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Plagiarism Tool Scans 1 Million Papers

CMS/LMS provider Blackboard reported Monday that its plagiarism detection service, SafeAssign, has now been used to scan more than 1 million student papers. Blackboard debuted SafeAssign about nine months ago.

SafeAssign is designed to eliminate plagiarism in student assignments. The service detects plagiarized works in student papers and delivers reports on such incidents through the Blackboard Learning System.

It checks assignments against databases of published articles and also scans the Internet for materials that might have been plagiarized. The databases the system uses include ProQuest ABI/Inform database, which includes more than 2.6 million articles and is updated weekly; archives of papers submitted to SafeAssign by users; and Global Reference Database of papers submitted by students and faculty.

According to Blackboard, "The proliferation of Web-based 'paper mills' and several high profile instances of cheating have drawn significant attention to the issue of plagiarism. In 2003, a Rutgers University study found that nearly four in 10 college students--38 percent--had engaged in online plagiarism. Many students have also expressed uncertainty over what exactly constitutes plagiarism."

"SafeAssign is a very powerful tool," said Marvin H. O'Neal III, undergraduate biology professor at Stony Brook University, in a statement released today. "Because of the size of our laboratories, we have many sections teaching the same material each week. SafeAssign creates a common filtering point for all of the assignments, even from students who have different instructors or who are taking the same course during a different semester."

SafeAssign has been available as a stand-alone tool since August 2007 and a component integrated into Blackboard Academic Suite 8 since February 2008.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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