Turnitin: Overview

Turnitin is a tool to help faculty and students develop and evaluate written scholarship. The tool estimates the originality of written work so students can properly reference source material. Turnitin generates a “similarity report” by comparing an uploaded paper to a database of web pages, articles, books, and other uploaded files. When similarities exist, the tool highlights sections of the uploaded paper and displays the similarity source. The report provides an opportunity for constructive conversations about properly referencing sources. 

There are several important things to keep in mind when using Turnitin:  

  • 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.
  • Turnitin is only available at Yale through Canvas Assignments (direct access to turnitin.com is not supported).
  • Student submissions to your Turnitin assignments are NEVER shared with Turnitin or other institutions.

Why Use Turnitin?

Turnitin is tightly integrated with the Canvas Assignment activity so it can be enabled and used quickly and seamlessly when needed. Though Turnitin is sometimes perceived as a "plagiarism detector," it has limited value in this capacity, and the incidence of plagiarism at Yale is generally quite low. But faculty and students can use Turnitin to see patterns of source use and misuse, and these patterns can help guide teaching, writing, and revision practices.

Use Cases for Turnitin

A non-exhaustive list outlining what Instructors can use Turnitin to facilitate include:

  • Providing a high-level report of student source and citation patterns that can be used in writing revision / instruction
  • Sharing line-edit comments on student writing
  • Reviewing writing and citation use independent of course use

How do I use Turnitin in my Canvas Course?

To access Turnitin outside of an individual course or assignment, please use the following access page to join the appropriate class based on your role (CAS required).

What will my students see?

Please reference our student guides below for more information on the student experience with Turnitin.

For more help with Turnitin, please contact [email protected].