SafeAssign gets a makeover!

Filed in Interesting Technologies, Showcase by on April 30, 2014

In a previous post we discussed the how and why’s of using plagiarism detection software:, if you have not read this post it is highly recommended to acquaint you with the world of plagiarism detection.  In this post we focused predominately on the detection tool available here at WPI called Safe Assign.

Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection software that is built into the Blackboard system and as of this week it has undergone part one of a two part make over. Part two will be coming in the summer and will make creating Safe Assignments easier than ever! That is all we shall say about part 2 for now, so lets dive into what has changed in part one of the make over.

Part one of the SafeAssign Make over is purely cosmetic.  Some of these cosmetic changes make life a bit easier, while some of the changes will come as a surprise. So here the are:

  1. Change 1: New look and feel to the originality report.  I will be honest here with you, there is some good and some bad with this one.
    1. The Originality report will always now open in a new window.  This is good as it means less trying to go back and forth in your browser, but it is also a bit confusing.  When your originality report first opens it will probably look like this:initial view blur
      OK, so bear with me and imagine that the center of this image is student text.  That is great, where is all of the Safe Assign Report data??  Well it is hidden under that small ellipsis  in the upper right hand corner; this in our opinion is not the best design, but once you know where to look not too much to overcome!
    2. So you have clicked on the ellipsis.  This will expand the new data panel:expand paper blur
      There are a few cool new things here to note.  In the upper right of the overview panel you will now see the details regarding this assignment and a percent matching to the right of a visual matching indicator.  If multiple attempts have been allowed on a Safe Assignment, you will actually see two numbers here.  These two numbers are the percent highest matching our of the student’s attempts and an average matching score.  This can be useful to watch progress across drafts if Safe Assign is being used as a self correcting tool for the students.high low
    3. The last large change you will notice is that all of the matching sources are highlighted in the same color.  This is causing some controversy among users as the older multi colored schema was easier to navigate and this new color scheme is a bit more difficult to sort out where the potential sources or plagiarism are.So what are we to do?  Foremost we will hope that Blackboard returns to the multi colored scheme, but in the meantime you can hone in on specific sources by clicking the small magnifying glass to the right of each citation you would like to turn off in the lower left hand side of the panel.  This at first seems counter-intuitive; you click the magnifying glass to turn off the highlighting??  The paper will initially be displayed with all sources highlighted and the magnifying glass should be thought of more as a toggle than a highlighter (as the icon suggests). With this in mine we can toggle off all of the sources and then click the magnifying glass a second time to toggle on just those we want to hone in on.

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