Blackboard assignments

The Blackboard Assignment tool facilitates easy marking of and feedback for assignments submitted online by students. When students submit a document, their attempt is recorded in the Grade Centre to alert staff to the submission. Staff can provide feedback by way of annotating the student's work directly; adding grades, a rubric, and general comments, as well as attaching other documents for feedback as desired. Notifications about Blackboard assignments and corresponding due dates automatically appear for each student in the Notifications area of the LMS, as well as via the My Grades tool within a subject if applicable.

Create an assignment

  1. Navigate to the page in your subject where you wish to create an assignment.
  2. Ensure Edit Mode  is ON.
Edit Mode on button
Edit Mode on button
  1. From Assessments select Assignment.
Assessment button showing available options and highlighting assignment
Assessment button showing available options and highlighting assignment
  1. Enter a name and student instructions for the assignment.
  2. If required, attach files by clicking Browse My Computer, Browse Content Collection, or using the drag and drop feature to move files into the area outlined with a dotted line.
  3. Drag and drop feature
  4. Enter the Due Date and time for the assignment. The assignment will still be visible after this date (if limit availability does not prevent this), but assignments submitted after the due date will be marked as late.
    By setting a due date, you will also automatically add an event to the subject calendar as a reminder for students.
  5. Enter the Points Possible.
  6. If you want to use a rubric, click the Add Rubric button to select or create the rubric.
    Note: See the guide for more information on Rubrics.
  7. Submission Details lets you select the assignment type and number of attempts.
  • Assignment Type must be one of Individual (default), Group or Portfolio Submission.
    Individual Submission will allow each student to submit their own assignment.
    Group Submission will let you select the groups that will be submitting group assignments. One student from each group will be submitting a document(s) for assessment on behalf of their group. Note that groups will need exist for this feature to function correctly. If groups do not already exist, you can proceed with creating the assignment, and simply return to the assignment later to select the groups when you have created them. To create groups, got to Control Panel >> Groups.
    Portfolio Submission requires students to submit a portfolio of work. See the guide for more information about Portfolios.
  • Number of Attempts options include Single (default), Multiple and UnlimitedAttempts.
    Note: Allowing more than a single attempt will enable students to submit a second time if they realise that they have uploaded the incorrect file, or if they want to alter their submission AND it is before the due date of the assignment.
  1. Grading Options lets you select anonymous or delegated grading.
  • Select Enable Anonymous Grading if you wish the student names to be hidden during the grading process.
  • Select Enable Delegated Grading if you wish to delegate grading responsibilities to one or more graders.

Please note: Options for anonymous and delegated grading exist for Blackboard assignments, but both have serious flaws and unexpected outcomes. More importantly, diagnosing problems is very difficult, as the view of a subject will vary per individual, not per staff role (the usual case with other LMS options).

We strongly recommend that you DO NOT use anonymous and delegated grading options. If you want to use anonymous and delegated grading regardless, please talk with us so that we have the opportunity to talk you out of it.

  1. Display of Grades lets you choose the appearance of the grade, and how it is used, in the Grade Centre (to staff) and My Grades (to students).
  • Primary options are visible to staff and may be made visible to students.
    Choose from Score, Letter, Text, Percentage or Complete/Incomplete.
  • Secondary options are visible to staff only via the grade centre.
    Choose from None, Score, Letter, Text, Percentage or Complete/Incomplete.
  • Include in Grade Centre grading Calculations allows this data to be used in Calculated Columns such as Total and Weighted Total.
  • Show to students in My Grades to allow students to see marks from this assignment via My Grades.
  • Show Statistics gives additional information (average and median) to students via My Grades for this assignment.
  1. Make the Assignment Available is selected by default, and gives students access to the assignment.
  2. Limit Availability only if you want the assignment to automatically appear and/or disappear from student view on a particular date/time.
    Note: This does not have to be set and has nothing to do with the due date.
  3. Track Number of Views if you want to run statistics reports on student activity related to this assignment.
  4. Click Submit.

Receipts for student submissions

When students submit their work to a Blackboard assignment, either for an individual or group assignment, they are made aware that they should receive both an onscreen confirmation and an email confirmation, both of which constitute their receipt.

This receipt number is also accessible through the My Grades tool.

Confirmation text prior to submission:

Confirmation prior to submission
Example of onscreen confirmation:
Example of onscreen confirmation

Example of email confirmation:

Grade a submission

The instructions below apply for marking individual and group assignments. Group assignments are marked once, with a single mark and comment given to all students within the group. Grades for individual students within the group may then be adjusted as needed.

