Essential e-marking information: Advice and Tips

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Are you marking coursework and returning feedback to your students online?

This information will be helpful to academic and administrative staff who are involved in e-marking (e-grading and e-feedback).

It covers essential advice on what to do and be aware of. Topics covered:

  1. Preparing to mark online,
  2. Marking assignments,
  3. Moderation,
  4. Releasing feedback and marks to students.

It includes advice on both the Blackboard Assignment and Turnitin tools.

It is important that you are fully prepared before the University Christmas closure, as staff will not be available to provide support during this period.

Note that the University does not require staff to mark online this year. We recommend that you only start e-marking if you have received advice and undertaken staff development.

Also see Essential preparation for e-submission and e-marking.

Important information you need to know:


  1. Preparing to mark online

Advice Support and resources
Make sure you know how the assignment is going to be marked and how the feedback should be returned. Contact the module convenor well in advance of the assessment deadline if you are unsure.
Check that your Internet browser is up-to-date.

  • Recommended browsers: Chrome or Firefox
  • Internet Explorer: Turn off ‘compatibility view’
  • Do not use the new Microsoft Edge browser (Windows 10)



Familiarise yourself with the online support guides for e-marking, using either:

  • Turnitin – GradeMark
  • Blackboard Assignment – Inline Grading
Assessment Guides are available under the ‘Support for Staff’ tab in Blackboard.


Assignments with multiple markers:

  • Blackboard Assignment: Check if Delegated marking is being used for the assignment. This will affect how the marking process is handled and what you can see.
  • Turnitin Assignment only: Check if the ‘Turnitin Assignment by Group’ option is being used to allocate assignments to markers. You will need to access assignments using this feature if it is.


Put the coffee on!  Or tea if you prefer 🙂


  1. Marking assignments

Blackboard Assignment tool

Advice Support and resources
If you are using a ‘No Points’ Rubric (non-scoring), make sure you complete the rubric before entering a mark to grade the assignment. Known Issue: Saving the ‘No Points’ rubric resets the grade to ‘0’ and means you will need to re-enter the mark.

Workaround: Complete the rubric first before entering your mark and make a note of the mark if you need to subsequently edit the rubric.

Use the ‘Save Draft’ button when marking an assignment, if you want to keep the assignment listed in ‘Needs Marking’. This will let you that easily find it again to continue editing the mark or comments.
The Blackboard marking session for an assignment expires after one hour, so remember to save your feedback and comments before the session times-out. Marking a Blackboard assignment online using Blackboard’s in-built tool (Inline Grading)

Anonymous marking

Make sure you only grade the last attempt a student has made.

  • If the assignment submission has been set-up to allow multiple attempts, all of the attempts are shown separately.
  • When you have an assignment open, you can see if there are other attempts by the same student in the right-hand Grading panel.


If staff want to see the marks given for the assignment in the Grade Centre column after marking is completed but before the 15 day turnaround has been reached, then it is possible to lift anonymity without affecting the release of marks to students. See how to disable anonymous marking in the Blackboard Assignment How to mark anonymously guide.
If you need to mark anonymously and this has not been set up on your assignment (and students have already submitted their assignments), you can mark work using the ‘Grade with Usernames Hidden’ option in the Grade Centre as a workaround. Grading with Usernames Hidden
If you want to download anonymous assignments to mark offline, you will need to:

  • Record the attempt ID on the downloaded printed file,
  • Record the attempt ID in the Grading Notes for the online assignment.
  • Complete the marking process before anonymity is lifted if you intend to provide feedback online.

These actions are required as the attempt ID is removed when anonymity is lifted.


If marking and the return of feedback is paper-based, you can choose to remove the ‘mark anonymously’ setting for the assignment. Check with the module convenor or SDTL before changing anonymous marking settings.



Advice Support and resources
Always edit the mark for an assignment in the Turnitin document viewer.

  • Marks are only sent to the Grade Centre from Turnitin. If a mark for an assignment is changed in the Grade Centre this will not change the mark shown on the paper in Turnitin.


We recommend accessing assignments from the Turnitin Inbox.Go to your module > Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments > click on the title of the assignment.Click the ‘Roster Sync’ link if you don’t see all of your students listed in the Turnitin Inbox. Use Roster Sync to show all of the students in a Turnitin assignment
Do not have the same individual student’s assignment open in different browsers or computers (or iPad app) at the same time. This can result in Turnitin behaving unexpectedly and the loss of any feedback entered.
GradeMark will time-out after 30 minutes of inactivity. ‘Inactivity’ means not pressing on any buttons within the document viewer. Note: Typing into the General Comments box or scrolling up and down to read an assignment is not detected as ‘activity’. Unless the session has timed out, feedback, comments and marks are automatically saved as they are entered. This includes:

  • Rubrics & Grading Forms
  • Comments placed directly on to the paper (e.g. QuickMarks)
  • Feedback entered in the General Comments box
If you cannot see the marks for a Turnitin assignment in the Grade Centre:

  • Anonymous assignments: Marks are not sent to the Grade Centre until the Post Date is reached.
  • Use the ‘Sync Grades’ link to push marks into the Grade Centre if they have not yet been synchronised.


Use ‘Sync Grades’ to push marks into the Grade Centre
Anonymous marking: Check the requirements and limitations when marking anonymously in Turnitin. Anonymous marking in Turnitin


  1. Moderation

Blackboard Assignment tool

Advice Support and resources
The marker will need to inform the moderator once they have finished their online marking.
Where marking is done anonymously and the moderator needs to see the spread of marks given to the assignments, you can use the ‘View Grade History’ option to view all of the marks by Attempt ID.‘View Grade History’ can be found under the options menu for an assignment in the Grade Centre.
The ‘Reconcile Grades’ option will need to be used if Delegated Marking has been enabled for the assignment to produce a final mark that students’ can see.·         Students will not see their mark and feedback until this is done, even if you have un-hidden the Grade Centre column for the assignment. Delegated marking using Blackboard Assignments



Advice Support and resources
The marker will need to inform the moderator once they have finished their online marking.
There are no in-built facilities to moderate online using Turnitin.Aspects of the moderation process will need to take place outside of Turnitin Scenarios for anonymous and double marking, including moderation
Do not have the same individual student’s assignment open in different browsers or computers (or iPad app) at the same time. This can result in Turnitin behaving unexpectedly and the loss of any feedback entered.
  1. Releasing feedback and marks to students

Blackboard Assignment tool

Advice Support and resources
You will need to manually un-hide the column in the Grade Centre to make the feedback available to students.Make sure the ‘My Grades’ link is listed in the left-hand menu of your module to allow students to access their feedback.




Advice Support and resources
Feedback and marks will automatically available to students when the Post Date is reached.Students can return to the Turnitin submission point and click the ‘View/Complete’ link to access their feedback.The column for the assignment in the Grade Centre is also automatically unhidden if ‘Yes’ was selected for ‘Reveal Grades to students only on post date’.This makes the feedback available for students from ‘My Grades’.

  • If this does not happen, the column can be manually unhidden.




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