Logging in to Turnitin & setting up an assignment
The Turnitin software is located on the web at http://www.submit.ac.uk/. Type this into your browser, and the login screen will appear:
Click into the 'email' field and then type in the email address that you gave when you registered with Turnitin and the password sent to you by Turnitin to that email address. After you've done this, click on 'Sign in':
You'll be given the chance to change your password from the default one you got, and then the new features page may be shown as below. Many of the new features are not relevant to Lancaster Uni, and links to info about those that are have been placed in these instruction pages, so click the green button that says "Continue", and you'll be logged in.
Once in, this screen appears:
You should create one class for each module that you going to teach. Within each class, you will create assignments to which you will submit student work, usually as 'zip' files so that they can all be uploaded at once, with the occasional straggler essays uploaded one at a time. Anyway - the next stage is to create a class for your module:
You need to have an enrollment password to create the class, but you'll only need it, along with the class ID, shown on the acknowledgement form below, below if you intend to let students upload files to the system themselves. If you'll going to be uploading files yourself, you won't need to use the password, because you have instructor privs, and the password you use is on login.
Above is the acknowledgement form for the newly created class. It appears as a pop-up window, so if you've got pop-ups blocked, you won't get it. Unless you are having students enroll on Turnitin, you don't need the data in it anyway. As mentioned before, you'll need the class ID and password to give out to students if you choose classwork submission, otherwise you won't. With the class made, you need to add assignments within it, so click on the link as shown below:
You are given option for the type of assignment to set. For basic use, choose "Paper Assignment", which is the default, and go to the next step...
To create an assignment, give it a name, put the start date and end date, and click submit. As you will be uploading all the work (usually as a batch to save time), you can call it something convenient to you, and might as well put the end date as the end of the academic year. You'd only want to set the actual submission date if you were creating an assignment for student submission. The main part of the 'create assignment' page is shown below:
For most use at Lancaster, you shouldn't need to select "(more options)" link shown above - however, we have found it useful to check that the default settings are set correctly, and so we suggest checking them. Click on "(more options)" and the sub-window shown below will appear. Make sure in particular that the buttons to exclude bibliographic materials and quoted materials shown below are set to 'yes'. We found that the default is 'no', and that it can't be changed after the first student essay is submitted to it. Choosing 'yes' makes sure that properly referenced material does not get included in the percentage matching score. Note that there is a student trick you might like to know about related to quoted material, which is included as an appendix2.
If you are allowing student submissions, if the work that you are uploading must not be passed on to a third party because it is confidential, or if you need to put in files over and over again - for a demo, for example, you will need to set these options differently. See bottom of page for more details1. For standard use, check that all the options are as shown above, and then click on 'Submit'.
Below, 'Submit' has been clicked on the 'create assignment' page, and so the new assignment appears in the list of the assignments. As yet, we've only created one, but it might be an idea to create all the ones you'll need for the year all at once so that you can be sure that they're all created the same.
Video descriptions of this process have been created by the Turnitin company in the United States at the following locations. Note that they give a good overview of the process, but don't emphasise the things that we do here, so they are not exactly what we've written here.
Setting up a class in Turnitin:
Setting up an assignment in Turnitin:
If you go into the assignment you've just created, you are now ready to upload student work for testing. Proceed to the next section to do that...
Appendix 1 - setting up assignments for demonstration work, for student self submission, or when handling confidential information. If you select to show advanced options, you can see the default advanced options, as shown below. These options are what you need for student self-submission for essay educational work, or for doing demonstrations of the Turnitin system, where you might want to show the same process dozens of times. When submitting confidential work, you would also be best advised not to allow Turnitin to store any confidential data in any of its repositories. For any of these requirements, you can set the options the same. The correct settings for not storing files in any repository are shown on the image below:
Enter Special Instructions: If you are allowing student submissions, you'll probably want to advise them about where to look for guidance, and of restrictions in the product, and you can do it here.
