Turnitin - Accessibility

Last Updated: 02/08/2018

Turnitin Accessibility Topics

Accessibility Considerations
Information for Assistive Technology Users
Information for Instructors
Service Roadmap
Additional Accessibility Information
Get Help or Provide Feedback

What is Accessibility? 

‘Accessible’ means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally inclusive manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Accessibility Considerations

Turnitin is an originality-checking service that instructors can enable for Dropbox assignments in Desire2Learn (D2L). There are two ways to access Turnitin: within D2L and within an external website called Turnitin Feedback Studio. Originality Scores can be viewed within Dropbox in D2L. However, all other advanced functionality such as in-line instructor comments, GradeMark feedback on grammar or mechanics, and PeerMark feedback is only able to be accessed within Turnitin Feedback Studio.

The Turnitin Feedback Studio has two different views: an image-based document viewer and a text-only version. To access the text-only version, users should hit the Tab button after Feedback Studio has loaded. This should navigate to a hidden button labeled “Navigate to Text-Only similarity report” which users can select to access the text-only version.

Information for Assistive Technology Users

Instructors and students should be able to access Originality Scores within Dropbox in D2L using a screen reader.

Turnitin Feedback Studio is largely inaccessible to screen reader users due to its use of an image-based document viewer. Turnitin recommends that screen reader users access the site using a text-only version, but the text-only version does not allow the user to read or write instructor comments or any other in-document markup.

The side-by-side comparison of the submitted assignment and matching assignment uses color coding alone to identify matching passages, and is inaccessible to individuals with blindness, low vision, or color blindness.

Feedback Studio is also missing appropriate headings to allow quick navigation through its interface.

Information for Students using Screen Readers

  • If you experience issues uploading files via the Turnitin.com site while using a screen reader, ask your instructor to submit the file on your behalf.
  • It is possible to access instructor comments by downloading the PDF of your paper from Feedback Studio. However, the download dialogue box is inaccessible to NVDA users, and JAWS users can only find it by going to the very end of the page.

Information for Instructors using Screen Readers

  • The GradeMark and PeerMark systems are inaccessible to screen reader users, and are not recommended for use by instructors who use screen readers.
  • D2L’s Folder Submissions table that contains the Originality Score uses nested tables within the Turnitin Similarity column, so a combination of arrow key and table navigation must be used to access all cells in the table. Users should switch out of table navigation mode to follow the link to open Feedback Studio.

Information for Screen Magnifier Users

  • Colored overlays are heavily used within Feedback Studio, which can cause eye strain. Consider switching to text-only mode for reading the entire document, or deactivating all of the colored overlays via the sidebar until they are needed.
  • These colored overlays will darken when moused over, which may cause additional difficulty reading the content.

Information for Instructors

D2L Integration

  • All students should be able to access their originality score within D2L’s Dropbox Submission History page if you allow students to see their originality scores.

Turnitin Feedback Studio

  • Instructor comments, GradeMark feedback, and PeerMark feedback are inaccessible to students using a screen reader.
  • If you have a student using a screen reader in your course, use MS Word or a plain text file to share feedback on their paper with them.
    • If you have to use Feedback Studio to provide comments, only use Text Comments, and quote the relevant section of the student’s original text in each comment. Then download the paper and comments as a PDF from Feedback Studio and share it with the student directly.
  • If you are having your students user PeerMark feedback, send students who use screen readers a Word version of their assigned peer review assignment and associated peer review questions. Allow them to submit their feedback within that document.
  • If students using screen readers experience issues uploading files via the Turnitin.com site, instructors can submit the file on their behalf. Instructions for submitting a file on behalf of a student are available in the Turnitin Help Center.

Using Turnitin in a Course

If you are requiring your students to use this service in your course, you should include the following statement in your syllabus:

This course requires the use of Turnitin, which is currently not accessible to users of assistive technology or has not yet been reviewed fully for accessibility. If you use assistive technology to access the course material, please contact your faculty member and Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by email at dsinfo@colorado.edu as soon as possible to discuss other effective means for providing equal alternate access."

Service Roadmap

OIT is in communication with Turnitin to determine their timeline for addressing the concerns listed above.

Additional Accessibility Information

Get Help or Provide Feedback

OIT has partnered with Disability Services to provide assistance for accessibility issues related to OIT supported services and we want to hear from you about this service. If you need assistance using this service or you have more information about the accessibility of this service that we should share with others, please contact the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu or at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone).