Formative use of Turnitin

University Academic Misconduct Policy

The University supports the use of Turnitin for sensitising students about what plagiarism is, and is not. Turnitin can thus be used as one part of a structured, scaffolded and supported learning activity. It is highly recommended this be accompanied by constructive feedback which develops students’ awareness of plagiarism.

"The University, as a centre for excellence in approaches to learning and teaching, will promote and apply such conventions and initiatives that will reduce the prevalence of academic misconduct and encourage detection and reporting.

This will include:

  • Engaging students in discussion and activities to promote understanding of Academic Misconduct.
  • Pre-enrolment information and guidance throughout the student life-cycle as set out above.
  • Engaging strategies for learning that effectively recognise the “transition” to Higher Education expectations – specifically at the point of induction.
  • The design of modules and their delivery
  • Developing research skills in students
  • Developing expertise amongst staff
  • Use of different approaches to assessment design
  • Ensuring a “no blind eyes” culture and encouraging action
  • Facilitated access to and use of Turnitin as a teaching aid”

Footnote: Turnitin is the software currently subscribed to by the University – other, similar software and systems are available and may be utilised in future on the same basis.

Using Turnitin to teach students about plagiarism  


The Canvas/Turnitin integration allows staff and students to access Turnitin seamlessly without the need for separate accounts or passwords. It is linked to the standard Canvas assignment, but there are some differences. The most important difference is that on a Turnitin-enabled assignment the student can upload only once, whereas on a standard assignment multiple files can be uploaded.

On the formative integration, files uploaded to Turnitin are not stored on its database. This means that if a summative assessment is uploaded to Turnitin, it will not be compared with a formative draft previously uploaded by the same student.

Files submitted to Canvas are sent directly to Turnitin, and Originality Reports are normally returned within an hour.  Tutors can choose when to reveal or hide the Originality Reports. They can also choose whether or not to exclude small amounts of matched text and/or the reference list.

The option to configure Turnitin on a FFUT will only be visible to staff who have undertaken training on formative use of the software.  For further details, please contact


PebblePad also has a Turnitin integration which can be used for developmental and awareness-raising purposes.  However, files uploaded to Turnitin via PebblePad ARE stored on the Turnitin database.  This means that a summative assignment might be compared with a formative draft (if both were run through Turnitin), increasing the % of matched text on the assessed work. PebblePad is therefore more suited to freestanding structured learning activities rather than to work on draft assignments.

When using PebblePad the workspace must be set up in advance and before any assets are submitted. Assets can be submitted manually by the tutor either individually or in bulk, or permissions can be set so that students can submit their own. An Originality Report is created and a link to the report is displayed next to each student submission in the PebblePad workspace view. Permissions can be set to allow students to see their own Originality Report or to keep them hidden.


Turnitin can be used for tutor supported formative work. For case studies and in-depth ideas please go to the suggested practice page. A class and assignment drop box should be created and students work submitted to this area by either the instructor or student. You will need to be an instructor to create the class.

  • Please contact your school academic misconduct coordinator. The assessment area can then be accessed by instructors and students to see all the originality reports that have been produced. 
  • Please see the using academic judgement page for more information on interpreting the originality reports.

Guidance for students on plagiarism and Turnitin

The Skills for Learning webpage has many valuable resources that can help students during their time at the University. These include face to face workshops covering a range of topics such as: finding and evaluating information, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, academic writing, assignment planning and exam revision.

Additionally, Skills4Study Campus is a fully interactive online resource designed to help students with essential study skills. Core modules include: Reading and note-making, critical thinking skills, writing skills, referencing and plagiarism, group work and presentations and exam skills including workshops.

These resources and many more can be found on the Skills for Learning webpage.