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Blackboard Help

SafeAssign

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on SafeAssign.

SafeAssign is a tool used to prevent plagiarism and to create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase. SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool.

SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of sources to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

SafeAssign in Action

SafeAssign is based on a unique text-matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a submitted paper and source material. This proprietary algorithm analyzes submission text and optimizes the words and terms to be searched against multiple data sources. Results returned from each service are further processed based on both the weight returned by the search service and comparative weighting by the SafeAssign algorithm, which determines the result set to be returned in the originality report.

Student submissions to SafeAssign are compared against several sources:

  • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
  • Global Reference Database: Contains over 15 million papers volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database: More than 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from the 1990s to present time, updated weekly.
  • Internet: SafeAssign uses an internally-developed proprietary search services to provide results from the broader Internet.

Global Reference Database

The SafeAssign Global Reference Database is a separate database where students voluntarily submit copies of their papers to help prevent plagiarism. It is separate from each institution’s internal database, where all papers are stored by each corresponding institution. Students are free to select the option to check their papers without submitting them to the global reference database. Students are not required to submit papers to this database. They submit their papers voluntarily and agree not to delete papers in the future. Blackboard does not claim ownership of submitted papers.

Internet Search

The Internet search service is built using the latest search crawling and indexing technologies, and allows Blackboard to significantly reduce dependency and exposure to third-party tools.  Because the search service is now administered internally, Blackboard has the ability to enhance and refine search results over time and improve the overall SafeAssign product quality and performance.  Additionally, any potential concern of client data being shared with Blackboard partners is entirely mitigated using this new approach to providing search results from the Internet. 

Due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet, there may be occasions when the SafeAssign internal search service does not yet include specific webpages or websites and as a consequence SafeAssign Originality Reports may not identify potentially matching text within student works.  When these situations arise, Blackboard will investigate the source web content and if possible add the content to the SafeAssign internal search service for future submissions. 

Results returned in a SafeAssign Originality Report may not be identical to results returned by a consumer internet search service (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.) for any individual sentence or phrase.  The results from the SafeAssign service are only meant to be a tool for use at the discretion of the teacher or instructor.  Due to the size and scope of both academic subject matter and the number of resources searched by SafeAssign, the results are not meant to guarantee or otherwise indicate that plagiarism has or has not occurred.  The assessment of potential plagiarism should reside in the hands of the instructor, and SafeAssign results should always be considered in the context of other resources and good judgement.  

SafeAssign Originality Reports

After a paper is processed, a report is generated detailing the percentage of text in the submitted paper that matches existing sources. The report also shows the suspected sources of each section of the submitted paper that returns a match. Instructors can delete matching sources from the report and process it again. This is useful if the paper is a continuation of a previously submitted work by the same student.

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on SafeAssign.

This content is applicable to Learn 9.1 SP 14 and earlier only.

Grade Center Integration

SafeAssignments are created with associated Grade Center items. The score is then recorded in the Grade Center.

SafeAssign enables institutions to link in to a Global Reference Database of academic content. The Global Reference Database allows institutions to search their own data repository as well as many other data repositories. Access to the database is enabled by default. To connect to the Global Reference Database, ensure that the Blackboard Application servers are allowed to access the following host and ports.

These ports are for outgoing HTTP traffic only. SafeAssign never communicates back to your Blackboard system through these IPs.

Blackboard Learn
URL:  safeassign.blackboard.com
IP Address:  69.196.253.30
Ports:  TCP 80 and 443

Allow incoming traffic on all established connections for Learn by allowing a connection with a flag other than SYNC on any port from the following IP Address: 69.196.253.30. SafeAssign makes web service calls to your Blackboard system from this IP.

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on SafeAssign.

How to Configure and Register SafeAssign

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Building Blocks section, click Building Blocks.
  2. Click Installed Tools.
  3. Locate the SafeAssign Building Block.
  4. Click Settings for the SafeAssign Building Block.
  5. Provide the following information:
    • Institution Name

      Local Server URL
      The Local Server URL is for the purpose of validating the registering system and to prevent spoofing and hacking into the central service database.

    • Contact First Name of the SafeAssign administrator
    • Contact Last Name of the SafeAssign administrator
    • Contact Email address of the SafeAssign administrator
    • Contact Job Title of the SafeAssign administrator
  6. Select a Time Zone. This ensures that the time displayed within the SafeAssign Building Block matches that of the Blackboard Learn server.
  7. Select Show Student ID to allow instructors to view the student IDs in the table that lists submitted papers. If not selected, instructors see only the student's name.
  8. Enter the Institution Release Statement text that appears in every assignment using SafeAssign on the system alerting students that their work is being checked for plagiarism. Leave the text box blank if not providing a warning.
  9. Select Global Reference Database Activity to submit assignments using SafeAssign to the Global Reference Database and allow analysis of papers submitted from other institutions. If not selected, this access is restricted.
  10. Select I accept to accept the SafeAssign License Agreement.
  11. Click Submit.
  12. Click Settings for SafeAssign to open the Settings page again. If the connection is successful, the message Connection Status: Established appears at the top of the page.

After successfully connecting to SafeAssign, a join code is provided in the receipt. This join code is used to identify your institution and its associated submission data. The join code is also used in troubleshooting and when migrating servers.

How to Enable SafeAssign in Blackboard Learn

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Building Blocks section, click Building Blocks.
  2. Click Installed Tools.
  3. Locate the SafeAssign Building Block.
  4. Select Available in the Availability column and in the Course/Org default column.

How to Enable SafeAssign in Courses

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, click Course Settings.
  2. Click Course Tools.
  3. Locate SafeAssign in the list and select On. SafeAssign is not available to guests or observers.
  4. Click Submit.

SafeAssign Internal Search Engine

Previously, Blackboard SafeAssign relied on the Yahoo! BOSS service to provide results from the broader internet. Due to the deprecation of the Yahoo! BOSS service on March 31, 2016, Blackboard has developed an internal search service to provide internet results for SafeAssign. No customer action is required to enable the SafeAssign internal search service, as the change was made in the SafeAssign Central Service and applies to all clients.

The internal search service is built using the latest search crawling and indexing technologies, and allows Blackboard to significantly reduce dependency and exposure to third-party tools. Because the search service is now administered internally, Blackboard has the ability to enhance and refine search results over time and improve the overall SafeAssign product quality and performance. Additionally, any potential concern of client data being shared with Blackboard partners is entirely mitigated using this new approach to providing search results from the internet.

Due to the ever-changing nature of the internet, there may be occasions when the SafeAssign internal search service does not yet include specific webpages or websites and as a consequence SafeAssign Originality Reports may not identify potentially matching text within student works. When these situations arise, Blackboard will investigate the source web content and, if possible, add the content to the SafeAssign internal search service for future submissions.

The development of the SafeAssign internal search service further demonstrates Blackboard's commitment to supporting the SafeAssign product functionality and Blackboard Learn customers' use of the SafeAssign service. As always, Blackboard will continue to monitor SafeAssign for improvement opportunities and encourages customer feedback regarding search results and overall SafeAssign performance.

As a reminder, results returned in a SafeAssign Originality Report may not be identical to results returned by a consumer internet search service (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.) for any individual sentence or phrase. The results from the SafeAssign service are only meant to be a tool for use at the discretion of the teacher or instructor. Due to the size and scope of both academic subject matter and the number of resources searched by SafeAssign, the results are not meant to guarantee or otherwise indicate that plagiarism has or has not occurred. The assessment of potential plagiarism should reside in the hands of the instructor, and SafeAssign results should always be considered in the context of other resources and good judgment.