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Online Assignments Using Turnitin in Blackboard

IMPORTANT: The page below was produced prior to the impact of COVID-19 on online assessment for 2020. A dedicated hub page has been created to assist staff with preparing for online assessment for summer 2020 with updated guides specific to the current situation. The information on the page below is preserved as reference and will be revised after the current situation passes. Please refer to the Online Assessment - Summer 2020 hub page for the latest guidance on online assessment options in Blackboard for summer 2020.


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Turnitin Service Status (Twitter)


Online assignments allow students to submit essays in the College Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard Learn and provide you with the functionality to give detailed feedback to your students using annotations, rubrics, voice recordings and text. Turnitin Feedback Studio, now integrated into the VLE, offers a streamlined process for online assignments. Click on the video below for a brief overview of how you can use online assignments to provide detailed feedback to enhance student learning. A separate page is available for assignments created with Blackboard's own assignment tool.

We strongly recommend all Turnitin assignments are created through Blackboard exclusively and that staff & students no longer access/modify/create assignments through to avoid potential issues.

Notice regarding the Turnitin Similarity Score: The similarity score in the Turnitin report is not a measure of plagiarism within a piece of work but represents where there are similarities to other sources (journals, essays, books etc.). A submission with a high similarity score might be satisfactory once the bibliography, cover sheet etc. are accounted for whereas a submission could have a low score but could be heavily paraphrasing other sources without citation.

Lecturers should advise their students not to focus on getting the similarity score below a certain percentage as there are many other dimensions to correctly citing sources. More information on interpreting the Similarity Score is available on the Turnitin website ; instructors may also find this recent blog post by Turnitin on the similarity report informative.

If a paper submitted to your class assignment shows a high similarity match to another paper or if you are contacted by another academic either within college or from another college, please see the Turnitin website for advice.

Please note most importantly: if you are going to run your students papers through Turnitin, the student must be informed in advance about the product and its intended use by you, the lecturer.

Benefits of Online Assignments for Teaching & Learning

You can use online assignments to:

  • Create, manage, and circulate assignments within Blackboard for formative and summative learning
  • Check for potential plagiarism issues using a Similarity Report
  • Give detailed feedback using annotations, comments and audio feedback
  • Grade using rubrics and grading forms
  • Manage how and when grades and feedback are released to students

Quick Guides

There are four stages to using online assignments. Click on the links below to view quick guides with the eLearning team's recommended settings for each stage of a standard assignment. More detailed guides are available in the Additional Resources section.

A quick guide is also available for students to help them with the submission process. Refer your students to the 'Student Help' tab in Blackboard (top right of the screen after logging in) to access this and other guides on using Turnitin.

Accessibility Features: There is no specific setting to give additional time to some students; instead you should set the option 'Allow Late Submissions' to Yes when creating the Turnitin assignment. Thus when a submission is uploaded after the Due Date it is marked as Late but it is up to the instructor to decide whether this affects the mark as there is no automatic deduction for late submissions.


Online Tutorials

After you've gotten used to creating a standard assignment you can begin to incorporate aspects such as rubrics, grading forms, voice feedback, annotations and feedback templates. The video and interactive guide below provide details on how to get started with these features.

1. Video Overview of Feedback Studio 2. Interactive Demo of Feedback Studio 3. Blackboard Vs Turnitin Assignments

Handling Submission Issues

Procedure: if a student has issues submitting we would advise them to contact the module instructor so there is a record of this and because the instructor would need to make a determination as to whether to reset the attempt based on the different circumstances. Clearing/resetting attempts needs to be done by the instructor of a particular module in the first instance. We also strongly recommend that if there are submission issues due to account/access problems etc. with an individual student, please accept the submission via email as proof of submission until the issue is resolved. If an instructor cannot resolve the issue themselves, the instructor can contact us for advice via

Clearing an attempt: Typically submission problems are due browser issues or if a student is trying to resubmit after the Due Date. If it looks to be a browser issue, please advise the student to try on another device/browser such as Chrome or Firefox. If the Due Date passes, students will be unable to resubmit so the only way to upload a new attempt is to either modify the Due Date or clear the existing attempt. If you go to the Submission Inbox for the Turnitin assignment (see guide here) you can locate the student's name in the list. To the right of this are three icons:

Important: first click on the ‘download’ icon to make a backup of the existing file and also make a note of the submission ID before deleting just in case of any issues. Then you can click on the trashcan icon to remove the submission for the individual student then you or the student can click the upload icon to the left of this and then upload the correct submission (as long as you have also allowed Late Submissions under the settings for the assignment if the Due Date has already passed). The assignment might be marked in red as late but there is no automatic deducting of marks etc. so it shouldn’t affect the submission otherwise.

Additional Resources

Below are additional resources for staff who require further details on the different features and settings of Turnitin within Blackboard. If you are new to using online assignments we would recommend that you create a standard online assignment as above before using these features.