Turnitin is a cloud-based service that has three main functions: scanning for plagiarized content, assigning grades to academic works and handling peer reviews between students. Educators acquire an annual license before they can submit student papers to the Turnitin website and check for originality.
By verifying that the written works are unique, Turnitin encourages students to uphold their academic integrity. The service has a proprietary algorithm it uses to compare text against its database, which boasts a vast collection of Internet content, student papers and academic journals. If it discovers that the submitted paper has similarities with other works, Turnitin sends a report to the teacher to show the percentage of the copied content. The teacher ultimately decides if the student has committed plagiarism.
Turnitin features tools to help teachers evaluate student papers. These include voice commentary, annotations and custom drag-and-drop marks. Turnitin can also check for spelling, grammar and style errors. It also lets teachers track the performance of their students over time through statistics and graphs.
Besides feedback from instructors, Turnitin assists in peer reviews to help students learn from each other. Since the student's work is stored online, his peers can conveniently access it anytime. Teachers can set assessment questions to help students write their peer reviews. An option for anonymous reviews is also available.