Turnitin Usage by
California State University Campuses Reaches Record Levels

Online originality checking and grading service helps CSU promote academic integrity
across 23 campuses; anticipates triple digit growth


The California State University (CSU) system is the largest and most diverse university system in the United States. With 23 campuses, nearly 447,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff, CSU awards nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees and one-third of all master’s degrees in the entire state of California.

California State University wordmark

In 2013 the CSU Chancellor's Office launched a set of initiatives to reduce "bottlenecks" to student graduation through innovative academic technologies. CSU views Turnitin as an application that helps ensure academic integrity is maintained while educational opportunities are increased.

Turnitin has been used by individual CSU campuses for many years. Recognizing its value for originality checking as well as online grading and grading across the curriculum, the CSU Chancellor's Office created a system-wide licensing agreement for Turnitin in 2010. Three years later, 22 of the 23 campuses elected to participate in this agreement. "The high level of campus participation in this agreement demonstrates CSU campus' commitment to academic integrity and the value of Turnitin", says Kathy Fernandes, the director of Learning Design and Technologies at CSU.

More than 1.4 million Originality Reports were generated by CSU students in 2013, a 142% increase from 2010. In all, CSU will soon surpass over four million Originality Reports generated since 2010.

Glen Gendzel, Associate Professor of History at San Jose State University comments on using the Turnitin Originality Report:



Glen Gendzel
Associate Professor of History,
San Jose State University

Turnitin has been effective in tracking down cases where students are ‘borrowing’ a lot of words, shall we say… It fits well with the kind of plagiarism that we're more likely to encounter. It eliminates a lot of the guesswork—the first level of legwork that you have to do when you get a suspicious paper and you start Googling.I also use it as a teaching tool to talk to students about what is plagiarism and what isn't. Where do you draw the line between borrowing from someone else's ideas vs. your own original contribution? They have to show where words and ideas came from and how they are using them in an original way to create their own argument. Where Turnitin comes in for me is afterwards when I can then check how well they played by the rules.

The numbers certainly support this assertion, with a 543% growth rate in papers graded online using Turnitin forecasted through 2013. By the end of 2013, CSU instructors have graded over 834,000 papers using Turnitin. Fernandes says, “Using Turnitin for grading is efficient and makes better use of faculty time. Turnitin allows instructors to give quick, customized and important feedback to students while also automatically submitting the grades to the LMS gradebook. Our professors find online grading very useful whether the courses are enhanced with technology, hybrid or fully online.”

In 2013 Turnitin launched its Grade Anything feature which enables educators to provide rich feedback on any type of assignment like PowerPoint® presentations, math calculations, science experiments, speeches and graphic design comps. Similar to paper submissions, other file types fall under the same Turnitin privacy policy for students’ submitted work.

Jiansheng Guo, Professor in the Department of Human Development & Women's Studies at California State University East Bay agrees:

First of all, it is a huge help for the organization of student papers. The students submit the work without me having to touch any paper. With hard copy papers, I have to spend 20-30 minutes grading each paper because I have to write each comment. Using Turnitin, I can finish each paper in 5 minutes. It is not just the time savings. Turnitin has also changed the way I teach. I can produce a very good, analytical, informative grade for the student so they know why they got the grade. With Turnitin, you enable and empower instructors to be able to teach more students—or teach more to the students they teach—without sacrificing educational quality.


Jiansheng Guo
Professor and Interim Associate Dean,
California State University East Bay

California State University System usage charts

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