Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Checking Your Own Papers With Turnitin

by Alan Regan

Checking Your Own Work With Turnitin

Dotting the i's for your own academic integrity

A professor asked how he can check his own work for citation issues. The professor was working on a journal article with peers and students and wanted to be sure that everything was cited properly before it went to publication. He knows how to set up an assignment to check student work, but he wasn't sure how to check his own work using Turnitin.

It's easy to check your own work with Turnitin by following three simple steps:
  1. Create a project site on Courses (powered by Sakai)
  2. Create an assignment with Turnitin enabled
  3. "Submit as student"
These steps will take about three (3) minutes to create and submit the assignment, plus the amount of time that Turnitin takes to generate the report.


Every professor should have his/her own project site. These are private sites where you can draft content for your classes, collaborate with your peers, and experiment with the features of Courses (powered by Sakai) without impacting your official class sites.

Create a Project Site in Courses and be sure to add the "Assignments" tool.

Time to complete: Approximately one (1) minute.


Once you have your project site, you'll create an assignment. You can create a new assignment for each document you wish to check.

Create a Turnitin Assignment in Courses.

Time to complete: Approximately one (1) minute.


Once your assignment has been saved, you now need to submit to the assignment yourself. The easiest way to accomplish this is to click the "Student View" button in the toolbar. This will change the view and enable a new link below the assignment, called "Submit as Student." This allows you, the professor, to submit a document to the Assignments tool as if your account was a student account instead of a professor account. This tool does not allow you to submit the document on behalf of a specific student; it simply allows you to take your own assignment and verify that it is working properly.  In this case, it also allows you to upload your document and submit the assignment for Turnitin OriginalityCheck.

  1. Click "Student View"
  2. Click "Submit as student"
  3. Attach your document
  4. Submit the assignment
Time to complete: Less than one (1) minute.
Now, you'll return to instructor view by clicking the blue reset arrows or clicking the "Assignment List" button in the Assignments toolbar. Wait the 10-30 minutes for Turnitin to process your document and then click "Grade" below the assignment title.  (Turnitin says that papers could take up to 24 hours, but it usually doesn't take that long.) Next to your own name in the grade roster will be the Turnitin column and the badge and link will appear once the report is ready. Review Reviewing Report Results for more details on interpreting the Turnitin report.


  • Keep the selection "None" under "Submit papers to the following repository." You don't want to accidentally save your own document permanently in Turnitin's paper database.
  • Follow the guidelines for Turnitin submissions. For example, submit a Word document less than 10 MB in size for best results, and always include the file extension in the file name (e.g. mypaper.docx).