Turnitin and iThenticate review project

IT Services recently ran a project to review the use of the University’s licences for Turnitin (to screen the coursework of registered Oxford students) and the sister product iThenticate (to screen personal statements and other materials submitted by prospective students).

The finding of the review project is that the University should keep both services and review their respective product offerings over the coming two years. Turnitin is embarking on a major redesign of their underlying system architecture, and the University is considering a new virtual learning environment, which may affect integration with Turnitin. Both these activities introduce some uncertainty into the landscape.

The project recommends that our Technology Enhanced Learning team should continue to consult with Turnitin about the University’s needs, and participate in the current sector-wide discussions. We will also increase awareness around the University about the two products and clarify their allowed usage according to the licence conditions.

More information:

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Turnitin User Summit 2017

The annual Turnitin User Summit was held in Newcastle on 19 October 2017. As a result of recent corporate changes in the Turnitin organisation, there is a new USA executive management team: Marc Daubach (Chief Executive Officer), Ron Park (Chief Technology Officer) and Bill Loller (Head of Product Management). They have restructured the organisation with a view to improving efficiency and responsiveness. The team gave presentations outlining their new approach as a global company, their intention to engage more with the UK HE sector (through the Heads of eLearning Forum – HeLF), and plans for a forthcoming overhaul to the underlying technical architecture of Turnitin.

Kerr Gardiner (formerly Head of Learning Technology & Media Production at the University of Glasgow) gave a presentation outlining seven themes that emerged from his recent consultation with 14 UK universities, including University of Oxford. Oxford’s Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) team continues to engage with Kerr, by completing a survey for HeLF members and participating in focus group activities.

Our TEL team will also study the new report developed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), to see how it may inform the University’s policies and practice. The report recommends that institutions should provide early information to students, engender a positive focus on academic integrity and consider blocking questionable websites.

As a company, Turnitin appears to be putting more time and resources into improving customer support and reducing response times to queries from users. We have a dedicated account manager, Jamie Whitehead, who came and gave a presentation to our local Turnitin User Group earlier in 2017. Their help desk reports that response times (from a human help agent) are now 30 minutes instead of the previous 5 hours.

Their product development team are working on  enhancements to the Similarity Report, checking the originality of computer code, and how to use machine learning and forensic linguistics to detect instances of ‘contract cheating’ – that is, where a student has contracted someone to write their assignment for them. Universities should not ignore possible plagiarism that might be taking place amongst their students. In 2015, the Sydney Morning Herald uncovered a major case of contract cheating and the same newspaper continues to monitor and report on the issue.

Turnitin is working on a completely new cloud platform that should improve speed, power, flexibility, accessibility and security. The key enabler is ‘redwood architecture’ and active development on the platform will begin in January 2018. The new system will offer a brand new version of Peer Review and will enable what the UK sector has been requesting for a long time: multi-actor workflows including double marking and double-blind marking.

Oxford University has offered to talk with Turnitin’s researchers, to discuss our needs and processes, given the fact that we use both Turnitin and the sister product (iThenticate) – Turnitin is keen to understand more about this unique use case and to consider our needs in their new version. During this consultation, they will show us some of their new prototypes currently under development.

Contact the Turnitin support team at Oxford University: turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk


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Reviewing Oxford’s plagiarism awareness tools

Complete the staff survey and have a chance to win an Amazon voucher!

All staff are invited to complete a survey on the plagiarism screening and awareness tools Turnitin and iThenticate, whether or not you have a teaching role or currently make use of such tools. Survey responses will be used to help to assess whether such tools continue to meet the needs of staff and students. The survey should take from 5 to 15 minutes to complete, and responses will be treated in confidence. At the end of the survey, you will have the option to contribute further to the review of plagiarism awareness tools by offering to participate in an interview. You can also enter a draw for one of four £25 Amazon vouchers.

The survey is now open until 6pm on Friday 29 September 2017, and is available from:

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact edu-it@it.ox.ac.uk.

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Tunitin Usage Growth Over the Last five years

Our account manager at Turnitin has just sent an interesting graph which show the growth in use of Turnitin at Oxford over the last five years.

Another interesting chart shows the growth in active students over the last 5 academic years. (A student is considered active if they are enrolled in a class that has had any activity in the Turnitin system during the time period.)


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Turnitin Feedback Studio – formative feedback

In WebLearn

In your WebLearn site, create an assignment using the Assignments tool, and select the Turnitin integration (See our step-by-step guide). When students submit their assignment in WebLearn, Turnitin will generate an Originality Report which is returned into the WebLearn tool, for viewing by the student and the tutor.

In Turnitin

The new version of Turnitin (called Feedback Studio) now offers seamless integration of originality checking, and electronic grading and commenting on a piece of student work (what was previously called ‘Grademark’).  As a tutor, you can build your own library of frequently-used ‘quickmarks’ (for easy click and drag onto the document). Bubble comments can be inserted (and saved into your quickmark library, if desired). You can also record an overall voice comment to provide personalised feedback to a student.

