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Turnitin is software used to identify text in a submitted paper that matches text in other sources and to provide feedback on student papers. Turnitin can be used directly within Canvas.

What is Turnitin?

Turnitin gives you the ability to generate similarity reports, which indicate the percentage of matching text in a student paper compared to online journals, periodicals, websites, and the Turnitin repository. The tool highlights matching text so faculty and students are able to see which portions of text match other sources.

Turnitin is a learning tool. In an effort to promote academic integrity and provide students with a clear visual of the amount of text that may directly match other sources in their written work, Turnitin assignments may be useful. If you choose to enable students to view their similarity reports and re-submit before the due date, they can identify areas in which they neglected to properly paraphrase or summarize before the final draft is submitted.

You might also be interested in utilizing Turnitin’s feedback tools. You can provide inline comments, use embedded rubrics, and add voice notes in Turnitin assignments. Turnitin also offers peer graded assignment and revision assignment options.

Use of Turnitin

May 2024: Updated guidelines on the use of Turnitin are available. Please review them carefully when implementing Turnitin in your courses.

The use of Turnitin is not mandatory. If you choose to use it in your course, it should be noted on your course outline.

Students have the option to opt out of using Turnitin. If students choose this option, they must make arrangements with their instructor to identify other alternative ways to show that their work is original (e.g., drafts of their work, an annotated bibliography, etc.). A cover sheet is also available for these instances. For more on this please visit the Course Outline Template and Turnitin page on the Ontario Tech University Academic Integrity site.

Note: According to Turnitin’s End User License Agreement, Turnitin can only be used for classes you are teaching or enrolled in as a student at the university. It cannot be used for non-course related papers. Please also note that students cannot create their own Turnitin classes or assignments to self-check their own work; the Turnitin class (if used outside of the learning management system) and assignment drop-boxes for coursework must be set up by their current course instructor(s).

Getting Started

If you have not used Turnitin before as an instructor or you are using Turnitin in Canvas for the first time, please contact the Teaching and Learning Centre before getting started. Please also review the resources below.

You can begin to use Turnitin directly within your Canvas courses. By creating an assignment in Canvas you can either use the External Tool option or select the Plagiarism Review drop-down menu to create an assignment that will generate Turnitin Similarity Reports for submitted papers. A key difference between these two options is that the Plagiarism Review option (also called Plagiarism Framework) will integrate with SpeedGrader in the Canvas Gradebook, whereas the External Tool option provides access to Turnitin’s feedback tools through the Gradebook. Turnitin assignments created within Canvas will be linked to the Gradebook. Once students submit their work through a Turnitin Assignment in your course, you and any other graders in the course can access submitted attempts through the Gradebook.

Turnitin Resources

For Instructors

Note: As of September 26th, instructors can no longer upload assignment submissions on behalf of students who aren't enrolled in the class. This workflow was previously available to instructors using Turnitin via and, or those not using a Learning Management System (LMS). The decision to remove this option was made to streamline user account and license management. Moving forward, all submissions must be associated with an enrolled student.

  • External Tool vs. Plagiarism Framework – Turnitin resource that outlines the differences between using the Plagiarism Review option (called ‘Plagiarism Framework’) and the External Tool option in Canvas.

Note: Instructors will also be prompted to agree to Turnitin’s End User License Agreement (EULA) before creating their assignment, the University has reviewed and approved the terms and conditions for use.

Note: In selecting this option, please ensure students are advised that a Turnitin Similarity Report will be generated. Students will also be prompted to agree to Turnitin’s End User License Agreement (EULA) before submitting their assignment. This notification can be included in either the assignment description or on your course syllabus.

Note: To request that a paper is deleted from the Turnitin repository, the course instructor must contact the Teaching and Learning Centre.

For Students

Depending on how the assignment has been created by the instructor, there are different ways for students to submit a Turnitin assignment in Canvas:

Help and Support

If you’d like one-on-one support using Turnitin for teaching, contact Teaching and Learning Centre staff.

For Turnitin technical support, contact the IT Service Desk.

It is useful to discuss the various settings that can be applied within Turnitin assignments and to understand how those settings may affect the originality reports that are produced. 

Please visit Turnitin's System Requirements page for more information on supported browsers and other technical requirements. Students should avoid using Safari 12 when submitting Turnitin assignments.