Marking online – hints and tips

Are you marking coursework and returning feedback to your students online? Use the following tips and advice to make sure you make the most effective and efficient use of the tools.

This post includes some advice based on recent queries that we have received.

 

Read ‘e-Marking Essentials’

The e-Marking Essentials page in the staff help site provides key advice on what to do and how to avoid common pitfalls.

It includes advice on both the Blackboard Assignment and Turnitin tools and will be particularly useful for colleagues who are new to marking online.

Find out about:

 

Using Turnitin Assignments by Groups

Navigating between student papers

The Turnitin Assignments by Groups feature can be used where there are multiple markers, to allocate markers to student papers (even when Anonymity is turned on).

Do not use the navigation arrows to scroll through papers when you have a student’s paper open in the Feedback Studio.

Close the Feedback Studio window for that student’s work and open a new paper from the View Assignments by Group screen in Blackboard.

Screenshot of the top of the Feedback Studio window, indicating that you should not use the right and left arrows to scroll between papers.

NOTE: Using the left or right arrows at the top of the screen, will take you to the next student in the class as a whole and not the next student in the group you have been assigned to mark.

 

Anonymous marking and Turnitin Assignments by Groups

When anonymity is enabled,  the tool can still be used to filter the class list by Group, but you will not see any student names or the grades entered on the View Assignments by Groups screen.

 

Submitting scanned handwritten work to Turnitin

For Mathematical and Scientific notation that is marked online.

If your students need to submit scanned copies of handwritten work for you to mark online in Turnitin they MUST submit a file that includes at least 20 words of typed text in either their Word docx or PDF. This allows the file to be uploaded into Turnitin. You may wish to provide a standard coversheet template with the 20 words included to make sure students do this.

We have put together this page to provide guidance to students on submitting this type of work: Turnitin: Submit Scanned / Handwritten Work. It includes instructions on how to add selectable typed text into a PDF.

Advice for staff: Setting up assignment submission points for scanned work.

 

The Grade Centre and anonymous marking

When Anonymous Marking is enabled, whether in Turnitin or on a Blackboard assignment, no information about grades or submissions is visible in the Grade Centre.

  • You cannot see which students have / have not submitted,
  • And you cannot see the grades that have been entered.

You cannot mark submissions for an anonymous Turnitin assignment from the Grade Centre. You should go via the main Turnitin assignment inbox. In your course, go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments (or Turnitin Assignments by Groups).

We recommend using this route to mark all Turnitin assignments, regardless of whether they are being marked anonymously.

 

Internal Moderation options

The way work is to be moderated may affect what first markers need to record, and where.

Module Convenors: please make sure you are familiar with the workflow and ensure that first markers have clear instructions on what you expect from them. The following pages offer guidance on a the different marking and moderation scenarios:

 

 

Students scanning handwritten work for submission to Turnitin

Who does this affect?

This is an important message for any staff who require their students to scan handwritten work – for example Mathematical or Scientific equations – and submit this to Turnitin.

This is likely to be relevant in subject areas such as Mathematics, Economics, Meteorology and the Sciences, and possibly on some Language courses.

 

When setting up a Turnitin assignment, it is possible to choose the ‘Accept any file type’ option, and students should then be able to submit files which won’t generate a Similarity Report, for instance a PDF containing only scanned images.

Recently, however, issues have arisen for

  • students attempting to submit files containing scanned work
  • staff wishing to mark such work using Turnitin Feedback Studio.

These issues have been raised with Turnitin Support, by us and by TEL staff at other Universities, and we are awaiting their response.

 

What can we do to avoid problems?

If you require students to submit scanned work to Turnitin, the key thing is to tell them to include at least 20 words of typed text in their Word document or PDF.

You may wish to provide a standard coversheet as a prompt, to make sure students do this.

We have put together this page to provide guidance to students: Turnitin: Submit Scanned / Handwritten Work 

If you, or your students, need additional guidance, please contact the TEL team via it@reading.ac.uk

TEL team meet our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair

Staff from the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team and Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) programme enjoyed meeting our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair.  

Pic of Pete & Chris

Pete Moll (L) & Chris Johnson (R) from the TEL team

We had some great discussions with students about Blackboard (our Virtual Learning Environment, VLE), submitting work and accessing marks and feedback online. It was interesting to hear about students’ previous experiences of VLEs, both anecdotally and via a survey we ran on the day.

The headline survey results showed that 54% of students have used VLEs prior to joining UoR and 60% have submitted assignments or coursework online before. It’s worth noting that although many students have prior experience of using a VLE, only 19% have previously used Blackboard.

We have some really useful resources to help students who are new to Blackboard and/or online submissions. These can be found via Blackboard’s Help tab; there’s a searchable site containing helpful resources on all aspects of using Blackboard and Turnitin. 

Congratulations to the 8 winners of our survey prize draw – we’ve emailed you with details of how to collect your Amazon voucher prizes (kindly donated by Blackboard)!

The TEL team would like to wish all our new and returning students every success for the forthcoming year! 

