Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
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Links of Interest

Office of Student Conduct
Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (pdf)
Definition of academic dishonesty   
Reporting Academic Misconduct (pdf)
Policy of the Department of History about academic misconduct
Implementing the departmental policy about academic misconduct
Advice to students about plagiarism and using sources
Links to Web sites on plagiarism

Information about TurnItIn.com


Introduction

[Robber]Students seem to have taken literally what Tom Lehrer urged in his skit about the great Russian mathematician Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky. (Although his advice can be found at numerous sites on the Web, directly quoting it here, ironically, would constitute plagiarism or at least violation of copyright.) The problem of plagiarism in written work by students has grown immensely in recent years because of the vast amount of information that is available in electronic form and easily “copied and pasted” into papers. (For a comprehensive listing of online literature about the problem, see the section on plagiarism in Maurice Crouse’s document about literature and writing.)

The University of Memphis has secured a site license for faculty to use TurnItIn to maintain a high level of academic integrity in written work by students. It is not required that you use it, but the experience of instructors who have used it is generally good. While it can detect plagiarism and furnish strong evidence against those students who plagiarize, its chief value lies in the encouragement it gives students to avoid plagiarism because of the guarantee that their written work will be checked for unoriginality.

TurnItIn.com has made the claim in its earlier documentation that its program is “the #1 web-based solution that lets educators and their students check written work for improper citation or misappropriated content” and that it “helps educators check students’ work for proper citation or possible plagiarism by comparing it against three continually updated content bases: billions of pages of web content, plus hundreds of millions of pages of proprietary content from subscription-based publications, and over 100 million student papers previously submitted to Turnitin” and identifies any matches that it finds between those pages and work submitted by students. You will recognize an unstated weakness: TurnItIn searches a selected portion (though certainly very large) of online materials and does not search any materials, such as books, that are in print-only format. TurnItIn does not “grade” papers, as some students believe; it merely reports the matches it finds, and it is up to instructors to deal with the reports as they see fit.

Gaining access to TurnItIn

Before you can use TurnItIn, you must request access to it through the Center for Teaching and Learning at The University of Memphis. The starting point is its document TurnItIn: Academic Integrity Software.

You will be asked to complete a checklist of steps you need to take, including becoming familiar with the Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, the Faculty Legal Advisory Statement provided by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding TurnItIn use by your students, and the training materials provided by TurnItIn.

After you complete the checklist, you will go to the document that gives you the information you need to gain access to TurnItIn and set up a user profile. This document is restricted to the university community, so you will have to give your university UUID and password to access it.

Help with TurnItIn

There are various training aids available on TurnItIn’s Instructor Training page to acquaint you with the program. The Instructor Quickstart Guide is a good place to start. For complete information you will need to consult the Instructor User Manual. (There are similar resources for students.)

If you are in charge of several instructors or have teaching assistants working under your guidance, you will need to become familiar with the documentation on Managing Multiple Class Sections.

If you have any questions or problems, you may consult TurnItIn’s online training materials or its Help Center or send a request to the University of Memphis Helpdesk.

You may also want to consult with experienced users of TurnItIn, who can give you valuable guidance both on the mechanics of the program and on the interpretation of the reports it generates.

Using TurnItIn

When you log in to TurnItIn.com to set up classes and the assignments for those classes, you will have various options, such as whether to allow late submissions or re-submissions and whether to let students see the originality reports for their papers.

When you set up classes, you will assign each one a name and an enrollment password. The name can be anything you choose, but it should be uniquely descriptive of the class (such as "2020_002_14s" or "US since 1877, sec. 2, Spring 2014"). The enrollment password can also be anything you choose, and you can even use the same enrollment password for more than one class. TurnItIn.com will furnish a unique course-identification number for each class you create. You have the option of enrolling the students yourself, but you can save yourself a lot of work if you have your students enroll themselves. To enable them to enroll themselves, you must give them the course-identification number and the enrollment password (they won't need the class name − the course-identification number will locate the proper class).

The classes on TurnItIn.com are not necessarily linked in any way with your classes here at The University of Memphis, although there is a way that you can enable plagiarism detection by TurnItIn through eCourseware if you wish. If you have several classes that have identical assignments, you could even create a single TurnItIn.com class for all of them. If the assignments are different or have different due dates, you should of course create separate classes to avoid confusion.

Here is a sample of the information you might give your students (replace the sample course name, class ID, and enrollment password with the appropriate information for your class):

History 9999 — Instructions for TurnItIn.com

As noted in the syllabus for this course, all major written work must be submitted in paper form directly to the instructor and in electronic form to TurnItIn.com

Your assignment is not complete until both copies have been delivered, and no grade will be given until both a paper copy and an electronic copy have been submitted.

Papers may be submitted in the following formats: Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, Rich Text Format, Portable Document Format, PostScript, HTML, plain text (.txt), PowerPoint, and Hangul.

To submit your paper electronically, you must go to http://www.turnitin.com/. There is a log-in box at the top of the page. If you have not done so previously for another course, you will need to click on New Users and create a user profile, following the instructions that will be given. If you need help, there is a guide for setting up a new profile at http://www.turnitin.com/en_us/training/student-training/creating-a-new-user-profile. If you already have a profile, you may log in directly and enroll in a class.

You must enroll in the class, using the following information:

  • The class ID is 99999999
  • The enrollment password is nevercheat

If you need help with enrollment, view the documentation at http://www.turnitin.com/en_us/training/student-training/enrolling-in-a-class.

There is a guide for students at http://www.turnitin.com/en_us/training/student-training/submitting-a-paper which will guide you through all the steps involved in submitting your paper when it is due.

Shortly after a student submits an assignment, TurnItIn will conduct its search and make available a report on what it has found. Using that report, you will be able to see what passages, if any, in the paper match passages in documents in the database. The documents in which the matches were found will be identified, and you generally will be able to link to those documents to view them in full, if you wish to do so. (If the matches are in papers submitted to TurnItIn.com by other students, however, because of legal issues about privacy you may view those papers in full only if you first secure permission from the instructors of the students who submitted them.)

The Office of Legal Counsel has provided the following statement that you should include in your course syllabus if you use TurnItIn.com:

“Your written work may be submitted to Turnitin.com, or a similar electronic detection method, for an evaluation of the originality of your ideas and proper use and attribution of sources. As part of this process, you may be required to submit electronic as well as hard copies of your written work, or be given other instructions to follow. By taking this course, you agree that all assignments may undergo this review process and that the assignment may be included as a source document in Turnitin.com’s restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. Any assignment not submitted according to the procedures given by the instructor may be penalized or may not be accepted at all.” (Office of Legal Counsel, October 17, 2005)
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Last Updated: 3/12/14