Can Blackboard Detect AI? (+ SafeAssign & Turnitin)




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The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has been nothing short of revolutionary, influencing every sphere of our lives, including education.

This powerful technology, with its ability to generate human-like text, has raised serious questions about academic integrity. It’s not just about students copying from sources anymore; we’re now facing a scenario where AI tools could potentially ‘write’ assignments.

How prepared are we to face this challenge? This is the question at the heart of our exploration today.

In this article, we delve into Blackboard, a popular learning management system widely used in the academic world.

We’ll examine: can Blackboard detect AI; we will also discuss about SafeAssign, and another major player in plagiarism detection, Turnitin. The focus? To understand their capabilities and limitations in detecting AI-generated text.

Key Takeaways:

  • Blackboard’s SafeAssign tool is designed for plagiarism detection but does not specifically detect AI-generated text.
  • Turnitin, another popular tool, has recently launched an AI-text detection feature that identifies content likely created using automated writing technologies.
  • SafeAssign promotes academic integrity by offering self-check, source verification, and paraphrasing support for students.
  • AI-generated content is challenging to detect because it creates unique, original sentences rather than directly copying existing sources.
  • Copyleaks is an innovative platform that integrates with Blackboard and can detect AI-generated content, making it a comprehensive solution for maintaining academic integrity.
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Can Blackboard Detect AI?

As of the current state of technology, Blackboard, which primarily utilizes the SafeAssign software for plagiarism detection, does not possess capabilities to specifically detect AI-generated text.

However, Turnitin, another popular tool in the academic integrity space, has recently launched an AI-text detection feature. We will talk more about SafeAssign and Turnitin ahead, so keep reading.

Blackboard is a trusted name in the academic world, providing a comprehensive digital environment for learning. One of its key features is SafeAssign, a tool used for plagiarism detection. However, when it comes to detecting AI-generated text, Blackboard, as of our current understanding and technology, falls short. Why is this the case?

Well, it comes down to how SafeAssign, and similar tools, work. These tools are designed to detect copied content by comparing submissions against a vast database of academic texts, websites, and other resources.

If a student’s submission matches something that’s already in the database, SafeAssign flags it. However, AI-generated text is an entirely different beast.

AI tools are more intelligent than ever before. When an AI tool like ChatGPT is asked to generate text on a particular topic, it doesn’t just copy and paste from existing sources. It creates something new. This makes it tricky for tools like SafeAssign to detect, as there’s no direct copying involved.

An interesting fact to consider is that if two people ask an AI the same question in separate instances, the AI might generate very similar, if not identical responses.

This could potentially be detected by SafeAssign if the generated text is already in its database. However, this is reliant on chance and the uniqueness of the question, making it an unreliable detection method.

Can Safeassign Detect AI?

SafeAssign is an integral tool of the Blackboard learning management system, designed to promote originality and uphold academic integrity.

Before understanding whether or not SafeAssign can detect AI, let’s learn a bit more about the tool. So, SafeAssign is an online plagiarism checker designed to identify instances of potential plagiarism in student papers.

It employs a sophisticated algorithm to compare submitted documents against an extensive database that includes other student papers, institutional archives, and online sources.

By generating an overall percentage score, SafeAssign highlights sections that may require further scrutiny. It is essential to note that a high percentage score does not automatically indicate plagiarism but rather serves as an indication of possible matches or similarities.

SafeAssign offers several benefits to students, empowering them to maintain academic integrity and improve their writing skills. Here are some key advantages:


SafeAssign allows students to submit their papers before the final submission to evaluate their work for unintentional plagiarism. This proactive approach enables students to identify and rectify potential issues, ensuring they submit original and properly cited content.

Source Verification:

SafeAssign compares student submissions with existing sources in its database, including previous student papers and online content. This feature aids students in verifying their sources, ensuring they properly attribute all referenced material and avoid accidental plagiarism.

Paraphrasing Support:

The tool helps students understand the importance of proper paraphrasing. By highlighting similarities between their work and existing sources, SafeAssign encourages students to rephrase and restructure sentences, improving their writing skills and avoiding plagiarism concerns.

Now, coming to the question, can Safeassign detect ai?

The short answer is not yet! Despite its efficiency in identifying traditional plagiarism, SafeAssign finds itself on less certain ground when it comes to AI-generated content. Why? Well, it’s because AI writing doesn’t fall into the category of conventional plagiarism that SafeAssign is designed to detect.

