Help students develop their academic writing skills with SafeAssign

Accurate referencing and the academic integrity it signifies are central to good academic writing and constitute a skill, and a quality, essential to students in higher education. By embedding SafeAssign into your module, you can help your students develop their academic writing skills and gain an insight into their development needs.


With a facility for students to independently check their work for plagiarism in advance of an assignment deadline, SafeAssign gives students an opportunity to evaluate their own referencing practice and seek support if required.

For staff, Blackboard assignments can be set up with SafeAssign switched on, meaning that all student submissions are checked by SafeAssign for plagiarism or referencing errors.


By encouraging your students to use SafeAssign to check their own work for accurate referencing, you are encouraging them to take responsibility for their own referencing practice and academic integrity.

Furthermore, when you set up your Blackboard assignments with SafeAssign switched on, you will gain invaluable insight into whether your students understand both the concept of academic integrity and the practice of accurate referencing. This information will enable you to provide appropriate support and guidance.

Things to be aware of

Referencing is new to the majority of higher education students so dedicate time to developing your students’ understanding of referencing and plagiarism before you start evaluating their practice using SafeAssign. By doing so you can deploy SafeAssign as a helpful tool for further development rather than a blunt instrument that tells students they are doing it all wrong.

In the same vein, be ready to support students who may not yet have mastered referencing. Whether you decide to provide support yourself or signpost students to support from the Library, ensure that using SafeAssign leads to positive outcomes for your students, not a loss of confidence.

Finally, both staff and students need to read a SafeAssign originality report with care: referencing mistakes, such as missing punctuation, are clearly not as concerning as copying a colleague’s work. As a result, make sure that you read an originality report with a critical eye in order to determine what, if any, action is required.


Learn to use SafeAssign

Blackboard Support have produced a comprehensive guide to using SafeAssign that covers everything you need to know.

In addition to this guidance, FET staff are welcome to contact the LIU for face to face support:

Teach your students about referencing and plagiarism

Support from the Library

The Library provides a wealth of referencing and plagiarism support for staff and students that can be embedded into modules or programmes. This includes:

Please contact the FET Library team if you would like to explore any of the above:

Support on Blackboard

Students and staff can access the Library’s referencing and plagiarism guidance via the Study Skills and Learner Support links on any Blackboard module site.

Help with technical difficulties

If you are using SafeAssign and you encounter a technical problem with the software or your hardware, please contact IT online: