Turnitin Guides for Staff

Turnitin is a similarity detection service for assessments that also provides access to Feedback Studio, the online feedback and grading tool.  Staff access the service via duo, the University’s virtual learning environment.

What is Turnitin?

Guides for Durham staff

Creating a Turnitin Submission (Word)
Creating a Turnitin Submission (PDF)

Downloading submitted assignments  (Word)
Downloading submitted assignments  (PDF)

Student submission guide (Word document for customizing)
Student marks and feedback guide (Word document for customizing)

Turnitin FAQs for Staff

How do I submit an assignment to Turnitin on behalf of a student?

Turnitin’s instructions on how to submit on behalf of a student can be found via the link below. Please remember you must select the student’s name from the drop-down list of students officially enrolled in the module. This is the only way to ensure that once their assignment is graded the mark will appear in the duo Grade Centre.

Submitting on behalf of a student in Turnitin

How do I mark submissions in Turnitin?
  1. On your duo module site, go to Course Management > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments
  2. Click the title of the assignment
  3. Click the title of the first submission to begin marking
  4. Feedback Studio will open a new window

Feedback Studio provides tools that will allow you to:

  • provide overall text and voice comments (5000 characters of text and 3 minutes of audio)
  • use a standard marking pro forma or rubric (see FAQ below)
  • mark up a student’s assignment with in-text comments, drag and drop from a collection of predefined comments (QuickMarks), highlight, add free text and strike-through
  • enter the mark

Quick Tips for Mastering Feedback Studio

Feedback Studio Commenting Tools

You can try out all of these tools using a practice assignment in Turnitin’s Feedback Studio interactive demo.

Can I mark Turnitin assignments offline?

Currently, the only way to mark Turnitin assignments offline is with an iPad:

  1. Install the Turnitin Feedback Studio app on your iPad
  2. In a web browser on your iPad*, go to the Turnitin assignment on duo
  3. Go to any student’s submission as if you were going to mark it
  4. Tap the ‘i’ icon in the menu
  5. *If you are using another computer or device:
    1. Enter your email twice and click ‘Email Me’
    2. Access your email from your iPad
    3. Open the email from Turnitin and…
  6. Tap ‘Add Class’
  7. The app will open
  8. You can now mark offline
  9. Tap the name of the module
  10. Tap the name of the assignment
  11. Tap an individual assignment to get started–instructions for marking can be found here: Grading a paper
  12. When you are finished and have internet connectivity again, tap the menu icon at the top left of the app and tap ‘Sync Now’

Important: as student scripts will be downloaded to your iPad, you must follow University data protection policy, including locking your iPad (passcode or fingerprint).

Turnitin/Feedback Studio is slow or glitchy today – is there anything I can do?

There are a few things you can try:

  • Check your browser: We recommend using Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari. If you are using your own device, make sure you have the latest version of the browser and operating system.
  • Clear your cookies and cache: This site shows how to do this for different browsers: Refresh your cache
  • Use ‘private’ mode: These sites show how to activate privacy mode in the respective browsers: Chrome / Firefox / Edge / Safari
  • Check your internet connection: Feedback Studio constantly saves your work, so ensure that your connection is robust. If your connection drops out, leave the Feedback Studio window open until you are online again.
  • Check the system status: Turnitin status updates can be found here: Turnitin System Status
How do I create and use Rubrics and Grading Forms in Turnitin’s Feedback Studio?

The link below will take you to Turnitin’s guidance on rubrics and grading forms. It will provide instructions on how to create, edit, duplicate, and share both rubrics and grading forms. In addition, it explains how to use them to provide feedback.

Please note it is possible to automatically generate grades using a rubric. If you do not wish to automatically generate marks, choose ‘Qualitative Rubric’.

Rubrics and Grading Forms using Feedback Studio

How do I create, save and share new QuickMarks?

The link below will take you to Turnitin’s guidance on creating and saving your own QuickMarks. It will also show you how you and your colleagues can share a group of QuickMarks.

QuickMark Manager in Feedback Studio

What is a Similarity Report (also known as an Originality Report)?

Typically when a student submits an assignment to a Turnitin submission point Turnitin generates a Similarity Report (Originality Report). The Similarity Report is the result of comparison between the text of the submission against the search targets selected for the assignment; this will usually include billions of pages of active and archived internet information, a repository of works previously submitted to Turnitin, and a repository of tens of thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications. Below is a link to Turnitin’s guidance on the Similarity Report.

Viewing the Similarity Report in Feedback Studio

How do I interpret a Similarity Report (Originality Report)?

Below is a link to Turnitin’s guidance on interpreting the Similarity Report, including details about the different levels of similarity, information on refining the similarity score and explanations of some unexpected results.

Interpreting the Similarity Report in Feedback Studio

How do I exclude a specific source (match) in a Similarity Report?

Below is a link to Turnitin’s instructions on how to exclude one or more source (matches) without regenerating the Similarity Report.

Excluding Sources in Feedback Studio

When will students get their marks and feedback?

This depends on two settings in each Turnitin assignment. For existing assignments, you can check these by clicking Edit Assignment settings from the Assignment Inbox:

  • Post Date: This determines when marks are pushed to the Grade Centre, and to My Grades and Notifications for students (for anonymous assignments, this is also the date on which students’ names will appear). Once the Post Date has passed, marks and feedback cannot be recalled.
  • Reveal grades only on post date? (optional setting): If set to ‘No’, this can allow students to see their marks and feedback before the Post Date.

If you are marking scripts after the Post Date has passed, you might need to click Sync Grades (next to the assignment title in the Turnitin Assignments list) to ensure that students can see their marks.

A customizable guide to help students access their marks and feedback is provided above.

Can staff use Turnitin for their research papers?

No, unfortunately Durham’s Turnitin licence only covers submissions from students.

Staff who would like to submit their paper to a plagiarism detection service may want consider using iThenticate, the plagiarism prevention tool for published works.


Research around originality checking

Bennett, S., Dawson, P., Bearman, M., Molloy, E. and Boud, D. (2017), ‘How technology shapes assessment design: Findings from a study of university teachers’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 48: 672-682.

Penketh, C. and Beaumont, C. (2014) ‘”Turnitin said it wasn’t happy”: can the regulatory discourse of plagiarism detection operate as a change artefact for writing development?’Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(1).

Best practice examples for digital feedback

Grieve, R., Padgett, C.R. and Moffitt, R.L. (2016) ‘Assignments 2.0: The role of social presence and computer attitudes in student preferences for online versus offline marking’, The Internet and Higher Education, 28: 8-16.

Johnson, M. Hopkin, R. and Shiell, H. (2012) ‘Marking Extended Essays on Screen: Exploring the Link between Marking Processes and Comprehension’, E-Learning and Digital Media, 9(1): 50-68.

Sopina, E. and McNeill, R. (2015) ‘Investigating the relationship between quality, format and delivery of feedback for written assignments in higher education’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(5).