In WebLearn

Back in the WebLearn Assignments tool, you can allocate a mark (if you set up the assignment that way) and an overall comment in the text feedback box. You will see the list of all assignments submitted, and their status, as well as the link to each individual Turnitin report:

The students will be able to access their Turnitin report as soon as it has been generated (if you allowed this feature when creating the assignment). This is clearly advisable in the formative sense, in order to enhance student learning about acceptable academic writing practice. Note that students will not see the Turnitin feedback comments until after the closing date of the WebLearn assignment. This allows you to finish commenting on (or marking) all the assignments before releasing the feedback (and marks) to the students. Thereafter, when students access their report via WebLearn, they will see both the originality layer and the comments layer (similar to the tutor view at the top of this posting).

More information

Contact mailto:turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk


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Turnitin User Group meeting: 23 March 2017

Date: Thursday 23 March
Time: 14:00 to 16:00 including refreshments
Venue: IT Services, 13 Banbury Road OX2 6NN
Booking is required

  • We are delighted that our account manager at TurnitinUK (Jamie Whitehead) will join us at next week’s meeting of the Oxford Turnitin User Group.
  • We will also hear from Amanda Tattersall (Exams and Assessment) and Adam Marshall (WebLearn and Turnitin service manager) about the latest processes at Oxford for anonymous online submissions using WebLearn.

Jamie will demonstrate the much-improved new version of Turnitin called Feedback Studio, as well as the use of Turnitin on a tablet for originality checking and GradeMark. The latter is now integrated into Feedback Studio, and includes features such as electronic commenting, audio feedback and marking memoranda (‘rubrics’), to enable student-oriented feedback in improving academic writing skills.

Please inform your colleagues about this meeting, which is bound to be informative and beneficial for academics, administrators and examiners.

Any questions: Contact turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk

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The government plan to crack down on essay writing services

There’s an interesting article in the Guardian about the government’s response to a QAA-authored report about plagiarism. See: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/feb/21/plan-to-crack-down-on-websites-selling-essays-to-students-announced

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Turnitin upgrades: clarification

This post provides additional information to our previous post: New version of Turnitin: Feedback Studio

New version of Turnitin called Feedback Studio

  • What? The new version of Turnitin (called Feedback Studio) is simply a new ‘look’ that has been released by Turnitin. The only changes will be improvements to the interface and navigation when viewing the originality report and using GradeMark.
  • When? To be launched on Monday 16 January 2017.
  • What do I need to do about it? Advise staff members (and students who may have access to their originality reports) that the interface will change and point them to the video below for a full demonstration.
  • Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIKjBzJIe2g

Integration between WebLearn and Turnitin

  • What? The international WebLearn (Sakai) community is building a new integration between Sakai and Turnitin (as we advised last year). There have been delays due to staff changes and other constraints in both the Turnitin company and the Canadian university that is leading the work.
  • When? Postponed indefinitely.
  • What do I need to do about it? Nothing at all. Administrators may go ahead and set assignments in WebLearn without any concern for the timing of the submission date.
  • Blog post: No new date yet for Turnitin switchover
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New version of Turnitin: Feedback Studio

Turnitin has released a major product upgrade that will soon be available at Oxford University. The new version of the service, called Turnitin Feedback Studio, offers all the functionalities of Turnitin, but with a simplified, more intuitive interface designed for the modern classroom. Turnitin Feedback Studio will make it faster and easier to promote academic integrity via Originality Check, and use GradeMark to provide feedback and evaluate student learning. The PeerMark product is not included in Feedback Studio, but can still be used via Turnitin Classic.

Date of upgrade

We will upgrade our version of Turnitin to Feedback Studio on Monday 16 January 2017. Once upgraded, you can expect to see the new interface when you open a student’s paper in Turnitin.

Toggle between the two versions

From 16 January and until August 2017, it will be possible within the document viewer to toggle between Feedback Studio and Turnitin Classic:

To switch from Feedback Studio to Turnitin Classic: the button is at the bottom of the screen:

switch to TII classic
To switch from Turnitin Classic to Feedback Studio: the button is at the bottom of the screen:

switch to FS

Useful links:

Contact us: turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk

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Oxford Turnitin User Group MT2016

The Oxford Turnitin User Group meeting took place on 8 December 2016. Philippa O’Connor (Deputy Director, Education Policy Support) informed the group about the University’s new plagiarism strategy. She also talked through the resulting changes to procedures for dealing with poor academic practice and interpreting Turnitin reports: Policy and Guidance for examiners and others involved in University examinations. The new procedures came into effect on 1 October 2016.

Jill Fresen (Turnitin support and training, IT Services) informed the group that the Turnitin suppliers have released a new (beta) version of Turnitin (called Turnitin Feedback Studio). The new version has a better interface, and improved functionality (especially for online marking using GradeMark).

Once Feedback Studio is enabled at the institutional level, individual users will be able to switch between Turnitin Classic and Feedback Studio. IT Services plans to enable Feedback Studio from Hilary Term Week 1 (16 January 2017). Communications will be circulated at that time. In the meantime, this video gives a preview of the improved interface:

Video: Key differences between Turnitin Classic and Feedback Studio.

If you  have any questions, please contact turnitin@it.ox.ac.uk


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