Creating a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard


Creating a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard

Turnitin is an online tool to help evaluate student work for plagiarism. It is very effective, after studying 5 years worth of student papers (over 55 million), Turnitin found a nearly 40 percent decline in plagiarism. OKWU has the full suite of Turnitin tools available for you to use directly in your Blackboard class. Due to the way Blackboard and Turnitin work together the assignments cannot be set up by OKWU ahead of time, but it is easy to create your own Turnitin assignments in your class.

Turnitin’s Originality Report is the most popular feature. The two big areas it helps with is checking that students are adhering to our Academic Honesty Policy, and helping students learn how to properly cite their sources using APA standards. The report works by checking the content of student papers with online sources and Turnitin’s own database of submitted student papers. Any text that Turnitin finds a match for is shown, along with the source. This is where the learning comes into play – instructors can allow students to view their report, so they get a firsthand look at if they are citing their sources correctly and can be given a chance to make corrections

To create a Turnitin assignment in your class first navigate to the content area you want the assignment to be on. For instance, if you want to create a Turnitin assignment in Week One, start in the Week One Lessons folder. Then click Assessments > Turnitin Direct Assignment on the Action Bar (make sure Edit Mode is On!).


The next screen is where you fill in details about the assignment. There are a lot of settings you can adjust; I will explain the ones you need to focus on. Most of the settings include a green question mark next to them that will give further explanation when you hover your mouse pointer over it.

First, enter the name and description. The description box will not include any formatting, but you can include HTML tags in there. What this means is that if you want a line break you can’t simply hit return on your keyboard, you must type <br /> in between your lines, like this:


The HTML tags won’t show up in your final course description.


Submission Type – File Upload is recommended; students will need to upload a word or PDF copy of their paper.

Number of parts – Most of the time you will just be using one part. You would use multiple parts if you are grading different parts of the paper separately, for example a rough draft, final paper, and bibliography.

Overall Grade – Enter the point value for the assignment. More on grading in a bit.

Start Date, Due Date, and Post Date – Start date is when the paper is available for students to submit to. Due date is when the paper is due. Post date is when the paper posts to the grade center . If you want students to be able to see their grade as soon as you have graded it, set the Post Date to the same date as the Start Date. To change the dates click on the calendar icon next to them.

Report generation speed – This determines when reports are created, and whether or not they can be overwritten. I recommend “Generate reports immediately, reports can be overwritten until the due date”. Note that Turnitin will only generate one report per student per day.

Exclude small matches by – This setting will tell Turnitin to ignore small matches that it finds. I recommend setting this to “exclude by percentage”. You must set a value in the next option.

Minimum value to exclude – This is where you set the value for the “Exclude small matches by” setting. I recommend 2-3%. This will allow you to focus on the larger matches that are more likely to be plagiarism instead of small sentences or phrases that are bound to show up in many other papers.

Students view originality reports – Yes or No depending on if you want your students to see their reports. This needs to be set to Yes if you want to give your students a chance to review their work and submit corrections.

The rest of the options can be left as default, but feel free to change them as you need to for your assignments. Click Submit to create your Turnitin assignment.

There is one final option that does not appear until the assignment has been created, but it is vital that you make sure the setting is correct or your grade center will not display grades correctly. To change it, click View Assignment, then Modify. This will take you back to the options page you saw when creating the assignment. The option that needs changed is Grade format. This setting needs to match what your Blackboard grade center is set to. Most of your classes will be using points, if that is the case change this setting to “Show grades as a fraction”. Click Submit to save your changes.

Final Setup

Congratulations, your students will now be able to submit their papers through Turnitin! There are a few final settings to check before you are done, though. If you are setting up a Turnitin assignment to replace an existing assignment you will need to delete the original, otherwise your final grades will be calculated incorrectly. To delete, hover your mouse cursor over the original, click the down arrow that appears to the right, and then click Delete in the menu. A confirmation box will appear before it is deleted, click OK.

Next you will need to change the assignment’s category in the grade center. On the course sidebar click on Grade Center, then Full Grade Center. Once in the Grade Center click on Manage, then Column Organization. Find your new assignment (notice that the category is Turnitin Direct Assignment by default) and click the check box to the left. Now, hover your mouse over Change Category to and select the correct category from the list. You may need to make a note of what it should be before you delete the original.


On this page you can also drag and drop the assignment to put it in the correct order in your grade center. Click Submit when you are done to save your changes.

That’s it! Your students will now see your Turnitin assignment in class and be able to submit their papers just as with any other assignment. Their submitted papers will be in your Needs Grading area, but they will look a little different when opened. You will see an overview of the students attempt in Blackboard (along with a Similarity percent), but clicking on the assignment opens the Originality Report on the Turnitin website.

The Originality Report highlights content found elsewhere, along with the source. You can view most sources directly in Turnitin, and request access to those that are not included. When you are ready to give feedback and grade the paper click on Grademark at the top left. In Grademark you can hightlight and comment on papers, similar to grading through Blackboard. Enter the grade at the top right corner of the screen. This grade will automatically be sent to your Blackboard grade center. When you are done you can select other papers for this assignment at the top of your page, or close the page at the end of your grading session.



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2 comments on “Creating a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard”

  1. Dawn Marie Julian Reply

    Sarah, This information is very helpful and I will save it somewhere I can find it when I set up my next course. I used turnitin for an undergraduate class recently and had to ask one student to revise her paper writing more in her own words based on the similarity score and matches. Dawn

  2. Becky Reaves Reply


    Thanks so much for this very informative article about Turnitin. I know these instructions will be of great value for professors, and for our students, too.

    In Christ,

    Becky Reaves

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