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SafeAssign™ is a plagiarism prevention service, offered by Blackboard to its Blackboard Learning System Enterprise, Vista Enterprise and CE Enterprise clients. This service helps educators prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content.

SafeAssign is available for Blackboard enterprise clients at no additional cost.

SafeAssign is a part of the Blackboard Beyond family and is centrally hosted by Blackboard, like the rest of the Beyond products and services. Although it is a new Blackboard service, it is based on a mature and proven technology that Blackboard acquired from Sciworth Inc. (MyDropBox) and enhanced to offer even better stability, performance, and integration with other Blackboard products.

SafeAssign is delivered and integrated via a Blackboard Building Block or Blackboard PowerLink. Both are available on Behind the Blackboard for Blackboard System Administrators to download. Once installed and enabled, instructors can start using SafeAssign right away to prevent plagiarism in their courses.

NOTE: Beginning with Release 8.0 of the Blackboard Learning System - Enterprise, CE Enterprise and Vista Enterprise Licenses, the SafeAssign Building Block/PowerLink will ship pre-installed with the product to make it even easier for clients to start using.


BO: Kevin O'Brien
PO: Mark Lewis, UMB
TO: Tim Lambert

Theresa Nelson-Miller, UMB

Ellie Kutz, UMB


SafeAssign articles published in the Educational Technology Newsletter, A UMass Boston Information Technology Publication


Any associated SIGs?


SafeAssign is available for Blackboard enterprise clients at no additional cost.


What is SafeAssign and how does it work?

SafeAssign is an anti-plagiarism tool integrated with Blackboard. It allows an instructor to set up a SafeAssignment within Blackboard where students can post their work. Once the assignment is submitted the program uses a text matching algorithm to compare the student’s submitted work to several online database sources. The program then produces an originality report that is viewable by the instructor and students if the option is selected. Optionally, an instructor can allow students to use SafeAssign as an "originality checker" as one of many efforts to educate students about plagiarism.

Which online databases does SafeAssign use for plagiarism detection?

  • Internet sources (powered by Windows Live search
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database of over 2.5 million articles
  • SafeAssign Institutional Database Used at UMass Boston only
  • SafeAssign Global Reference Database Students voluntarily submit papers, Used across institutions

What do I need to use SafeAssign with my course?

SafeAssign is available for use only within Blackboard. To use SafeAssign you need:

  • Blackboard Account
  • Blackboard Course Section
  • Must use SafeAssignment plug-in as opposed to the assignment tool in Blackboard
  • SafeAssign must be enabled for your course section.

Is there training available?

Yes, you may view current schedules and sign up for Using SafeAssign/Plagiarism Prevention at the UMass Boston Training Registration site.

How do I enable SafeAssign in my course?

The following Getting Started with SafeAssign guide will walk you through setting up SafeAssign in your Blackboard course section:

A Configuring SafeAssign video is also available:

Is there a presentation/handout available to give to students?

It is recommended to tell your students that you are using SafeAssign and why it is being used. The following customizable PowerPoint Presentation can be presented or distributed as a handout to students:

Is there a help guide available for students?

Faculty can direct students to the following guide, for learning more about SafeAssign and how to use it:

Are students able to re-process a SafeAssign report without suspected sources?

No, the re-process icon gives the instructor of a course section the ability to exclude selected suspected sources from a SafeAssign report. Students are able to view SafeAssign reports only, and are not able to make any changes to the report.

Technical Issues:

Problem: An error occurs when an instructor edits an existing SafeAssignment.
Solution: When making changes to an existing SafeAssignment you must edit the title field in addition to any other changes you would like to make to the assignment. The change can be as simple as adding an additional character or number to the title field. For example, a SafeAssignment titled "300 Word Essay on Effects of Global Climate Change" could be changed to "300 Word Essay - Effects of Global Climate Change." When you have made the necessary edits, click Save.

Problem: A student receives the following error when posting an assignment, "Sorry, we do not think you are logged in to SafeAssign. Your session may have timed out. If you have received this message in error, please contact your system administrator."
Solution: Check your browser to be sure it is configured to accept 3rd party cookies. Alternatively, clear out the cookies from your browser, clear temporary internet files, and the java temporary files. The problem has mostly been with Firefox and Safari on the MAC. See Blackboard Vista 8.0.3 Requirements and Settings for more information.

Problem: A SafeAssign report is not made available within 10 to 15 minutes. SafeAssign may experience delays during peak periods.

View the Blackboard Support Bulletin regarding intermittent SafeAssign Issues During Peak Periods.


Getting Help with SafeAssign

· SafeAssign Wiki
· SafeAssign Instructor Manual
· SafeAssign Student Manual


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