Question Detail

Has anyone ever used

Jan 10, 2013 12:50pm

What are the Pros/Cons of this site?

  • English Language Arts / Social Studies / Technology
  • 9-12
  • Assessment / Digital Literacy


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    • Jan 12, 2013 9:04pm

      I have not used turnitin but have heard lots of great things from people who have used it. I think the best pro is the company seem to be responsive to feedback. The greatest con is probably that it costs. With shrinking budgets, it can be hard for a school to fund when many don't even have the technology for students to submit their work electronically on a regular basis.

      • Jan 16, 2013 6:35pm

        The plagiarism screener is very good but not perfect. The best part is that it color codes unoriginal material so that it becomes a very useful tool to work with student who struggle with direct quotes vs. paraphrasing.

        I agree with Trevor about the grading resources. I find them very useful and help me give detailed feedback quickly. Also, I don't carry a stack of papers everywhere.

        Another great tool is Peermark, where students can use an interface similar to the grading tool to give detailed feedback to each other. You can assign pairs or have it randomized, or any combination.

        The downside is definitely the cost, but if your building/district can provide the resource, it's a wonderful tool.

        • Jan 17, 2013 1:01am

          Our school uses the Blackboard LMS, which includes Turnitin and another anti-plagiarism webtool called Safe Assign. Two benefits to Turnitin:

          #1 You can use it to teach students what plagiarism is and how to avoid it by letting them submit drafts of their own work before they submit for grading.
          #2 Over a relatively short time, if you and your colleagues are using the system, the most commonly "recirculated" papers at your school (the most common type of student plagiarism) will become part of the database.

          • Jan 11, 2013 8:37pm

   actually has some great new grading features that allow you to read and respond to students' writing right on the web site. You can create a bank of common feedback (e.g., "You have a misplaced modifier in this line) and abbreviated notes for these comments that you can just click and drag from the bank in a sidebar to the appropriate place on the student's paper. You can also record up to three or so minutes of audio feedback for each student's essay. You can even upload a rubric and highlight where on the rubric the student scored and assign the paper a grade, which the student can view online, with your feedback, as soon as you finish grading it.

            • Jan 11, 2013 8:38pm


              The best part of these feedback features is that while the site has rubrics and pre-made comments ready for your use, all content is customizable, and you can add or subtract your own content as well. While I have not had the opportunity to use the web site as a teacher yet (I'm a new student teacher), a few of the teachers in the school I'm at say it makes grading faster without compromising the quality of their feedback. Maybe explore it a bit!

              • Jan 17, 2013 7:43am

                I agree with TJ and Trevor, I just wanted to add that when you get the report back that says that a certain percentage is "plagiarized" or comes from another source, be careful, because there is a lot of what I call incidental or accidental plagiarism. The example I always give is, if a student says: "George Washington, the first president fo the United States...", it may come up as coming from another source when the student did not intentionally plagiarize. Now you CAN control that somewhat in the parameters that you set, I just wanted to mention to pay special attention when you read the originality reports, or "cheating index". I have had reports come back with percentages in the 20s (such as 25%) and the student did not plagiarize, they were incidental phrases which are commonly spoken.

                Also, don't forget to set in the parameters to ignore the bibliography, or else that cheating index will come back much higher.

                But I LOVE it and use it all the time.

                • Jan 18, 2013 1:53pm

                  I got my M.A. online and used it as a student. I liked it and it was easy to use. When I submitted paper, it gave me a percentage of the text that was original and also a number for being similar to other students. If the percent was too high, I know to go in and change my text.

                  • Jan 19, 2013 2:59pm

                    I used it when I was teaching Freshman Composition classes at a couple of colleges, and it did save me a lot of time. When used in conjunction with good lessons about avoiding plagiarism, it's great. There is the caveat about small sections of unintentional plagiarism, but because we're paying attention and know our students' writing to begin with, that shouldn't be an issue, and never was for me.

                    • Jan 19, 2013 3:21pm

                      I have just completed teaching a semester of senior project which entails writing a major research paper. I feel that Turnitin lets students check themselves for plagiarism. Most don't know that they are dong it. They may be guilty of overly close paraphrasing or incorrect quotations because they simply are not as accurate as they should be. It's not about trust. It is about learning the rules which even after they can recite , they may not be following.

                      The one caution is that once you submit a student's paper, it is in Turnitin's data base so future submissions are not possible to detect integrity errors. Therefore, I or my students submit towards the end of the drafting process only. The other annoyance is that sometimes students at different institutions use the same electronic sources and once a paper is submitted from anyone, it is in the database and will show up as plagiarism but since it belongs to another student, you can not access it to check your students' work.

                      Good luck!

                      • Jan 22, 2013 9:03pm

                        We used to have at school and I loved it. I teach French and it was especially beneficial to see what was being copied from the internet and not cited. It will also count pictures and graphics that are used from the internet so it's important to know that a certain percentage will be counted as plagiarism. I enjoyed having electronic essays and not having to carry stacks of papers and grading is easier as well as making comments in the margins. Meeting the deadline to turn in papers is a great function, the students had to get those papers in on time or they were not accepted. They quickly learned to work in a timely fashion and not wait until the last minute. Unfortunately, our school district can no longer afford to pay for the service so I am on my own now.

                        • Jan 23, 2013 3:52pm

                          Many times students are not aware that they have plagiarized; this is where sites such as turnitin are most useful. The most difficult skill for students to learn seems to be to summarize, which is why they tend to do so much copying and pasting.
                          It is not a matter of trust nor of "catching" students; it is our responsibility to help them learn these skills and I see nothing wrong with using whatever software is available to help us to do that.

                          • Jan 29, 2013 10:49am

                            I had to use this software when I was in college prep school. It honestly was an effective way of flagging down plagiarism as well as ensuring students site sources properly. It did put a little added pressure on the students to be sure they were doing their best work. Overall, I think high school and even middle school aged students can handle it n

                            • Feb 10, 2013 2:41am

                              I have used and I must praise it as a time saver. Although, I agree with Eric's position of not "catching" a student, my time is valuable. Once I suspect a case of plagiarism, I must locate the on-line source. Turnitin reduces the amount of plagiarism, not because the students are caught, but rather because they know cheating is no longer an option.

                              • Jun 5, 2013 12:42pm

                                Turnitin OriginalityCheck, when employed to support the development of appropriate writing, paraphrasing and referencing practices, is an excellent educational tool. Providing students with access to OC and supporting their engagement with the tool through clear explanation of what it does, and how to read originality reports, allows educators to shape positive practice and instil confidence in students. The key in using Turnitin OriginalityCheck is to explain that similarities can be appropriate or inappropriate, and that the similarity index requires interpretation and cannot be read as a plagiarism index. In my experience, negative experiences of using Turnitin are the result of a lack of understanding of the tool and what it does. The Turnitin GradeMark and Peermark tools are also invaluable in supporting the development of a critical understanding of writing and assessment practice and in feeding back to students (and educators).

                                • Nov 25, 2014 11:52am

                                  I teach a workshop in research writing and public speaking called Senior Project and find that Turnitin is a very useful tool. I do not use it to "catch" kids breaking the rules but rather for them to check their work over and learn how to avoid pitfalls of inadvertently using overly close paraphrases and "lifted language". No matter how thoroughly I teach and practice the rules with students these problems creep in and Turnitin is a good way of detecting these errors provided that the offending language is from the web. The only difficulty is when Turnitin is unable to supply the particular source because it was originally submitted by a student to an educational institution. In that case, it is not really possible to compare the language and show the student the error.