Preventing Plagiarism

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Authentic Assessment

A proactive way to prevent plagiarism, and challenge students to apply the learning they have done over the course of a semester is to perform an authentic assessment.

Watch the following video to learn more about authentic assessment:


At VCU, we use SafeAssign* to help fight back against plagiarism. While no tool is perfect, we encourage you to visit The VCU Writing Center, who provides this helpful handbook on using SafeAssign not just for detecting plagiarism, but also for actually teaching students important skills like paraphrasing, quoting, and research ratio.

SafeAssign checks all submitted papers against the following databases:

  • Internet – comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the Internet
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database with over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from ’90s to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access)
  • Institutional document archives containing all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions
  • Global Reference Database containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.

Additionally, the video below walks you through how to use SafeAssign in Blackboard, which helps faculty identify unoriginal work in papers.

In addition to Safeassign, an easy way to ensure students are not sharing notes for quizzes and tests on Blackboard is to randomize test questions.  The following video details how to set up the randomization of questions in Blackboard:

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Hungry for more?

ALT Lab offers a number of facilitated courses in our  Certificate Program and through our series of Self-Paced courses. Please check out our website for more details or, for a custom professional development request, please contact us using this form.