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Safe Assign

Students taking notes in a lecture

Safe Assign is the University's preferred originality-checking software tool that is available through Blackboard to all staff users. You do not have to be using Blackboard as a teaching tool to use Safe Assign.


How it works


When assignments are uploaded through Safe Assign, they are checked against a comprehensive database of source material. This includes the Internet, ProQuest, the University of Otago document archive and a global reference database that consists of assignments from other institutions. A Safe Assign originality report is generated and a percentage mark of the paper that matches other sources is produced.


Safe Assign is designed to work as both a deterrent and an education tool.

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Safe Assign at the University of Otago


At the University of Otago the use of Safe Assign is left to the discretion of individual departments or academic staff.


You have the option of using Safe Assign in the following ways:

  • Submitting assignments to Safe Assign yourself through 'Direct Submit'
  • Getting students to submit their files directly to a 'Safe Assignment' folder in Blackboard

If you permit students to submit their assignments directly to Safe Assign, students must have the option of submitting one 'Draft Safe Assignment'. This means ' Draft Safe Assignment' and 'Final Version Assignment' folders will need to be created in your Blackboard course for each piece of assessment set for the semester.


Should students wish to utilise the draft setting, both staff and students must be able to access the report generated. Draft Safe Assignments allow students to check all their work is correctly referenced before it is marked and help increase awareness of what constitutes plagiarism. Assignments submitted as drafts are not stored in the 'Otago' database.


Students can submit final assignments only once. When assignments are submitted to the 'Final Version' folder they are stored in the Otago database and it is these assignments that are marked. Students should not be able to see the Safe Assign report when the final version is submitted.

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Setting up and using Safe Assign


Instructions on how to use and set up Safe Assign

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Training courses


Training courses for Safe Assign are run by ITS Training. For enquiries, contact it.training@otago.ac.nz or 03 479 8466

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Interpreting Safe Assign reports


The Safe Assign report provides a percentage probability that the text in the student's report matches text stored in the database. Please note the score is only a warning indicator and you should review the papers to see if the matches are properly referenced. If the matching text is not referenced correctly, the student's assignment contains a degree of plagiarism.
Safe Assign reports are divided into three sections:

  1. Report information: This section lists information about the paper such as the author, percentage matching and when it was submitted. It also includes options to download, email or view a printable version of the report.
  2. Suspected Sources: This section lists the sources that have text that matches the text of the paper. You can select sources, exclude them from the review and process the paper again. Processing the paper again will generate a new value for percentage matching that disregards the excluded sources.
  3. Paper Text: This section shows the submitted paper. All matching blocks of text are highlighted. Clicking a matching block of text will display information about the original source and the probability that the block was copied from the source.

Example report and further instructions on how to interpret Safe Assign reports

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Information for students


Information about Safe Assign is available for students elsewhere on this website.

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