  1. From Control Panel select Grade Centre >> Needs Grading.
Grade centre feature in control Panel showing Needs grading option
Grade centre feature in control Panel showing Needs grading option
  1. Click the name of the person/group whose assignment you wish to grade.
  2. Click a student name to open and grade their submission.
  3. If a Word (DOC, DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX) or PDF (PDF) file was attached, it will be displayed in the preview pane to the left of screen.

    If a file in a format other than those listed above is attached, you can click it to download and open with your computer (not via LMS).

    If the student wrote their submission directly into Write Submission box (did not attach a file) this will be displayed in the preview pane.

    If the student wrote text directly into the tool and attached a file, the text is displayed by default, but the file may be opened by clicking the file name in the submission area to the right.
Student submission previewing document and ready to have comments added
Student submission previewing document and ready to have comments added
  1. Click in the light blue Attempt area to enter a grade. The feedback area will appear.
Feedback details for a student showing grade
Feedback details for a student showing grade
  1. Enter a grade and feedback.
  2. If this was a group assignment all group members will be listed, with the option to override the group grade for an individual.
Override button
Override button
  1. Once a new grade is entered, click the tick (ΓΌ) that appears to confirm the change for that student. The student now displays an override mark next to their score.
Override mark displaying
Override mark displaying
  1. If a rubric was attached, this may be accessed by clicking the rubric name (found above the feedback text area). Select a level for each criteria and Save Rubric.
    Note: More details on using rubrics.
  2. Click Add Notes to add comments that will be visible to teaching staff only.
  3. If you would like to add inline comments and feedback, see inline comments and feedback.
  4. Click Submit.

Notes: Students are able to see their marks and feedback for an assignment via the My Grades tool or the Assignment link. Note: The Grade Centre column for the assignment must be set to be shown to students.

To prevent students from seeing this mark until you are ready to release it, hide the Grade Centre column from students: Control Panel >> Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre >> click arrow next to column title >> Select Show/Hide to students. A grey circle with a red slash now appears next to the column name.

Grade Centre column hidden icon
Grade Centre column hidden icon.

Alternate method to grade a submission

  1. From Control Panel select Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre or Assignments.
  2. Students who have submitted an assignment to be graded will have an exclamation mark in the column that corresponds with the assignment.
  3. Position the cursor above the appropriate cell.
  4. Click the arrow and select View Grade Details.
  5. Click View Attempts.
  6. The student submission and any comments will be displayed.
  7. Grade as per steps 5 – 7 in previous instructions.

Download a batch of submitted assignments for marking

  1. From Control Panel select Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre or Assignments.
  2. Click the arrow next to the assignment title.
  3. Select Assignment File Download.
  4. Click the check box to the left of the assignments you wish to download; OR
    Click the check box at the top of column to select all.
  5. If any student made multiple submissions to the assignment you will have the option to download the last attempt file, or all attempt files.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. A zip file of the selected assignments is created. A link called Download assignments now is created to the zip file. Click the link and save to your computer.

Once downloaded, assignments can be marked offline. Grades and feedback can then be added using the process described above in Grade a submission. Grades only (no feedback) can be added with the process that follows.

Grade an assignment

  1. From Control Panel select Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre or Assignments.
  2. Identify the grade you wish to enter then click the appropriate cell in the spreadsheet.
  3. Enter a new grade then press Enter.

Clear a single assignment attempt

  1. From Control Panel select Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre or Assignments.
  2. Students who have submitted an assignment to be graded will have an exclamation mark in the column that corresponds with the assignment.
  3. Position the cursor above the appropriate cell.
  4. Click the arrow to open the contextual menu for the grade.
  5. Click View Grade Details.
  6. Click Clear Attempt.
  7. A pop-up dialogue appears asking to confirm intention to delete column. Click OK to proceed with deleting column, or Cancel to stop this action.
  8. Click Return to Grade Centre.

Clear all attempts

  1. From Control Panel select Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre or Assignments.
  2. Click the arrow next to the assignment title.
  3. Select Clear Attempts for All Users.
  4. Select criteria: Last, First, Highest, Lowest, All; OR
    Select date range.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Click OK.

Inline comments and feedback

Blackboard assignments allow you to provide inline comments and feedback directly onto the student submission. Students will be able to see the marked document and feedback if the grade centre column is set to allow access. Accepted formats for inline comments and feedback are Word (DOC), (DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX), and PDF (PDF). If you wish to use inline grading, you must encourage your students to submit in one of these formats.

