Use SafeAssign in Assignments

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    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:

    • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
    • Global Reference Database: Contains over 15 million papers volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.
    • ProQuest 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.
    • Internet: SafeAssign searches across the broader internet for matching text using an internal search service.

    Use SafeAssign in your assignments

    Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about using SafeAssign in assignments.

    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:
      1. Allow students to view the SafeAssign Originality Reports on their submissions.
      2. Exclude all student submissions for this assignment from the institutional or global reference databases.
    4. Complete the Create Assignment page.
    5. Select Submit.

    When you create a SafeAssignment, a grade column is automatically created in the Grade Center. 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.


    Watch a video about SafeAssign

    Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" video about using SafeAssign in assignments and tests.

    The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


    Video: Use SafeAssign in Assignments provides the step by steps for using SafeAssign in the Original Course View.


    About the exclude submissions option

    The SafeAssign settings have an option to "exclude submissions" when you create the assignment. This option allows instructors to create assignments that don't include any student submissions in the Institutional or Global Reference Databases. Like other options for Blackboard assignments, this option will be point-in-time and editable after assignment creation. If you change the option at a later date, new submissions will honor the new state of the setting. An example use case:

    An instructor wants a single assignment to allow non-final submissions, then a single "final" submission. Only the final submission should be included by SafeAssign in the Institutional database for reference against later submissions.

    You can accomplish this use case with these steps:

    1. Create an assignment with multiple attempts, SafeAssign, and the "exclude submissions" options enabled.
    2. Students submit their "draft" works, and submissions aren't included in the Institutional or Global Databases.
    3. When the final submission is expected, you disable the "exclude submissions" option.
    4. Students submit their final works, and submissions are then included in the Institutional or Global Databases.

    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 paper 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


    Suggest a new URL

    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.


    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.


    ULTRA: Use SafeAssign in your assignments

    Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about using SafeAssign in assignments.

    You can use SafeAssign to check for potential plagiarism in student submissions.

    1. Open Assignment Settings in a new or existing assignment.
    2. Under SafeAssign, select Enable Originality Report.
    3. Select Check submissions for plagiarism with SafeAssign.
      • When you enable SafeAssign for the assignment, you can also allow students to view the Originality Report. For assignments where you allow multiple attempts, an Originality Report is generated for each attempt a student submits.
      • Choose whether to exclude submissions from the institutional and Global Reference Databases.
    4. Close the layer. Your changes are saved!

    When you enable the Originality Report for an assignment, an Originality column is added to the Submissions page. Scan the list to quickly determine which submissions may include plagiarized material.

    You can enable the SafeAssign Originality Report any time, even after students have started their submissions, but submissions are only checked when SafeAssign is enabled. Submissions received before you enable the setting aren't checked with SafeAssign.

    SafeAssign is powered by the same technology in both the Original and Ultra Course Views. Jump to previous sections to learn more about SafeAssign.

    Exclude submissions from the Global Reference Database

    Supported files in SafeAssign

    What is the Global Reference Database?


    ULTRA: Watch a video about SafeAssign

    Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" video about using SafeAssign in assignments.

    The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


    Video: Use SafeAssign in Assignments provides the step by steps for using SafeAssign in the Ultra Course View.