Plagiarism and Turnitin

Plagiarism is the term used commonly across the University for all forms of cheating in assessment, including the copying of other students’ work, inappropriate collaboration etc.  The process for investigating plagiarism cases is Faculty-based and each Faculty has a number of Academic Conduct Officers (ACOs), usually one per Department, who have two main roles:

a)     to consider cases of alleged academic misconduct and either (i) determine if any academic and/or disciplinary penalties should be imposed, or (ii)  in extremely serious cases, that may involve a student being excluded from the university, refer the case to an Academic Conduct Panel (ACP) for a decision;

b)     to meet students accused of plagiarism or other forms of cheating and, in addition to discussing the alleged cheating offence, to help advise them how to improve their work, particularly in cases where students have not properly understood how to reference sources used, and also to help advise staff on how to detect and deter plagiarism.

Turnitin is an on-line service that checks if a text-based piece of coursework contains sections that are identical to work previously published elsewhere or posted on the internet or submitted by other students. However,

  • not all overlaps found by Turnitin are necessarily plagiarised;
  • work may be plagiarised even if Turnitin does not find any overlaps;
  • embedded pictures, tables and non-text objects and any textual content within such items cannot be compared or matched by Turnitin.

Nevertheless, it is still a very useful tool to help detect if plagiarism may be present. Turnitin can also be used for on-line marking of coursework, and this is now the expected norm in some subject areas. If you identify a possible case of plagiarism when marking, please contact your Academic Conduct Officer for advice.


Moodle is the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE) and Module Leaders are responsible for maintaining a module web for their module(s) which includes:

  • names and e-mail addresses for all tutors on module;
  • teaching timetable for year with rooms  and activities;
  • assessment titles and requirements, assessment weightings and deadlines for coursework (add to calendar);
  • details of exams, length and time of year, marks for coursework;
  • Module Guide, teaching materials where possible and previous exam papers.


For further information on Moodle, including help guides, please go to:


Examinations are time-limited assessments, organised and invigilated by Academic Registry.  Examinations take place at the end of each teaching cycle, i.e. each semester, however, the process of preparation of this takes place throughout the year.

Step 1:  As Module Leader you must make the format of the assessment clear in your Module Descriptor and indicate whether an examination is required.

Step 2:  In advance or at the beginning of the academic session you will be contacted by your Faculty Registry Team who will request a draft examination paper and will notify you of the deadline.

Step 3:  Prior to the submission deadline you must produce your exam paper, or as Module Leader, collect and collate all questions and ensure that the paper has been internally moderated.*

Step 4:  Once submitted, your paper will be moderated by the external examiner and you will receive copies of the external examiner’s comments for your response.  You will be required to inform your Faculty Registry Team once your paper is complete.

Step 5:  The Registry Team will duplicate and submit your paper to Academic Registry for distribution.  You must ensure that you are aware of the exam date and location and be present for the first 20 minutes of the exam to answer student queries and again at the end of the examination to collect your papers from Academic Registry for marking.


*This process is in transition between paper based and online using the “SharePoint” system. You may well be using SharePoint where this process is simplified using a workflow which prompts staff, via e-mail, to undertake their role in developing the exam papers.


It is the responsibility of the Module Leader to ensure that all assessment, including assessed coursework, is clearly outlined in the Module Descriptor.  Assessed coursework normally falls into one of four categories:

  1. Assignments with hand in date;
  2. work, which is set during a scheduled class and collected (in class) normally within two weeks;
  3. in-class tests;
  4. laboratory sign-off, where class time is scheduled for laboratory/practical work to be demonstrated and signed off.

Coursework Journey

Assessment should be, wherever practicable, online with feedback online. This means that full advantage can be taken of Moodle 2, TurnItIn and the Gradebook. Marks for all assessment should be published, under provisional cover, on Moodle as soon as possible after grading. The student can then check their grades ahead of the examination board and the uploading of grades from Moodle to Universe can be done most effectively. Examination grades should not be published before the end of the examination period, but ought to be available as soon as practicable afterwards.