Faculty Guidelines for Using Turnitin

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:

The University has a license agreement with Turnitin, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources. Your instructor may use the service in this class by requiring you to submit assignments electronically to Turnitin, by submitting assignments on your behalf, or by providing the option for you to check your own work for originality. The Turnitin Originality Report will indicate the amount of original text in your work and whether all material that you quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source is appropriately referenced.

If you or your instructor submits all or part of your 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 your work and other material stored in Turnitin's database. If you object to long-term storage of your work in the Turnitin database, you must let your instructor know no later than two weeks after the start of this class. You have three options regarding your assignment being stored in the Turnitin database. One, if you do nothing then your assignment will be stored in the Turnitin database for the duration of UMUC's contract with Turnitin. Two, you can ask your instructor to have Turnitin store your assignment only for the duration of the semester or term, then have your assignment deleted from the Turnitin database once the class is over. Three, you can ask your instructor to change the Turnitin settings so that your assignment is not stored in the Turnitin database at any time.

Faculty who need assistance with 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.