About this tool

Text-matching and AI detection

Turnitin is used primarily as a text-matching tool that works by comparing students' written assignments with a database of millions of web pages, academic books, and articles, as well as other students' papers. Turnitin is also advertising capabilities to detect potential artificial intelligence (AI) assisted writing in student assignments that may have been generated through AI technologies such as ChatGPT. Instructors use Turnitin as a first step in detecting plagiarism. After comparing assignments to the database, Turnitin generates a similarity index and a Similarity Report on the submission. Turnitin can be integrated with University of Waterloo course dropbox(es). Once enabled for a course dropbox, all student submissions made to that dropbox are checked against the Turnitin database. While Turnitin is a first step towards detecting possible academic misconduct, further follow up should always be conducted for verification.

Educational tool

Turnitin may also be used as an education tool, providing students with an opportunity to review issues in their draft assignment, and make changes to their final submission. It is recommended two dropboxes be created for the course (one draft, one final submission) if allowing students to use Turnitin as an educational tool. See Using Turnitin as an education tool on the Academic Integrity website for more information.

Requirements of use

  • Instructors must give their students notice of their intention to use Turnitin in the first week of the term and/or when assignment details are provided, and be prepared to arrange an alternative to Turnitin for any student who does not wish to submit their files to a Turnitin dropbox.
  • All course syllabi must include a statement of use informing students of their option to opt out of submitting their paper to Turnitin. 

Tool guide

Cost N/A
Recommended class size Unlimited
LEARN integrations Integration with LEARN dropbox
Known limitations N/A
Level of support Centrally licensed and managed
Privacy & Security
  • All UWaterloo submissions are stored in a private database (server in USA) and do not become part of the public data
  • For information regarding using Turnitin from an Academic Integrity standpoint, please see the Academic Integrity website

Similar tool(s)

Assess student work category

Join the Forum Coming soon! Connect with peers in the EdTech Hub Microsoft Teams forum to learn more about or discuss this tool

Campus support


training certificate

Check the EdTech Hub Training page for all upcoming EdTech training opportunities.