Turnitin is a help for practising scientific writing. Practically, it is a submission box where an originality report is generated of the submitted texts and a teacher can give feedback on the submission with assessing tools.
What is Turnitin needed for?
Scientific writing is practised during studies, especially with thesis, but also with course assignments.
Scientific writing involves several skills such as searching and reading previous studies, thinking that evolves into understanding and formulating your understanding into a writing. A reader should be able to follow what you have understood and what sources you have been utilising. A reader should also be able to find the original source for checking its content.
The idea of scientific writing with references and source information is to prove that you are not inventing the wheel again, but showing your own contribution in relation with what has been known before.
The requirement is that you write in your own words and give credit to the authors of the sources you have utilized. Besides being a skill, this requirement is also an ethical principle. The same ethical principle applies to working life as well. Disregarding this principle means for example unacknowledged borrowing or plagiarism. Because plagiarism is not accepted in assignments or thesis that are being graded, it is more convenient to practise and make sure beforehand that your work is following the good practices of academic writing. This is the point where Turnitin helps.
Aalto code of academic integrity outlines how Turnitin should be used in order to help students in an appropriate way: our aim is to prevent plagiarism, not to detect it. There is also a procedure how to act, if a student, however, has disregarded the ethical code of academic writing.
More information about Aalto code of academic integrity concerning Turnitin usage (wiki.aalto.fi).
Where and how is Turnitin available?
Turnitin is available in MyCourses. A teacher can ask you to submit a course assignment or a thesis draft into a submission box marked with a Turnitin logo. A Turnitin originality check report will be generated automatically after a submission. Texts of the submission are compared with digital sources and similarities that were found are coloured on the text. The overall similarity percentage marked in the report does not mean anything itself, but similarities have to be interpreted in the context of the text from academic writing point of view.
A teacher can assess your work with Turnitin assessing tools and a grade can be given, if the work is the final version.
Aalto code of academic integrity recommends, that a teacher arranges students a possibility to practise before the final submission.
If a teacher does not provide a Turnitin type of submission, but you would like to get a Turnitin originality check of your work before submitting, you can get the report in Independent Turnitin Originality Check workspace in MyCourses (mycourses.aalto.fi).
Detailed instructions for students (wiki.aalto.fi) about submitting in Turnitin submission box, interpreting the originality report, viewing teacher’s feedback and tips for scientific writing (wiki.aalto.fi).