Skip to main content

Canvas/Turnitin Integration: Checkbox vs. External Tool

The simplest setup option for setting up Turnitin is the checkbox option. This enables originality checking and nothing else. The external tool option is available for instructors wishing to use Turnitin's broader suite of tools

Creating a Turnitin Assignment

Basic Checkbox Integration

To enable Turnitin using the basic checkbox method, create a Canvas assignment and select the Online submission type. When editing the assignment, check the box in the assignment options to enable Turnitin.

External Tool Integration

With the external tool integration, create a Canvas assignment and select the External Tool submission type. 

From the Submission Type menu, select External Tool.
Then, in the Find box, select Turnitin LTI.

Select Turnitin LTI option from the Find menu. 

Configuring the assignment


When you use the checkbox integration, all assignment instructions go in the Canvas assignment instructions box, and the points possible, due date, and availability dates are all set in Canvas. Some additional Turnitin options can be configured by clicking the Advanced Turnitin Settings link. 

Upon saving the assignment and publishing it, it becomes available to students with Turnitin enabled.

External Tool

Assignment instructions can still be placed in the Canvas Assignment Instructions box. The points possible, due date, and availability dates should also be set in Canvas. Save the assignment to further view and configure the Turnitin tool. 

The Turnitin tool appears at the bottom of the assignment, below any instructions you may have entered for the assignment in Canvas. Click the Settings tab to configure the Turnitin assignment settings. Be sure to expand the Optional Settings and review them carefully. New Turnitin features are available under the new settings, such as peer review.

Turnitin Settings are available within an iframe.

What students see when they submit


 With the integration, the student submission process is much the same as it is for any Canvas online assignment type. The only addition is a checkbox for the student to acknowledge that his or her work will be checked by Turnitin and that it is original. 

Standard Canvas assigmment Submit button.

Old Turnitin Acknowledgement Checkbox

External Tool

With the external tool integration, students do not actually submit their assignment directly to Canvas, but rather directly to Turnitin using Turnitin's embedded assignment upload tool. But first they must agree to Turnitin's terms.

Students must agree to Turnitin's terms.

Under the new integration, students submit to Turnitin using the embedded turnitin tool.

After a successful submissions, students can view the uploaded file.  

Grading and viewing results


With the checkbox integration, all Turnitin results appear as small colored bubble icons in the SpeedGrader and Gradebook. Clicking on the colored bubble opens the Turnitin feedback studio with match results and GradeMark tools. All grades must be entered within the Canvas SpeedGrader or Gradebook.

 Turnitin results appear in the speedgrader.Turnitin results appear in the gradebook.

External Tool

With the external tool option, Turnitin results continue to appear as colored bubbles in the SpeedGrader and Gradebook. Clicking the colored bubble also opens the Turnitin Feedback Studio. 

Turnitin results appear in the speedgrader. Turnitin results appear in the gradebook.

However, results also appear in the embedded Turnitin tool on the assignment page itself.

Turnitin results also appear in the assignment itself.

Grades can be entered in either the SpeedGrader or Gradebook or in the Turnitin Feedback Studio, which will sync its scores with Canvas. 

Differences and limitations of the external tool option

The external tool option introduces some changes to the way assignments are handled. Currently, the external tool's settings allow you to prevent resubmission of assignments or permit resubmissions up to the due date. There is no option to resubmit after the due date. This means that if students need to submit after the due date, you need to delete their original assignment in the embedded Turnitin tool. 

Other limitations exist as well:

  • You cannot use external tool integration with group assignments.
  • External tool assignments cannot include more than one submission date; varied due dates are not supported.
  • Students cannot submit multiple file uploads to the Turnitin external tool.
  • Canvas rubrics don't display with the Turnitin external tool. If you plan to use the external tool option, plan to use Turnitin's rubric tools and grading options.
  • Creating a moderated assignment, an uncommon approach in which one or two people grade an assignment before a moderator selects or averages the grade, requires additional setup with the external tool option. The assignment must first be created as a moderated assignment and then converted to an external tool. Then grading must occur in the Canvas SpeedGrader.


Get Additional Help

If you have additional questions or need help with either option, please call 435.797.9506, email us at, set up an appointment with one of our designers, or attend one of our workshops