Canvas and Turnitin

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Turnitin is well known for plagiarism and integrates with Canvas when an institution purchases a Trurnitin subscription. Many instructors rely on services for plagiarism education, prevention, and detection. Turnitin is also a valuable tool for grading and peer reviews. Turnitin currently integrates with Canvas in two different ways, but Turnitin is phasing out the older method.

The oldest Turnitin integration with canvas is known as the API integration. Currently, Turnitin is phasing out this older integration, but still offers support to schools who are not having a good experience with the LTI.  

The newer method of using Turnitin is the LTI tool. Turnitin’s page for the LTI tool includes the official Admin, Instructor, and Student Guides

Tutorials from Instructure for using the Turnitin LTI can be found here: , How do I create a Turnitin assignment?, and How do I manage Turnitin assignments?

Canvas has also developed a more robust framework for plagiarism detection services: Spring Cleaning Is Coming: Plagiarism-Detection Improvements Headed Your Way! Turnitin has announced that they will be continuing the LTI plugin while also developing a new plugin using the framework canvas is developing. The target release for the new plugin is Fall 2017. This new plugin promises Turnitin assignment creation within Canvas's interface for those who wish to use Canvas for most operations but would like an originality report from Turnitin. Users who wish to grade in Turnitin or use Peermark will wish to use the LTI version. However, Turnitin says institutions will be able to run both the LTI and the new plugin simultaneously. 

What is "Feedback Studio"?

Feedback studio is the name for an interface overhaul for Turnitin that took place in mid 2016. You can see an interactive tour and demonstration of the interface (Note the ability to use bold, underline, italics and hotlinked text in Grademark comments).  The materials in this blog now refer to feedback Studio, but only Grademark and originality reports have been incorporated into Feedback Studio. Peermark and its interface has not changed at this time.

Does Feedback Studio alter any functionality?

Yes, but the changes only affect the grading functionality of Turnitin.  As of May 23, 2016, the ability to view the complete list of Grademark comments is missing. For students, the implementation of rubrics in Feedback Studio is clunky as I discuss in this video:

Thankfully, Turnitin is listening and refining Feedback Studio. As of early 2017, the ability to search for quick marks while grading has been restored.

As a local Canvas Administrator, how do I configure the Turnitin LTI?

There are multiple sets of instructions with varying levels of detail for local canvas Administrators on the Turnitin website. Here is the best set of instructions, and here is the current configuration of the Turnitin LTI at the account level for my school:


1. Name the configuration.

2. The consumer key is provided to your account by Turnitin.

3. The launch url is provided by Turnitin and is the same for all institutions. The launch url for Turnitin UK Users is

4. Completing the domain field with "" ("" for UK users) enables Turnitin to launch from the Canvas speedgrader report icons.

5. Setting the privacy to public allows Canvas to share student names and emails with Turnitin.

6. Turnitin documentation states that the Custom Fields may be left blank. However, adding the code developed by canvas engineers adds several convenient features that sync information between canvas and Turnitin so that instructors do not need to enter information in both Canvas and Turnitin, including due dates, assignment id's, assignment titles, points possible, and availability dates. The graphic depicts all of the available codes.

Here is a short video demonstrating the syncing features added by the custom code.

Can my institution enable both the API version and the LTI version as we transition to the LTI?

Turnitin has offered varying answers on this question. The latest answer is yes. In an email sent to local Turnitin instructors on 4-11-2016, Turnitin states, "For those who are wondering, it is possible to run the legacy Canvas integration and Canvas LTI integration in parallel during the transition period."

What happens to API enabled assignments when the API version gets shut off?

In an email sent to local Turnitin instructors on 4-11-2016, Turnitin states, "When the previous Canvas integration becomes unavailable, classes and assignments originally created through the previous integration will remain accessible by logging into Turnitin directly. These older classes and assignments will not be visible in the LTI integration."  Although, I believe this access is limited to Turnitin administrators.

On the Canvas side, The API enabled assignments stay in Canvas and all Canvas functionality remains intact when the Turnitin API gets turned off. Submissions and grading in Canvas persists in Canvas once you turn off the API; only the link to Turnitin is lost, which means losing direct access to originality reports and any grading done in Turnitin. Although, with the API turned off and LTI turned on, you can currently see the icons and percent in the speedgrader for past assignments. If you try to click on the icon, you get this error message:


The text "Turnitin has been enabled for this assignment" persists in Canvas assignments when the API has been turned off but the LTI tool has not been turned on for that assignment even if the course is copied for a new term Of course, there is no way of knowing if this will change once Turnitin phases out the API altogether.

An instructor who wants to preserve grading in Turnitin from the API version for personal access, must save the grading as a .pdf one paper at a time before the API gets turned off. Originality reports can be saved one at a time, or reports can be reproduced by resubmitting the file to Turnitin and disregarding the first submission when interpreting the originality report.

When we turned on the LTI, I converted my existing assignments to use the LTI without issue.

