Turnitin Assignment Types


Moodle has many different types of assessments, such as quizzes, assignments, forums, and workshops. Each offers different styles of assessment for the students. Lecturers may wish to encourage learners to self assess or may prefer more traditional quiz type assessments as part of formative assessment or use assignment types such as Turnitin.

What is Turnitin

Turnitin is a third party assignment type that we have in use in our instance of Moodle. Turnitin will accept text-based submissions in most common formats, such as Word or PDF, and provides the student with a similarity report by comparing submitted student files with an extensive range of public web, subscription-based sources and past student work from colleges worldwide.  Once the comparison is complete, the system provides a “similarity report” indicating the degree of similarity between the submitted file and those other sources. Students can upload their assignment to a test area on the WIT Libraries Moodle page to check their originality score before submitting it to their module.


If you plan on using Turnitin during the COVID-19 crisis we would like to make you aware of the following for Turnitin. 

When would you use Turnitin

Because Turnitin uses plagiarism detection it's normal to use Turnitin when student are submitting text-heavy assignments (1000+ words). If your assignments are less then 1000 words then we would suggest that a normal Moodle assignment type would be a better option to use. 

We would also encourage the use of Turnitin as a technology tool that helps students to improve their academic writing skills, Turnitin and more specifically the similarity report will help students with referencing, summarizing, paraphrasing.

How much time to allow

We often get asked about how much time to allow submission for with Turnitin, this assignment activity relies on the student being able to make changes so that they can correct mistakes, so Turnitin is more suited to assignments where time is not an issue, so for instance if the students had one week to complete the assignment.

How do submissions work

The student will be allow allowed unlimited submissions up to the due date, after that they will not be able to submit, however, initially, the students will have three 'free' attempts where they can submit and Turnitin will return their similarity report within one hour, after the 3rd submission the student will have to wait 24 hours after each submission.

Note: if a Lecturer makes a submission on behalf of the student, the student will be notified and that submission will count as an attempt, so if it's one of the first 3 attempts it will be counted as one of the three 'free' attempts.

Important Settings you should know about

  1. Each student is presented with a Plagiarism declaration before they make the very first submission, they have to check a declaration statement before they continue, you can view that statement here and just to note that this declaration statement is used across all disciplines in WIT.
  2. The similarity report generation speed defaults to three free attempts and students can resubmit up to the due date. You can change this so that the student will not receive a similarity report until after the due date, which at that time the student will not be able to resubmit. 
  3. Turnitin only detects similarities over text and will not include video or audio as part of the plagiarism detection algorithm.
  4. You can choose to either store the student's paper in the Turnitin Repository or you can prevent that (No repository, either way, the students will still get a similarity report, and you as the Lecturer will still be able to see the student uploaded submission along with the similarity report.
  5. You can decide to exclude or include the bibliography the default is to include the bibliography.

Do you need a Turnitin Account or some Software

No, as a WIT Moodle user you can create a Turnitin Assignment Type directly into your Module, you don't need to download any software or register for an account. WIT has a site-wide license and you are free to create as many Turnitin Assignments as you see fit, see here for practical steps on how to create a Turnitin assignment in Moodle.

Similarity Report

When a student submits work to Turnitin via the Moodle Turnitin submission a similarity report is generated for the student. This similarity report is the result of the comparison between the text of the student's submission against information stored in the Turnitin database, web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications. Any matching or highly similar text discovered is detailed in the Similarity Report that is available in the assignment inbox.

Note: the student will have to wait 24 hours after their 3rd submission.

Similarity Score

The similarity score is a percentage of a paper's content that matches to Turnitin's databases; it is not an assessment of whether the paper includes plagiarized material, that assessment always lies with the Lecturer and the actual percentage also lies with the lecturer, there is no 'magic number' the Institute has no policy on an acceptable number, it is primarily down to the module and the lecturers that teach the module.

Note: Turnitin will not detect similarities in Video/Audio files that your student submits, it will just compare text, so for instance, if your student submits a voice-over using a PowerPoint slide then Turnitin will only compart the text on this slide on not the audio.

File types and file size

If you use a Turnitin assignment type in Moodle then that activity has a 100MB limit (normal Moodle assignments have a 2GB limit), this is important if files contain media such as video, audio, large photos, if the file is over 100MB then the student will not be allowed upload until the file size is under 100MB.

Turnitin allows most file types such as Microsoft Word (DOC and DOCX), HTML, Plain text (TXT), Rich Text Format (RTF), Portable Document Format (PDF), OpenOffice (ODT), Powerpoint (PPT and PPTX) and Google Docs via Google Drive.

Note: please do not ask students to use Vector Images in their submission, Vector images are sometimes used in PowerPoint templates and cause problems when students try to view the similarity report.

Misconceptions about Turnitin

Turnitin has written about some misconceptions that they experience when users are engaging with Turnitin and with its use in everyday life, read more about it here in the Turnitin blog.