Henley Business School staff guide to using Turnitin to aid identifying and dealing with academic misconduct when marking

Edith Rigby, Henley Business School


A review of existing University of Reading assessment advice and two staff workshops at Henley Business School to inform a new marker’s guide on fair marking and managing Academic Misconduct. The marker’s guide will specifically cover what to look out for and when and how to use Turnitin Originality Reports. The guide can also be used at staff development workshops.


To produce a staff guide that:

  1. Distinguishes plagiarism, poor academic practice and academic misconduct
  2. Outlines different staff roles in relation to marking and assessment feedback
  3. Provides a training tool for new staff
  4. Promotes consistent marking and feedback practice including when or how to use Turnitin Originality Reports.


Turnitin Originality Reports are used widely to detect potential academic misconduct. While there is some information on how to use Turnitin to help identify academic misconduct, there are no sessions or workshops on best practice specific to Henley Business School. Discrepancies can therefore able to arise across programmes in how similarity reports are used to advise students or inform marking.

Developing a new marker’s guide to best practice within Henley Business School when marking could ensure a more consistent student experience.


Two workshops with the School Director of Teaching and Learning, Directors of Studies and Programme Directors were held to first identify current processes and areas of concern around academic misconduct, and specific areas on which guidance was needed. Then the structure and core content for a new marker’s guide were agreed. The core content was to include: definitions of roles of admin teams, module convenors, markers and Directors of Studies; core definitions; processes; and advice on basic and best practice for new markers.

Then a basic but flexible guide with space for users to add more examples and narratives of best practice was developed. This was based on the results of the two workshops and a review of the Henley Good Academic Practice guide and test for students, and University of Reading advice and documentation around academic misconduct.

Core staff were invited to contribute to the guide as a work in progress, and this draft guide was used at staff workshops.


The basic guide achieved the project objectives.

Different disciplines across Henley Business School have different needs and collating contributions from busy academics has resulted in a guide that is currently best used for workshops only. Once more contributions are forthcoming an online version can be developed as required.

The key impact of this project has been to generate discussion and share practices around the

  • purpose and processes of marking
  • different types of assessment and the assessment literacies required for staff and students
  • handling large group assessment and marking.


Being able to identify what new markers need to know about roles and processes has turned out to be essential given the changes to the Academic Misconduct policy over the last two academic years. Academics and programme administrators alike have found this part of the guide more than helpful.

Henley Business School Directors of Studies also found the workshop discussions useful and pertinent to assessment aspects of their roles.

More workshops with targeted academics across an academic year as part of the project plan would have elicited more content.

Overall the work on this project has informed other work on eAssessment and eFeedback at Henley Business School, and will be revisited as part of the Henley review of assessment and feedback.

Follow up

In time more contributions will be sought so that the guide can better illustrate the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate marking requirements. It can then be made more interactive for web self-access or use in workshops.


 Henley Marking Guide to Academic Misconduct and using Turnitin Originality Reports
If you need to edit this, please contact Nicola Langton (nicola.langton@henley.ac.uk).

Using technology to find low-tech solutions by Mary Morrissey

Like a lot of people, I do not consider myself particularly savvy about technology: when I find that something is useful to me, I learn how to use it. That said, I think we can use learning technologies to come up with ‘low tech’ solutions to our teaching needs. Among the advantage is efficiency in terms of time and money: we already have the kit, and we know how to use it. I offer the following as an example.

It is often difficult to make sure that students are aware of detailed regulations that affect their work but which cannot be summarised or displayed easily. Conventions for writing and referencing are a good example in our department.  Last summer, Pat Ferguson (our Royal Literary Fund fellow whose role in the department is to help student improve their writing skills) observed that we had excellent advice on essay writing, but it was in our large Student Handbook, distributed at the start of the first year. Pat suggested that we make this information available separately.

I thought this was a great idea. I noticed there was other information in the handbook that students need through their degree too: there was information about our marking criteria; there were some very helpful examples that showed the difference between plagiarism and poor academic practice. I took these sections, and I created three separate documents with titles that I hoped would be self-explanatory: ‘Style Guide for English Literature students’; ‘Understanding Feedback – Marking Criteria’; and ‘Plagiarism’.

I uploaded all three documents to Blackboard’s ‘Fileshare’ area for the department, and I created links from the Blackboard courses for all our Part 1 and Part 2 modules. (I am working on the Part 3 modules, but there are over 50 of those!) I also posted the documents in our central ‘Information for English Literature Students’ Blackboard organisation, on which all staff, undergraduates and postgraduate students are enrolled. By keeping the documents in ‘Fileshare’ I can update them every year, to include new ‘standard paragraphs’ for example. I overwrite the old file with the newer version, and all the daughter versions linked to it update automatically.

This isn’t rocket science, but I think it has helped us make useful information more readily available. Having in posted in most of our Blackboard courses makes it more visible; having three small documents (in pdf format) makes them easier to download and print.

Where would I go from here? Students have told me that they like a website with exercises that help with grammar and writing skills that we recommended. It’s based in the University of Bristol:  http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/index.htm

I would like to create an interactive resource like this, and I know it can be done. The University of Aberdeen took the paper-based ‘Guide to Written Work’ (on which we all relied when I worked there!) and turned it into an internet-based resource with exercises: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/writing/

If anyone knows any low-tech ways that I could do something similar, please let me know!