Blackboard assignments

The Blackboard Assignment tool allows marking and feedback of online assignments. When a student makes a submission, it is registered in the Grade Centre, where staff can then give the student feedback in the form of any of the following: a numeric grade, letter grade, inline commenting and highlighting, general comments, attachments, and a rubric. Students are notified about due dates and feedback on their assignment via 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 want to create an assignment.
  2. Ensure Edit Mode (to the top right of the page) is ON.
Edit Mode on button
Edit Mode ON button
  1. From the Assessments menu, select Assignment.
Assessment button showing available options and highlighting assignment
Assessment menu showing available options including Assignment
  1. Enter a name and instructions for the assignment.
  2. If required, attach files by clicking Browse My Computer, Browse Content Collection, or use the drag and drop feature to move files into the area outlined with a dotted line.
  3. Drag and drop feature
    Click Browse or use drag and drop to attach a file
  4. Enter the due date and time for the assignment. The assignment will continue to 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, an entry will automatically be added to the subject calendar as a reminder for students.
  5. Enter the points possible. It is recommend to grade assignments out of 100 and use the Grade Centre to weight the grade according to it's overall worth.
  6. If using a rubric, click the Add Rubric button to select or create a rubric.  For more information on using rubrics, see the relevant guide to using Rubrics in the LMS.
  7. At Submission Details, choose the assignment type and number of attempts students will be allowed to make.
  • Assignment Type must be one of Individual (default) or Group submission

    Individual Submission allows each student to submit their own assignment.

    Group Submission allows a group of students to make a submission for their group. Note that groups need to have been created before for this feature to function correctly. If groups have not already been created, proceed with creating the assignment, and simply return later to select the groups after they have been created. Groups can be created at Control Panel >> Groups. For further information, see the relevant guide to using Groups in the LMS.
  • Number of Attempts options include Single (default), Multiple and Unlimited Attempts. When Multiple of Unlimited attempts are selected, staff need to select which attempt will be recognised as the final mark. Last Graded Attempt is selected by default. Allowing more than a single attempt can be useful for common scenarios where a student has submitted an incorrect file, or needs to alter their submission. Without allowing multiple submissions, the staff member would need to clear the existing submission to allow the student to submit again.
  1. Grading Options allows you to select Anonymous or Delegated grading.

Note that the options for Anonymous and Delegated grading both have operational issues and unexpected outcomes. We strongly recommend against using Anonymous and Delegated grading options, and cannot provide support for these options.

  • Enable Anonymous Grading allows for student names to be hidden during the grading process. This enables staff to mark papers without knowing the identity of the student whose work they are marking.
  • Enable Delegated Grading allows for the delegation of grading responsibilities to one or more graders. Each staff member can then provide separate grades, feedback and notes to students. Part of the delegated grading setting is that some staff members must also ‘reconcile’ grades which involves reviewing and locking in a final grade for a student’s attempt. Grades are not saved until this reconciliation of grades has been conducted by a coordinator in the subject. Please note that although this tool can be useful, due to its complex scenarios and as well as some operational bugs, we do not recommend using this setting, and cannot provide support for it.
  1. Display of Grades allows you to choose the appearance of the grade, and how it is displayed, both in the Grade Centre (to staff) and My Grades (to students).
  • The Primary grade is visible to staff and will be visible to students if the Grade Centre column is shown to students. Choose from Score, Letter, Text, Percentage or Complete/Incomplete.
  • The Secondary grade allows for the primary grade to be shown to students, and a second grade shown to staff. This is sometimes used in the case where students should see a letter grade, but staff only should see the relevant number grade (in addition to the letter grade). Choose from None, Score, Letter, Text, Percentage or Complete/Incomplete.
  • Include in Grade Centre grading Calculations allows the grades for this assignment to be used for any Calculated Columns such as the Total and Weighted Total.
  • Show to students in My Grades allows students to see marks from this assignment via My Grades. If you want the marks to be hidden from students initially, ensure this is set to No.
  • Show Statistics allows students to see the class average and median for the assignment via the My Grades tool.
  1. Make the Assignment Available is selected by default, and gives students access to the assignment. If this is not selected, the assignment will be created on the page, but be visible to staff only.
  2. Limit Availability allows restrictions as to when an assignment should appear and/or disappear from student view. This setting is not mandatory and has no effect on the due date.
  3. Track Number of Views allows statistics reports on student activity for the assignment.
  4. Click Submit.

Receipts for student submissions

When students submit their work to a group or individual Blackboard assignment, they receive both an onscreen confirmation and email confirmation, both of which include a receipt number. This receipt number is also accessible through the My Grades tool.

Students are advised during the submission process that they should expect this onscreen confirmation and email, and that if they do not see it, they should try to resubmit or contact their teaching staff as soon as possible.

Confirmation prior to submission
Notice to students about onscreen and email confirmation of submission and receipt.

Onscreen confirmation of submission

After submitting their assignment, students see an onscreen confirmation in the form of a green banner at the top of the page:

Example of onscreen confirmation
Example of onscreen notification indicating successful submission and showing receipt number

Email confirmation of submission

After submitting their assignment, students receive an email confirmation to their University email address. This email is sent within several minutes of submission.

