Does Sakai LMS check for cheating and plagiarism?

Sakai is an open-source learning management system (LMS) that helps the schools handle assignments, announcements, calendars, and exams. But what about the originality of the content uploaded by the students? Does it check for plagiarism?

Does Sakai check for cheating and plagiarism? No, it does not check for plagiarism out of the box but will it you turn on the right plugins which are pre-packaged with the install.  The plagiarism detection tools that are available are Turnitin and CopyLeaks.

Now that you know what the best options are when it comes to checking students’ submissions on Sakai, let us find out which one fits your needs.


Turnitin is a software solution that ensures plagiarism detection. Its process includes comparing each student’s submission with a huge online database. The software then generates a report. This report shows what portions of the document are similar to the files in the database.

Turnitin can be added as a plugin to the Sakai LMS. It helps the teachers to make sure that their students submit plagiarism-free content.

Why use Turnitin in Sakai LMS

Using this plugin along with the Sakai learning management system improves the overall quality of the educational process. It provides a lot of different benefits for the school, the teachers, and the students. The most important perks that Turnitin offers are:

  • Plagiarism-free content
  • Wide variety of text files supported
  • Grades are in accordance with student’s skills

How to Integrate Turnitin in Sakai

You can use Turnitin in Sakai only after buying a subscription plan. This license is designed to help you counter plagiarized content. Additionally, it provides a Similarity Report for every assignment submission. This software is compatible with almost all versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

To integrate the Turnitin plugin on your Sakai platform, you have to follow these steps:

  1. Access your account on
  2. Select the administrative section
  3. Click on the ‘Integrations’ button
  4. Set up a new integration by clicking the ‘Generate API Scope’ button
  5. Create and view your API key (also called ‘The Secret’)
  6. Save your API key
  7. Integrate the plugin using Sakai management section and the API key

API stands for Application Programming Interface and the key uniquely identifies your account on Turnitin so Sakai links to the right account.

NOTE: Make sure that you copy and save your API Key/Secret. You can only see it once after generating it. If you don’t have this key, you can’t integrate Turnitin in Sakai LMS.

How to use Turnitin

Turnitin is quite easy to use especially on LMS platforms. All you have to do as a teacher is to enable Turnitin feature when creating an assignment. After doing this every attachment submitted on that specific assignment will get scanned by Turnitin.

Turnitin provides two important features that may be enabled or disabled by the teacher who created the assignment.

The first feature is called ‘Use Turnitin to review student submissions. This enables a plagiarism check for all files uploaded for the assignment.

The second feature is called ‘Allow students to view Turnitin report’. It is useful for the students to understand how plagiarism works and what they aren’t allowed to do when writing a document. It also gives them the instant feedback on the originality of their work.


As every software solution available on the market, Turnitin also has its limitations. The most relevant limitations are related to:

  • The number of attachments that can be reviewed
  • The information requested about the student

When using Turnitin to detect plagiarism on a certain assignment, the software can only review one attachment per student at a time. If two files are uploaded at once and sent for review then only the first file is checked.

To ensure the proper functioning of this plugin, all the students must fill in their first name, last name, and email address. Turnitin uses this information to assign one unique username for every student.

The Similarity Report explained

After the students submit their work, the plugin automatically generates a Similarity Report. This report is created after comparing the file uploaded against a huge online database. That database includes tons of previously written documents on the same topic.

The Similarity Report is assigned to that students account and the teacher can review it. This report can be found under the ‘Grade’ section. After enabling Turnitin for a specific assignment, a new column in the Grade section will appear. When the plugin finishes scanning a submission, an icon will appear on the new column, in line with the student’s file and grade.

Using that icon, the teacher can see if the work was unique or not in three ways:

  1. A quick overview – take a look at the color of the icon. It shows the percent of the document that overlaps items in the Turnitin database. Its colors have different meanings:
    1. Blue = 0%
    2. Green = 0-25%
    3. Yellow = 25-50%
    4. Orange = 50-75%
    5. Red = 75-100%
  2. Percentage – to see the actual plagiarized percentage in the document, place the mouse on the icon
  3. Detailed report – to access the in-depth report of the submitted file, click on the icon

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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