What is it?

The Turnitin Blackboard building block allows students to submit an assignment from within their Blackboard course directly to the Turnitin originality checking service. Turnitin generates an 'Originality Report' which identifies unoriginal submitted material.  The originality report is available to Blackboard instructors via the Turnitin Reports course tool.

Instructors can also use the GradeMark tool (sister product to Turnitin) to grade and give feedback to students through comments and comment banks, rubrics and audio comments. The GradeMark tool integrates with the Blackboard Grade Centre.

This provides a powerful way to give useful, individual and timely online feedback to students on their work.


Testimonial from Cath Ellis formerly of Huddersfield University from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Turnitin Originality Check

Turnitin's Originality Check helps instructors check students' work for improper citation or potential plagiarism. Turnitin takes a piece of work that a student has written and compares the text to an enormous database of other writing. It generates an originality report which shows the percentage of text from the student work that matches an outside source. 


Turnitin does not detect plagiarism, it highlights matching text. You, as the teacher, are the one who decides if the matching text indicates a problem, or otherwise. 

The similarity index (score) should never be used as a measure of plagiarism. It is only a measure of matching text, which can arise through using the correct language of the discipline, correctly referencing sources, or correctly quoting other people's work.

Originality reports have to be interpreted. You have to examine a report to understand what the coloured highlighting is telling you. 

Giving students access to originality reports can be a great learning tool, when they are learning academic writing. But it has to be in a supported environment, where they can understand how to interpret what they are seeing.


Turnitin's sister product, GradeMark, is used to support online grading of assignments. It is used to provide rich feedback, including comments (and comment banks), audio comments and rubrics.

 For more information about using rubrics to aid grading and provide feedback to students see CELT's advice on Assessment.


Turnitin is a flexible tool that allows you use it in the way best suited to your student group.

Originality Checking: At the most basic level, you can simply use Turnitin to screen your students' submissions for possible text-plagiarism. It is particularly effective for identifying collusion within a class group (or between years in a class group). It can also help you to identify where there are general writing problems that could be addressed through feedback and discussion with the class as a whole.

Improving Writing: Students can also benefit from accessing their own originality reports. In this case, it is recommended that you start with a low stakes (or formative) activity, wherre students can walk through the process of uploading their work and accessing the report. There should be some activity to support students in how to read the originality report, so that they understand how Turnitin works. Remember that not all colour is "bad".

Multiple Submissions: For students who have a good understanding of how Turnitin can support their writing, you might consider letting them have multiple submissions, so that they can learn from the originality report and make changes to improve their writing.

Online Feedback: Whether the students have access to reports or not, you can still use GradeMark to give rich feedback on assignments. Consider creating a rubric for the assignment, which will help to communicate your expectations, support feed-forward (how students can improve in future work), and make grading much easier for you. Audio feedback (max 3 minutes per student) can be a great way to give personalised feedback that conveys tone - often lost in written feedback.

Writing as a Process: Consider using PeerMark (also offered through Turnitin on Blackboard) to facilitate (anonymous) peer review for your class group. For more information on using PeerMark contact us at turnitin@nuigalway.ie

For more ideas, watch this recorded webinar on Best Practices for Teaching with Turnitin.

Get Started

There are two ways for NUI Galway staff to get access to Turnitin and GradeMark.

Turnitin via Blackboard

Every instructor on a Blackboard course has the ability to create a Blackboard Assignment, through which students can submit their work. The submissions, and associated originality reports, are then available to instructors through the Control Panel of the course.

Academic staff who are considering using Turnitin with their students are advised to contact turnitin@nuigalway.ie, or the appropriate Plagiarism Advisor for the School, for advice and support.

The following guides have been produced to support staff:

Quick Guide to setting up a Turnitin Assignment on Blackboard (Updated: 7th Jan 2019)

Excluding a Match from an Originality Report

Once students have submitted work via Turnitin, GradeMark can then be used to provide feedback. Turnitin provides an online interactive demo which will introduce the features and let you practice in a no-risk environment.

Using Turnitin.com

For submitting documents to Turnitin outside a Blackboard course (e.g. checking your own work, or for postgraduate students) some staff may prefer to use the Turnitin site directly. In that case, please contact turnitin@nuigalway.ie for access.


Flynn, S. (2010) Using Turnitin with large classes to support writing.  Fourth International Plagiarism Conference. Retrieved July 29, 2015, from PlagiarismAdvice.org

Turnitin Guides

The instruction pages below do not represent the Blackboard integration, but are useful for a variety of other functionalities.

The Similarity Report

Assignment management