How do I run a student's paper through Turnitin using a hidden assignment in Moodle?

One way to discourage plagiarism is to create your student writing assignment as a Turnitin Assignment.  When students submit their documents to the assignment, those files are checked against Turnitin's database of previously submitted student work, online sources, etc., to determine the "originality" of the student's writing submission. 

Occasionally, when you use the regular Moodle Assignment activity or have students submit their work to you in another way, you come upon a student submission that sounds "too good to be true" - in other words, the writing style is suspiciously advanced or different from earlier work by the same student.  If you want to check if the student copied language from other sources, you can create a Turnitin Assignment in your Moodle course, you can hide that assignment from students, and you can manually submit the student paper to the assignment. 

This article assumes you've already created a Turnitin assignment in Moodle (link opens in new window).

Once the assignment has been created, you hide the assignment as follows:

  1. Go to, and click on the link for your course in the Current Course List module on the right-hand side of the main Moodle page. 
  2. Make sure the Editing mode is on.
  3. Find the Turnitin Assignment that you created, click on "Edit" for the assignment, and then "Hide":

    Hide Turnitin Assignment

Here's how you submit a paper to that hidden assignment:

  1. Click on the link for the Turnitin assignment within your Moodle course.
  2. Moodle will show a summary of the information about the assignment.  Scroll down until you see the list of students in your course.  You'll need to upload the document under a student's account, so find the row for the student to whom you are attributing the essay, and click on the "Submit Paper" icon (that looks like a cloud with an up arrow inside it):

    Submit Student Paper

  3. Enter some value in the "Submission Title" field.  You could include the essay title, along with the actual student's name for reference. 
  4. In the "File to Submit" area, drag the student's file from a Windows Explorer (or Finder) window into the hashed rectangle (for file submissions).  You can also click on the "Add File" button to navigate to the correct file on your hard drive:

    Add Student File
  5. Within the dialog box, click on the "Upload this file" button.
  6. You will see an icon representing the file within the submission rectangle.  Click on the "Add Submission" button:
    Add Submission

The file needs to be in some kind of text format.  Usually, faculty members submit a Word document or a PDF file with a text layer.  Here is a full list of the file types that Turnitin accepts:

Turnitin will provide a "Digital Receipt," displaying the text that was submitted.  You can click on the "Close" button in the top-right corner to close out that window. 

At some point (usually less than an hour later), Turnitin will return its Originality Report, which you can find following these instructions.

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Article ID: 75
Thu 11/21/19 3:25 PM
Mon 3/13/23 12:03 PM

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