Chris Johnson / Lauren McCann (CQSD TEL) 

Marking using Turnitin on your iPad? Time to update your app

Turnitin iPad app logoTurnitin have just released a new version of their iPad app: Turnitin Feedback Studio for iOS.

Actually, it’s no longer strictly an iPad app, as you can also install it on your iPhone or iPod Touch – although we don’t recommend marking student essays on a really small screen.

 

 

Existing iPad app users

Important:
Please ensure that you have finished marking and sync’d all downloaded papers before updating your app.

If you are already a user of the app, and have added one or more Blackboard courses to your ‘Class List’ in the app, you can for the time being continue to mark submissions on those courses without updating the app.

However you will need to update to the new version before you can mark work submitted to any other Blackboard courses.

 

What’s New

There is a revised method for connecting up Turnitin assignments in Blackboard to the App.

Instead of generating an Access Code in order to access a Blackboard course via the app, you now request a link to be sent to your email address.

To make use of this link, you must be able to access that email on your iPad.

This process is a more practical solution. It replaces the need to have your iPad to hand when generating the code on your desktop, and then having to type in the long letter code.

For full details of the revised method, please see our updated guidance, (or the instructions on the Turnitin support site.)

The Release Notes also list a number of bug fixes and minor enhancements.

Changes to Blackboard Assignments

Additional features in the New Box Viewer

If you make use of the Blackboard assignment tool, you will be aware that the interface for leaving comments directly on students’ submissions changed in January this year. Our guidance for staff on using the new Box interface can be found on this page: Marking a Blackboard Assignment online using the in-built tool (Inline Grading).

Please be aware that the Box Viewer runs as Software as a Service – that is to say, new features and improvements are added on a continuous basis, and do not rely on us upgrading the Blackboard system as a whole. A number of improvements requested by Blackboard users have already been introduced, with more promised for the coming months.

As of yesterday. the ability for markers to draw on the student’s submission (available via the old marking interface) has been added. And fewer clicks are required when adding multiple drawing or text comments on the page. These updated features are now included in our PDF guide: Marking a Blackboard assignment online using Inline Grading (New Box View)

Box drawing tool

We have also updated our student guidance on submitting to Blackboard Assignments, and locating and viewing marks and feedback, following our transition to the New Box Viewer.

 

Edit 12th March: new annotation features temporarily withdrawn

Box have discovered that the new annotation mentioned above were causing performance issues, and have temporarily removed them. We understand that the drawing tool and other features should be restored later this week, once Box have resolved their technical issues.

 

Important: Known issue for students Saving as Draft

Edit 09/08/18

This issue has been fixed by the Summer 2018 Blackboard upgrade

Blackboard have identified an issue which could have serious consequences if a student

  • uploads a file to a Blackboard Assignment
  • selects Save Draft
  • uploads a later version of the file, with the same filename, before submitting the attempt.

In this situation, the later version of the file will be successfully submitted to Blackboard, but the earlier version still displays on screen – i.e. the marker will inadvertently mark an earlier draft of the work.

Fortunately, this sequence of events is probably fairly rare, and it will always be possible to download the later file from Blackboard.

We have provided a warning about this on the Blackboard assignment submission screen, with a link to our guidance for students on how to avoid the issue.

Blackboard Assignment submission help text

Blackboard are working on a fix for this, which we expect to be available in the next week or two. However, with many assessment deadlines coming up, if you are using the Blackboard Assignment tool, please make your students aware of this serious, but easily-avoided, problem. Please direct them to the relevant information on the Student Support site, and tell them to contact IT if they have any issues.

 

 

 

 

 

Turnitin Feedback Studio: Save Error

Turnitin logo

Update – The issue is now resolved.

 

Here is the information from Turnitin:

 

Turnitin Service Alert

 

Some Turnitin and TurnitinUk users (including those integrated with our service) may have experienced an error when attempting to leave comments through Feedback Studio from Jan 29 1:30 am PST- Feb 03 7:09 PST/Jan 29 9:30 am GMT – Feb 04 3:09 am GMT/Jan 29 8:30 pm AEST – Feb 04 2:09pm AEST. Post resolution, root cause analysis was performed and monitoring / alerting has been put in place to further mitigate the chances of similar technical difficulties from occurring.

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

Original post:

Over the last few days some staff have encountered an intermittent error when attempting to add Quick Marks or comments, using the Turnitin Feedback Studio.

A ‘Save Error’ message is displayed as shown below.

Turnitin 503 error

This issue is affecting users at other institutions, and Turnitin are aware of the problem. At present, Turnitin have not been able to give us an indication of how quickly the error can be resolved.

If you experience this issue, please log a support call  via the IT Self-Service portal.

When doing so, please provide details of

  • the Blackboard course
  • the Turnitin assignment name
  • the Turnitin paper ID for a paper where this occurred
  • what kind of computer are you using – Windows or Mac?
  • which browser are you using?

It is also worth clearing your browser cache – this may not prevent the problem from recurring, but should delay its reappearance.

 

Please note:

If you are simply having trouble viewing or editing previously entered comments and Quick Marks, our recommendation is to switch to the Firefox browser.

However the ‘Save Error’ described above appears to affect all browsers.