Topics Map > Getting Started/Overview Documents

Turnitin - Getting Started [UW-Madison]

Turnitin is a similarity and originality review tool that helps instructors and students review student submissions for the use outside materials. Turnitin is often referred to as a plagiarism detection tool, however it is more accurate to say that Turnitin can help instructors identify content which has not been authored directly by the student.

Instructor Considerations before Use

General Considerations

  • If you’re using Turnitin in a course that will be taught over multiple semesters, consider having submissions added to a Turnitin repository, either the standard or institutional paper repository, to ensure that new submissions are checked against past material.

Best Practices

  • Turnitin will often flag properly cited content within a submission. Because of this, it's recommended that instructors allow multiple submissions on assignments and allow students to view originality reports for their submissions to help them identify improperly cited quotations and other mistakes before making a final submission.
  • You can also set up ungraded practice assignments for students to experience Turnitin. Be sure to configure this assignment so that submissions are not stored in any repository (otherwise future drafts with past materials may be flagged).

Information to Share with Students

  • Besure to communicate with students about:
    • which Turnitin features will be used in the course,
    • which assessments will be configured with Turnitin,
    • why Turnitin is being used, and
    • what exactly counts as academic misconduct within your course. 


  • Instructors must make it clear in the syllabus if Turnitin will be used to check originality of student work. Turnitin can aid in the process of identifying possible academic misconduct, but ultimately only an instructor can determine if a particular event warrants additional investigation based on the context for a particular assignment and other course policies. 
  • Instructors who do not have the use of Turnitin clearly stated in their syllabus in any assignment at the beginning of the semester cannot mandate its use on assignment later in the semester. 
  • Turnitin does not have to be used for every assignment. Instructors can choose to use Turnitin on an assignment-by-assignment basis.
  • Turnitin has a low barrier for student use, students only need to click the End User License Agreement each time they submit using Turnitin
  • Canvas assignments which use Turnitin require that students agree to the Turnitin End User License Agreement allowing for the submission to be checked for originality via Turnitin. 
  • We recommended that instructors make the originality reports available for particular assignments available to students.

Steps to Get Started with Turnitin

To enable Turnitin for Canvas assignments: 

  1. Selecting it in the particular assignment’s settings (near the section labeled “Plagiarism Review”).
  2. Follow this Configuring Turnitin document to set up an assignment using Turnitin in Canvas.

Questions and Support

For technical support, please contact the DoIT Help Desk. Instructors can also request a consultation with the Learn@UW-Madison team. There are also support documents available on the Learn@UW-Madison Knowledgebase and Turnitin's website:

Keywordsturnitin getting started   Doc ID116944
OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2022-02-23 12:05:07Updated2024-01-03 15:05:45
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
Feedback  0   0