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Scope

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the volitional use of Turnitin, an online service that can be used to detect and prevent plagiarism in student assignments.

This policy lists the services that are available to websites and policies specific to each service. Service availability is dependent on the website categories as defined in the Website Hosting Policy.

It is in the interest of the University’s academic mission that every student adheres to the highest standards of scholarly integrity. As such, academic dishonesty is taken seriously: engaging in behaviours that are in breach of, or otherwise seek to abuse the University's academic policy will not be tolerated.
In an effort to aid in aforementioned objective, UCW subscribes to Turnitin.com as a resource for students, faculty, and staff to identify areas of concern with regards to academic integrity and academic standards. 

Summary

Turnitin is a plagiarism-detection software that compares a student's assignment to every document in its database (which includes all previously submitted papers) and on the Internet.

  • You can use Turnitin to check lab reports, essays, research papers, or any written assignment.
  • By using this tool, you'll reduce the amount of "detective" work you conduct.
  • Turnitin ensures fairness and equity in plagiarism allegations, because every paper is checked, not just suspicious papers.

Policy

  1. Shepherd University Faculty are not obligated or required to use Turnitin. Turnitin is simply a tool that is available for the Academic community to utilize.  Faculty members are strongly urged to use Turnitin in order to help students realize the difference between good and poor citation practices.  It will also help students avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism through the use of Originality Reports. 
  2. Faculty must inform the students of their intention to use Turnitin through appropriate sources such as a syllabus.  Students must be aware of the faculty member’s intention to use Turnitin. Please use the Turnitin Information to Give to Your Students document for your students if students submit the paper.
  3. Faculty must take precaution and use good judgment in their analysis and interpretation of a student paper that has been submitted with a high score.  Although Turnitin is a valuable tool, it cannot, however, be the only determinant for a paper labeled with a high score on the Originality Report.  Turnitin uses a scan method that can successfully denote copied material.  However, the scan, by default, picks up material within quotes and bibliographies.  Faculty must be aware and monitor the submitted material carefully.  

 

Notice to Students

 

In all classes, you must notify your students that the Turnitin service may be used. For online courses, the language below will appear by default in the academic policies section of your syllabus. You should also place an announcement in the class announcements section. For face-to-face courses, place the notice in your syllabus and verbally inform students of the service during the first class meeting.

 

This notice will appear in the academic policies section of your syllabus:

 

Note: Your instructor may use Turnitin, an educational tool that helps identify and prevent plagiarism from Internet resources, by requiring you to submit assignments electronically. To learn more about the tool and options regarding the storage of your assignments in the Turnitin database go to http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libresources/turnitin.cfm

 

Include the following statement in your syllabus:

 

"Students agree that by taking this course all required papers will be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the Turnitin.com service is subject to the terms of use agreement posted on the Turnitin.com site."


Today I spent some time with our university's legal council reviewing our contract with Turnitin. In the agreement, we noticed that our college should have a policy (or policies) for faculty and students that contain some specific items:

  • Consider Turnitin's strong recommendation that the course syllabus of each course making use of the Service carry a notice substantially to the effect of the following: "Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the Turnitin.com service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the Turnitin.com site."
  • Faculty should not make statements to Students that the Institution is using the Service in a given class, when such class is not registered
  • Within a particular class using the Service, for purposes of fairness and equal application, Turnitin strongly recommends requiring Student submission of all papers rather than submission by Instructors only of papers singled out by Instructor
  • Institution also acknowledges that Reports indicate the possibility of textual matches only and that the actual determination of plagiarism is a matter subject to the professional judgment of Institution acting alone

Student Copyright

The UMUC license with Turnitin also specifies that students retain copyright to their submitted assignments and that the assignments will be stored only for the duration of UMUC's contract with Turnitin and solely for the purpose of using such papers as source material to prevent plagiarism of such papers.

The University has a license agreement with Turnitin, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources. The instructor may use the service in the UMUC class by requiring students to submit assignments electronically to Turnitin, by submitting assignments on their behalf, or by providing the option for students to submit their work to Turnitin and check their work for originality. The Turnitin Originality Report will indicate the amount of original text in the students' work and whether all material that was quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source was cited as appropriate.

