How Does Canvas Detect Plagiarism

In the role of an educator, it is crucial to confirm that your students are handing in authentic assignments. While technological developments have made it simpler for students to plagiarize, they have also presented solutions for this issue. Canvas, a widely utilized learning management system (LMS) in educational environments, is an example of such technology. A frequently asked question among educators is, “how does Canvas identify plagiarism?” Let us delve deeper into this subject.

What is Plagiarism Detection?

Plagiarism detection is the process of locating instances of plagiarism within a work or document. It is commonly used by schools, colleges, and universities to ensure students are submitting original work. Essentially, a plagiarism detection tool like the one used by Canvas compares a student’s submission against a database of known works. This database may include academic papers, websites, books, and other sources. If matches are found, the software flags these for further review.

How Does Canvas Detect Plagiarism?

Canvas itself does not have a built-in plagiarism detection feature. Instead, it makes use of integrated external tools to perform this task. The two most common tools used with Canvas for plagiarism detection are Turnitin and Unicheck.


Turnitin is a plagiarism detection service that checks student work against its extensive database to identify matches. When integrated with Canvas, Turnitin creates a similarity report for each assignment submitted by the students. You can access these reports through the assignment’s SpeedGrader or the assignment’s details page in Canvas. Turnitin highlights the matching parts in the student’s submission and shows the original sources of the matched content.


Unicheck is another tool that Canvas uses to detect plagiarism. Unicheck compares submitted assignments against internet sources, open access repositories and Unicheck’s own database of academic papers. The teacher can view the results through the similarity report in the Canvas Gradebook.

How to Enable Plagiarism Detection in Canvas?

To enable plagiarism detection in Canvas, you need to integrate either Turnitin or Unicheck with your Canvas account. Once the integration is done, you can then set up each assignment to use these plagiarism detection services.

Here’s a basic example of how to enable plagiarism detection when creating an assignment:

1. Navigate to Assignments.
2. Click the "+ Assignment" button.
3. Fill in the assignment details.
4. Under "Submission Type", select "Online".
5. Check the box for "File Uploads".
6. Under "Plagiarism Review", select either Turnitin or Unicheck from the dropdown.
7. Click "Save & Publish".

By following the above steps, each submitted assignment will be checked for plagiarism using the chosen service.


While Canvas doesn’t have its own plagiarism detection feature, it integrates with powerful tools like Turnitin and Unicheck to ensure academic integrity. Whether you’re an educator wanting to ensure originality in your students’ works, or a student aiming to uphold academic integrity, understanding how Canvas detects plagiarism is crucial in the world of digital learning.