Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map

Blackboard Turnitin Assignment Changes 2023 – Staff Information


Since Otago adopted Turnitin Feedback Studio back in 2018 it’s been integrated with Blackboard by a plug-in or ‘building block’ named “Turnitin Direct”: hence Turnitin Direct Assignments.

Blackboard will cease to support such third-party building blocks at the end of 2023 and Turnitin have decided to preempt this by retiring their Direct block in a gradual fashion, in advance of the deadline. Instead, Blackboard will connect to Feedback Studio through an ‘LTI 1.3’ integration. 1.3 is the latest version of the dominant LTI standard for connecting Learning Management Systems like Blackboard with external tools like Turnitin Feedback Studio. Our eReserve and Echo360 integrations are also LTI-based.

Consequently, Turnitin Direct Assignments are being superseded by Turnitin LTI Assignments.

This advisory is not relevant to Turnitin in the University’s Moodle sites.

Turnitin LTI Adoption and Turnitin Direct Retirement Timetable

January and February 2023

Turnitin LTI has been deployed (with minor customisations) and thoroughly tested, and we’ve liaised intensively with the system vendor (Turnitin LLC) about various facets of it’s implementation. Some Summer School and other early 2023 papers are already using the new kind of assignments. Feedback has been positive. We’ve worked with our Otago support partners and Exams Office colleagues, and developed Otago-centric help content. We’re now in a position to extend help with Turnitin LTI to staff more widely.

Using Turnitin in March 2023

Regarding Turnitin Assignments that will be Active (receiving submissions) at any time in March:*

  • We’d like Turnitin LTI to replace Turnitin Direct in as many papers as possible. Coordinators of S1 and FY papers are encouraged to adopt the new LTI version from the outset.
  • Turnitin Assignments used as tests or exams, or whenever the submission window lasts a few hours or less, should be the LTI type exclusively.

* including Assignments with very long availability windows that stretch into March, such as are in some postgraduate papers.

April to December 2023

  • Our goal is for Turntin LTI to be used exclusively (for new submissions) from the start of April. Turnitin Direct will effectively be retired. However:
  • Staff and students can continue to view old Turnitin Direct Assignments, including submissions and settings, right until the end of the year.

2024 and Later

Direct Assignments links in Blackboard will cease to function but nothing will be lost: old assignments will still be accessible with help from ITS Digital Learning.

Shifting to Turnitin LTI Assignments: the Practicalities

  • Creating new Turnitin LTI Assignments is a quick and easy process. Note that they are inserted from the Build Content menu (not the ‘Assessments’ menu, as with Direct).
  • Brand new Direct Assignments can no longer be added.
  • Links to old Turnitin Direct Assignments in 2023 Blackboard papers can (technically) still be recycled but please don’t! Here’s our advice on dealing with old links.
  • Unfortunately, there’s no way to ‘convert’ extant Turnitin Direct Assignments into LTI ones. The Direct to LTI transition isn’t an incremental update but rather a shift from one integration mechanism to another. But the good news is…
  • If you’ve already got Direct Assignments set-up and ready to go for March or later then ITS Digital Learning will be pleased to substitute LTI Assignments for you as outlined below.

How We Can Help!

We wish this switch in integration methods to add as little as possible to the workloads of busy teaching and support staff, and with this in mind:

  • If you’ve already got Direct Assignments set-up and ready to use, as at 10 February:
    ITS Digital Learning can replace them with new LTI Assignments for you. We’ll carefully copy over the settings of your existing Direct Assignments before removing the latter. Just drop us line including the Blackboard course code and letting us know whether you want all the Direct Assignments in your paper recreated. This said, if you’d prefer to replace your Direct Assignments yourself, please do!
    This offer also applies to Direct Assignments currently receiving submissions that will continue to be open into March.
  • If you intend to use Turnitin this year but haven’t yet prepared Direct Assignments
    For example, if copied links to old Direct Assignment haven’t been recycled:
    In this case it would be helpful if you could set up the new LTI Assignments in your course yourself, but we’ll be more than happy to lend a hand if needed. Please see support resources below.
  • We’ve prepared a collection of Otago-centric help pages (which we’ll improve over time). It’s hoped these will ease the shift to LTI for everyone.
  • IT Training sessions: our wonderful Learning and Development colleagues are offering compact introductory sessions on Turnitin LTI by Zoom, which we’d encourage you to take advantage of.

Students’ Adaptation to Turnitin LTI

The document upload procedure has been improved in Turnitin LTI Assignments and is largely self-explanatory, so students’ transition from Direct to LTI is not expect to present difficulties. Nonetheless, instructors might wish to share this student help page link with their classes (for example, by including it in the instructions of the first LTI Assignment in your Blackboard paper).

Comparison of Turnitin LTI and Turnitin Direct Assignments

A key point is that the ‘destination’ system – Turnitin Feedback Studio – where staff and students view assignments and similarity data, enter or view grades, comments, rubrics etc., is remaining the same. Moreover, Turnitin Direct and LTI Assignments share the majority of their settings. But there are some notable differences between how old (Direct) and new (LTI) Turnitin assignments look, are created, used and managed in Blackboard, which staff need to be cognizant of and we encourage seasoned Direct users to scan this article.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to working with you on this transition. Although the adoption of the new LTI interface for Turnitin in Blackboard isn’t a matter of choice (it’s mandated by the two companies), it does bring a number of benefits and more are promised in due course.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’ve any questions.

Ngā mihi nui

ITS Digital Learning

Turnitin LTI Help for Teaching Staff

■  Turnitin’s ‘Blackboard LTI 1.3 Instructor’ support pages are your primary source of information on Turnitin LTI Assignments and Feedback Studio.

■  Supplementary ITS Digital Learning pages may assist Otago staff adapting to Turnitin LTI in our Blackboard environment.