A Pilot Project for York

Academic Integrity: Promoting Genuine Learning in your Courses
Volume 12 Number 2 (January 2003)

Turnitin.com is a commercial Internet-based search service designed to detect incidents of plagiarism in written work. The program compares the submitted text with material that can be accessed on public websites, academic journals, papers purchased from essay mills, and essays and assignments concurrently or previously submitted to Turnitin.com. It was developed by academics at the University of California at Berkeley and is currently in wide use across Canada, Australia, Britain, US, and in over 50 countries around the world.

York's Office of the AVP Academic has arranged to subscribe to Turnitin.com as a pilot project and it is available to all full and part-time York faculty for their use on a voluntary basis. If the service is used and the experience of instructors is positive, then the University may continue with Turnitin.com as part of a larger strategy to enhance academic integrity in courses at York.

How it works:

Students submit their papers into a "drop box" at the Turnitin.com website

  1. Turnitin.com creates a 'digital fingerprint' of the document
  2. The 'fingureprint' is then cross-referenced against Turnitin.com local database containing hundreds of thousands of papers
  3. At the same time, automated web crawlers are released to search the Internet for possible matches
  4. A custom, colour-coded 'originality report' complete with source links, is created for each paper and saved in the instructor's Turnitin account
  5. The instructor can then review the "originality report" independently determine if the submitted work constitutes a violation of York's Senate Policy on Academic Honesty, and whether to proceed with a charge.

More information about the service can also be found at the <www.turnitin.com>. As well, if you would like to receive information or review the software, please contact the CST (ext. 55754 or cst@yorku.ca). In addition, further information along with detailed questions and answers about using Turnitin.com can be found at < vpacademic.yorku.ca/announcements/turnitin.html>.