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Using Turnitin within a Forum

A discussion ‘Forum’ enables both staff and students to hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

There may be times when you want to check what the student is posting to a forum for plagiarism. This may be the case if you are using the forums for an assessed activity, for example. This guide will explain how to enable Turnitin in your forums, which can be used to check the students work to identify and correct possible occurrences of plagiarism.

What is Turnitin?

Turnitin is a web-based plagiarism prevention system used by QMUL and most universities in the UK. There are three main uses of Turnitin:

  • To act as a deterrent against plagiarism.
  • To provide reports which can help identify occurrences of plagiarism.
  • To provide students with a tool to identify and correct possible occurrences of plagiarism in their own work and improve their academic writing.

More information and tips about Turnitin can be found on the E-learning website. The Turnitin support page can be accessed here.

Enabling Turnitin

First, you will need to create a forum within your course. Follow this guide for instructions on how to do this if you have never used forums before.

  • As you are creating your forum, scroll down to ‘TURNITIN PLAGIARISM PLUGIN SETTINGS’
  • Select ‘Yes’ to enable Turnitin.

It is also possible to set due dates and cut off dates for your forum. In the Forum settings, scroll down to the ‘Availability’ section. In the same way that you can set due dates for assignments, set a time and date for students to contribute to the forum.

Having set the availability of your forum, as with a Turnitin assignment, you can choose when the Turnitin reports will be generated.  The Report Generation Speed also controls whether or not students are able to re-submit their work.

  • Generate reports immediately (students cannot resubmit) – student work is sent to Turnitin as soon as it is submitted. The reports are usually available relatively quickly after submission, often within as little as 10 minutes. With this option, re-submission of work is not possible.
  • Generate reports immediately (students can resubmit until due date): After 3 re-submissions, reports generate after 24 hours– student work is sent to Turnitin as soon as it is submitted. Students can then re-submit work up until the due date. This setting is of most use if you are allowing your students to see their similarity scores and originality reports. They can submit a draft of their work, view the the originality score and then re-write their work if necessary.
    • NB: – although the first report will be generated relatively quickly, subsequent reports will be subject to a 24 hour delay. This is to discourage students from using Turnitin to “tweak” their work.
    • Please note: If you would like your students to resubmit ensure that the setting for assignment ‘Submission Setting’ requires student to click a submit button is set to ‘No’ and ‘Number of attempts’ is set to ‘Unlimited’. You will also need to set the attempts reopened to ‘Automatic until pass’.
  • Generate reports on due date (students can resubmit until due date) – student work is not sent to Turnitin for processing until the due date. Students can re-submit their work up until the due date. Late submissions are sent for processing at the time they are submitted. If you are not going to look at student work until after the due date, it is worth considering using this option as this will allow students the chance to resubmit if they realise they have made a mistake.

Students and staff will be able to see the due date on their QMplus calendars and in the list of Upcoming events.



Using Turnitin in a forum

Within a Turnitin-enabled forum, every response posted by a student is automatically submitted to Turnitin. A teacher will see the current status of the Turnitin submission below each post and a student will only see their own Turnitin status.

If any files are attached to the response, these will also be uploaded and checked for similarity.

Once the response or file has been processed by Turnitin, you will see its similarity, as shown below. For a more detailed breakdown, simply click the blue rectangle and you will be redirected to the Turnitin Feedback Studio. You can read and grade the submission, add comments and leave feedback.

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