Turnitin is a similarity and originality review tool that lets you review student submissions and determine if they have correctly sourced and used others’ work. Turnitin is often referred to as a plagiarism detection tool, however it is more accurate to say that Turnitin can help instructors identify instances and evidence of plagiarism by identifying content which has not been authored directly by the student.
At UW-Madison we use the Turnitin Canvas Plagiarism Framework integration. This integration allows submission to Canvas assignments to automatically be submitted to Turnitin for review in the Turnitin Feedback Studio. These submissions are checked against materials in Turnitin’s repository of documents made up from the web, articles, student submission, and other sources. Instructors can also request an account to submit their students’ work directly via turnitin.com.
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:
UW–Madison is working with Turnitin to identify and resolve the following known accessibility barriers to support university students, faculty, and staff in using this tool. The following accessibility and usability barriers may impact student's understanding that an assignment they uploaded is being evaluated for originality. Faculty and instructors are encouraged to thoroughly explain this process to their students before they use the tool. This tool has two experiences for students and instructors to choose from, the graphical experience and the text-only experience. See more detail regarding the pros and cons of these experiences below.
How to get help
Students can contact the DoIT Help Desk to report additional accessibility and usability barriers, or for general assistance with using Turnitin. Reach the Help Desk by phone at 608.264.4357, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their KnowledgeBase.
Students may discover they need further educational support in navigating course content and may need to seek assistance or accommodation with the professor or with the McBurney Disability Resource Center.
Faculty and Staff help
Faculty and staff can contact the DoIT Help Desk to report additional accessibility and usability barriers, or for general assistance for using Atomic Assessments. Reach the Help Desk by phone at 608.264.4357, email at email@example.com or visit their KnowledgeBase.
Instructors can find Learning Design faculty engagement opportunities that allow participants to be a part of a community of people working to improve course design for student success.
Students may discover they need further educational support in navigating course content. Instructors can include a note in the instructions of each assessment as well as in the syllabus to inform students that if they are experiencing difficulty and need to seek assistance or accommodation, they can seek support with their professor and with the McBurney Disability Resource Center. See the McBurney Disability Resource Center syllabus language examples for helpful syllabus language for use by instructors. Faculty can evaluate their course content for accessibility to be sure that students with disabilities can navigate and use it. For assistance evaluating course content for accessibility, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with an Accessibility Consultant. For more information, contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center by calling (608)263-2741 or emailing email@example.com. Instructors can also check out the instructor resources and instructor training modules available.
Turnitin Feedback Studio experiences
The Turnitin Feedback Studio has a graphical experience and a text-only experience for users to choose from within the app.
Students can access the similarity reports for their submissions by navigating to the 'grades' page of their canvas course and then clicking on the flags associated with the particular submission they are interested in (as in the screenshot below).
Instructors can access the Turnitin similarity report for a student's submission through the Canvas Speedgrader.
Once the instructor or student has opened the submission in feedback studio they can select the text-only version of the report by clicking on the "Text-only Report" button in the bottom of the interface.
Student experience barriers
Canvas - Assignment upload inaccessible
Students who are blind or have low vision may have difficulty uploading assignments in Canvas from any of the sources, because once the assignment is uploaded the user experience doesn't inform the user their assignment successfully uploaded and the student may continue to try uploading thinking it is not there. This barrier occurs before the student checks the Turnitin Agreement checkbox and submits their assignment.
Additionally, the Box upload button is not reachable via keyboard navigation.
Canvas - Turnitin Agreement Checkbox language unclear
All students may have difficulty identifying that their assignment is being evaluated for originality. The Turnitin Agreement checkbox is not descriptive or contextual in plain language that the student's assignment is being evaluated for originality.
The checkbox language reads, "I agree to the tool's "End-User License Agreement." This submission is my own and original work." While the language allows the student to assure this is original work, the language doesn't make it possible for the student to know their work is being evaluated for originality. If the link "End-User License Agreement" is clicked, the usability goal of knowing that your assignment is being evaluated for originality in this way isn't transparently clear.
Canvas - Assignment submission Turnitin originality review alert inaccessible
The Turnitin Red Block, which appears when the student has uploaded an assignment, submitted, and is viewing the Submission Details screen, has no accessible label in Canvas.
Turnitin Feedback Studio - Graphical experience
(For students and instructors)
This interface is not accessible to assistive technologies (such as screen readers, keyboard navigation, braille display, etc).
- Uploaded submissions are converted into an inaccessible image that is not read able with any assistive technology.
- Originality indicators on the inaccessible images is not readable by a screenreader, or dependably reachable via keyboard navigation and have contrast accessibility barriers.
- Not responsive on a mobile device.
- Focus styling isn't consistent so someone navigating via keyboard may easily lose their way.
Turnitin Feedback Studio - Text-only experience
(For students and instructors)
This interface has significant usability and contrast accessibility barriers.
- Frequent full page refreshes when any action is taken forces a person navigating via keyboard to lose focus and start at the beginning of the page and relocate the information they were previously reading.
- Not responsive on a mobile device.
- Originality indicators have contrast accessibility barriers.
- Illogical heading levels may cause a user navigating via screen reader to get lost in the content.
- There are navigational usability difficulties throughout the interface which may cause users to get lost or struggle to locate the information.