Learning technology


Overview for instructors | Overview for students | FAQ

Overview for instructors

Turnitin is an online service used to check the originality of papers submitted by students. SFU licenses use of Turnitin from a third party called iParadigms.

Because data submitted to Turnitin is stored and accessed on U.S. servers, SFU updated its protocols for using the product effective January 2012, to ensure all practices continue to comply with B.C.’s Protection of Privacy (FIPPA) legislation.

To comply with SFU policy, informed by protection of privacy rules, instructors who use Turnitin are required to:

  1. State the intent to use Turnitin in their course outline, thereby making it a course requirement, and explain that the consequence of declining to use Turnitin could be an inability to complete the course.
  2. Inform students of SFU’s policies with respect to academic integrity, in general, and Turnitin, in particular. See www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2014/spring/fees-and-regulations/student-contract/pop.html.
  3. Use Turnitin only for a course and not personal use (e.g., submitting an article that you are peer reviewing). The latter use contravenes SFU’s agreement with Turnitin.
  4. Refrain from uploading student data directly to the Turnitin system. This applies equally to class rosters and to student work. Instructors may only submit student work directly to Turnitin that is first anonymized by removing all personal information that would serve to identify the student (i.e., name, student ID number, etc.). B.C. privacy law prohibits instructors from directly entering student information on a system that stores and provides access to personal information outside Canada.
  5. Limit dissemination of the code and password used by a student to join a course on the Turnitin site. Only students enrolled in the course are permitted access to the code and password (e.g., it is acceptable to share this information via a login-restricted site like WebCT but not on a public website.)

Instructors are further advised that:

  1. If a student has a serious, principled objection to using Turnitin, the instructor has the discretion to offer an alternative process to the student. Students must, however, give adequate notice and reason for of their objection.
  2. Students may choose to use an anonymous identity to register with Turnitin, provided they inform the instructor of their decision and provide sufficient information for the instructor to reconnect the anonymous, pseudo identity with the student’s actual identity, outside Turnitin. Details for doing this are given in the instruction to students for using Turnitin. See Turnitin: Overview for Students.
  3. Instructors are encouraged to contact their faculty’s educational consultant at the Teaching and Learning Centre to discuss any remaining questions.

Recommended boiler plate notice for course outlines

Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third-party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e., false name and temporary email address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.

For more information, see the Protection of Privacy section of the SFU calendar.

How to create a new instructor account

  1. Contact learntech@sfu.ca to obtain your turnitin password
  2. Your turnitin password will be sent to your email
  3. Go to www.turnitin.com and select Login
  4. Log in with your email and password

How to create a course in Turnitin

  1. Log in to Turnitin using your instructor account and select the All Classes tab.
  2. Use the Add a Class button and fill out the resulting form to create each new class.
    Class type Standard – You are only instructor and there is just one class.
    Master – Multiple sections and possible TAs them.
    There are two ways to add teaching sections to a master class: you can create sections yourself, or have your teaching assistants join your master class and create their own sections. To add sections yourself, click "submit" and then press the "add section" button next to the name of this master class on your home page. If you intend to have your assistants join themselves, please enter the password they will use.
    Class name You enter your class name (e.g., BUS 101)
    Password You create an enrollment password you will subsequently give to students to enable them to enroll.
    End date Select end date for your class’s use of Turnitin. (Default start date is the day you create the class on Turnitin.)
    TA pw If you selected master for class type, you need to create a second password for use by TAs.
  3. Once submitted, a popup window will deliver the 7-character Class ID for your class. It is this Class ID, and the password you created, that you have to provide to your students.
  4. Contact us at learntech@sfu.ca for help configuring your setup.

See Turnitin training video: Creating classes.

How to add students to a class

  1. Do not upload your roster of students directly to the Turnitin system. While technically it is possible to do yourself, compliance with B.C. privacy law prohibits instructors from directly entering student information on a system that stores and provides access to personal information outside Canada. Instead, direct yours students to register with Turnitin on their own.
  2. Supply students with the class name and password you created as the course instructor, without publishing this information in a public manner (e.g., it is okay to put the information in a WebCT shell or other restricted site requiring login, but not on the open internet). Public exposure of the course name and password contravenes SFU’s agreement with Turnitin.

Anonymous option for students

Students have the option of using a pseudo name and new email address, created specifically for use with Turnitin. Before creating your class in the Turnitin system, explain this option to your students and collect the preferred pseudo name and email address from those students who wish to exercise it. In such cases, it is the instructor’s responsibility to match up and track pseudo names with the students’ real names. For more on student privacy and Turnitin, see www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2014/spring/fees-and-regulations/student-contract/pop.html.

For Turnitin technical assistance, e-mail helpdesk@turnitin.com or call: 1 866.816.5046 extension 3. For assistance related to instructional use of Turnitin and account information for SFU, email the TLC’s Learning Technology team at learntech@sfu.ca.

For related resources, visit Using Turnitin for your courses (University of Waterloo).

FAQs     Back to top

Does the SFU Turnitin license also cover use by SFU staff and SFU prospective students?

No, only persons registered in an SFU course can use the Turnitin site license.

Is there an email acknowledgment after submitting a paper so that a student can use the email as proof of submission?

Yes, once a paper is submitted, a paper ID number is generated on screen. The student can write down this number or print the screen. An email is also sent to the student (see the Turnitin training video: Submitting a paper).

Can the cover page be excluded from originality checking? Or can a certain page be excluded?

No, the entire paper is scanned. However there are options in the report to exclude specific matches or quoted material.

Is there a Web form to ensure the same format is used for all submitted papers? If not, how can I make sure that the submitted papers have the desired format?

There is no Web form, however Turnitin accepts multiple formats including MS Word, WordPerfect, RTF, PDF (text), PostScript, HTML and plain text (.txt). It also allows for a copy and paste window for any other format.

Does Turnitin work in the French language?

Yes, the system will auto detect the language in the paper being submitted. The interface can also be used in French.