Do teachers and students have to sign up for an account at

No one absolutely needs to create a separate Turnitin account. The tool uses the email address in the user's Canvas profile as an identifier, and log in from Canvas is seamless even for first time users. However, the instructor cannot use the Canvas test student for testing the LTI tool because the test student does not include a profile and email address. When I started using the LTI, I had a previous Turnitin account under the same email my Canvas profile uses, so the tool recognized me and put all submissions into my preexisting account.

If an instructor accessed Turnitin for the first time in the LTI and then later had a desire or need to access information in the web interface at, the instructor can go through the forgotten password process at to set up a password and then can begin to use the webinterface. It is probably advisable for an instructor to have access to the interface for using the iPad app, submitting for students at, managing rubrics and saved grading comments, etc.

Does the LTI version of Turnitin have feature X?

Yes! All of the major Turnitin features are present in the LTI version, including originality reports and grading (with reusable comments, rubrics, etc.) through Feedback Studio, e-rater (automated comments), grade anything (PowerPoint Excel, etc.),  peer review (in Peermark), ios app, and cloud submit.

How does an instructor set up an assignment using the LTI tool?

Instructors add Turnitin as an external app to an assignment. This video demonstrates the process (assuming you have enabled the custom codes in your LTI configuration for Turnitin:

When creating an assignment, should I load Turnitin in a new tab?

I prefer to use a new tab, but there are pros and cons to both approaches. Probably the most important thing is to be consistent on your campus to avoid confusing students. Here is a video showing what each option looks like:

Update:  As of June 30, 2016, Instructors must no longer launch a Turnitin assignment to initiate the assignment in Turnitin. The Turnitin release notes state, "Students can now launch into an assignment and trigger its creation; this relieves instructors from being forced to have first interaction with the assignment before students are able to submit." However, the instructor must set an available from date and a due date in Canvas to allow students to initialize an assignment.

How do students submit to a Turnitin LTI assignment?

Go here for a .pdf tutorial on uploading a word processing file to a Turnitin assignment.

How do students complete peer reviews?

Here is a .pdf tutorial on using PeerMark.

I want to set up an assignment sequence of rough draft, peer review, and final draft.

You will need two assignments in Canvas / Turnitin. The first assignment will be for students to submit drafts and critique each other with Peermark. The second assignment will be for the submission of the final draft. This video tutorial demonstrates setting up an assignment and adding a Peer review component with Peermark. Note that only the grade on the paper in Grademark gets passed back to the canvas gradebook, so if you want to grade Peer reviews, you can add reviews into the paper grade (what I do), or you can set up an assignment with no submission and manually enter grades for the peer reviews:

How does the grading work?

An instructor can choose to grade using Turnitin's Grademark or Canvas's Speedgrader.

I do all of my grading in Turnitin's Grademark. I use the Quickmarks (saved comments I can reuse) with a rubric and enter the grade in Turnitin. The grade gets passed to the Gradebook in Canvas. It actually works quite a bit like the Canvas Speedgrader, and you can advance from student to student as well as quickly flip through all of a student's submissions for the term. I prefer Turnitin's Grademark because I can save and reuse remarks (with clickable url's!). Turnitin also can layer the originality report and Grademark, so the instructor can see the originality report while grading. Unlike the older API plugin, Quickmarks, rubrics, and PeerMark libraries persist across Canvas courses, so there is no need for importing or exporting Turnitin assets after the initial use.

As of the August 29, 2015 update, the student submits the paper to Turnitin, and Turnitin sends a copy of the paper to Canvas. The copy of the paper in Canvas may be graded in the Speedgrader, but if you wish to use a Canvas rubric, you must add the rubric to the assignment before configuring the assignment submission as an external tool.

How do students receive their feedback?

Here is a tutorial for receiving instructor feedback through Grademark. If the instructor chooses to grade in the Canvas speedgrader, then the process is the same as it is for any other Canvas assignment except that the student can also click on the Turnitin icon to view her originality report.

How can I tell if my students have viewed their feedback?

If you use Grademark for grading, you can access the Turnitin inbox through the link on your Canvas assignment:


In the image above of a Turnitin assignment inbox, the eye icon indicates a student who has viewed feedback. The dots are students who have not seen the feedback.

Will Turnitin send a grade from Turnitin to the Canvas Gradebook?

Yes! Grades entered in Turnitin automatically get posted to the Canvas grade book. However, this is a one way link. Grades posted in Canvas do not show up in Turnitin.  

Can I use the Turnitin iPad app to grade?

I use it all of the time! In fact, the iPad Turnitin app does something nothing else does right now: you can download papers to the iPad and grade them without an Internet connection, using a rubric and Quickmarks (saved and reusable comments). Then, when you hit wifi again, the papers sync back to Turnitin (and therefore to Canvas).

Where can I see the originality report for a paper?