Would you like to select a QuickMark set? - QuickMark is a facility that enables staff to mark work on-line. Turnitin would like institutions to hand over the entire marking process to their company. We don't use this facility.
Generate Originality Reports for submissions:
This is surely the point of this product? The alternative - leaving Turnitin to judge peoples' work without explaining itself would not be a clever thing to do.
Generate Originality Reports for Student Submissions: The default is that reports are generated only once - fine for standard work checking - but no good for demos or self-educating students about writing original essays. Make sure that it is set as shown.
Exclude bibliographic and quoted materials:These two options used not to be possible and every report had to be examined and then the properly referenced material exclude. Having this done by default is a good move in terms of quick essay checking, but be aware that the default may be to leave it set to 'No'. Also be aware of the student fiddle that is possible if it's set to 'Yes'2.
Exclude small matches: Some matching can happen by chance. The educated user of Turnitin will understand that good students may not return 0% results, but will catch those with problem essays. Leave this as 'No' - this option doesn't matter much.
Allow students to see Originality Reports? - Obviously important for student submissions.
Submit papers to: It is extremely important to set this to 'no repository' for student education work, or for stuff that is going to be demonstrated over and over again. It will also be important for checking work containing data that may be confidential, and should not be stored outside the institution. The default is fine3 for standard checking, because it allows cross checking of student essays within an assignment, but you do not want it here! Once work goes into the Turnitin databases, it is unlikely to ever to come out again. The administrative procedure that Turnitin have adopted for requesting a file deletion is slow and complex and designed to make any submitted document likely to stay permanently in their records. I know of only one instance where essays were deleted from it, and that was when their servers crashed half way through processing a series of files, leaving half checked and half unchecked items and the user unsure of where she was. Otherwise consider work to be in there for good. Note that even if you think you've set a default set of options (see below), this DOES NOT necessarily set the repository drop down, and it reverts to 'standard repository'! If you are doing student education work with Turnitin or setting up demonstrations, BE CAREFUL HERE! If you are handling confidential data, be exceptionally careful here.
Search Options: These tick boxes are the places that Turnitin looks for matches - you will probably want all of these ticked so that you check against every resource that Turnitin has to offer.
Would you like to save these options as your defaults for future assignments: Useful if you are creating a lot of assignments like this, but please be sure to remember that this option DOES NOT necessarily change the default for choice of repository. This may revert to 'standard repository' when you next create an assignment. If you are doing demonstrations, that would mean that your carefully created examples will become part of their database and will thereafter always report 100% match; if you were doing work with confidential data, it would mean that you'd have failed to keep it in your possession, and lastly, if students of yours had uploaded work; they'd have only have one go at it, wrecking your formative exercise. Turnitin do not like doing the work to retrieve your files and we believe that they make it take ages- I've no experience of them ever deleting files when it wasn't there fault.We strongly suggest that you check this option every time if you do not want files to end up in their file repositories.
Appendix 2 - a known student trick:
Setting the default report to exclude properly referenced material is generally a good thing - and was until this year not possible with the Turnitin product. It seemed a bizarre arrangement, but Turnitin may not have wanted to make it a possible default because if a very simple student trick. Most busy staff members will just scan down a list of results looking for large percentage scores indicating possible plagiarism. Low scores will not even be looked at. The canny student therefore can, in the simplest instance, put a quote mark at the start of his or her essay, another one at the end, colour them white so they are invisible on the screen or on paper, and the entire script will appear to have been a reference. Turnitin does not check for too much of the essay being references, so it would just return 0%. BTW - any students reading this - see student section about plagiarism - plagiarists do get caught in the end - usually in their final year, and it's really humiliating for them.
3 Having student essays permanently in the database of a private company is fine from the point of view of catching possible plagiarists, but there are of course issues to do with having had to agree to hand over permanently the use of student work so that a private company can extend its business. This isn't important in just an instruction manual, but as we are a university we do try to think about the meaning of what we are doing too.