Formatting Turnitin instructions for greater impact

When you create a Turnitin assignment, under the ‘Optional Settings’ area you can ‘Enter special instructions’ for your students.

It is good practice to use this space to enter specific instructions for the assignment, so that students are absolutely clear what is required of them e.g. Can they submit and resubmit drafts of their work? Is there a standard setting for naming their files?

The ‘special instructions’ text box  has no formatting options, so what you type displays as plain text only. That applies also to line breaks – if you press Return when entering the instructions it appears to start a new line, but once you Submit the line break will disappear.

This can lead to the instructions – which are designed to provide helpful guidance to students – appearing in a rather unattractive, even unreadable, way.

All is not lost, however: you can enter simple HTML code to introduce some formatting, to make your instructions stand out to students.

Here is a simple example. If you type the following:

<strong>This Turnitin submission point is for your final drafts only.</strong><br><br>

Your first submission is final and whatever you submit here will be marked.<br><br>

Please submit draft work to the Drafts assignment. <br><br>

the instructions will display as shown:

formatted 'special instructions' in Turnitin

Simple HTML you can use to make your instructions stand out:

<strong>bold text</strong>

<em>italic text</em>

<br>insert a single line break

Note: The code is shown within angle brackets and this is called a tag. The option to add bold text and italic text requires you to add an opening and closing tag around the text you want to modify, but to insert a line break you only need to add the tag in the position you want the line break. There is no closing tag.


Blackboard unavailable from 9pm on Friday 16th October for essential maintenance

Blackboard Learn and Turnitin will be unavailable for around 4 hours, from 9 p.m. this Friday evening, while essential work is carried out.

Scheduled Start Time: 21:00 BST on Friday 16th October

Estimated Completion Time: 01:00:BST on Saturday 17th October


Now that term is underway, Blackboard are better able to judge the demands which our users make on the system, and are adjusting technical settings accordingly to improve performance.

This work will be carried out by Blackboard support engineers, as part of our support contract with Blackboard, at a time when we expect demand on the system to be low.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Typography students ‘Breaking down Barriers’ using TEL

Breaking down Barriers‘ – the cross-disciplinary TLDF-funded project committed to embedding inclusivity within curricula of built environment professional education (BEPE), graphic communication and beyond – has kicked off the academic year with a workshop in inclusive design with the new Part 1 Typography students. Students studying the BA Graphic Communication Integrated Design Methods module engaged with the new SEE-IT sight exclusive prototype for assessing visual inclusion/exclusion (currently being developed by the University of Cambridge as a new addition to their inclusive design toolkit). Working in pairs, they measured visual inclusion of typographic elements in business cards, leaflets and mobile apps.

Photo of Typography students Kash and Kundai calibrating their phones to measure visual inclusivity.

Typography students Kash and Kundai calibrating their phones to measure visual inclusivity. 

For more information about the project and how TEL is being used here to enrich the student experience, check out: