Marking a Blackboard Assignment online using the in-built tool (Inline Grading)

Marking a Blackboard Assignment online using the in-built tool (Inline Grading) – PDF guide


Blackboard Assignments – New Box Viewer – technical information


What is Inline Grading?

Blackboard can be used for the management of coursework including electronic submission, grading and feedback. Inline grading enables the marking and annotating of electronically submitted work within Blackboard via the Blackboard Assignment tool, without the need to download and work offline.

This page explains how to:

  • Access the Blackboard Assignment through the Grade Centre
  • Use the inline grading tools and grading sidebar to annotate and grade the Assignment
  • Download the submitted file
  • Grade the Assignment and give feedback

Please note that on 10th January 2018 the Blackboard inline grading interface changed to New Box Viewer – all screenshots below show the tools now available.


Why use it?

There are a number of contexts where the Blackboard Assignment tool for e-submission, has advantages over Turnitin as the choice for setting up e-submission and giving electronic feedback:

  • Inline grading is fully integrated in to Blackboard’s Grade Centre for assessment management.
  • It allows the uploading of multiple files to a single assignment.
  • The Assignment tool can handle group submission: one student submits in each group, marks and feedback are distributed to each group member.

N.B. At present, the Blackboard Assignment tool does not support originality checking.

Please see the separate guide ‘How to choose the right tool for e-submission’ for a comparison of Turnitin and Blackboard Assignment features, when deciding which tool to use.



How to mark using Inline Grading

Find and open an assignment

Access the submitted Assignment via the Grade Centre (in the Control Panel) – either through the Full Grade Centre or the Needs Marking option.


Control Panel - Grade Centre

Viewing the Assignment

When you open a student’s Attempt, their work will be visible directly in the in the browser window, on the Grade Assignment screen.

If an unsupported file format is uploaded, you will be prompted to download it locally to your machine.

The New Box Viewer supports a much wider range of file types than previously – for instance most image and video files can now be viewed directly within Blackboard.

Navigation tools

Mark Blackboard Assignment - display options

  1. Click on Assignment details to expand the details of the Assignment as necessary.
  2. Click on the right chevron icon to collapse the grading panel/expand the Assignment across the screen.
    Click on the expand icon icon to further enlarge the viewer within the screen.

At the bottom of the page, you will find the navigation bar:

Box navigation controls

  1. Zoom in and out
  2. Navigate between pages
  3. Enter full screen (hides the toolbar at the top of the page)


Using the Inline Grading tools to annotate the Assignment

The Assignment can be annotated directly within the viewer. This short Blackboard video provides a good overview of the features available.


Box marking tools

  1. Click on the comment icon and then anywhere in the paper to leave a comment
  2. Print the paper (without annotations)
  3. Download the paper (without annotations)

Highlight a section of text to make the following options appear:

  1. Highlight the selected text.
    To remove the highlight, hover on the section again and click on the yellow pen icon.
    Box highlight text
  2. Highlight the selected text and attach a comment to it.
    Hover over the highlighted area to reveal the comment.
    Box add comment to highlighted textClick the bin icon to delete it.
    Box delete highlight and comment


Please note:

1. Students will only see the feedback you leave on the document in Box if you enter and Submit a Grade.

This applies regardless of whether the assignment or the relevant Grade Centre column are set to be visible to students.

If leaving feedback on formative work, you will need to enter some kind of numerical mark. For example you could enter 1 to denote all work for which feedback has been provided.

2. It is not currently possible to edit a Box comment once you have posted it.


Unfortunately, if you need to edit a comment once posted, your only option is to delete it and type the text again.


Grading and giving feedback

  1. You can grade the Assignment by entering the data in the Grade field or Attempt
  2. Click on the small downward arrow to reveal the grading panel.

Blackboard Assignment - expand Feedback to Learner panel


  1. You can write general comments in the Feedback – Shown to Learner text box and use the Insert File button to attach a file (e.g. formal feedback in an agreed document format or an audio file.
  2. Add Notes allows you to write private comments that are only visible to you and other Instructors on the course – they are not visible to the student.
  3. Be sure to click Submit to save your feedback.

Blackboard Assignment - Feedback to Learner panel


Students will see their grade, annotated assignment and feedback in the ‘My Grades’ area of their course.


Session time-out

Please be aware that there is a 60-minute session limit for a single paper. The system will present a warning message approximately 55 minutes into a session. To continue grading, please close the paper and then reopen it to continue. If you continue to mark without opening and closing the paper, any marking done after the 60th minute will not be saved.

Blackboard Assignment timeout warning



Marking Group assignments

When one student in a group submits a piece of coursework, a ‘Needs marking’ icon   appears beside all the group members’ names in the Grade Centre column for the assignment.

Students who have not yet submitted show as ‘greyed out’ cells.

When marking a group assignment in Inline Grading, the mark given will automatically be submitted for all the students in the group.

Grade Centre - Group assignment

  1. Enter a mark for the group as a whole and press submit.
  2. If the assignment is non-anonymous, you can return to the paper and edit individual student marks. To modify individual students’ marks, click on the pencil icon next to the student name in the grading panel.
  3. Enter an individual mark and click on the green button to save it.

Mark Group Assignment

Group Assignment grade edited