All about SafeAssign:Updated

USD licenses two plagiarism-detection services, SafeAssign and TurnItIn. The iTeam frequently receives questions about both and their capabilities. This post covers SafeAssign, and a follow-up post will provide resources for TurnItIn.

Blackboard has recently created some new SafeAssign documentation and information, which I’ve linked to below.

What is SafeAssign, and how do I use it?

A good place to start is the SafeAssign area of the Official Blackboard Help Site. It has extensive information about what SafeAssign compares your students’ submissions to, and gives information on:

Also, check out the SafeAssign FAQ for Instructors – a selection of FAQ is below:

What file formats does SafeAssign support?

SafeAssign supports Word (.doc, .docx). Plain text (.txt), Rich text format (.rtf), Open Document Text Document (.odt), PDF, and HTML formats.

What is the Institutional Database?

The Institutional Database is the archive of papers submitted by students in your institution. Each institution’s Institutional Database is stored in the central SafeAssign service and kept separate from other institution’s databases. Papers are automatically added to this database upon submission and are stored in the central service to be checked against other papers submitted from your institution.  The Institutional Database is completely separate from the Global Reference Database which extends across institutions and students must volunteer their papers to.

How does your Global Reference Database work?
Blackboard’s Global Reference Database is a separate database where students voluntarily donate copies of their papers to help prevent plagiarism.  It is separated from each institution’s internal database, where all papers are stored by each corresponding institution, and students are free to select the option to check their papers without submitting them to the Global Reference Database.

Who owns the intellectual property rights for each submitted paper?
Blackboard does not claim any ownership rights on the content submitted to SafeAssign.

And some more resources:

Here’s a great, short tutorial on Grading a SafeAssignment in Blackboard from Colorado State University at Pueblo:


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