Downloading and Archiving Similarity Reports

Although not a requirement, it may be useful to download the Similarity/Originality report for certain students’ scripts. Unfortunately it is not as simple as downloading submitted scripts and e-feedback.

Navigate to the Turnitin Assignment Inbox, select to open and view the script that you wish to download the similarity report for.

In the Feedback Studio window ensure that the Similarity option is selected from the layers;

screen image showing the similarity layer in feedback studio

Select the Download icon from the menu and from the window that opens select Current View:

screen image showing the download options window in Feedback Studio

Repeat the steps for each script you wish to download the Similarity for and save to archive.

Fragmented Matches

Why is it I sometimes see fragmented matches pitted through some student’s work in Turnitin?

Turnitin will highlight these small ‘fragmented’ words when it has found similarity to a larger portion of text elsewhere within the student’s work from the same source, and the total of these result in an overall % which is deemed ‘significant’ enough by Turnitin to show.

Please be aware that Turnitin is best at matching larger, more verbatim sections of unoriginal text, it is not a paraphrasing detector. It would not indicate where a student may have paraphrased a series of small sections from multiple sources, then woven these together and not attributed them.

If you believe you may have seen a similar, although not verbatim, sentence / paragraph / phrase in a source which has not been attributed by the student, it may be that there is not an overall match to that source with the student’s work for Turnitin to highlight it. Using an Internet Search engine, such as Google, may help as these search on keywords.

Turnitin – Archiving in situ

Following a change in our Turnitin licence we now have the ability keep submitted work, marks and feedback in Turnitin live within Blackboard for up to 5 years from the creation of the Blackboard, rather than having to download them outside of Blackboard.  We are calling this concept ‘archiving in situ’ and it is done by extending the Turnitin Due date on a Draft submission point within each module Blackboard and adding a notice for staff to this effect.

A pilot of ~170 18/19 and 19/20 modules within the former School of Humanities showed this is more efficient than downloading from Turnitin (factoring in the extra set up steps required in each module Blackboard) and Turnitin have confirmed the information within them will be accessible for the University’s required retention period.  

PLEASE NOTE: Archiving Turnitin in situ REQUIRES ACTION – you cannot simply leave each Blackboard as is.  See instructions below.

Archiving in situ is OPTIONAL, however ONLY AS AN ALTERNATIVE to downloading and archiving offline.  Course teams can decide which is preferable but must do one or the other to meet retention requirements.

Instructions to archive Turnitin in situ – for each Blackboard with marked Turnitin submissions:

  1. Work out the ‘archive until’ date for the Blackboard
    To meet University retention requirements[1] it is recommended to set this to be the end of January of the calendar year after students are expected to complete the programme.  For example, for a 2020/21 Year 3 Blackboard this will be Jan 31st 2022, then Jan 31st 2023 for Year 2 Blackboard and January 31st 2024 for a Year 1 Blackboard.
    See also instructions below for students not expected to complete the programme on time.

  2. Set the DUE date on a DRAFT Turnitin submission point in the Blackboard to the archive until date
    This ensures that no Turnitin submission point within the Blackboard ‘expires’ before that date and the work, marks and feedback will remain live for access until then.
    Important: only change the Due date – not the Post date – and only on a student Draft (self-check) submission point – never for any with marked work.  If you cannot do this on a draft submission point, create a new one called ‘For Archiving’ and set its Due date to the archive until date (this should be a rare exception).

  3. Post a STAFF-ONLY notice to say Turnitin is archived and not to change any Turnitin settings or Roster Sync/Refresh Inbox Data
    See below for a suggested template message.
    The message should include the archive until date and must be clearly visible on the first page you see in the Blackboard (this should be the Welcome page).
    Ensure only staff can see the message because students can still access the Blackboard themselves.  Contact your Digital Academic Developer for advice.

  4. Continue to download work and feedback for students not expected to complete the programme on time
    Where a student is not expected to complete before the archive until date, for example if they have interrupted, have a year abroad or are repeating a year; you need to continue to manually download for them.

