turnitin as a plagiarism detection tool. However, instead of using this tool just for catching and punishing students for plagiarizing, it can instead be a great resource for teaching students how to appropriately cite sources and incorporate quotes in academic writing. Many students come to Temple unfamiliar with what constitutes plagiarism. Giving them the opportunity to review their work with Turnitin to check if any parts of their writing are flagged for plagiarism can help them further understand how to apply appropriate writing practices and not be punished due to misunderstandings regarding plagiarism.

Used in conjunction with well-designed assessments and effective communication, Turnitin can be an effective tool to help students learn how to write with academic integrity. Below are a few strategies for using Turnitin as a teaching tool:

Strategies for Using TurnItIn for Teaching

  1. Let students know that you will be using TurnItIn and explain how it can help them learn how to appropriately incorporate source material and maintain academic integrity.
  2. Do a practice assignment with your students and demonstrate how Turnitin works. Show the students the Similarity Report and how to interpret it.
  3. Set up assignments to allow students to submit their work multiple times and encourage them to review and edit their work prior to the final submission date. 
  4. Be familiar with the TurnItIn settings available to you in Canvas so you can decide what works best for your class.
  5. Select the option in a Canvas assignment to “Show report to students immediately.” When students are able to see the Similarity Report before the assignment is graded, it encourages them to review their own work, add any missing citations, address any sections flagged for plagiarism, and learn as they refine.
  6. Make a plan for handling plagiarism. Determine what you will do if you suspect a student of plagiarism, especially if you have given them the opportunity to check their work with TurnItIn prior to the final submission date. Be familiar with your department’s guidelines for handling plagiarism.

Below are additional resources to learn more about how to use TurnItIn for instructional purposes:

Plagiarism Spectrum and Interventions to Uphold Original Work

Turnitin: On the Effective and Appropriate Uses of Turnitin 

Guidelines for Creating and Managing Assignments with Canvas Turnitin LTI

Considerations for Using Turnitin