Example of email confirmation indicating successful submission and showing receipt number

Grading a Blackboard assignment

Marking an individual assignment

  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 student to grade.
  2. If the student submitted their assignment in the form of DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, PDF, JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF, DCM (and other file types), it will be displayed in the preview pane to the left of screen. If the student submitted a multimedia file in the form of AAC, M4A, MP3, WAV, WAM, 3GP, MOV, MP4, WV, WMA, it will be displayed in the native audio and video player. The ability for Blackboard assignments to preview the submitted work saves staff having to download and view files with the appropriate software, audio or video player.

Student submissions of applicable file types can be previewed on the left pane for marking.
    If a file in a format other than those listed above is attached, you can click it to download and open with your computer. If the student wrote their submission directly into the 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.

  1. Click in the Attempt area to enter a numeric grade.
Feedback details for a student showing grade
Feedback panel showing grade and comment.
  1. Click in Feedback to Learner text box to add a general comment on the student's work. You can include attachments here.
  2. 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. For more information, see the relevant guide to using Rubrics in the LMS.
  3. The Add Notes section allows staff to add comments that will be visible to other teaching staff only.
  4. If you would like to add comments directly to a student's work, see providing feedback with inline comments and highlighting.
  5. Click Submit.

Student access to marks

Students are able to see their marks and feedback for an assignment via the My Grades tool or the Assignment link. The Grade Centre column for the assignment must be set to be shown to students. To prevent students from seeing their mark until you are ready to release it, hide the Grade Centre column from students, with the following steps:

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 will appear next to the column name, indicating that the column is hidden from students.

Grade Centre column hidden icon
Grade Centre column hidden icon.

Providing feedback with inline comments and highlighting

Blackboard assignments allow you to use inline comments and highlighting directly on a student submission. Students will be able to see their document with the comments added by staff when the Grade Centre column is set to be visible to students. The inline comment tool can be used where student work is submitted as an attached Word (DOC), (DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX),  PDF (PDF) file (and other text file types). Students must submit in one of these formats to allow staff to add inline comments.

  1. Follow the steps for grading a Blackboard assignment above.
  2. When the student’s submission is opened for grading, the document will be visible on the left of screen. To the top right of the document are a set of tools that may be used to add comments, print, or download the document.
Student submission previewing document and ready to have comments added
Commenting, printing and downloading icons

Add a comment

Comments can be added to student work by clicking the Comment icon on the top right of the submission, then clicking the document where the comment should appear.

Comment icon

Comment icon

Type a comment into the box and click Post to save it. Repeat this process to add more comments throughout the student's work.

Text box for posting comments

Add a reply to a comment

It is possible to reply to comments on student work. This may be necessary where more than one staff member will be marking a student's assignment. To add a reply to an existing comment, hover over the comment and enter text into the Post a reply text box. Click Post to save it.

Text box for replying to a comment

Delete a comment/reply

To delete a comment or reply, simply hover over the comment and click the trash icon that appears at the top right of the box. Click Delete to confirm.

Delete a comment

Highlight text


To highlight a section of student text, click and drag over the text. An icon will appear showing the option to highlight or highlight *and* add a comment.



Highlighting and commenting icons
Click the pencil icon to highlight the selected text. Only the colour yellow is available.


Click the highlighter to highlight the text

Highlight text and add a comment

Highlighting can be used in conjunction with comments. Click and drag to select required text. An icon will appear showing the option to highlight, or highlight *and* add a comment. Click the comment icon. Add a comment as per the instructions at Add a comment.

Highlight text and add a comment

Delete highlighting

To delete the highlighting of a particular section of text, hover the mouse over the text and click the highlighting icon. The highlighting will be removed.

Delete highlighted text with comment by clicking the highlighter icon again

Alternate method to mark a submission

There are several methods to choose when marking a Blackboard assignment. The following is a method of accessing an individual student's assignment.

  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. The exclamation mark indicates that work has been submitted that has not been graded yet.
  3. Position the cursor above the appropriate cell.
  4. Click the drop down 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 to 7 in marking an individual assignment.

Marking a group assignment

When marking a group assignment, mark one student in the group, using the steps at marking an individual assignment and this will be visible to the other group members automatically. Staff can also adjust a mark for an individual group member as needed, without this being visible to the rest of the group.

Marking group Blackboard assignments, including overriding a group mark for an individual student

Download submitted assignments for marking offline

Whilst it is not necessary to download Blackboard assignments in order to mark them, this feature is available, and can sometimes be used in the scenario where staff members need an offline copy of student work. To download all the submitted assignments for a Blackboard assignment, use the following steps:

  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 has made multiple submissions to the assignment, choose 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 if required. Grades and feedback can then be added back to the Grade Centre using the process described above in marking an individual assignment.

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 drop down arrow to open the menu.
  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 the attempt, or Cancel to stop this action. Note: the attempt is then deleted and cannot be retrived.
  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 to proceed with deleting all the attempts that meet the criteria, or Cancel to stop this action. Note: the attempts are deleted and cannot be retrived.

For information on how marks from a Blackboard assignment can be managed in Grade Centre, see Grade Centre resources.

For information on creating and using rubrics, see Rubrics guide.

For information on seeing the non-original text in your students’ submissions, see Turnitin assignments guide.

This guide was last updated 18 Dec 2017.
Report any errors or omissions in this guide to lms-guides@lists.unimelb.edu.au

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