ISS look after the use of the University's choice* of anti-plagiarism software, Turnitin, found on-line at http://www.submit.ac.uk. We provide documentation about its use and advice about the use of the software. As we are the Learning Technology Group, our interpretation of what this software for is as a learning tool. An essay that appears to have been plagiarised is a poor essay, either because the student who submitted it failed to acknowledge references properly, or because it contains some content that is not the student's own. We see the anti-plagiarism software as a method to help the lecturers detect poor essays, so that they can then intervene, investigate the precise way in which the work is not up to scratch, and guide the students towards writing properly formed, original essays that are worthy of high grades. At least one department at the University is using the software early in the students' courses for short pieces of work to detect those who don't understand how to write a good essay and give them extra tuition. This kind of formative assessment seems like an exceptionally worthwhile use of the technology to us.
In order to use the software, we have prepared some instructions on how we use it at Lancaster, and these are held in the sections linked to below and listed on the left-hand menu.
- Introduction to Turnitin & Overall idea of it / Introduction
- Asking for a Turnitin login / Registering
- Logging in to Turnitin & setting up an assignment / Login & Setup
- Setting uo for a department / Dept Setup
- Submitting a single file for examination & Turnitin navigation / Submit file
- Looking at a Turnitin Report / Results
- Tips on understanding a Turnitin Report / Understanding Results
- Downloading files from LUVLE for both single & batch submission to Turnitin / LUVLE source
- Preparing files from other sources for batch submission to Turnitin / non-LUVLE source
- Submitting a batch submission to Turnitin / Batch Submission
- Helping students to create original, properly referenced essays / The disclaimer coversheet and student advice
- Enabling students to check their own work prior to handing in / Setting up student submission
- Having documents removed from Turnitin's repositories / Removing documents
- Anti-Plagiarism, Academic and Departmental Officers /Anti-plagiarism Officers
- Other Products in the Turnitin Range / Other Products
In addition, there are the instructions produced by Turnitin themselves: https://www.submit.ac.uk/static_jisc/ac_uk_training.html. We don't use quite a lot of the whole Turnitin suite of tools, and sometimes we don't have the same emphasis on the different ways to use the tools that we do use, which is why we write our own documentation. The complete documentation might be useful for staff thinking about new ways to use it in their teaching, however.
Lastly on the subject of Plagiarism, very much recommend reading this article from the USA:
This really shows the futility of trying to deal with the issue of ensuring essays are original using technology alone. It's about a person who writes original essays professionally at a very high level for money, and shows the importance of cross-checking academic submissions with the student who claims to have produced it.
* Turnitin is pretty much the only Anti-plagiarism software available on the market, so the University pretty much had to choose it.
Also, below are two versions of a Powerpoint slideshow used in talks given about Turnitin, and how it links in with LUVLE course submission at Lancaster University - another kind of overview. The one ending in '.pptx' is the Office 2007 version, and the one ending in '.ppt' is the Office 2003 version.