Blackboard Unveils Plagiarism Prevention Service

Blackboard has announced a new plagiarism prevention service, SafeAssign. This new service helps prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers and delivering reports within the Blackboard Learning System. SafeAssign empowers academics and students to protect the originality of work, as well as creating an opportunity to educate students on the importance of proper attribution and citation. It is currently available at no additional cost to all enterprise licensees of the Blackboard Learning System.

The topic of plagiarism has gained significant attention in recent years with several high profile incidents reported in a range of educational institutions and contexts. Concerns have been raised about the effect this might be having on academic reputation and quality, and also questions what the higher education sector is doing to tackle this problem.

In addition to those who admit cheating, many students are simply unsure of what plagiarism is and if and when they are cheating. Through SafeAssign, Blackboard is proud to help its clients educate students on the importance of academic integrity and attribution.

SafeAssign checks papers and assignments (submitted via the Blackboard Learning System) against information on the Internet (scanning billions of web pages) and several different databases, including:
ProQuest ABI/Inform database with more than 1,100 publication titles and 2.6 million articles (updated weekly);
Institutional document archives containing all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions (in accordance with such institutions' existing policies);
Global Reference Database of papers voluntarily submitted by students and faculty.

An originality report is then delivered to the academic member of staff, student or both (as determined by the tutor), highlighting any blocks of text in submitted documents that match reference sources, with links back to the matching documents on the Internet or in supported content databases. Tutors can then determine the appropriate next steps, based on their own judgment and their institutions policy or code.

Blackboard will also dedicate resources from Ask Dr. C, a question and answer service moderated by an expert group of Blackboard clients, to ensure clients' success with the SafeAssign tool. Ask Dr. C will serve as a central online platform, accessible both on Blackboard's corporate website and client extranet, Behind the Blackboard, for questions ranging from how to use SafeAssign to what to do if a student has submitted plagiarised work.

SafeAssign is a unique plagiarism prevention service because student and/or faculty papers are included (with prior consent from the author) in a Global Reference Database.

SafeAssign is part of the Blackboard Beyond Initiative, a series of centrally-hosted web services designed to empower the Blackboard client network. SafeAssign is currently available by downloading the SafeAssign Blackboard Building Block or Blackboard PowerLink (applications which extend the Blackboard platform) from Behind the Blackboard and will be included pre-installed in future versions of the Blackboard Learning System enterprise product line.

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