Some plagiarism services help educators penalize cheating. Blackboard’s SafeAssign “promotes originality.”
A recent press release announces the upcoming availability of SafeAssign in Moodlerooms and Moodle in early 2018. Much like the other plagiarism services out there, SafeAssign matches student submissions against a comprehensive database of academic works.
The product seems to be attuned to a slowly flourishing school of thought where first instances of plagiarism are seen more benevolently, for instance as a middle step between research and original thinking. After all, a large part of the original research involves looking into whether ideas that sparked spontaneously have been recorded before. But while the “old school” approach focused on proper attribution almost exclusively, modern approaches now leverage information technology to simplify the management of the sourcing and citation processes, all while helping students figure out links, juxtapositions, and associations that haven’t been seen before. Today, no plagiarism solution delivers on this discovery, not even in Moodle, SafeAssign included, but this is not to say that savvy approaches to original thinking cannot make use of it.
According to Blackboard, SafeAssign:
- Is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool.
- Creates opportunities to educate students in proper attribution and citation.
- Compares student work against 150 million documents from multiple sources.
- Helps clients solve a fundamental institutional confidence problem.
An update on the core functionality of SafeAssign is expected before it is made available for Moodle and Moodlerooms. The last version of SafeAssign was released in December 2016.