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Checking for Plagiarism

Students are responsible for the originality of their work and must cite the original authors when they reference the work of others that they are quoting or paraphrasing. Faculty use their knowledge and experience in their fields to identify and evaluate potential cases in which students may have failed to properly credit prior work, or may have over quoted. While faculty are ultimately responsible for determining whether a particular example of student writing meets their expectations for originality and credit to the work of others, we also subscribe to a service, through Turnitin.com, that can help in that evaluative process.

Turnitin through Moodle

Normally faculty can access the Turnitin tools through Moodle, either through explicit Turnitin assignments (see Turnitin’s instructions also), or through regular Moodle assignments that have had the Turnitin tools activated. There are some really useful grading features of the Turnitin assignments that can make that process a little easier for the faculty member, and that can help provide feedback to the students in coherent ways. See our KB article on Turnitin Assignments for more information.

Available outside Moodle too!

Until recently, it was unclear whether faculty also had access to the Turnitin tools outside of our Moodle system. It turns out that we do! Faculty can request accounts in Turnitin’s Feedback Studio to allow them to submit student work for originality checks outside of the Moodle system. This adds significantly more flexibility for faculty who want to use these tools to help in the evaluation of student produced academic content.

Tools for students coming soon

An associated tool that may help students identify cases in which they are approaching too close to the line of plagiarism, and perhaps failing to include all of the appropriate citations, is a new tool called Turnitin Draft Coachtm. Turnitin Draft Coachtm is an add-on for Google Docs that will provide a limited number of originality checks for a draft of written work, and will provide unlimited checks for citations and grammar. We’re still evaluating this tool, so stay tuned for more updates!

As always, please contact your Academic Technologist for more information, or to set up a Turnitin Feedback Studio account at https://support.swarthmore.edu or via email to support@swarthmore.edu.