Overview: Turnitin for Faculty

Turnitin is a tool that helps instructors evaluate the originality of students’ work by comparing electronic documents to online sources and the Turnitin database. The software returns an Originality Report which rates submitted assignments and highlights text that appears elsewhere. Faculty can add a Turnitin assignment to their course or they can enable it in an existing assignment to assess the originality of students’ work. 

In addition to originality reports, Turnitin includes a set of robust tools for grading and delivering feedback to students:

Adding a Turnitin assignment in the CLE is a two-step process. First, you add the Turnitin assignment to your CLE course page and edit the settings from within the CLE. Second, you open the assignment and edit additional settings within Turnitin.

Watch this training video or review this article  to learn how to use Turnitin in your course.

Add Turnitin Assignment Configure Settings Enable Turnitin for an assignment

Adding a Turnitin assignment in the CLE is a two-step process. First, you add the Turnitin assignment to your CLE course page and edit the settings from within the CLE. Second, you open the assignment and edit additional settings within Turnitin.

To add a Turnitin assignment to your CLE course:

  1. Log in to the CLE (ucsf.edu). On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
  2. In the Section where you will add a Turnitin assignment, click +Add an activity or resource (at lower-right of section). The Activity chooser will open.
  3. In the Activity chooser, select Turnitin assignment. A description of the Turnitin assignment activity appears at right with links to help pages. Click Add to display the Adding a new Turnitin assignmentpage.
  4. To configure basic settings for the Turnitin assignment, see Configure Settings  in the second tab of this article.

    Add a Turnitin Assignment
  5. At the bottom of the page, click Save and return to course, or Save and display to open the assignment in Turnitin.

For more information, check the Turnitin Instructor Guide.

When you add a Turnitin assignment activity to a CLE course, you are required to set the assignment's name, and the Submission Type. The remaining settings are optional. This section describes each setting.


  1. Turnitin Assignment Name (required)
    This is used as the assignment link on your course page.
  2. Summary
    Enter a summary of the assignment and instructions. The Summary will be visible to students when they click the assignment link, or you can select Display description on course page to display the Summary on your course page (best if the Summary is very concise).
  3. Submission Type (required)
    • Any Submission Type lets students choose to submit either a file or text entry.
    • File Upload requires that students upload a file containing their essay. Acceptable formats include PDF, Microsoft Word, and others. 
    • Text Submission provides students with a text box where they can type or paste in the text of their essay. This may work better for shorter submissions rather than essays that have multiple pages and have specifically formatted reference lists.
  4. Number of Parts
    Specify whether students can submit multiple parts of their assignment, for example, if they are uploading separate sections of an essay independently. This can be used for submitting multiple drafts of an essay.
  5. Maximum File Size
    Set the maximum size of the file that students can upload. 
  6. Allow submission of any file type?
    This setting will allow any file type to be submitted. With this option set to Yes, submissions will be checked for originality where possible, submissions will be available for download and GradeMark feedback tools will be available where possible.
  7. Display Originality Reports to Students
    The default is No. We recommend to set it as Yes, which can be useful in resolving disputes on originality of the student's work, or for draft submission to allow students to improve citations.
  8. Grade Display
    This option sets the display mode for the grades options. Grades can be displayed as a fraction or percentage.
  9. Auto Refresh Grades / Scores
    Specify whether grades and originality reports will be refreshed automatically. The default is Yes, automatically refresh originality scores and grades.
  10. Set these values as assignment defaults
    Select this option to make the current settings default for future Turnitin assignments.

Assignment Parts

By default, Turnitin assignments are composed of one part. If the assignment has more than one part (set above: General-Number of Parts), each part will have its own form.

  1. Name (required)
    A name for the assignment part. The default is Part 1.
  2. Start Date
    Modify the defaults to allow students to start submitting their work at a different time.
  3. Due Date
    Modify the defaults to specify the actual due date you want for your assignment.
    Note: Students may still be able to submit their work after the Due Date if you enable Allow Submissions after the Due Date  (under Originality Report Options, below).
  4. Post Date
    This is the date at which your grades and feedback are made available for students to view. Modify the defaults if you want your grades to be posted at or after your actual due date.
    Note: To have Turnitin and the CLE sync grades correctly you must have grades entered into Grademark BEFORE the Post Date. Any grades entered AFTER the post date must be synced individually. Instructors should set a reasonable time in which to grade student work for their Post Date.
  5. Max Grades
    Enter the maximum points that can be earned in this part. The default is 100.
    Note: In multiple part assignments, if all parts have the same Max grades value, the parts will be weighted equally in calculating the grade for the entire assignment that is recorded in the gradebook..

Similarity Report Options

  1. Allow Submissions after the Due Date
    Set this to Yes if you want to allow students to submit beyond the due date.
  2. Report Generation Speed
    There are three options for this assignment setting:
    • Generate reports immediately (resubmissions are not allowed) generates an Originality Report as soon as a student makes a submission. With this option selected your students will not be able to resubmit the assignment.
    • Generate reports immediately (resubmissions are allowed until due date) allows students to continuously resubmit the assignment until the due date. It may take up to 24 hours to process Originality Reports after 3 resubmissions.
    • Generate reports on due date (resubmissions are allowed until due date) only generates an Originality Report on the assignment's due date..
  3. Check against stored student papers
    Select Yes to check submissions' originality against those stored in the Turnitin repository. Originally reports will provide details for matches within your current and previous classes, and general information for other matches found.
  4. Check against internet
    Select Yes to check submissions' originality against internet content. 
  5. Check against journals, periodicals and publications
    Select Yes to check submissions' originality against content from academic publications.
  6. Check against Institutional Repository
    Select Yes to check against UCSF's Institutional Repository, which contains student work submitted at UCSF. This is separate from Turnitin's databases.
  7. Exclude Bibliography
    Select Yes if you would like to exclude the bibliography section of student submissions from originality checking.
  8. Exclude Quoted Material
    Select Yes if you would like Turnitin to skip over any quotes used in the student submission, as these are more likely to match works submitted elsewhere.
  9. Exclude Small Matches
    Enter the minimum number of words (or the percentage of the essay) that need to match in order to flag a section of the student submission. This can cut down on commonly used phrases being flagged for similarity.

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