Get started with SafeAssign in Blackboard Learn

If you've used SafeAssign before, jump right in with these instructions. Read more to learn about how SafeAssign works to encourage originality in student submissions.

Enable SafeAssign for assignments in the Original Course View

Enable SafeAssign for assignments and tests in the Ultra Course View


Get Started with SafeAssign

How does SafeAssign work?

SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool. Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for originality and create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.

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:

  • Global Reference Database: Contains over 15 million papers volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.
  • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
  • Internet: SafeAssign searches across the broader internet for matching text using an internal search service.
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform Journal Database: More than 3,000 publication titles, 4.5 million documents, and over 200 topical categories from the 1970s to present time and covering topics from Advertising to Women's Studies.

Global Reference Database

Blackboard's Global Reference Database is a separate database where students voluntarily donate copies of their papers to help promote originality. This database is separated from each institution's internal database, where all papers are stored by each corresponding institution. Students are free to select the option to check their papers without submitting them to the Global Reference Database. Students submit their papers to the database voluntarily and agree not to delete papers in the future. Submissions to the Global Reference Database are extra copies that are given voluntarily for the purpose of helping with originality. Blackboard doesn't claim ownership of submitted papers.

Suggest a new URL

This tool is only available in Blackboard Learn courses using the Original Course View

You can suggest to SafeAssign additional webpages and websites that haven't been flagged or referenced in Originality Reports with the URL Adder tool.

The URL Adder tool is accessible to instructors through: Course Tools > SafeAssign > URL Adder. Select Suggest URL on the SafeAssign page to submit a web address.

If a user suggests a specific webpage, SafeAssign attempts to include all webpages available under the base website URL. For example, suggesting http://www.blackboard.com/about-us/index.aspx will attempt to find all webpages associated with the http://www.blackboard.com base website URL.

Any URLs included with the URL Adder tool are available to all SafeAssign users and institutions, meaning that suggesting URLs can benefit the entire SafeAssign community.


Supported files

SafeAssign only supports file types that are convertible to plain text, which includes these file types: DOCX, DOC, PPT, PPTX, PDF, TXT, ODT, RTF, HTML, and HTM. Spreadsheet files aren't supported.

SafeAssign also accepts ZIP files and processes files that match any of these file types.

SafeAssign counts and displays the total number of attachments in a submission, as well as the number of attachments processed by SafeAssign. SafeAssign only processes and creates Originality Reports for attachments that match the supported file types. For unsupported file types, the SafeAssign Originality Report omits a matching score.


SafeAssign Originality Reports

After a submission is processed, a report is generated detailing the percentage of text in the submitted paper that matches existing sources. The report shows the suspected sources for each section of the submitted paper that returns a match. You can delete matching sources from the report and process it again if the paper is a continuation of a previously submitted work by the same student.

Read the report carefully and investigate whether each block of text is properly attributed.

More on SafeAssign Originality Reports


SafeAssign in action

Learn how to use SafeAssign in your course!