What is Safe Assignment?
What is Safe Assignment?
Safe Assignment is an anti-plagiarism service built into the Blackboard course
management system. If you create an assignment as a "Safe Assignment", students'
work will be submitted to the service to check for suspected plagiarized content. The
SafeAssign server produces an "originality report" which indicates how much of the
submitted work appears to have been copied from other sources. The SafeAssign server
checks work against an internal database (CFCC), against a global database (works
submitted by students at other institutions using SafeAssign), and against other Webbased resources.
A few things to keep in mind
Before using Safe Assignment, please keep in mind a few things:
Keep in mind that if a work has not been digitized and is not available online, it will not
be in the database. Therefore, documents can be plagiarized and still not show as such
with SafeAssign.
Once a document has been submitted to the database, any resubmission will result in a
100% match, so know when to submit as a draft and when to submit as a final
Use Safe Assignment as one tool to determine if work was plagiarized, not as the only
tool. This resources is a text-matching tool and you should examine suspect documents
closely before determining that students have plagiarized, whether intentionally or not.
Steps for using Safe Assignment
Let's get started using Safe Assignment. Select the links below to find out how to create
a Safe Assignment, how to view originality reports, how to download assignments, and
how to grade Safe Assignments.
Creating a "Safe Assignment"
Viewing Originality Reports
Downloading Safe Assignments
Grading Safe Assignments
Direct Submission to Safe Assignment
Use this option when you did not set up your assignments as SafeAssign. You can still
use Safe Assignment to directly submit documents to obtain an "Originality Report".
Creating a "Safe Assignment" in Blackboard
1. Navigate to the location in your course where you would like to create the Safe
2. Click on the Create Assessment button and select SafeAssignment.
If you do not see this option, turn on the SafeAssign tool by selecting
Customization in the Control Panel and choosing Tool Availability. Browse
for the SafeAssign tool and make sure "Available" is checked. Click "Submit".
Note: If you select "Assignment" rather than "SafeAssignment", it will not
include the plagiarism-checking functionality.
3. Enter a name for the assignment, number of points possible, and specific
instructions for the assignment.
4. There are a number of options in the "Enter Information" section.
Carefully consider each of these (pay particular attention to "draft"), as described
Safe Assignment Options
Make the
Select whether or not ("yes" or "no") you want the assignment to be
available to students. If you select "yes", you can also specify display
Track Number
of Views
Select this checkbox if you want to track views of this item.
Use the "Display After" option to "hide" the assignment from students
until a specific date and time. You must click the checkbox first, then
choose the time and date after which you would like students to view
the assignment. If you want to enforce a deadline for assignment
submission, enter a date and time in the "Display Until" field.
SafeAssign enables you to create a "draft" assignment so students can
submit a document to be checked for "originality". If an assignment is
submitted as a draft, it receives an originality report, but it is not
added to the database (if it were, the final version would result in a
100% match).
Creating the assignment as a draft allows SafeAssign to be used as a
teaching tool, giving the student an idea of how original his or her
work is and allowing him/her to revise the document. This allows
students to improve their citations and paraphrasing techniques.
However, the "originality report" can also allow students to see if a
plagiarized work can elude detection.
Important: If you create the assignment as a draft, you must create
a second version to allow students to submit a final document (the
version that will be graded).
This area will usually be set to "No". Most originality reports are
returned within 15 to 30 mintues after submission. If you want the
report returned as soon as possible, select "Yes" for Urgent Checking.
If you use SafeAssign as a teaching tool (to identify citation and
paraphrasing problems, etc.), you want students to be able to view
originality reports. After you view the originality report, you can
always submit the report to students.
5. There is an Optional Announcement section, where you can type in an
announcement to appear in the Announcements section of the course. This lets
students know that the new Safe Assignment is available. If you want to send an
announcement, select the "Yes" radio button, type in a subject heading, and add
text for the announcement.
6. After you have completed your selections, click the Submit button at the bottom
of the page.
