Plagiarism: Turnitin plagiarism plugin

Maintained by Picture of John McGettrick John McGettrick, Picture of Dan Marsden Dan Marsden, Picture of Paul Dawson Paul Dawson, Picture of David Winn David Winn, Picture of David Hatton David Hatton, Picture of Jennifer Earl Jennifer Earl
Turnitin is a commercial plagiarism detection system which requires a paid subscription to use - This Plugin integrates with the existing Moodle Assignment module.
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WARNING: This plugin replaces Dan Marsden's plugin with a new version developed by Turnitin 

The plugin developed by Dan Marsden has been deprecated for the version now available here.
This plugin shares code with the new mod_turnitintool2 plugin which must be installed at the same time.

The new version has a number of major benefits compared with Dan's including:
  • Fully supported by Turnitin for all issues that occur.
  • Uses a new improved API to connect to Turnitin.
  • Better support for the rest of Turnitin's product range (Grademark, Writecycle etc)
  • Works with the new Moodle block developed by Turnitin

Dan Marsden's original plugin
Dan Marsden's plugin is supported for all versions up to Moodle 2.7 to allow people time to migrate to the new version but will not be supported past Moodle 2.7 - Dan's plugin is still available from his github account here: along with documentation here:


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1


Picture of John McGettrick
John McGettrick (Lead maintainer)
Picture of Dan Marsden
Dan Marsden: Previous plugin maintainer
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  • Picture of John McGettrick
    Tue, 13 Sep 2016, 6:30 PM
    Hey Corey, it is strange that this is affecting only students. Can you contact product support and we'll get some details off you?
  • Picture of Iñigo Zendegi Urzelai
    Fri, 30 Sep 2016, 5:50 PM

    We're using this plugin (2.6+ 2016091401) on Moodle 3.1.2 and it throws this message to the admin:

    The following plugins in your system are using Events 1 API deprecated handlers: 'plagiarism_turnitin'. Please, update them to use Events 2 API. See

    I don't know if it make some trouble, but just in case.
  • Picture of John McGettrick
    Fri, 30 Sep 2016, 5:55 PM
    Hi Iñigo, it shouldn't affect the functionality but you will end up with a lot of notices like that if the debugging level is high. We are looking to rectify this for compatibility with Moodle 3.2.
  • Picture of Robert Payne
    Wed, 11 Jan 2017, 10:59 AM

    We are currently in the process of updating our Moodle instance and all of its plugins to 3.2 and have run into an issue with the turnitin plagiarism plugin
    in assignment editing pages. We recognise that the latest turnitin plugin is technically made for 3.1 but were hoping it would function okay with 3.2.

    This error occurs only sometimes for editing assignment pages in certain courses and have yet to work out what separates one course working from one
    that doesn't.

    Here is the message we receive below:

    Exception - Call to undefined function mb_strlen()

    More information about this error

    Debug info:
    Error code: generalexceptionmessage
    Stack trace:
    line 350 of /mod/turnitintooltwo/turnitintooltwo_assignment.class.php: Error thrown
    line 1455 of /plagiarism/turnitin/lib.php: call to turnitintooltwo_assignment::create_tii_course()
    line 526 of /plagiarism/turnitin/lib.php: call to plagiarism_plugin_turnitin->create_tii_course()
    line 263 of /plagiarism/turnitin/lib.php: call to plagiarism_plugin_turnitin->get_course_data()
    line 117 of /lib/plagiarismlib.php: call to plagiarism_plugin_turnitin->get_form_elements_module()
    line 188 of /mod/assign/mod_form.php: call to plagiarism_get_form_elements_module()
    line 204 of /lib/formslib.php: call to mod_assign_mod_form->definition()
    line 95 of /course/moodleform_mod.php: call to moodleform->__construct()
    line 141 of /course/modedit.php: call to moodleform_mod->__construct()

    Are you able to shed any light on the situation?

