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SafeAssign is integrated with regular Blackboard Learn assignments which means almost all of the regular assignment features are available with the SafeAssign service.

Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for plagiarism potential and create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase. SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool. SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material. Submissions are compared against several databases:

  • Internet: Comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the internet.
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database: More than 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from 1990 to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access).
  • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
  • Global Reference Database: Contains papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institution plagiarism.

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Create a SafeAssignment

You can use SafeAssign plagiarism checking for any of your assignments.

    1. On the Create Assignment page, expand Submission Details.
    2. Select Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign.
    3. Optionally, select one or both options:
      • Allow students to view the SafeAssign originality reports on their submissions.
      • Exclude all student submissions for this assignment from the institutional or global reference databases.
    4. Complete the Create Assignment page.
    5. Click Submit.

A grade column is automatically created in the Grade Center when a SafeAssignment is created. When a SafeAssignment is ready for grading, the Needs Grading icon appears in the Grade Center cell. Grade SafeAssignments from the Grade Center or access them from the Needs Grading page.

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Review Submissions and Access the Originality Report

When a SafeAssign report has finished processing, access it on the Grade Assignment page. Access the Grade Assignment page from the Grade Center or the Needs Grading page.

In the Grade Center, locate the assignment that you enabled the SafeAssign options for. When students have made their submissions, you see the Needs Grading icon—the exclamation mark. Access the cell’s contextual menu and click on the attempt.

Accessing SafeAssign in the Grade Center

On the Grade Assignment page, a SafeAssign section appears in the grading sidebar. While the report is processing, the following statement appears: Report in progress

When the report is ready to view, a percentage appears in the grading sidebar. Expand the SafeAssign link and click View Originality Report to view the results in a new window.

Grade Assignment Page
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Report Layout

A SafeAssign originality report is divided into three areas:

  • Report information
  • Citations
  • Manuscript text

If you need more room for viewing the paper’s text, you can collapse the right panel with the right-pointing arrow. The highlighting colors remain in the collapsed view.

SafeAssign Report Example
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Report information

Report information appears in the right panel of the report. When you reduce the width of the viewing area, this information appears at the top. You can view data about the paper, such as the author, percent of matching text, word count, and when it was submitted. If students have included multiple attachments, they appear with the report information. You also have an option for viewing a printable version. This printable version is the most effective view of the report for users who rely on assistive technology to access Blackboard Learn. At the top of the page, click Print to view the printable version. Download the PDF to email to others.

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The sources that include text that matches the submitted paper’s text are listed in the right panel of the report. You can expand the section to select sources, exclude them from the review, and process the paper again.

You can click Select Sources and Resubmit to determine which sources to include in the next report. By default, all sources are included. Clear the check box for each source you want to exclude from the results and resubmit. This is useful if a source is a previous work from the same student for the same assignment. You might also exclude a source if there is a reason that lengthy sections from the source appear in the paper. Processing the paper again generates a new value for the percent matching without using the excluded sources.

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Manuscript text

The submitted paper appears in the left panel of the report. All matching blocks of text are identified. Each source has a color specific to the source—up to 30 unique colors for 30 different sources. Text matching a source is highlighted in the source color and identified with a number. In the right panel, you can click Show/Hide All Highlighting to turn source highlighting off and on for all sources at one time. You can turn the highlighting off and on for only one citation. Click Remove or Show Highlighting next to a citation.

Click a matching block of text to display information about the original source and the probability that the block or sentence was copied from the source.

SafeAssignment Section Review

Use the pertinent findings in the report as you determine what grade to assign to the student on the Grade Assignment page.

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Multiple Attachments and Attempts

SafeAssign recognizes a student’s multiple attempts for an individual assignment as submitted by the same student for the same assignment. SafeAssign does not check the contents of the student’s current attempt against content from previous submissions.

If a student includes more than one attachment with an assignment, they are listed in the report. Click a file name link to view the file’s text in the left panel and view its word count in the right panel.

Multiple Attachments
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DirectSubmit generates SafeAssign reports on papers not uploaded to an assignment using the SafeAssign service. You can use DirectSubmit to add papers to the institutional database. Whenever possible, Blackboard advises creating assignments with the SafeAssign submission option selected.

DirectSubmit is not integrated with the Grade Center.

In one session using DirectSubmit, you can submit a single paper or submit multiple papers in a single ZIP file. DirectSubmit cannot process files that are larger than 10 MB.

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How to Submit Papers Through DirectSubmit

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and click SafeAssign.
  2. Click DirectSubmit. A list of folders and papers appears. This list includes papers already uploaded through DirectSubmit. Blackboard recommends not deleting files from DirectSubmit because this deletes them from the institutional database of existing materials.
  3. Navigate to a folder where you want to upload the paper or ZIP file.
  4. Click Submit a Paper. If you receive an error that you are not logged in, check your browser settings. Your browser settings should allow third party cookies and website data.
  5. Click Upload File and browse for the files. Alternatively, click Copy/Paste Document and add the document text in the box.
  6. Select the upload options:
    • Submit as Draft: SafeAssign reports are generated, but the papers are not added to the institutional database and is not used to check other papers.
    • Skip Plagiarism Checking: Adds the papers to the institutional database without checking for content copied from other sources. Use this option to upload papers from an earlier course to ensure that current students are not reusing work.
  7. Click Submit.

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Language Support in SafeAssign

SafeAssign does more than translate words from one language to another. SafeAssign uses algorithms that make decisions about potential plagiarism based on word frequency, sentence structure, and other linguistic characteristics that are specific to the English language. SafeAssign officially supports the English language, but due to similarities between English and other Latin-based languages, SafeAssign may provide sufficient or valuable results from other Latin-based languages. Other non-English Latin-based languages are not officially supported at this time however.

SafeAssign may have adverse and unknown responses to Asian, African, or non-Latin-based languages due to the logic defined in the algorithm that helps to determine potential matches. Clients are welcome to attempt to use SafeAssign in non-Latin-based languages, however results may vary and are not guaranteed to be accurate. There is no technical limitation to using SafeAssign in any language beyond English.

Blackboard has a partnership with an alternative plagiarism vendor, TurnItIn. TurnItIn integrates with Blackboard Learn and is available for international clients or anyone who needs support for non-English-based languages. To learn more, please see our knowledge base posts on Turnitin.

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SafeAssign FAQs

Blackboard Help has a set of FAQs that SafeAssign users may find beneficial.

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