SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention service that allows you to protect the originality of work and ensure a fair playing ground for all of your students.

SafeAssign is integrated with the Blackboard Learning System™, and prevents plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers within your existing teaching and learning environment. SafeAssign can also further deter plagiarism by creating opportunities to educate students on proper attribution and citations while properly leveraging the wealth of information at their disposal.


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SafeAssign can be used in two ways.

Instructors can set up SafeAssignments in their Blackboard Module and let students submit papers to these assignments.


As students submit papers, they are checked against SafeAssign's comprehensive database of source material. The papers will then be delivered to instructors through the Blackboard Learning System together with the originality reports, which includes the results of the matching process, attached to them.


The instructor has the option of allowing students to submit drafts. The default for this option is No. However, instructors can change this to Yes, allowing students to validate their paper without submitting it to the institutional database.


The instructor also has the option of allowing students to view the results. The default for this option is Yes. However, instructors can change this to No to stop students seeing the results.


Instructors may upload papers directly with the Direct Submit feature without student involvement. Direct Submit allows Instructors to submit papers one at a time or several at once by including them in a .ZIP file. They are checked against SafeAssign comprehensive database of source material and the originality reports, which include the results of the matching process, are delivered to Instructors through the Blackboard Learning System.


SafeAssign checks all submitted papers against the following databases:

  1. Internet - comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the Internet
  2. ProQuest ABI/Inform database with over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from '90s to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access)
  3. Institutional document archives containing all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions
  4. Global Reference Database containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.
Adding an Assignment
      • Open the Content area where you want to post the assignment link (e.g. Assessments)
      • Click on the Assessments menu
      • Choose the Assignment option from the dropdown menu
Assignment Options
  1. In Section 1 - Enter a name for the assignment and instructions may be added to provide clarification for students.
  2. In Section 2 - attach any additional documents e.g. instructions on the assignment
  3. In Section 3 - specify deadline date for submission of the assignment  
  4. In Section 4 – Grading – specify the maximum points possible for the assignment. Under Submission details select whether the assignment is to be submitted by an individual student or group of students. The default number of attempts is Single Attempt. You can change this by clicking on the down-arrow and selecting another option.  


If you want students to check their assignment for plagiarism you will need to select the option “Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign”. If you want students to check the originality report for their submission then select the option “Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts”.


The option Exclude Submissions allows for a draft submission to allow students to validate their paper without submitting it to the institutional database. This is useful as a tool, providing students with informative feedback and an opportunity to learn how to properly cite sources. In the Grading options you can allow anonymous grading i.e. submissions are anonymised or delegated grading which is where grading is carried out by other staff apart from the Module Co-ordinator. In the Display of Grades section you can specify how the final grades will appear in the Grade Center.


The final option to consider is making the assignment available – you can limit the period of time students can interact with the assignment by specifying the dates in Section 5.


Viewing the SafeAssign Inbox

Submitted assignments are viewed in the Inbox, which is accessed through the Module Tools area of the course Control Panel. The SafeAssign inbox gives lecturers the ability to view student names and associated paper submissions in one place.


To view submitted Assignments
  1. Select Module Tools from the Control Panel
  2. Select SafeAssign
  3. Click on SafeAssign Items
  4. List of Assignments is displayed
  5. Click on drop-down menu for the Assignment and choose View Submissions


Using SafeAssign for Direct Submission

SafeAssign also has a feature that allows lecturers to directly submit their, or on behalf of a student, papers for checking. For example, if you wanted to submit assignments captured using the Assignment Manager to do spot checks.

  1. Open the course and click Control Panel.
  2. In the Module Tools section of the Control Panel click SafeAssign.
  3. Choose Direct Submit and then click the Submit a Paper button.
  4. Fill out the Submission Options section then click the Browse button and add the file to be checked.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Once a SafeAssign Report has been completed for this document it can be accessed by selecting SafeAssign in the Control Panel and clicking the Direct Submit link.
SafeAssign URL Adder

When you are creating an assignment where you think students might use material from a particular website you can use the URL Adder tool to suggest to SafeAssign additional webpages and websites that may not have been referenced in Originality Reports and submission analysis previously.

To access the URL Adder Tool

Select Module Tools -> Click SafeAssign - > Click Suggest URL and enter the URL and click Submit

  • SafeAssign will attempt to include all webpages available under the base website URL; e.g. suggesting will attempt to find all webpages associated with the base website URL
  • Any URLs included using the URL Adder tool will be available to all SafeAssign users and institutions
  • URLs suggested to SafeAssign will be added to the overall SafeAssign Internet Search database on a monthly basis



Submitting an Assignment
  1. Select the content area where the assignment is posted such as Assessment.
  2. Click on the Assignment heading which appears in bold to the right of the assignment icon. A new window is displayed - click the Browse button to select your assignment file to be submitted.
  3. If your Instructor has enabled SafeAssign (i.e. the Plagiarism checker) see step 4 below. 
  4. Otherwise go to Step 5.
  5. If requested to do so by your Instructor, select the option to add the assignment to the Global Reference Database as shown here 
  6. Click Submit


If the file has been uploaded, you will receive a message confirming that the assignment has already been completed. This link can also be used to view your SafeAssign score (if allowed by the instructor).


Note: The file formats allowed are .doc/.docx/.txt/.rtf/.odt/.pdf/HTML only. Please do not upload any other file formats. The file size limit you can upload is 10MB when SafeAssign is being used.


Recommended Guidelines for using SafeAssign 

It is recommended that you use short filenames, without any spaces or wildcard characters e.g. (&%()£etc.) for your assignments. Submitting a file with a long name or unusual characters in the name may lead to problems when the instructor tries to download it.
Keep names short, and use underscores instead of spaces (e.g.assignment_1).


Web Browsers

Having more than one Web browser installed on your computer will help you to avoid most SafeAssign (and Blackboard) issues. Quite often a function that won’t work on one browser will work fine on another. Blackboard supports the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari.


Confirm the submission was successful

After uploading a file to SafeAssign, confirm that the upload was successful by clicking on the Assignment title again. Do not assume that your file was uploaded, without checking this first.


Only successful submissions are logged by SafeAssign, so we cannot confirm to Instructors whether a student has attempted an assignment.