[1] See Retention schedule for documents related to student administration, examinations, validation and review, available from Quality and Standards web pages

Suggested message for staff to add to first page in Blackboard

This has been specifically configured to retain submitted work, marks and feedback within this Blackboard until <INSERT ARCHIVE UNTIL DATE HERE> – the period required by the University retention schedule.


Students can continue to access their work and feedback until the archive until date.

Why is Turnitin telling me I am marking a Draft submission?

Under the standardised University Turnitin set-up, after a student has submitted to a Final (on time) Turnitin Assignment (submission point) they can update their submission with a new file any time up until the submission deadline.  This is useful in the case of accidental submissions of the wrong file (although they can only see their Similarity Report once, after the deadline). 

If you add feedback to students’ work before the submission deadline for Final (on time) submission points, you will see this notice:

Turnntin warning prompt stating: "This is a draft submission. Any and all marks will be deleted when or if the paper is resubmitted. Would you like to continue?". Buttons available are "OK" and "Cancel"

This does not mean the student has submitted a draft to self-check their work – there are separate submission points for this.  It is a warning that, because you are adding feedback before the submission deadline, your feedback will be lost if the student updates their submission. 

Note: this is not the case for Final (after deadline) submission points.  Students can make only a single submission to these.

I am unable to view a Similarity Report and/or Feedback, why is this?

After opening a student’s submission in the Feedback Studio (document viewer) you may find that you cannot see the Similarity report and/or Feedback that has been provided for the submission. In order to view these, you will need to turn on the relevant ‘layer’. You can do this by clicking on the layers button (fig. a) and ticking the layer(s) you wish to view (fig. b).

Note: the originality layer will only be viewable if the Turnitin Assignment has been set up to generate Similarity reports by the Programme/Registry team.

Turnitin Training

The main training now focuses on Turnitin within a Blackboard Ultra site, however, if you require training for Turnitin on a Blackboard Original site please contact the Learning Technology Skills Developer via email:

This development session introduces academic staff who are new to Turnitin to what Turnitin is and what the CCCU policy requirements are.  It will also demonstrate the process of how students submit and what common issues can arise.

This development session, designed for academic administration staff who may be responsible for setting up Turnitin Assignments within Blackboard sites.  This session will demonstrate which set-up steps are required depending on the type of Assignment that has been set.

This development session demonstrates how to access Turnitin’s Feedback Studio. You will be shown how to view similarity reports (if generated) for a student’s submitted script, select filters and criteria. You will also be shown the different types of electronic feedback that can be added to a student’s submission and manage their release.

This development session will show you how to successfully create and upload assessment grids known as Rubrics in Turnitin’s Grade Mark tool which is used for e-feedback.

This development session will demonstrate how to edit or change Turnitin Assignments dates, manage student submissions, and explain the correct process to clear an incorrect submission, submit on behalf of a student and how to download and archive submissions and e-feedback. As well as correctly accessing Turnitin to retrieve marks.

The above workshops are available as scheduled sessions which are bookable via StaffSpace.

Other Turnitin training is available on request. Please email

Viewing Similarity Reports, Adding Grades, Feedback and Syncing Data

Turnitin iPad App

Similarity Reports

View an overview of how to access and navigate students’ Similarity Reports within the app on Turnitin’s own guide.

Adding Grades and Feedback

View an overview of how to add grades and feedback within the app on Turnitin’s own guide.

Syncing Data

When you have an active internet connection, any changes made to your Turnitin classes and assignments (e.g. new student submissions) will automatically synchronise with the Turnitin Feedback Studio app every 5 minutes. Any changes you make within the app (e.g. providing grades and feedback) will also sync back to Turnitin every 5 minutes.

Advice: when you have been working offline, you should try and sync the app whenever you have an active internet connection – the only copy of grades and feedback will be on your iPad until you next sync.

For an overview of how to sync data within the app, see Turnitin’s own guide.