Carnegie Mellon University

How-To: Create a Turnitin Assignment via External Tool


Turnitin is a plagiarism detection tool that will scan student submissions against Turnitin’s database of academic journals, commonly plagiarized websites, and institutional/students’ submissions. This guide is intended to help instructors enable Turnitin for Canvas assignments.


Creating a Turnitin Assignment

1. Navigate to the “Assignments” area within Canvas (via Canvas course left navigation).

2. From the Assignments page, click the +Assignment button to create a new assignment and add any assignment details.

3. Set the Submission Type to
External Tool and click the “Find” button to locate the Turnitin external tool URL.
Image of Submission Type Field

4. A window with tool options will appear. Click on “Turnitin” from the list of tools. Then click “Select”.
Image of Window with tool options

5. At the bottom of the screen, click “Save” to save the assignment. The Turnitin assignment screen should appear.
Image of turnitin assignment screen

6. From the Turnitin assignment screen, click the “Optional Settings” button to select how your students’ submissions will be reviewed.

image of submission settingsa. Submission Settings: There are a variety of settings for you to choose. In particular, you can choose whether to include or exclude student submissions from being stored in Turnitin’s database.
NOTE: If you are enabling Turnitin for an assignment where students are submitting their early drafts and prior to an assignment where you will be collecting their refined final work, then select “Do not store the submitted papers” from the “Submit Papers to” drop down menu options. This will help with reducing the potential for false positives (i.e., to ensure that students’ final submissions will not return high matches against their previously submitted drafts).

b. Comparison options: You can specify what resources Turnitin should check student submissions against.

c. Similarity Report options: You can also specify portions of student submissions that should be excluded from the plagiarism check (e.g., quoted materials), and to allow students to view the report.

7. Click the Submit button to save your settings, and then Publish the assignment.

Viewing Originality Reports

To view Turnitin’s originality reports

1. Go to the Grades area of your Canvas site.

2. Submissions that carry a Turnitin originality report will appear with a colored tab in the grade cell.
image of grade cell

3. Enter SpeedGrader for this assignment. On the far right side of the page a percentage will appear in a colored box. Click on the percentage to view the Turnitin originality report. 

image of speedgrader

4. The originality report will highlight text that matches other sources.

NOTE: In general, a matching score below 33% is considered low. If you are utilizing a template that students fill out for an assignment, a higher match can be expected as each submission will return a match on the template itself.
image of originality report