  1. Follow the steps for Grade a submission above.
  2. When the student’s submission is opened for grading the document will be visible on the left of screen. Above the document are a set of tools that may be used to annotate the document.
Student submission previewing document and ready to have comments added
Student submission previewing document and ready to have comments added

Comments may be attached to a point in the text, an area of the document, or a selection of text. You can also draw on the document, highlight text, write your own text in a text box (not attached to a particular area of the document) or strikethrough text of the student’s work.

When you are marking a submission, the tools needed for creating inline comments are available above the student submission. Click the Comment button to display the inline marking tools.

The Comment button differs depending on screen size.

Comment button on a large screen Comment button on a small screen
The comments button size differs depending on your screen size

Also depending on screen size, the set of tools you then see may be icon only.

Comments toolbar on a small screen
Comments toolbar on a small screen

Or an icon with text.

Comment toolbar on a large screen
Comment toolbar on a large screen

Note: Do not worry if you do not immediately see the colour squares of the highlight tool. These will become visible when you select a tool that uses them. Similarly, when you select the drawing tool, the available colours will change.

Types of comment

The three types of comment are all available from the (second) Comment button.

Comment tools expanded to show the three types
Comment tools expanded to show the three types

In the following image is an example of each type of comment: Point attached to a small red pointer; Area surrounding the desired area with a red rectangular outline; and Text allowing a selection of text to be made.

A student submission showing the three types of comments applied
A student submission showing the three types of comments applied

Insert a comment

  1. Select the desired comment type from the Comment button: Point, Area or Text.
The second comment button
The second comment button
  1. Click an insertion point in the document (Point); or
    Click and drag across the area to be associated with the comment (Area and Text).
  2. The marker is inserted into the document and an area for you to type the comment appears to the right of the student document.
  3. Type your comment then click away from the comment to finish. Comments with text in them are automatically saved when you click away from the comment.
  4. If you do not type a comment, the marker in the student document will disappear when you click away from the current location.

Draw

  1. Select the Draw tool.
Draw tool button
Draw tool button
  1. Select the desired colour from the pallet that appears to the right.
    Note: this pallet of colours will only be visible if you have the screen space. Minimising the subject menu can allow the pallet room to appear.
Draw tool colour palette
Draw tool colour palette
  1. Click and drag over the document to draw as desired.
Drawing on student submission to emphasise a point
Drawing on student submission to emphasise a point
  1. When finished, click Complete to accept the drawing or Cancel to remove the drawing.
    Note: Complete and Cancel appear when you move the cursor away from the drawing.

Highlight

  1. Select the Highlight tool
Highlight tool button
Highlight tool button
  1. Select the desired colour from the pallet that appears to the right.
Highlight tool colour palette
Highlight tool colour palette
  1. Click and drag over the text to be highlighted.
  2. You can right mouse click highlighted text and choose to Add Comment.

Insert text on the document

  1. Select the Text tool.
Text tool button
Text tool button
  1. Select the desired colour and font size from the pallet that appears to the right.
  2. Text tool size and colour menu
    Text tool size and colour menu
  3. Click an insertion point in the document and type your text.
  4. If the text is being typed on top of other text/images, to make it easier to read, you may want to click the fill icon (far right in the pallet that appeared). This will give the text a white background.

Strikeout text

  1. Select the Strikeout tool.
  2. Strikeout tool button
    Strikeout tool button
  3. Click and drag across the student text that you want to strikeout.
  4. The text now appears with a red line through it and an insertion point appears so that a comment may be entered.
Text with comment added
Text with comment added

Reposition

Some of the inline comment tools may be repositioned e.g. point comment, area comment and drawing. When your cursor is on the instance of the tool in the student submission, when there is a four headed arrow you will be able to click and drag the tool to a new location.

Delete

Right-mouse click any comment marker, drawing etc in the student submission and select the Remove… option that appears.

Note: Some inline tools may also be removed by clicking the instance of the tool in the student submission and pressing Delete or Backspace on the keyboard. You will be asked to confirm the deletion.

Reviewing comments

When you review a student submission that has inline marking you may see a Comments & Markups pane in the centre of the screen.

Student submission showing the comments and markups pane open
Student submission showing the comments and markups pane open

There is a close box (x) to the right of the title that can be used to minimise this area if you do not wish to see it.

The Grade Centre is a closely related topic. Grade Centre resources are available here.

If you are interested in creating and using rubrics with your assignments see the rubrics guide.

If you want to create an assignment that will allow you to see the non-original text in your students’ submissions, take a look at creating Turnitin assignments.

This guide was last updated 19 Jul 2017.
Report any errors or omissions in this guide to lms-guides@lists.unimelb.edu.au

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