WebCT safeassign

As part of my accessibility internship I have to think about the accessibility of WebCT. That makes my head hurt: right away I see frames, popups, images with no alt attributes, invalid code, and little or no document structure. Hoo boy. More on that later. Anyway, when I logged in today, I was greeted by this announcement:

During the summer months we activated some new tools in WesternOnline meant to help prevent plagiarism. They are called SafeAssign and SafeAssign Direct Submit. To learn more about both of these tools and how to use them we highly recommend you view the information available at the SafeAssign website. […]

More joy. Does anybody have experience with this thing? A quick read of the terms of service isn’t comforting; here’s point four, emphasis mine:

You and your end-users agree that any of your end-users’ papers that are submitted (“User Content”) as part of the Services, is and remains your sole property or the property of such end-user. By uploading or otherwise making available any User Content, you and your end-user automatically warrant that the owner has the right to transmit the User Content to SAFEASSIGN™ and that such User Content may be utilized for the purpose of plagiarism detection and prevention. To the extent that your end-user authorizes the inclusion of the User Content in our Global Database, you agree that Blackboard may maintain a copy of such User Content indefinitely and may use the same for the purpose of plagiarism detection and prevention for other utilizing the Services.

Maybe it’s less bad than Turnitin. Submitting to the global database is opt-in, supposedly. But another section of the site says administrators control the consent statement delivered to students. I haven’t wrapped my head around all this yet. Should I expect to be happy when I do?

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