What to do if Turnitin goes down


This alternative submission approach will only be used if Turnitin (TII) is unavailable for the whole University in the run up to an assessment submission date. It should never be used as alternative to TII if the submission tool is functioning as expected.

The alternative submission approach will be a dedicated email/inbox to which students submit their work using approved naming conventions. This is kept dormant, to be activated when necessary (and subsequently deactivated at the end of the submission period. An Out of Office Message will indicate the current state of the mailbox). From this inbox, SAS staff will take assignments and reattach them to NILE areas via TII. This means that assignments will still go through TII when it is working again and that academic staff will not be required to do anything different or additional in the marking process. Electronic marking and grading will occur as normal and originality reports will be available to support academic misconduct investigations.


  • An issue with TII is identified no more than a week prior to an assessment submission deadline.

  •  The Deputy Director (SAS), Assessment and Ceremonies Manager and Head of Learning Technology decide whether to activate the alternative approach. This decision will be based on the severity of the problems being experienced and the length of time they are expected to continue.

  •  If the decision is made not to activate the alternative approach the situation will be kept under review; a decision to activate can subsequently be made at any point.

  • If the decision is made to activate the alternative approach it should be noted that TII will then not be used for that submission deadline even if the problems are resolved prior to the deadline - i.e. the alternative submission approach will be used for that whole submission period.


  • SATs will identify which modules/assignments are affected.

  • The original deadline will be extended for 24 hours.

  • Learning Technology will place a message on all affected module sites on NILE stating there is a technical problem with TII and that the submission deadline will be extended for 24 hours. This will hopefully give TII enough time to resolve the technical issues.

  • After 24 hours, if the University-wide submission problem still exists, then LearningTechnology will provide information on the email address/inbox to be used instead of TII and the naming conventions that students need to use when submitting their assignments (including a warning that a failure to use those conventions may jeopardise or slow up the processing of their assignment).

  • Learning Technology will send an email to all affected students via NILE.

  • SATs will email all module leaders via QLS.

  • DD (SAS) will email all other stakeholders, including SAS colleagues, Deputy Deans, school managers, IT.

  • Learning Technology will oversee the email box and all SAS staff will support the process of reattaching assignments to NILE via TII once the TII issue has been resolved.

  • An automatic response will be sent to students who submit to the email/inbox, acting as the receipt of assignment submission.

  • The alternative submission approach will be used for all students including those with extensions. This means that the email/inbox will remain open for 3 weeks after the deadline date (to cover two weeks worth of extensions and the week in which students can submit late for a capped mark). After this time it will be closed down and a message put on to tell students to submit via TII. 

  • Usual rules will apply - so a student who submits up to a week late will get a capped mark and students can still apply for extensions.

  • Where TII goes down the day before, or on day of, submission the same approach will be used and an additional day will be added to the deadline.


  • SATs - providing a list of those modules with submission deadlines in the affected period;  emailing all module leaders on the affected modules; providing support to reattach assignments to NILE.

  • Learning Technology - liaising with IT regarding the email/inbox; communicating with the students on the affected modules; overseeing the email/inbox whilst open; providing support to reattach assignments on NILE.

  • All SAS staff - providing support to reattach assignments on NILE.

  • Deputy Director (SAS) - communicating with all stakeholders to explain the problems andprocess being used to manage this.

  • IT - setting up the email/inbox; activating it when necessary and deactivating it at the end of the submission period; ensuring sufficient memory to store all assignments. 

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