Icons for the originality report show up in the Canvas speedgrader and gradebook.  The full report can be seen by clicking on the icon in the speedgrader or accessing the LTI tool from the Canvas assignment or through the Turnitin iPad app.

What happens when I copy a course in Canvas?

The assignment, settings, instructions, and dates persist in Canvas when an instructor copies a course for a new term.The LTI assignment must be visited (if you load TII inside of Canvas or the LTI tool must be launched (if you load in a new tab) to reestablish the assignment and settings on the Turnitin side. Now, a student can access the assignment from Canvas to initialize the assignment in Turnitin; However, the instructor must set an available from date and a due date in Canvas to allow students to initialize an assignment.

How can I use Turnitin with an essay question on a Canvas Quiz to get an originality report?

There are two options.

The first option is to use a file upload question in the quiz. This allows students to upload a file in response to the question, and the instructor can bulk download the files from the quiz as documented in How do I create a File Upload quiz question?.  Once the students' files are downloaded in a zip file, the instructor could upload the zip file to the Submitting via quick submit on Turnitin's website. This is one good reason for instructors to set up accounts through Turnitin's interface and enable the quick submit in their settings.

The second option is to use essay questions in the quiz. After the students complete the quiz, the instructor can generate an item analysis. Download the item analysis and open it. Next, locate the column with the essay responses you wish to scan, and it helps here if you can search for a key word to locate the column. I always include the word "essay" in my essay questions, which lets me locate the columns I need quickly. Next, copy the column and submit it to Turnitin via cut and paste with Submitting via quick submit 

Here is a video that demonstrates using quick submit:

I want to check discussion posts for originality.

A feature request for using Turnitin on Canvas discussions is under review: . In the meantime, you can navigate to a discussion, select the entire page (ctrl A on Windows; Command A on Mac). Next, use Submitting via quick submit  on Turnitin's website and paste in the text. Some text you may not want will be included like the discussion prompts and your discussion replies to students, but if you can live with that, you can batch scan the posts, and what you copy even includes each student's name, so you know who wrote each post:


I want to use the Turnitin LTI but need a Canvas rubric for grading / assessment

Create your assignment as a Canvas assignment without linking it to Turnitin. Save the assignment. Add your rubric to the assignment, and edit the assignment to enable Turnitin. I

Can Students submit to Turnitin LTI assignments from the Canvas mobile apps?

Not at this time. As per Canvas iOS app and External Apps(LTI), Turnitin needs to make its LTI tool fully compatible for a mobile environment. However, it is possible for students to submit essays by using the browser on their mobile device. Additionally, Turnitin's iPad app supports student use for submitting papers  and viewing feedback. For students to gain access to the iPad app, they should go through the password recovery process after accessing Turnitin at least once through the canvas integration.

Are there any complications with the Turnitin LTI tool?

There is some loss of Canvas functionality that may affect some instructors:

  • Turnitin assignments will only accept one file per assignment.
  • Using differentiated due dates as documented inHow do I assign an Assignment to an individual student or course section? breaks date syncing with Turnitin because Turnitin can only handle one set of dates per assignment. As a workaround, an instructor could set a date in Turnitin that corresponds with the last date in Canvas, allowing all groups to submit to the same assignment, but this only works if your school is not using the custom codes to automatically sync due dates with Turnitin.  Alternatively, an instructor could set up multiple assignments, releasing each assignment only to one subset of students.
  • If an instructor wishes to alter a Canvas rubric on a Turnitin assignment, she must Turn off the LTI to alter the rubric and then reinstate the LTI when done editing the rubric. Warning: disabling the LTI after students have submitted will severe the connection between Canvas and the LTI; you should only do this if students have not submitted.
  • It is not possible to use the Turnitin LTI (or any other external tool submission) with a Canvas group assignment; the option to assign to a group disappears as soon as "External Tool" is selected as the submission type.

I have a question that is not answered here.

You can comment on this blog, and I am happy to help, but I do not work for Instructure or Turnitin and have no inside information. I am an English Professor, and I use the Turnitin LTI tool in Canvas daily. 

I do not like something about the Turnitin LTI. Who should I make aware of my displeasure?

Most issues are going to be with Turnitin. File bug reports and give feedback at Turnitin - Support Wizard.  You can also contact your local Canvas admin to pass feedback to the Turnitin rep for your institution. I encourage you to do this. Let Turnitin know that Canvas users want and deserve their attention. Turnitin is a great product, but it is also an expensive one. Get the most for your money by getting your feedback to the right folks.

However, it is also true that Canvas and Turnitin are working together, and Instructure Employees have initiated discussions on the following known issues:

Turnitin + Canvas: submissions appearing on the wrong assignment

Turnitin + Canvas issue: "Resubmit to Turnitin" button occasionally results in submission getting st...

Turnitin + Canvas: Allow teachers to resubmit on behalf of students

Canvas + Turnitin: Retreive TII originality score again after due date has passed

Questions? If so, please don’t be shy!

Does Feedback Studio alter any functionality?