What is SafeAssign?


SafeAssign in Blackboard Learn is a type of plagiarism detection tool to be used with assignments. SafeAssign may be used by any instructor at the U of S. Please contact the GMCTE at gmcte@usask.ca for more information about how to begin using it effectively in your courses.

Before you begin:

The University of Saskatchewan has been investigating use of plagiarism checking software in response to requests from colleges and faculty.  Plagiarism checking software can be used for many purposes with the two key uses being

  1. teaching students about proper attribution practices; and
  2. identifying possible plagiarism in a submitted piece of academic work.  The second use is often done through an automated comparison of submitted work against other student submissions and/or sources available on the internet (websites, etc).

SafeAssign is now available for instructors to turn on for individual courses. Before Safe Assign is used in your course, please consider the following information on student privacy and intellectual property rights, as well as limitations of the tool in checking plagiarism.

Intellectual Property Rights

It is imperative that students are informed in writing and verbally that their papers will be used to check other students’ work against their paper for plagiarism. This raises some issues around intellectual property rights for the student and university.   It has been suggested that submitting a paper to any plagiarism detection site constitutes a ‘disclosure’ with the potential consequence of limiting the student and university’s ability to later exercise intellectual property rights

Action Needed

Should you choose to use SafeAssign you must include the following text in your syllabus:

SafeAssign is a plagiarism checking tool. While we request that you submit your work through this tool, it is NOT required. You may opt-out of using SafeAssign with the understanding that your work may be checked for plagiarism through other means. Should you wish to opt out, you must notify your instructor prior to the due date for each assignment.

Work submitted through SafeAssign may be stored on a server in the United States or other countries outside of Canada, and will include personal or identifying information.  By submitting your work through SafeAssign, you are agreeing and consenting to the Privacy Policy available on the Blackboard website.

While potentially problematic in some ways, plagiarism checking tools, when used to teach about plagiarism, can be valuable in contributing to student learning. If you would like advice on how to use SafeAssign as a teaching tool in your course  or curriculum, please contact the Gwenna Moss Centre .

Student Privacy & Safety

All papers submitted through SafeAssign will be stored on a server outside of Canada, currently in the United States.  The student’s name, email address and other information identifying the university and course for which the paper was submitted will also be stored.  As instructors must obtain the consent of students before sharing or using tools that share their personal information, students must be given the option to opt-out of submitting assignments through SafeAssign. 

SafeAssign Tutorial