Week 4 – Checking for Plagiarism with Blackboard – 2/2/15

We all know, of course, that no student would ever submit work that is not 100% their own. With that being said, there are times when it can be confusing to a student when pulling information from a source crosses the line from being a resource to plagiarizing. This is a great opportunity to use the SafeAssign tool in Blackboard as a learning tool, to allow students to submit work to allow them to see for themselves whether or not they have crossed that line before it even crosses the professor’s desk.

A SafeAssignment can be set up as a draft, so the student can submit a paper and see where problems may be and make corrections before submitting their final draft. When ready, the final draft can be submitted and the professor is at an advantage because he/she can focus on the content of the paper rather than on possible plagiarism issues since they will all be spelled out.

Truly all classes should have all papers submitted as SafeAssignments in Blackboard. Why, you ask. One of the most difficult types of plagiarism to catch is when it is local, meaning one student writes a paper for another. Each paper that is submitted via a SafeAssignment is automatically added to the local ECU pool. So, if a paper, or part of a paper, is submitted in a class, it will be flagged when it is submitted again.

Within the next few Blackboard upgrades, we should start to see the plagiarism feature integrated directly within a regular assignment, but unfortunately we aren’t quite there yet. Currently SafeAssignments don’t offer the same robust grading features that are available in regular assignments, so perhaps a combination of the two types of assignments are the best solution. Below is a video that explains the differences and shows how to use SafeAssign:

If you aren’t quite ready to have your entire class submit papers as SafeAssignments, but instead have one or two that have been submitted that are just bothering you, then you’ll be happy to know that instructors can go into Course Tools –> SafeAssign and use the DirectSubmit option to submit papers directly to SafeAssign.

I hope this information about the SafeAssign tool was useful to you. If you run into questions or problems throughout the semester with Blackboard, please take advantage of the COE Helpdesk.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.