Can I allow multiple attempts for assignments that use SafeAssign?

Yes. SafeAssign reports on multiple attempts for one assignment. If more than one attempt is allowed, the report includes attachments for all attempts. SafeAssign recognizes each new attempt as originating from the same student for the same assignment, so it doesn't check the new attempt against content in previous attempts.

Can I create group assignments using SafeAssign?

Yes. SafeAssign can report on group assignments. Submitting group members appear in the report. The report is linked to each individual student when viewing in the Grade Center.

Is there a size limit for submitted files?

Yes. SafeAssign can only process submitted files smaller than 10MB.

What are SafeAssign's supported file types?

SafeAssign accepts these file formats only:

  • DOC
  • DOCX
  • DOCM
  • PPT
  • ODT
  • TXT
  • RTF
  • PDF
  • HTML
  • ZIP (that includes supported file types)

Files in other formats aren't checked.

SafeAssign can only process PDFs if the PDF contains machine-readable true text. If the PDF was prepared from "Print to PDF" or scanned from an imaging device without external optical character recognition (OCR), such as a scanner or cell phone app, then the PDF contains a bitmap or vector "picture" of text. This is not readable as text and SafeAssign currently does not perform OCR. If you can't select the text with your mouse or keyboard in a PDF reader, then there is no true text in the PDF. 

To prevent this issue: make sure to export the document from your word processor using the "Export to PDF" option and avoid the "PDF Printer" option from the print menu. Also, don't use the option to 'outline' fonts sometimes found in advanced applications because it replaces the text with vector graphics of the same shape which aren't machine-readable.

Are attempts in foreign languages analyzed with SafeAssign?

SafeAssign supports many languages.

More on language support in SafeAssign

I forgot to enable SafeAssign before students began to submit work. Can I still enable SafeAssign?

Yes, but existing submissions won't be analyzed. SafeAssign analyzes submissions received only when it is enabled. If students submit work while SafeAssign is disabled, the submissions won't be processed or checked for originality. Submissions received while SafeAssign is enabled will be processed and checked.

To check the unprocessed submissions with SafeAssign, download the existing submissions, compress them as a ZIP file, and upload the ZIP file to DirectSubmit. SafeAssign generates Originality Reports for the submissions.

What happens when I delete a submission in an assessment using SafeAssign?

If you delete a student's submission and the same student resubmits the identical paper, SafeAssign processes the paper and recognizes the previous submission as the same student's. SafeAssign doesn't recognize this as a match and ignores it in the Originality Report. This behavior applies for assessments with single attempts and multiple attempts.

When a student's submission is deleted, the content remains in the database and can be used to detect future matches for other student submissions. If a different student submits work matching a deleted submission, a Non-existent paper is listed as a source in the Originality Report. SafeAssign detects a match, but you can't open the source to compare matches because the source has been deleted.

You can choose to exclude submissions from the database entirely or for part of the assessment if you prefer to submit only "final" submissions to the database.

If you want to exclude student submissions from the Institutional and Global Reference Databases, you must select Exclude submissions from the Institutional and Global Reference Databases before students submit their work. You can't remove work from the databases that was submitted before you selected the exclude option. 

What happens when I restore a course with SafeAssign submissions?

SafeAssign is a cloud service and student papers are stored in the SafeAssign database. SafeAssign maintains a referential link between the course/assignment/student or group AND the submission that a particular paper and the Originality Report is associated with. However, it is possible that a restored archive or an exact course copy (including submissions) could contain references to submissions that were previously deleted.


  1. In week 1, a student submits to an assignment with SafeAssign enabled.
  2. At the end of the course, the instructor archives the course and deletes the course, assignment, or submission.
  3. Later, the instructor restores the course using the course archive package.

From SafeAssign's perspective, the link between the course, assignment, or submission and the underlying paper has been broken due to the instructor's actions in step 2. Therefore, in the restored course, the instructor can't view the SafeAssign Originality Report for the submission. To restore the link between the SafeAssign data and the course/assignment/submission, select Synchronize Course.

Has the process for submitting assignments changed?

No changes were made to the student process for submitting assignments with SafeAssign enabled.

Can I use anonymous and delegated grading with SafeAssign?

Yes. When anonymous grading is enabled, graders are unable to view SafeAssign information. When grading is complete, the plagiarism detection is run. You can follow up with any students who might have issues and modify grades, if necessary.

Does SafeAssign work elsewhere in Blackboard Learn, such as in Self & Peer Assessment, forums, or Content Collections?

Not at this time.

ULTRA: Can I allow multiple attempts for assignments that use SafeAssign? What about group assignments?

Yes. SafeAssign works with other assessment settings, such as multiple attempts and groups. Use the same workflow to grade assignments and tests with SafeAssign using groups or multiple attempts. If you allow multiple attempts for an assessment using SafeAssign, an Originality Report is generated for each attempt. You can view the Originality Report for each attempt in the Submissions list.

More on grading multiple attempts in Blackboard Learn

ULTRA: Does SafeAssign work elsewhere in Blackboard Learn?

Yes! SafeAssign also works in tests in the Ultra Course View.