If the student or the instructor submits all or part of an assignment to the Turnitin service, Turnitin will ordinarily store that assignment in its database. The assignment will be checked to see if there is any match between that work and other material stored in Turnitin's database. If the student objects to long-term storage of their work in the Turnitin database, the student must let the instructor know no later than two weeks after the start of the class so that the instructor can make appropriate arrangements. The student has three options regarding the assignment being stored in the Turnitin database. One, if the student does nothing then the assignment will be stored in the Turnitin database for the duration of UMUC's contract with Turnitin. Two, the student can ask the instructor to have Turnitin store the assignment only for the duration of the semester or term, then have the assignment deleted from the Turnitin database once the class is over. Three, the student can ask the instructor to change the Turnitin settings so that the assignment is not stored in the Turnitin database at any time.

Faculty who need assistance setting up these options should contact the library directly.

Student Privacy

Student papers are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as they are educational records that contain personally identifiable information. If you submit a paper or an excerpt from a paper on behalf of a student for evaluation by Turnitin, use an alias instead of the student's name and ensure that any reference to the organization where the student is employed is removed before submission.

As long as students' papers are stored in the Turnitin database, your name and e-mail address will be associated with your students' papers. If the paper submitted by or on behalf of another student at UMUC or any other institution that utilizes the Turnitin database matches your student's paper, you may be contacted. Faculty are not permitted to release student papers either to other UMUC faculty or faculty from other institutions. If Turnitin requests permission to release a paper, faculty shall deny the request.

Suspected Plagiarism

In a case of suspected plagiarism, faculty should refer to UMUC's Policy 150.25 -Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism and proceed accordingly. It is also recommended that you inform your Program Director, Department Director, or Assistant Dean. Ensuring the UMUC administration is informed is important.

Originality Reports

When a paper is evaluated, Turnitin provides originality reports which tell you that text in the evaluated project or paper is similar to or identical to text Turnitin has in its database. Faculty must still evaluate the quality of the report independently and determine if the parts identified by Turnitin that are similar or identical, are actually plagiarized text. This is because all matches are shown, even those where students cited properly. As a result, faculty must critique the report they receive, use their best judgment and follow University policy before approaching a student about possible plagiarism.

Similarly, if a paper is reported as "original" by Turnitin, that is not necessarily airtight evidence that the paper is original. Instead, it may mean that the student plagiarized from a work that is not available in the Turnitin database. No database is entirely comprehensive and many sources are not digitally available. Therefore, plagiarism can occur and be undetectable by services such as Turnitin.

Peer-review Capability

The peer review capability allows students to review each other's works. This capability will not be made available to UMUC faculty.

Use of Other Services in Evaluating Student Plagiarism

Use of Internet services to evaluate plagiarism should be conducted only through the license agreement selected and authorized by the University. Please do not submit papers prepared by UMUC students to other plagiarism service providers not approved of by UMUC.

Suggestions for Using Turnitin.com

1. For fairness reasons, the Honor Council recommends that faculty using Turnitin.com should submit all students' papers in a course instead of only problematic papers.

2. An important part of Georgetown University's agreement with iParadigm (Turnitin.com's parent company) is that the course syllabus for each course intending to utilize Turnitin.com must carry a notice to students substantially similar to the following:

Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for a Textual Similarity Review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be added as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers in the future. Use of the Turnitin.com service is subject to the terms of use agreement posted on the Turnitin.com site.

3. If use of Turnitin.com is instituted after distribution of the syllabus, then the faculty and Georgetown shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that equivalent written notice is provided by the instructor to the students; and students should also be aware that if they object to participating in Turnitin.com, faculty may use an "off-line option" requirement, such as: (i) a short reflection paper on research methodology; (ii) a draft bibliography prior to submission of the final paper; and/or (iii) the cover page and first cited page of each reference source to be photocopied and submitted with the final paper.

4. Turnitin.com's Originality reports are only the means for detecting textual similarities between compared works and do not determine conclusively the existence of plagiarism. When similarities are found in a paper, faculty must check the student's paper to ascertain whether such textual similarities are properly referenced.

5. An Originality Report is a confidential document, and any disclosure by the faculty member or the Honor Council to any third party is at the Institution's own risk.

6. All papers submitted to Turnitin.com by Georgetown University and/or its instructors and students shall be retained in the Turnitin.com source database solely for the purpose of using such papers as source material to prevent plagiarism of such papers, except as expressly authorized by students and/or instructors. There is a provision in the agreement that will let the University "take down" any paper from the Turnitin.com database if so requested by a student or faculty member. However, removal of papers could decrease the usefulness of the database in the future. 

 

Contact

Laurie Fox
Assistant Director for Educational Technology, Computing & Information Technology fox@geneseo.edu

Sue Chichester
CIO & Director, Computing & Information Technology sue@geneseo.edu

 

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