Canvas @ Yale

Turnitin: Creating a Turnitin Assignment

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Turnitin is a third-party tool integrated into Canvas Assignments that generates "Similarity Reports" to assist instructors in identifying content in student writing that may come from other sources. Turnitin also supports instructor feedback through tools to provide in-text comments and annotations.

The AI detection feature of Turnitin is currently disabled. For more information please visit the Poorvu Center page on AI Guidance.

There are several important things to keep in mind when using Turnitin for your assignments.  

  • Turnitin is optional, and can be used on a course by course, assignment by assignment basis.
  • All Canvas assignments using Turnitin MUST have a due date. If you do not set a due date, Turnitin will set a due date for 1 week after you save and publish the assignment. 
  • Turnitin reports are automatically linked to Canvas based on two triggering events:
    • When the student first submits or resubmits the assignment prior to the due date.
    • On the assignment due date itself, after submissions have been sent and stored in the Yale-only repository for comparison against each other.
  • Student submissions to your Turnitin assignments are NEVER shared with Turnitin or other institutions.

Table of Contents

Creating a Turnitin Assignment has a few steps that must be taken in order:

  1. Creating the Core Canvas Assignment
  2. Selecting Your Turnitin Settings
  3. Setting the Assignment Due Dates
  4. Save & Publish

Creating the Core Canvas Assignment

In your course, go to the "Assignments" tool [1] and click the "+Assignment" [2] button.

Fill in the information for your new assignment including your "Assignment Name" [3], instructions (optional) [4], "Points" possible [5], "Assignment Group" (if applicable) [6] and "Display Grade" [7].

Next, you will need to select your submission type. Turnitin only works with online text entry or file upload assignments. To set this up, follow these steps:

  • From the "Submission Type" drop-down menu [A], select "Online" [B].
  • From the resulting "Online Entry Options" menu select either "Text Entry" or "File Uploads" (or both) [C].
  • After selecting your online entry option, the "Plagiarism Review" [D] settings will appear. From this drop-down, select "Turnitin" [E].

Selecting Your Turnitin Settings

Once you have turned on Turnitin, you will have some additional settings that you can select. Below is a brief description of the various settings. For more detailed information, please refer to our Turnitin Assignment Settings Options article.

  1. Store submissions in - Whether to save student submissions in the institutional (Yale-only) paper repository.
  2. Compare submissions against - Select what your students' papers will be checked against.
  3. Similarity Report - Select your settings about what is included / excluded when papers are checked against resources.
  4. Show report to students - Select when students will be able to view their Turnitin report. We strongly encourage faculty to allow students to view this immediately so students can use the report as a learning tool to improve their citation skills.
Screenshot of Turnitin Settings with labels


  • For student papers to be compared against each other, the papers MUST be stored in the Yale Institutional Repository. A similarity report is generated at the time of submission and again after the due date. The final paper is sent to the institutional repository on the due date, and the similarity reports are re-generated once the due date has passed
  • If you are creating an assignment to collect a "draft" version of a student paper, DO NOT store the draft assignment in the Yale-only Institution paper repository. This will help prevent false positives when the student submits their final version of the assignment.

Setting the Assignment Due Date

Turnitin requires a due date on your Canvas assignment. The due date is the date when your students' papers will be checked against each other. If you do not set a due date on your assignment, Turnitin will set a default due date for 1 week after you publish the assignment.

Under the "Assign" section, set up a due date for your assignment. On the date you select, all student submission Turnitin originality reports will be re-run comparing your students' papers against each other.

  • Click the calendar icon next to the "Due" date box then use the date picker calendar to find and select the day you want students to complete the assignment by.  
  • Just below the month view, you can enter in the time of day the assignment is due. If you select nothing, this date will default to 11:59 PM of the selected day.
  • When the date and time are entered, click the "Done" button on the date picker calendar.

If desired, you can also set up "Available from" and "Until" dates as needed. These dates control when a student will be able to view and submit to the assignment in Canvas.

Save & Publish

Click the "Save & Publish" button to save your assignment.

If you use Turnitin for an individual assignment, the following message will be presented to students prior to submission:

By checking this box, you acknowledge that:

  • Your paper will be shared with Turnitin to generate a similarity report, which your instructor and/or you can view to help you use sources more effectively in your writing.
  • Your paper may be stored for comparison against future papers submitted at Yale. Your paper will not be stored as part of the larger Turnitin student database and so will not be used to check the originality of papers submitted at other universities. Turnitin does not acquire any rights to your paper.
  • When you first attempt to view your similarity report, you will be prompted to accept the Turnitin End User License Agreement (EULA). This agreement is between you, the individual user (not the university), and Turnitin, LLC, the company that licenses the tool to the university for integration through Canvas. Please read the entire Turnitin EULA carefully.
  • If you choose NOT to accept the Turnitin EULA, you will not be able to view the similarity report; however, your course instructor will still be able to view the report.

Please review the available resources on writing from the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, the Turnitin Assignment Setting Options, and speak to your instructor if you have any questions or concerns.

If you would like further information, please contact the Poorvu Center at [email protected].

For more help with setting up an assignment with Turnitin, please contact [email protected].

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