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eLearning News
Updates, announcements, and other items of interest from eLearning, Teaching and Learning Facilities (ITS).

Safeassign – submit a URL

The latest upgrade to Blackboard has added a new feature to SafeAssign. The “Suggest URL” option.  This is for you as an instructor to suggest any URLs you think Safeassign might have missed.

Previously, SafeAssign used Yahoo Boss to trawl the internet and find matches for suspected plagiarism, due to changes within Yahoo this was unable to continue. Instead, SafeAssign is using its own servers and application to do most of the internet trawling.  That’s why they ask for suggested links. This suggestion can take up to a month to go through to SafeAssign.

To clarify, SafeAssign uses:

  • Internet: Comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the internet.
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database: More than 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from 1990 to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access).
  • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
  • Global Reference Database: Contains papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institution plagiarism.

The true strength of SafeAssign lies in its institutional repository, a database of all submissions from students to the SafeAssign.

It’s important to bear in mind that SafeAssign is merely a text matching tool and should not be solely relied upon as a plagiarism checker. The detection of plagiarism is an academic skill, and not a computer function.   All detection software leads to both false positive and false negative diagnoses – so results should always be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Here are some resources that could help:

If you would like more help with SafeAssign please either contact the Service Desk or leave a comment below.

New Otago Capture for 2018

In 2018 eLearning will be launching a brand-new version of Otago Capture.  This version of Otago Capture has significant advantages over the current version.  Some key improvements are:

•    Presenter Mode: Capture can be used to deliver your lecture, with students following along in real time, asking questions, and sending notifications if they find anything confusing.
•    Note Taking: Students can now take notes directly within Capture when watching the recording (or when using Presenter Mode), these notes are tied to the context they were taken (i.e. the time of the video, or the specific slide), and can be revisited for effective revision.
•    Improved Analytics: Analytics are now more specific. Instructors can see how many students followed along during a given lecture, watched the recordings, took notes, and so on.
•    Technical improvements: This version of Otago Capture does not use the outdated Flash software, instead it uses HTML5 to display the recordings and slides, which allows for full compatibility with modern browsers, and superior security.

These are just some of the features. There will be more features announced as the year continues.

We’ll also be holding some seminars demonstrating the new system in the coming weeks.  Use the eLearning Seminars page to find out when the demonstrations will be run.

Blackboard Paper Administration Upgrade

We would like to announce an upgrade of Blackboard Paper Administration. We have scheduled the upgrade to happen between 5 pm and 7 pm Wednesday, 21 June. This will mean that there will be no access to Blackboard Paper Administration during this time frame. Blackboard itself will still be available as normal.

This upgrade includes:

  • Email notifications to coordinators
    • When students will lose access to the Blackboard paper.
    • When other staff will lose access to the Blackboard paper.
  • Some bug fixes.

You can keep up-to-date with news about this update by following the ITS Service Desk notices ( and here on the eLearning blog (