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Turnitin FAQ

Most of these questions have been asked at the desk. Answers and comments in [] brackets are from the Le Moyne College Administrator.

  1. Does the e-mail have to be an LMC account? Must a user have an e-mail account?
    A user may sign up with any e-mail address. We actually designed the system so that anyone (even if they do not have e-mail) can access the system. A user id simply has to be in the form of an e-mail address.

  2. May faculty view the PPT presentations?
    Absolutely! We highly encourage all new and potential users to make use of the PowerPoint presentations. In my experience, users who have gone through the presentations have had a much easier time navigating the system.

  3. What happens if LMC suspects a security leak (e.g. a former faculty member still using the system)?
    If you ever suspect a security leak, simply let me know. I will follow up on the matter immediately.

  4. Can we submit documents such as Power Point or Excel?
    Any text from a PowerPoint or Excel file may be submitted. Currently, documents may be submitted in Word, WordPerfect, RTF, PDF, PostScript, HTML, and plain text.

  5. Is there a user manual for Peer Review?
    We have new manuals that are coming April 10th. They will be updated to reflect the new web site and Peer Review. Le Moyne does not subscribe to Peer Review, however.

  6. What's to prevent a student from creating an account as a professor?
    They would need the Account info from the Administrator, and even if they had it, they would only have access to that account, no one else's.

  7. Team teaching?
    Professors need to create a class using a separate ID.

  8. Is there any reason a student shouldn't be allowed to see the OR?
    I cannot think of a reason why students should not be allowed to view Originality Reports. There are instructors I have heard from that are adamantly opposed to allowing students this access. For this reason, we made it a feature that must be activated by the instructor and account administrator.

  9. Are there any restrictions on its use by faculty?
    There are no restrictions regarding the types of papers that faculty may submit to the service. The only restrictions on use are related to the terms of the license. If your institution has an unlimited license (we do), you may submit as many papers as you would like without exceptions. This means that you may also submit your own work for checking, but you need to tie it to a course, so you may wish to create a personal course.

  10. Can the administrator delete a professor from the system (e.g. an adjunct who is no longer here)?
    The system allows you to delete instructors only if they have not made any submissions to the service. Once they have made submissions, they may be deactivated but not dropped. If this is a serious issue and you need them removed from your account, we can remove them from our side of the system. The Administrator will be removing adjuncts from the system each semester, and anyone else she is aware of who might have left the institution.

  11. Can a student submit a paper before it is due to see if something is tagged, and then submit it again, with or without revisions?
    A student may resubmit a paper as many times as she would like before an Originality Report is generated. The most recent submission will replace the previous submission. One a report is generated, however, a new assignment must be created before that student may resubmit her paper. (Note Faculty: you may wish to do this, by creating a draft assignment and a final assignment, to give students a chance to revise and resubmit papers.)

  12. How long do the papers and reports remain on the class/assignment list?
    Would faculty and students be able to view the papers and results all semester, or until the class is archived? What about after it is archived? Papers and reports remain indefinitely and are accessible to faculty at all times. They are accessible to students as long as the class in not archived. Once a class is archived, students will not be able to access any of their submissions.

  13. Does's acquisition of personal information and papers comply with FERPA?
    We have not encountered an instance of this yet. We have had in the past questions about how the papers are stored and privacy issues regarding intellectual property. But, at this point, there have been to our knowledge no incidents of students refusing to submit their paper to the service. [Administrator's note: FERPA applies only to records, so as long as you do not ask students to grade other students' papers, or share grades in any way, FERPA does not apply. The most recent supreme court decision on FERPA seems to also allow peer grading.] (see also question 18)

  14. Is there a limit to the size of the submitted paper?
    In terms of the amount of text that may be submitted to the service, there is no limit for how much text we can accept per submission. Some older browsers, however, do impose a limit on how much text may be pasted into a browser. If you are using an older version of Netscape such as 4.7, this may be the cause of this limitation. Additionally, before you submit a paper, make sure it has been saved in plain text. It is possible that some of the text did not paste into your browser because it is formatted text. One thing you can do to insure the text is plain text is paste the paper into a program such as Notepad or any other text editor before pasting it into your browser.

  15. Can a professor delete a paper turned in for an assignment (e.g. a practice paper)?
    This is not a current option. If a paper must be removed, we can remove it from our end. I usually recommend that an instructor archives papers such as these. This will prevent them from appearing with the current papers.

  16. Can a professor use the same enrollment password for the class the next time it is taught?
    Yes, each time a class is created, an enrollment password is also created. This password may be the same for all classes if the instructor so chooses.

  17. An OR shows only one link to another source, that being a paper in the database. Might there be other sources as well, including sources in the original paper?
    If, say, a paper matches a previously submitted paper, the only link that will be provided will be to the database. This, however, does not mean that other matches were not found. The service searches everything and reports those matches that contain the highest percentage of matching text. For instance, if a similar phrase is found on two websites, the website containing more matching text will be reported. At the same time, if more matching text is found in the database than on this website, a database link will be provided. If at anytime you would like to see if there are possibly additional matches, you may exclude the link and click on the 'reanalyze' button. The report will quickly be reanalyzed and any other matches (matches of less significance) will be reported [including those found in the original paper].

  18. Does downloading papers into Turnitin's database violate copyright law?
    This question was recently tested in court, and the answer was determined to be "no." (See Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2008, p. A13) Most experts feel that it does not. The papers are not republished, just stored, and are not available to anyone without the student's (or professor's) knowledge and permission. Most experts agree that informing the students that their papers are being downloaded may forestall protests from students, and some faculty at institutions using TurnInIn require students to sign an agreement in order to enroll in the class. (see also question 13) (For more information on this question, you might be interested in an article on the subject published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/17/2002, p. A37.)

Please contact Inga Barnello, x4326 or, administrator, with any questions or problems