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Frequently Asked Questions About Turnitin by Faculty

  1. When should students in a course be informed that Turnitin will be used in the course?

    Students should be informed at the earliest opportunity in a class that assignments may be checked using Turnitin. Ideally, this would be provided in writing in the course outline.

  2. Who submits assignments to Turnitin?

    Students directly submit their work in digital form to Turnitin.

  3. Does the professor/instructor get a hard copy of the assignment, and how do they know it is identical to the one submitted by the student to Turnitin?

    The student provides the professor/instructor with an identical hard copy (or digital copy if the instructor so wishes) of the assignment submitted to Turnitin. The professor/instructor may compare a random sample of the hard copies of assignments with those submitted directly to Turnitin.

  4. Are students required to submit their assignments to Turnitin?

    Students may be required by a course instructor to submit their work to However, according to the Senate Guidelines for the Use of Text Matching Software Services, the instructor must have informed the class of this requirement at the beginning of the term and advised of the opt-out provisions available to them.

  5. Why will students comply if they don’t have to submit materials to Turnitin?

    If students are well informed of the nature of Turnitin, and the process, they are most likely to be willing to comply. In other institutions which have experimented with Turnitin, it has been found that students wish to ensure a level playing field in determining grades for their work, and want to ensure the perceived quality of their degree is maintained.

  6. If a student chooses not to submit their assignment to Turnitin, won’t the Professor/instructor know and as a result mark the student’s assignment harder?

    To ensure that student work will be graded fairly, professor/instructors should grade the work before viewing the Turnitin originality reports for the assignment. Students should be informed of this fact.

  7. Don’t students usually know all about plagiarism, or if they don’t might some students commit plagiarism inadvertently?

    The students should be informed of the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty and provided with a full explanation of what constitutes plagiarism, together with examples of plagiarism—preferably during the first class.

  8. Do students know the types of process that professor/instructors use for checking originality in assignments?

    Students should be informed that Turnitin is only one of many checking systems available and that professors/instructors use a variety of means to ensure submitted work is original.

  9. Does the Turnitin database access other databases?

    Turnitin checks submissions only against the materials in the database - there are many journals, books, etc., not in the database.

  10. Do professors/instructors face any liability in using Turnitin?

    In our careful examination of possible legal implication for faculty using Turnitin, professors/instructors would not face any liability in using Turnitin because they would be acting in the scope of their employment.

For more information on Turnitin:

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