Important changes to Turnitin for 2020

Turnitin logo

One of the biggest areas of change with the move to Canvas is how Turnitin interacts with the new LMS. After exploring the functionality of Turnitin during the pilot throughout Semester 2, 2019 with over 100 subjects, and working with staff and students, some changes to the way we use Turnitin are now required.

What will change?

  • The Turnitin plagiarism detection tool will continue to be available to all staff as a tool now called ‘Plagiarism Review Turnitin’. This means that staff will continue to be able to access a report for student submissions that shows a 'Similarity' score showing how much of the student's work matches online published material and other student submissions in Turnitin's repository. The plagiarism detection tool is available as an option when you create a Canvas assignment. A guide to creating an assignment using this tool can be found here.
  • The Turnitin marking and annotation tools via Feedback Studio will no longer be available. This means Turnitin tools such as QuickMarks, rubrics, grading forms, and inline comments will be unavailable from Semester 1, 2020. A guide to using Canvas' own marking and annotation interface 'SpeedGrader' can be found here.

If you have used Turnitin in the past, we recommend reviewing the table below for suggestions on how to create and configure your assessments for 2020.

Why is our use of Turnitin changing?

During the pilot of Canvas in 2019, we witnessed and had to support situations where the integration between Turnitin and Canvas resulted in frequent problems in syncing marks and/or feedback that was entered into Turnitin with the Canvas gradebook. This caused particular anxiety for the students and staff involved as well as considerable time to rectify.

Over the course of 2019, Turnitin also experienced intermittent periods of downtime (both planned and unplanned outages) which resulted in students not being able to submit their assessments within the required date and time windows. Furthermore, we experienced some instances of submitted assignments not appearing for marking. These events caused particular anxiety to the students and staff concerned, and required urgent responses and alternative measures to be rushed into place.

We are not alone in experiencing these technical integration and service support issues with Turnitin, where our colleagues at other Australian Universities including Go8 peers have had to take likewise actions and remedial steps.

Summary table of changes and suggested alternative marking practices

Please refer to the table below for changes and suggested alternatives:

Impacts & Past Possible Actions

Suggested alternatives

'Turnitin' will no longer be available as an option when creating an assignment in Canvas

Create an assignment and select the option to use ‘Plagiarism Framework’ - Guide is available here

The Similarity Report will still be presented in the Turnitin Feedback Studio tool, but annotation and marking functionality within the tool be disabled after Summer 2020 (see next point)

Feedback Studio will no longer be available for marking or annotations after Summer 2020

Marking and annotations can be made natively in Canvas using the the guide available here.

I had a library of QuickMarks that I used in Turnitin as I marked and provided feedback, can they be saved?


However, SpeedGrader does not have an equivalent function of storing frequently used annotations.

If you only had a few, we suggest recreating them in Word or Excel as the quickest way to replicate, and then having the file handy to copy/paste annotations into SpeedGrader as needed.

If you had more than a few or a substantive library we have a method to export them from Turnitin. Please follow the instructions here to download your annotations from Turnitin and raise a support request with us including that file. We will return to you a file you can copy/paste from into SpeedGrader while marking.

We are actively exploring the use of software such as 'Annotate Pro' to replace the functionality of Turnitin QuickMarks with equivalent comment banks and will provide further information in the next newsletter

I had rubrics or a library of rubrics that I used in Turnitin as I marked and provided feedback, can they be saved?


If you only had a relatively simple rubric design, we suggest recreating that in Canvas - guides are available here.

There is also the opportunity to link Rubrics to Learning Outcomes in Canvas if you wish to avail yourself of that capability.

If you had relatively complex Rubrics in Turnitin, or a library of Rubrics, please follow the instructions here to download the rubrics from Turnitin, and then raise a support request with us if you wish to import these into Canvas

Note: Rubrics in Turnitin were attached to an individual staff member's account, where rubrics in Canvas are attached to the subject itself. Please consider if we need to help you migrate rubrics from multiple staff into the subject, eg shared teaching, etc

The ability to submit ‘on behalf’ of a student is no longer available

While this is not a change brought about by the change to our use of Turnitin, we are aware the functionality to submit on behalf of a student is no longer available. The alternative is to vary individually the submission date/time for the individual student or group - guide is available here.

We are aware that this alternative is not a full replacement for the past capability, please raise a support request with us if you wish to explore possible options.

Benefits of this change

  • By making these changes to the way Turnitin works in our new LMS, we are reducing the risk of intermittent failures of the service as listed under ‘Why is our use of Turnitin changing?'
  • Assignment submissions will now all go into the Canvas assignment area, rather than being split between Turnitin and Canvas. This improves the simplicity and ease of submitting and accessing submissions by students and staff respectively, as well as reducing the impact of any Turnitin outages.
  • Using the Canvas marking interface 'SpeedGrader' improves the end-to-end audit trail of how marks and feedback are assigned to students, and will help in supporting enquiries and support requests pertaining to these aspects.
  • Using 'Speedgrader' also allows staff to view subsets of the class for marking, such as their tutorial group, rather than having to find the students by scrolling through the full class list.
  • Canvas rubrics are automatically available to all markers in the subject, not just an individual (the latter being the case in Turnitin).


If you have any questions, concerns or require assistance with the above changes, please contact us via the support form.

For further assistance creating assessments in Canvas, see a comprehensive list of guides.