What is Turnitin?   

Turnitin is a website.  In your Moodle course, you can make a Turnitin Assignment activity for students to upload assignments into. On its website, Turnitin replicates this activity and assigns it a number. 


What happens

When an assignment is submitted, the Turnitin website searches the Internet for the same text contained in Journals, books, other websites, academic papers and other students’ uploaded assignments.  An ‘Originality Report’ is generated for each assignment uploaded. Exact matches are identified and highlighted in the student’s assignment and the parts of other documents they match are shown. Matches to different places are numbered and appear in different colours. This gives the student a chance to change the assignment so all quotes are acknowledged and all other material is written in their original style before they finally submit it for marking. First submissions are given priority; a matched percentage will return within 5 to 10 minutes. Second and subsequent submissions are not prioritised and take up to 24 hours to return. 


Turnitin and email addresses

For both staff and students, Turnitin automatically registers you using the email address associated with your Moodle profile.  So, before you begin to use Turnitin, make sure the email you want to use is correctly entered in your Profile on Moodle. Check and change it if necessary by clicking Edit profile beside your name. The first time you use Turnitin it will send an email with your registration details and password. If you change your email address during the year, you will have trouble accessing the Turnitin drop boxes. If that happens, contact Online Learning Centre staff . Make sure your students know this too.


Go to Turnitin via Moodle

It is usually best to go to Turnitin through the Moodle course link, as you will be automatically registered. If you go directly to the Turnitin website via Google you will be asked to register and for the Turnitin Assignment Activity number; most people find this unnecessary, confusing and time-consuming.


What is an acceptable percentage?

Let students know what you perceive to be an acceptable level of match -- generally below 20 to 30 percent. Turnitin compares and shows matches; it cannot interpret what it sees. It takes a person to do that. So look through the paper to see how the match has occurred: is it just that the bibliography and references are perfect and matched?  Has the student used professional language to say things that can be said only that way? Have they acknowledged quotations correctly, or in an unconventional or incorrect way? Have they repeated the assignment guidelines word for word? Some things you will accept; some you will not; a high percentage is not always the ‘copying’ it seems to be: you need to interpret what is going on.


Make separate assignment activities for separate assignments: every year

Each assignment activity made is unique to the cohort of students who use it, therefore each year you need to make a new assignment activity for the new cohort of students to use, even when everything else about the assignment remains the same.

How do I make a Turnitin Assignment activity?

Go to your course and click the ‘Cog’ icon on the top left-hand side



Under ADMINISTRATION click the ‘Turn editing on’ link.

Note: There is also a ‘Turn editing on’ button on the top right-hand side you can use to do this.



In the section of your course where you want the activity, click ‘Add an activity or resource’



From the Activity choices, select ‘Turnitin Assignment’

Fill in the name of the assignment in the ‘Assignment name’ field


Describe the assignment in the ‘Description’ field


Select the submission type from the drop menu.

‘File upload’ is what most assignments will be: Word docs that the students upload.

‘Text submission’requires students to type or copy and paste into a text box to submit.

Select the number of parts you want the assignment to have from the ‘Number of parts’ drop menu. The default is a one part assignment and this is what most assignments are.

Multiple parts means the student has to submit a file to each part to complete the assignment.


Select the maximum file size for submissions: this is 40 MB for file uploads


Student Originality Reports: select Yes from the drop menu


Turnitin Advanced Options: These generally will be as follows:

  • Allow late submissions: Yes*
  • Report Generation Speed: Generate reports immediately, reports can be overwritten until due date.

* Allow Late Submissions: This option allows students to submit work after the Due date. Late submissions are marked as being late and the actual submission date is recorded. Students can submit only once past the Due date and receive only one Originality Report back. 

To submit more than once after the Due date, the tutor must delete each previous submission before the student can submit again.

We recommend you allow late submissions: this anticipates having to reset the activity when you are inevitably approached by a student who needs it. 





Turnitin Advanced Options cont…

  • Store student papers: Standard repository
  • Check against stored student papers: Yes
  • Check against Internet: Yes
  • Check against journals, periodicals and publications: Yes



Turnitin Advanced Options cont…

  • Exclude Bibliography*
  • Exclude quoted Material*
  • Exclude Small Matches
  • Add the number of matches and choose Words or Percentage from the drop-down menu

*These can be excluded manually by the tutor


Grade settings can be adjusted as required or left as the default settings.



Common Module settings:

  • Visible

Choose whether the Turnitin activity is visible to students

  • Group Mode

If students have been sorted into Groups you can use this setting to display group submissions in the Turnitin Submission box.

Once you are happy with your settings, scroll down and click the ‘Save and display’ button.


Note: If you are unsure of the setting, click the ‘question mark’ icon next to that setting for more information:


Setting the dates in the Turnitin activity



Once the Turnitin activity is created you will need to set the Start, Due and Post dates and times.
Note: by default these dates will be from the time you created this activity.

Click the ‘Edit’ icon on the right-hand side of ‘Part 1’ to update the settings:

Start date: when students can get into the activity and upload their assignment, either as a draft or final, depending on how the tutor has set the activity. If set as recommended above, students can upload drafts up until the Due date. The last upload should be their final version.

Due dateis when the assignment must be handed in. Depending on how the activity was set up, entries after this date may be rejected OR may be accepted but time and date stamped as late.

Post date:
 is the date the tutor commits to for returning marks to students. At Whitireia this is, at most, five weeks after the due date.

Hint: As students are encouraged to upload several times so they can improve their work, ensure you allow enough time between the start and due dates for them to do this. Remember the first upload will return an Originality Report within 10 minutes; the second and subsequent uploads will take up to 24 hours.