How do I use SafeAssign in Blackboard to check for plagiarism?

Center for Learning and Teaching
CLT Knowledge Base - How Do I?

TechNote Details
Created: Oct 18, 2007
Modified: Oct 18, 2007
ID: CLT-TS-012
Views: 12238
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How do I use SafeAssign in Blackboard to check for plagiarism?

Purpose & Scope

Students at Old Dominion University are expected to comply with the university's honor system and to cite the work of other's appropriately. Faculty benefit from tools designed to check for possible occurences of plagiarism.

What is SafeAssign?
Safe Assignment (SafeAssign) is a plagiarism prevention service offered by Blackboard. This tool is designed to assist in the prevention of plagiarism in students' papers.

When do I use SafeAssign?
Blackboard supports two tools for submission of assignments that are linked to the gradebook - Assignment and Safe Assignment. Use Assignment for submissions that do not need to be checked for plagiarism. Use Safe Assignment for submissions that need to be checked for plagiarism, either against other users in the course or against other users in the course and the Internet.

You must ENABLE SAFEASSIGN in the control panel first. Then, YOU MUST SYNC THE BLACKBOARD COURSE WITH SAFEASSIGN BEFORE creating a Safe Assignment. Follow the steps shown.

Policy Base (if any)

University Honor Council

How to Get Help

Instructional Assistance
Technical Support: OCCS Technical Support Center 683-3192

Procedures / Steps

1. Request Assistance:



Enable SafeAssign in the Control Panel

Manage Tools > Building Block Tool Availability > click the box to make SafeAssign available
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Synchronize the course with SafeAssign BEFORE creating a Safe Assignment.


To sync the course go to the Control Panel > SafeAssign > Synchronize this Course.

From now on, all SafeAssign papers will be checked with information available through the Internet.
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View SafeAssign Documents

You can view the SafeAssign documents two ways
1. Through the Gradebook (refer to "Grade a Safe Assignment" that follows)
2. Through the SafeAssign Link in the Control Panel (refer to "Check a document that was not submitted using a Safe Assignment?" that follows)


Create a Safe Assignment

To create an assignment using SafeAssign follow these steps

  1. Once in your course, click Control Panel
  2. Select a content area, for example Assignments
  3. In the drop down box to the right, select SafeAssign, then Go
  4. Enter the criteria for the assignment
  5. If you want students to be able to view the report set Student Viewable to 'Yes'. Leave Urgent Checking set to 'No'.
  6. You can also add an additional announcement for the assignment which will show up in the Announcement section of the course.
  7. Submit

The assignment is now available for students to complete. The assignment is also entered in the gradebook for you to view/score student submissions.

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Grade a Safe Assignment

Each time a student submits a Safe Assignment, a report is generated indicating the SafeAssign score. It takes a few minutes for the reports to generate after an assignment is uploaded; it is not instantaneous. Once the report is available, you will see a "green check mark" in the Report section of the Gradebook view of the Safe Assignment. Select this check mark and you will get the report about the assignment.

  1. Once in your course, click Control Panel
  2. Click on Gradebook
  3. Select the item to be graded by clicking on the "!" then click the View button
  4. To view the Detailed Report, click on the Green Check Mark in Section 2.
  5. Manually enter the grade in Section 3.
  6. If desired, enter comments or files for the student in Section 4
  7. Submit.

Please read "Definition of the Percentages" at the end of this document for an explanation of the reported number.

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Check a document that was not submitted through a Safe Assignment

In some cases, you will receive a paper by email or other communication system and not through a Safe Assignment. You can check these documents using the "Direct Submit" option where documents can be submitted directly to SafeAssign by the instructor only, without having the students submit them as an assignment.

  1. Once in your course, click Control Panel
  2. Click SafeAssign
  3. Click the Direct Submit tab
  4. Submit the document and wait for the report
  5. View the report

Note: As of 9/25/07 when you submit a document in Direct Submit, the faculty name changes to a generic name "John Smith." OCCS is investigating that issue. Please ignore the name and submit your documents.

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Definitions of reported percentages for checked papers.

This information was obtained from the SafeAssign Documents provided by Blackboard.

Sentence matching scores represent the percentage probability that two phrases have the same meaning. This number can also be interpreted as the reciprocal to the probability that these two phrases are similar by chance. For example, a score of 90 percent means that there is a 90 percent probability that these two phrases are the same and a 10 percent probability that they are similar by chance and not because the submitted paper includes content from the existing source (whether or not it is appropriately attributed).

Overall score is an indicator of what percentage of the submitted paper matches existing sources. This score is a warning indicator only and papers should be reviewed to see if the matches are properly attributed.

Scores below 15 percent: These papers typical include some quotes and few common phrases or blocks of text that match other documents. These papers typically do not require further analysis, as there is no evidence of the possibility of plagiarism in these papers.

Scores between 15 percent and 40 percent: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material or they may include plagiarism. These papers should be reviewed to determine if the matching content is properly attributed.

Scores over 40 percent: There is a very high probability that text in this paper was copied from other sources. These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess and should be reviewed for plagiarism.

2. Update Project Request:

3. Track and Close Project Request:

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