    Thank you for your time,
  • Picture of Dan Marsden
    Wed, 11 Jan 2017, 12:32 PM
    Sounds like the php extension mbstring is missing on your web server. You should ask your sys admins to add it. (It's in the list of server recommendations in the admin notifications too.)
  • Picture of David Winn
    Wed, 11 Jan 2017, 4:57 PM
    Hi Robert,

    I think Dan Marsden is correct that mbstring is missing and that is causing the issue you describe.
    In regards to 3.2; we are currently testing the plugins in this version of Moodle and aim to support 3.2 as soon as possible.
  • Picture of Robert Payne
    Thu, 12 Jan 2017, 6:37 AM
    Hi Dan and David,

    We went and installed the php extension and all seems to be operating well now! Thanks for the help!
    It now seems to be working fine on our 3.2 test site.


    Are there any major compatibility issues known or is it just not officially supported because testing is still going?
    We're just trying to have things setup on 3.2 before classes start back on the end of January.
  • Picture of Chris Chapman
    Thu, 12 Jan 2017, 4:58 PM
    Hi all, interested in using this for our HND/HNC courses as opposed to Turnitin Assignment Activities which do not allow Pass/Merit/Distinction. is there any control over user permissions being able to turn on/off the Turnitin features this adds to the standard Moodle Assignment activity?
  • Picture of David Winn
    Thu, 12 Jan 2017, 6:15 PM
    Hi Robert,

    It's not officially supported because the testing is still on going. We aren't aware of any major issues right now but we don't advise people to use the plugins on 3.2 until we have checked them and gave them the ok. Moodle Direct V1 has some problems in 3.2 but V2 and PP are looking better. We will have an update soon. 3.2 was a big change in Moodle due to the theme change so we need to ensure it all works properly. We are also changing the Events API to use the new Events 2 API as the Events 1 API has been deprecated.

    Hi Chris,

    The Turnitin features of PP can be defined at the site level in the plugin settings and locked so that they can't be edited when new assignments are created.
  • Picture of Ishani Vardhan
    Wed, 3 May 2017, 8:17 PM
    Hi guys,

    I can see from the comments that the plugin is not officially supported on Moodle 3.2 but still pretty much works. Do you have an official release date for 3.2 supported version since the last conversation around this?

    If we need to (or just have to) upgrade to Moodle 3.2, then do we need to upgrade Turnitin Plagiarism plugin to it's latest version, if not already, to ensure it works with 3.2 OR is it still not advisable to put on 3.2 with any version ?

    Your responses will help us decide the fate of our upgrades.

  • Picture of David Winn
    Wed, 3 May 2017, 8:44 PM
    Hi Ishani,

    I can say that we now officially support 3.2, as of release 2017022201 on February 22nd. You will need to update both the Plagiarism plugin and Moodle Direct V2 to their latest versions. (Moodle Direct V2 is a dependency for PP)
  • Picture of Andrew Rowatt
    Sat, 20 May 2017, 9:03 AM
    John, Dan et al - I hope you can help me with a technical question - does this plugin rely on a consistent Moodle "Course ID number"? We are changing how we compose the Course ID due to a change in Student Management System. The change in system will come in part way through the teaching term which requires the Course ID to change to the new format. e.g. There is the possiblity of students submitting to an assignment (mod_assign) before or after the change.

    Can you advise please smile

  • Picture of John McGettrick
    Mon, 22 May 2017, 4:35 PM
    Hi Andrew, it does yes. There is a table mdl_turnitintooltwo_courses that links the Moodle course to the class in Turnitin. If you're only changing the course ids and can keep a reference to the current ids though it shouldn't be too much of a problem to remap them.
  • Picture of Andrew Rowatt
    Tue, 23 May 2017, 3:55 AM
    Thanks John! You have answered my question
  • Picture of Glenn Pillsbury
    Sat, 24 Jun 2017, 6:09 AM
    Any luck getting this to install in 3.3? When I try, it gets past the Validation screen, but then the admin/index.php page is completely blanked out. Hoses the entire site. Luckily, manually removing the turnitin folder from /plagiarism restores the site. Yikes!
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