It’s been many years since Hostos had a site license for Turnitin, the premiere online plagiarism-checking application,  giving faculty free access to its services, and many faculty have been urgently waiting for it’s return.  Instructors could always purchase their own account, at their own expense  But at long last, Turnitin returns to Hostos, and all of CUNY, as a building block within Blackboard.

Users of Blackboard have had access to SafeAssign, Blackboard’s own anti-plagiarism service,  for some time, first as a separate Assignment type, and then as an option within assignments.  SafeAssign remains in Blackboard, but now faculty will have the ability to choose either Turnitin or SafeAssign, and some may prefer to use both.

Why use both? How are Turnitin and SafeAssign different? How do anti-plagiarism services work?

SafeAssign checks papers against the internet using its own internet database and the ProQuest ABI/Inform database. SafeAssign will also check papers submitted through CUNY Blackboarc against its global database.  Students can opt out of submitting their papers to the global database. All submissions will go into the CUNY institutional database unless you tell SafeAssign not to archive them.

Turnitin checks papers against the internet using its own web crawler and 6 different databases including EBSCO, Emerald and Sage. Turnitin will also check against its global database. All submissions will also go into an institutional database unless you tell Turnitin not to archive them. Students can opt out of submitting their papers to the global database.
NOTE: The SafeAssign and Turnitin institutional and global databases will not talk to each other even if your campus is using both to check for plagiarism.

Just after the Summer 2016 semester ended, Turnitin was upgraded to include Feedback Studio.  Feedback Studio allows both the checking for originality and grading of content in one view, and easy switching between the student’s paper and Turnitin’s tools.  The focus of Feedback Studio places more emphasis on helping students with their writing as well as checking originality. Turnitin has its own grading tools called QuickMarks and its own rubric tool. Neither of these tools can be imported into Blackboard or tracked by Blackboard reporting tools.

feedback studio logo

Other features of Feedback Studio is that it works on a PC, tablets and smartphones, upgrades are compliant with Web Content Accessibillity Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA standards, and an expanded content database and enhanced anti-plagiarism technology that includes identifying content hidden behind Javascript.

Both SafeAssign and Turnitin drop grade data into the course Grade Center. However, if you modify the grade information in the column for a Turnitin assignment through Blackboard, you will encounter a error — any changes to the Turnitin grade must be made through Turnitin, which will then pass the data back to Blackboard.  Also, the turn it in assingment must be “synched” with Blackboard.”

The bottom line is that both SafeAssign and Turnitin wil be available to Hostos faculty who use Blackboard, and ulrimately it is up to the instructor as far as which to use.  Some may choose Safeassign because its greater integration into  Blackboard and the Assignment tool. But Turnitin has a greater reach and offers a robust set of tools, especially the advantage of having grading and originality-checking tools at reach simultaneously with Feedback Studio,

For the Faculty Turnitin Blackboard User Manual go to:


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