Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SafeAssign: A Helpful Teaching Technology

By: Sarah Briggs
The TEAL Center has definitely kicked off the semester with a bang! We have been offering some great NEW sessions, and attendance has been through the roof! Our most popular session by far has been the SafeAssign session, led by COHFA’s very own Ellen Arnold. TEAL teamed with Ellen to provide an informational session for faculty on the ins and outs of the popular product.

SafeAssign is a plagiarism detection/deterrent tool provided as part of our current version of Blackboard (which means it is free of cost for faculty to use!). SafeAssign allows instructors to review reports comparing student writings to online sources and the work of other students.

The session was 90 minutes long, and the house was packed. In the session, Ellen talked with faculty in attendance about the use of the SafeAssign tool, the ethics of it, and possible ways to present the use of the tool to students. Some in attendance agreed that the tool may be used best as a plagiarism deterrent, to teach students about plagiarism and to allow them to “check” their own work before submitting it for a grade. Others in the group thought the tool would work better as a plagiarism detector, to identify blatant and attempted plagiarism. All agreed that it is a good teaching and checking tool. Participants in the workshop were even able to submit their own plagiarized work to see how well it works- and it did!

The TEAL Center, and Ellen, will be offering a second SafeAssign workshop soon. Check out the TEAL Center’s training page for session details and to register!

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