SafeAssign is one of the most popular plagiarism prevention tools on the market. It is owned by Blackboard and helps educators prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers.
Coming from one of the most popular learning management systems leveraged by ivy league educational institutions, SafeAssign is a premium similarity checker that helps schools that leverage Blackboard to enforce academic integrity policies.
SafeAssign is able to compare student submissions with Blackboard’s global reference database of volunteered student submissions, the institution’s internal database of student submissions, internet, and ProQuest to identify similarities.
Obviously, you’ll always find students who are willing to leverage any means they can to beat the system. And despite SafeAssign’s effectiveness, paraphrasing tools like Quillbot can sometimes be used to side-step detection during similarity checks.
Platforms like Chegg and Course Hero are great resources for students to leverage in their academics but can sometimes be abused by students. The question then remains, whether SafeAssign can detect when Chegg and Course Hero are used.
What Is SafeAssign
SafeAssign compares a submission with existing papers in various databases to assess originality. Databases leveraged in the originality test include Blackboard’s global reference database of volunteered student submissions, the institution’s internal database of student submissions, internet, and ProQuest.
With over 75 percent of colleges and universities and more than half of K-12 districts in the US using Blackboard, the SafeAssign has a huge database of volunteered student submissions in their global reference database.
This makes it one of the most reliable plagiarism checkers leveraged by educational institutions.
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What Is Chegg
Chegg is a platform that provides digital and physical textbooks rentals, homework help, online tutoring, questions and answers, scholarships, and other educational resources for students. Chegg like other educational resource platforms serves as an invaluable resource to students all over the world enrolled in any college program or even at high school.
Students weren’t the only group to benefit from Chegg as tutors could also leverage the platform to make an additional income simply by answering questions and providing online tutoring. Unfortunately, that aspect of Chegg’s service popularly known as Chegg Tutors has been discontinued by the company as of early 2021.
The company still maintains its other services and students can leverage the platform to receive the necessary support and resources in their academics.
What Is Course Hero
Course Hero is an online learning platform that offers users access to course-specific study resources contributed by a community of students and educators.
Course Hero has one of the largest online community-sourced educational resource platforms with 24/7 tutor availability. Lesson notes, questions, videos, and other resources available on Course Hero can aid students in revision or assignments while tutors can also make a decent income from answering questions.
Can SafeAssign Detect Chegg Or Course Hero
SafeAssign can readily detect information that has been directly copied from Chegg or Course Hero and submitted as an assignment since Chegg permits content crawlers, including plagiarism checkers, to crawl their repository and include them during similarity checks.
That said, content copied from Chegg or Course Hero and properly paraphrased would not be easily detected by SafeAssign. This includes paraphrasing with tools like Quillbot which uses artificial intelligence to substitute words with synonyms and change phrase and paragraph sequences, rendering plagiarism checks ineffective.
It’s advisable to use the resources on Chegg or Course Hero as they were meant to be used, as study resources. Copy-pasted content would be easily flagged by most premium plagiarism checkers like SafeAssign.
What Does SafeAssign Check
So now that we know that SafeAssign checks Chegg during similarity tests, let’s take a look at what a similarity check by SafeAssign entails. Like most premium plagiarism checkers, SafeAssign compares student submissions with a wide range of documents from various sources including the following:
SafeAssign leverages an internal search engine built using the latest search crawling and indexing technologies to identify content similarities. These search indexes can’t be refreshed as frequently as other public search indexes making SafeAssign’s indexes behind by up to 3 days.
Blackboard can greatly improve and fine-tune search results over time and boost the overall quality and performance of the SafeAssign product thanks to an internal index.
ProQuest ABI/Inform Journal Database
The ABI/INFORM Collection includes international coverage and provides researchers with a complete picture of companies and business trends around the world. This includes business and economics full-text journals and periodicals, dissertations, conference and working papers, country-and industry-focused reports, downloadable data, and newspapers and news content.
Institutional Document Archives
This comprises documents submitted to SafeAssign in the respective educational institution. This includes submissions from both teachers and students in the school in which the originality test is being undertaken.
Global Reference Database
The Global Reference Database is optional for students as they can choose to opt-out of submitting their documents to the database. It’s a separate database to which students looking to actively help combat cross-institutional plagiarism can volunteer to submit copies of their papers.
This remains independent from the individual institutional document archives where all papers are stored by each corresponding institution. Students can simply volunteer to submit their documents to the global reference database while agreeing not to delete these papers in the future.
Does SafeAssign Check The Following
Now that we have a better understanding of what SafeAssign checks during similarity checks, let’s take a look at the kind of documents it’s able to and not able to accept for similarity tests.
SafeAssign is unable to precisely identify text inside an image and therefore denies image and screenshot uploads. While this is expected to change in the future, SafeAssign is presently unable to identify and include text inside an image during similarity tests.
While visual information available in a video may not be detected by SafeAssign, information from the audio transcription can be detected by most premium plagiarism checkers.
Although powerful, SafeAssign plagiarism checker is unable to check every kind of file during plagiarism checks. SafeAssign only accepts file types that can be converted to plain text including DOCX, DOC, PPT, PPTX, PDF, TXT, ODT, RTF, HTML, HTM, and ZIP files.
This means SafeAssign can accept any of the above file formats when uploaded or when they’re zipped. Unfortunately, SafeAssign does not accept Spreadsheet files as it’s unable to convert them to plain text to facilitate originality tests.
Since discussion boards are used to facilitate communication between teachers and their students, the information posted on them is not checked for plagiarism by SafeAssign. Originality checks are not essential because any material submitted on these forums is intended for discussion.
Like most premium plagiarism checkers, SafeAssign supports file types that can be converted to plain text including DOCX, DOC, PPT, PPTX, PDF, TXT, ODT, RTF, HTML, HTM, and ZIP files.
Unfortunately, images included in these files cannot be included in any similarity checks. This means it should be possible to copy text available on these documents without any issues.
If the text inside a document cannot be copied, it has likely been converted to an image that cannot be read by SafeAssign. It’s advisable to ensure that any submissions are made in the appropriate format to avoid any issues with content detection.