Artificial Intelligence, specifically in the context of text generation, has a unique ability to produce original content. Using machine learning algorithms, AI tools like ChatGPT can analyze vast amounts of data and mimic human-like text generation. They don’t simply copy and paste existing content but create new, unique sentences.

When a student submits AI-generated text, SafeAssign would struggle to find a direct match in its database. This is because the text, while possibly similar in theme or topic to existing content, is technically original.

Can Turnitin Detect AI Writing?

Turnitin is a powerful online tool primarily used by educators and students to maintain academic integrity. Its core function is to detect instances of plagiarism in academic work, thereby promoting originality and authentic research.

When students submit their essays, reports, or other written assignments through Turnitin, the system compares the text against a vast database. This database includes numerous documents from academic journals, books, and the internet, including billions of pages of archived content.

One of the key features of Turnitin is its proprietary algorithm which not only checks for exact matches but also examines for paraphrased content. It is this feature that sets Turnitin apart from many other plagiarism detection tools.

Turnitin also provides a ‘similarity report’ for each piece of work submitted. This report highlights any matching or similar text, allowing both students and teachers to easily identify any potential issues with the work.

It’s important to note that Turnitin itself doesn’t determine whether a piece of work has been plagiarized; it merely identifies matching content. The final judgment is left to the educators.

Now coming to the question, can Turnitin detect AI-generated content? Well, the answer is yes. 

They have recently launched their AI detection feature which shows the AI Indicator of any generated content along with their Similarity report.

It reveals the approximate proportion of the text that was likely created by automated writing technologies like ChatGPT.

To better illustrate the text sections that the Turnitin model thinks were authored by AI, the indicator also provides a link to a paper outlining further on these findings. Please be aware that the indication is only visible to teaching staff as of now.

Speaking of content detection, check out this guide to learn whether Turnitin is capable of detecting paraphrased content from Quillbot.

How Copyleaks Integrated With Blackboard Can Detect AI Content:

While software like SafeAssign Turnitin remains a popular choice for detecting plagiarism, other innovative platforms have expanded their detection capabilities to include AI-generated content. One such tool is Copyleaks, a cutting-edge content authentication system.

Copyleaks is known for its broad-spectrum detection abilities. It’s not just a standard plagiarism detector; it’s designed to catch AI-generated content, including pieces written by sophisticated AI models like GPT-4. This ability sets it apart from many traditional plagiarism detection tools.

Beyond this, Copyleaks can identify multiple forms of paraphrasing, image-based text plagiarism, attempts to trick detection software, and even plagiarism in source code. These features make it an incredibly comprehensive solution for maintaining academic integrity.

One of the major advantages of Copyleaks is its compatibility with learning management systems like Blackboard. The integration is simple and fast, usually completed in less than 15 minutes, without the need for additional coding. This seamless integration brings the power of Copyleaks’ plagiarism and AI content detection directly to Blackboard users, enhancing the platform’s functionality.

Once integrated, Copyleaks works in the background, scanning every piece of content submitted through the Blackboard platform. It goes beyond assignments, examining content from discussion boards, quizzes, and more. The scans are not only thorough but also quick, providing results in less than a minute on average.

The ability of Copyleaks to detect AI-generated content is a game-changer. With 99% claimed accuracy, it helps educators stay one step ahead, ensuring that the work submitted is not just plagiarism-free, but also authentically human-written.

In an era where AI writing becomes more prevalent, tools like Copyleaks are instrumental in maintaining the credibility and integrity of academic work.

Conclusion and final thoughts 💭

While tools like Copyscape are impressive in their ability to maintain academic integrity, it’s important to remember that no content detection system is foolproof.

As AI continues to advance, its output becomes increasingly human-like, making it more challenging to detect.

With advanced-level prompts, tools like Chat GPT-4 can generate text that is virtually indistinguishable from human-written content, slipping past many content detectors. Furthermore, paraphrasing tools like Quillbot can reword content to such an extent that it can avoid detection.

However, this doesn’t mean the situation is all dark. On the contrary, it presents an exciting challenge for the future of content detection. As AI continues to develop, so too do the tools designed to detect AI-generated content.

Copyleaks, with its innovative features and robust detection capabilities, is a prime example of how AI content detection tools are keeping pace with AI advancements.

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