Plagiarism Detection at Bucknell
At Bucknell, we subscribe to two different services that allow us to check student essays for originality: SafeAssign and TurnItIn. SafeAssign is integrated with Blackboard, and it will be available as a plagiarism detection tool until June 30, 2013, when our Blackboard license expires. TurnItIn is integrated with Moodle and will remain our primary plagiarism detection service once we complete our transition from Blackboard to Moodle.
Both SafeAssign and TurnItIn have a "before-the-fact" and "after-the-fact" mechanism for checking student essays for originality
Before the Fact
If you want to discourage students from submitting work that has been copied from other sources without proper citation or credit, you can create a "SafeAssignment" in your Blackboard course or a "Turnitin Assignment" in your Moodle course. Students in the course submit their essays via that assignment, and all student submissions are checked against a database consisting of publicly available sources, other work submitted by Bucknell students, and essays submitted by students at other universities that license SafeAssign or TurnItIn. SafeAssign and TurnItIn produce an "originality score" that indicates what percentage of the submitted document appears to copy language from other sources. Since sentences that students actually quoted (and attributed correctly) can appear to be matches, a matching score in the low teens is not necessarily problematic, but matching scores higher than that would warrant closer analysis. Both SafeAssign and TurnItIn provide specific comparisons between the language in the student essay and the language in the pre-existing source, allowing faculty members to determine if inappropriate copying has occurred.
After the Fact
If faculty members don't want all student submissions for a particular assignment to be checked for originality, the faculty member can use an "after-the-fact" approach, submitting an individual student essay that arouses suspicion either to SafeAssign or TurnItIn. SafeAssign has a "DirectSubmit" feature that allows faculty to upload a single student essay (or a group of essays as a *.zip file) for originality checking. With TurnItIn, faculty members need to create a TurnItIn assignment in a Moodle course, hide the assignment from students, and then submit the suspicious student essay(s) to TurnItIn via the hidden assignment. The submissions will generate an originality report within 30 minutes after the essay is submitted, which the faculty member can review.
Please contact ITEC if you have any questions about using SafeAssign or TurnItIn to detect student plagiarism.