SafeAssign is Blackboard’s plagiarism prevention and detection software. As a Blackboard Building Block, it works within our current eLearn system. Instructors may use this software in any class using an eLearn shell.
How does SafeAssign work?
Students and/or instructors submit documents directly in their eLearn courses. SafeAssign software checks the work against content on the Internet, in library databases, and against other student work in local and global databases. In a short period of time (usually less than a minute), a report for each paper is generated, clearly marking any matching content and identifying the source of the match. If the match is not properly cited, then the student knows revisions will be necessary.
SafeAssign is more than a detection tool; it is a powerful teaching tool. Students can submit draft assignments to check their own work before submitting papers to be graded. SafeAssign reports clearly mark potential problem areas, giving students a powerful tool to help them learn to quote and paraphrase sources properly.
Why use SafeAssign?
- To demonstrate our commitment to academic integrity
- To support information literacy objectives
- To provide a tool that aids instructors with checking for plagiarism
- Most importantly, to offer students an easy-to-use tool that helps them learn to quote and paraphrase successfully
What preparations are necessary?
- Training: Building SafeAssignments and interpreting SafeAssign reports will require faculty training.
- Edit Assignment Settings: To use SafeAssign in an already-developed class, instructors need to edit the assignment submission settings to enable SafeAssignments.
- Legal Notifications: Instructors will need to inform students that plagiarism software will be used in the class, including a mandatory statement in the course syllabus.
Safe Assign Tutorials and Support
The SafeAssign tool is built into the eLearn Assignment tool. To use SafeAssign, choose the anti-plagiarism option for an Assignment’s “Submission Settings”. Instructors need to inform students that anti-plagiarism software will be used in the class, including a statement in the course syllabus.
Interpreting SafeAssign Reports
SafeAssign reports take some interpretation to use. A report that shows a 50% match does not necessarily indicate plagiarism, for example. See the following tutorial to learn to interpret SafeAssign reports:
Helping Students Interpret SafeAssign Reports
This tutorial assists students with interpreting their SafeAssign Reports.
Training and Support Options
Training on SafeAssign can be arranged on an individual basis, and takes about an hour. Contact the Tech Hub for more information or to schedule training. You can also check the Tech Hub Training Schedule to see upcoming SafeAssign workshops.
Blackboard’s SafeAssign Help Page also offers support resources for faculty and students.
Safe Assign and FERPA
SafeAssign plagiarism software compares student papers to the Internet, journal articles in online databases, and to other student papers in local and global databases. The local database is particular to Chemeketa; student papers submitted to the system automatically enter Chemeketa’s local database. The global database contains papers from all institutions that use SafeAssign; students must “opt in” to this database upon submitting an assignment.
The system can be used so that instructors submit student papers, or so that students can submit their own papers. It is recommended that students submit their own papers so that the software is used as a teaching tool.
What exactly do SafeAssign reports show?
- Interactive reports indicate the total percentage of a paper that matches content from other sources.
- Reports clearly indicate which passages match other content and identify the source of the matching content. If the match is to a Website, the URL is identified. If the match is to another student paper, the instructor is able to view the original paper.
- Instructor versions of reports that contain matches to other student work show the original document; student versions of the report do not show the content of other student papers, but rather indicate only that a match to another student’s document has been identified.
- Both word-for-word plagiarism and unsuccessfully paraphrased passages are identified, such as when a student borrows a source’s sentence structure, merely swapping key words out for synonyms.
- Possible plagiarized passages appear as hyperlinks; clicking the links opens a pop-up window that shows the original and matching passages, allowing for side-by-side comparison.
SafeAssign and Student Privacy
Due to the nature of the reporting tool, content within a written piece of work is viewable in the local Chemeketa database. For this reason, both students and instructors should remove personal student information when submitting to the local database.