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TurnItIn Frequently Asked Questions

Document ID 895


TurnItIn is a web-based plagiarism prevention application that can find and highlight matching or unoriginal text in a written assignment. It uses data-mining to compile a large database of electronic academic materials which it indexes and stores. Instructors can send assignments to the TurnItIn database or set up an account to allow students to send their own assignments to the service for checking.

TurnItIn checks the assignment against its database of materials to look for matches or near-matches in strings of text. TurnItIn then generates an Originality Report online. The Originality Report summarizes and highlights matching text. Users then log in to TurnItIn to access the Report Inbox within TurnItIn to view an Originality Report generated for uploaded assignment. Instructors can view Originality Reports for all students enrolled in the class, but students can only view the Originality Report for their own assignment, not the assignments of their classmates.

For more information about TurnItIn go to the TurnItIn Website


How can I access TurnItIn?

How can I submit an assignment to TurnItIn through elearning?

What file types does TurnItIn accept for submission?

How can I interpret my Originality Report?

How can TurnItIn be used as a learning tool?

How can I get help if I have run into a question about using TurnItIn?

How can I access TurnItIn?

Instructors who want to use TurnItIn need to send the request to the Instructional Technology Services. An instructor can then set up a course and create assignments in TurnItIn. The students will then be added to the course. Your instructor gives you a class ID number and a class enrollment password. To create a new user profile, you will need the class ID and enrollment password to enroll in the class. For more information, watch the Student Training Videos.

TurnItIn has been integrated as a Power Link into elearning (Blackboard Vista). If your instructor sets up a course in elearning and also adds a TurnItIn assignment in the course you do not need additional login information to access TurnItIn. Once you log in to elearning with your NetID and password you should be able to locate a TurnItIn assignment. Once you submit your assignment, your paper/homework will be sent to the TurnItIn database.

Remember as a student you can NOT request an account in TurnItIn. You need the information provided by your instructor to access a course either in TurnItIn or through the course section in elearning.


How can I submit an assignment to TurnItIn through elearning?

1. Log into elearning with your NetID and password.


2. On the "Homepage" of the course in eLearning, click on the link to your assignment. You will then be presented with the "Assignment List" screen on TurnItIn. This screen displays links to your available assignments and shows their respective due dates.

Note: After the due date you will not be able to upload your assignment.


3. To submit an assignment, click submit. Enter your submission title (usually this is the title of your paper) [fig. 01].

TurnItIn Assignment

[fig. 01 - Assignment List Screen]


4. You will now be presented with the "submit paper: by file upload" screen. To upload a file, click Browse button, find the paper on your disk or computer, then click Submit.

Note: Be sure you have selected the correct file, then click Yes, to submit [fig. 02].

TurnItIn File Upload

[fig. 02 - Upload File Screen]


What file types does TurnItIn accept for submission?

TurnItIn currently accepts document files of the following types: MS Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, and plain text. File size limit is 10 MB.


How can I interpret my Originality Report?

Students find the "Originality Report" useful for editing papers that include too many quotes and paraphrases. Faculty find the "Originality Report" useful as a tool to teach students to use proper citation and highlight the need for more student originality. Faculty can also use Turnitin as a tool to detect possible instances of plagiarism.

After a student paper is submitted to the Turnitin service, Turnitin generates an originality report and overall similarity index. The originality reports are represented in the instructor's inbox by a color-coded icon. (Within your inbox, click on the colored square to view the actual report.) The color of the icon indicates the overall similarity index, percentage of text in the student paper which appears to match text from other sources. 

Note: Turnitin may generate the "Originality Report" in as little as a few seconds or it may take up to several hours at peak times. If the colored icon does not appear in your inbox or is grayed out, try waiting a few minutes and then refreshing or reloading your browser window.

The color of the report indicates:

  • Blue - no matching text
  • Green - 1-24% matching text
  • Yellow - 25-49% matching text)
  • Orange - 50-74% matching text)
  • Red - 75-100% matching text)


How can TurnItIn be used as a learning tool?
It is easy for faculty to set up Turnitin classes and assignments in such a way that students can see their own Originality Reports and can turn in multiple drafts of an assignment. In this way students can edit their first draft and resubmit their assignments if the Originality Report shows more matching text than they desire.

Note to Students: If the Originality Report for your first draft shows a high percentage of matching text, for example, review and edit your assignment for proper citation. Include more original analysis and comment, then send it to Turnitin again. Turnitin will know not to match the text in your second draft with text in your first draft.


How can I get help if I have run into a question about using TurnItIn?

If you are unable find a TurnItIn assignment in your course, you need to contact the instructor. If you cannot submit an assignment or have some technical difficulties, you can contact the Help Desk Central at 979.845.8300. You can also find some information in the handout for students that is posted on the TurnItIn site at

If you have any further questions, please email or call us at 979.845.8300.

Document ID 895
June 30, 2014
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