7. Blackboard will return a confirmation message that the Safe Assignment was
successfully added to the course. Click the"OK" button to return to the previous
Viewing "Originality Reports" to Check for Plagiarism
An "originality report" is generated for assignments within 15-30 minutes after students
submit an assignment using Safe Assignment. Below are the steps to view the
"originality report":
1. Select the "Course Tools" section in "Control Panel" and click on the "SafeAssign"
2. This will pull up links for "SafeAssignments" and "DirectSubmit" files. Select
"SafeAssignments" if you created assignments using this tool or select
"DirectSubmit" if you submitted files directly to the SafeAssign tool without
creating an assignment area to which students submit documents directly.
3. This will take you to the View Safe Assignment page (or Direct Submit page),
which displays a summary of all the submitted assignments.
4. Blackboard will list all the assignment submissions and a "Matching" score (the
percent of the assignment appears to match other documents in the local and
global SafeAssign databases:
Be careful when interpreting the "Matching" score. Even quotations used
correctly will be included in the score, as will references. SafeAssign matches
text, but cannot interpret if matching text was used appropriately. If you notice
what you think is a high matching score, you should examine the document
closely to help determine if there was plagiarism or not.
Similarly, if a student has a low matching score, it does not necessarily mean
they did not plagiarize. Remember that only documents that have been digitized
and are available to the database will be used for deriving the matching score.
5. To view a report for a specific student, click on the checkmark next to his or her
name. This will open a new window with a list of suspected sources for matching
text. Click on the "highlight all" button to highlight text from different sources in
different colors.
The color-coding makes it easier to see which text is from which suspected
6. Click on the highlighted text to view those passages in the paper for a side-byside comparison.
7. To close the report window and return to the View Safe Assignment page, click
on Close link in the top-right corner.
Download Safe Assignments
Downloading Safe Assignments is simple.
1. If you are not on the View SafeAssignment page, navigate to this screen by
selecting Course Tools under the Control Panel and click on SafeAssign.
2. This will bring up a list of Safe Assignments in your course.
3. Click the View link to see a particular assignment. This will open the View
SafeAssignment page.
4. On the View SafeAssignment page, there is a Download button, which will
download all submitted files in a ZIP file (compressed format).
5. Click the Download button a select Save, when prompted. Make sure to note
where you are saving the file so you can easily retrieve it.
6. Use whatever unpackaging tool you have installed on your computer to extract
the files and save these extracted files to your selected location. For instance,
you can use the built-in tool for Windows by right-clicking on the ZIP file and
selecting "Extract All".
Grade Safe Assignments
You will grade Safe Assignments and assign feedback the same way as you do for
standard assignments. Now that you have downloaded the Safe Assignments, you can
view and mark on each (such as with Track Changes and Commenting in Word) and
upload the reviewed document with comments to the Grade Center in the course
management system.
Direct Submission to Safe Assignment
Suppose that you have set up standard assignments in your course (as opposed to
creating them as SafeAssign items), and you suspect that a student might have
plagiarized. Is there an easy way to use Safe Assignment to check the document? The
answer is "yes". You can use the Direct Submit feature in Safe Assignment from
Blackboard to check any document. To do so, follow these steps:
1. Navigate to the SafeAssign area by selecting the Course Tools section under
Control Panel and then click the SafeAssign link.
2. This will take you to the SafeAssign window, where you will see a
SafeAssignments link and a DirectSubmit link.
3. Select the DirectSubmit link to open the Private Direct Submit window.
4. Click the Submit A Paper button to add a paper.
5. Under Submission Options, select Submit as draft (recommended) if you do
not want to add the paper to the Institutional Search Database.
Important: If you do not check this, any future submissions of this paper will
result in 100% matching.
6. If you only want to submit the paper to the Institutional Search Database and
you do not want to check for plagiarism, click the Skip Plagiarism Checking
checkbox. Most people submit documents to check for plagiarism so you will not
likely check this box.
7. Under Upload File, browse for the file to attach (note the acceptable file
formats) or copy and paste the text (not recommended). Select the appropriate
radio button for whichever method you selected.
8. Click Submit when you have completed your selections.
9. To read the report, return to the SafeAssign window and select the
DirectSubmit link.
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