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Turnitin (text matching)Turnitin is an electronic text matching system that compares text in a student’s assignment against a database of sources. These include electronic text on the internet, published works, commercial databases and assignments previously submitted to Turnitin by students in universities all over the world, as well as assignments obtained from Internet sites that sell student papers.

Turnitin allows students to upload their assignments in a digital format. In order to produce an originality report, submissions require selectable text. Turnitin can accept a wide range of file types if the setting "allow submission of any file type" is ticked, however only files with selectable text will produce an originality report.

The Framework for academic integrity describes the responsibilities of faculties, school, staff and students in maintaining and improving academic integrity, and the commitment of ACU to promote academic honesty as one of its core values.

  • To learn more about uploading assignments in a digital format, please read LEO Guide: Assignment.
  • To learn more about ACU's video streaming service, please read our LEO Guide: Kaltura media.

The University values academic integrity and has adopted an educational approach to the issue of academic honesty in order to foster ethical scholarship and enhance student understanding of academic integrity. One aspect of the educational process is the adoption of Turnitin, an electronic text matching system.

The key benefits of Turnitin for students:

  • encourages students to review their assignment before the due date
  • encourages students to evaluate their assignment for referencing and citation
  • promotes critical thinking and original writing.

Creating an online assessment activity may also include providing students with feedback via comments, attaching rubrics or peer review or managing extensions, late submissions and group activities.

For more information about 'student perceptions of the value of Turnitin' refer (University of Wolverhampton, 2015) and 'Student and staff understandings of text matching software', refer to (ascilite, 2014).

Academic writing is a challenging process, especially for students who are using various sources and trying to put these ideas into their own words. It involves reading widely yet selectively, understanding and questioning your reading and weaving together multiple authors' voices into our own writing to demonstrate an understanding of the topic.

Turnitin is commonly employed to detect unoriginal writing or plagiarism, to ensure other peoples views are correctly represented and attributed.

The student is required to agree to a Declaration of Originality at the beginning of each semester before they access LEO. It is also necessary for students to agree their work is stored in the Turnitin repository before submitting their assignment. A brief digital display of the submission is provided to complete the submission process. A copy of digital receipt is recorded in the Turnitin submission inbox, together with a reference number and the date of submission. A copy of the digital receipt is sent to the student's myacu email account.

Interpreting the originality report requires using academic judgement as described in 'A model for determining student plagiarism: Electronic detection and academic judgement' (Journal of University and Teaching Practice, 2009).

The Turnitin assignment allows teachers to check student submissions against the originality report, identify areas of text matching, provide feedback electronically including rubrics and numerical grades which can be displayed to students as letters in the Gradebook. The Turnitin assignment is only visible to the student or teacher, however there is a Peer Review option which can be used in the feedback process.

  • Students can submit a draft version of their assignment and generate an originality report. The report will highlight text matches and indicate areas where students need to work on their writing or referencing skills.
  • Turnitin quickly identifies the source of matching text and can assist teaching staff in the decision-making process and assessment standards for all students.

Strategies to improve academic integrity include:

  • Design curriculum to prevent plagiarism.
  • Model good practice (for example, acknowledge sources fully and accurately in unit resources).
  • Clarify what's required of students in assessments.
  • Clarify expectations and define acceptable academic writing.
  • Design assessment activities that require independent input.
  • Use Turnitin Assignment in LEO for checking for plagiarism in written assessments.

For your students

The first time a student submits to a Turnitin assignment they should receive an originality report within in few minutes, second or subsequent submissions will take 24 hours to generate a new originality report.

The Learning and Teaching Centre does not define a ‘safe’ level for the Similarity Index nor is there a level that signals plagiarism has occurred.

The evaluation of plagiarism is an academic process that takes into account the evidence within the context of a specific assignment.

The Australian Catholic University, through its Mission and all its activities, is committed to the principles of ethical behaviour and integrity among its staff and students and these principles underpin all aspects of learning and teaching, research and service.

In order to make the use of text-matching tool an educative process, the 'Standard settings for Turnitin' must be used, These standard settings provide students with the opportunity to use Turnitin prior to the assignment due date and enhance their understanding of academic integrity, such as the default setting "YES: Student and Instructor receive a copy of the Originality report" and "reports can be overwritten until the assignment due date". See Framework for Academic Integrity 7.1.

It the responsibility of Faculties to ensure compliance

FRAMEWORK FOR ACADEMIC INTEGRITY (http://handbook.acu.edu.au/750199)
“7.1 Students will have access to and will be encouraged to use self-help programs, including – online resources designed to enhance students’ understanding of academic integrity and how to avoid its breach; and an online training program in the use of text matching software to assist them to comply with the principles and practice of academic integrity.”

Procedures for Dealing with Alleged Breaches of Academic Honesty (http://handbook.acu.edu.au/476371)

“2.2 The University may use text matching software or other tools to assist in identifying cases of breach of academic honesty, provided that students are notified in the Unit Outline of the availability of such tools to students for self-evaluation and, if relevant, of the intended use of any such software or tools in management of the unit.”

The default settings under ‘Originality Report Options’ must be used when creating a Turnitin assignment in your unit.

Suggested readings

Plagiarismadvice.org (from the UK)

PlagiarismToday - tracking content theft