eMarking tips & advice: Turnitin | Blackboard Assignments

This information is relevant to staff involved in marking work online

Over the next few weeks, many staff will be marking work which has been submitted via Blackboard or Turnitin.

To avoid any issues, please consult our E-marking essentials page, which provides essential information for anyone marking coursework and returning feedback to students online.

The page covers all aspects of assessment using Turnitin, Blackboard Assignments, and the Grade Centre:

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

 

There’s a few points we’d particularly like to highlight:

EMA Early Adopter Schools (APD & SAGES)

If you are in one of the Early Adopter Schools you will have been provided with specific guidance on e-marking and feedback. That information overrides the generic guidance on our support page.

 

Turnitin

Although you should be able to use Turnitin with all major browsers, advice received from Turnitin engineers and other institutions suggests that Firefox is the most reliable browser to use when providing feedback using the Feedback Studio.

If you do experience any technical issues with Turnitin over the Christmas closure period, you can contact Turnitin Support directly for help.

 

Blackboard Assignments

In January, we will be transitioning to a slightly different interface for providing online feedback on work submitted to a Blackboard assignment. Details can be found in this post on the TEL blog.

Instructors on a course with a Blackboard assignment due in December or early January, should already have been contacted with details of this change and what to do.

 

If you have any queries, please log them via the IT Self-Service portal.

 

Changes to Inline Grading in Blackboard

What is changing?

The Inline Grading features in Blackboard make use of a third party tool called Crocodoc.

The company who own Crocodoc are moving to a new tool called Box, and all Blackboard institutions need to switch to this new interface by 15th January 2018.

We will be making the transition to Box at the start of the working day on Wednesday 10th January.

The new Box interface is very similar to the current Crocodoc interface.

Comparison of Crocodoc and Box

Comparison of Crocodoc and Box

 

Box is able to display many more file types than is currently possible. In particular, you will be able to view image, audio and video files inside the Blackboard marking interface, and will also be able to annotate JPG and PNG image files inside Blackboard.

There’s a smaller range of annotation options available in Crocodoc, but when marking Word documents, PDFs and similar files, you will still be able to

  • highlight text
  • highlight text and add a comment
  • add a text comment anywhere on the submitted paper
    (this option is also available when annotating image files)

 

Box - adding a comment

Box – adding a comment

 

Box - adding a comment to highlighted text

Box – adding a comment to highlighted text

Box – add comment to a JPG image file

 

One function which is not available in Box, is the ability for staff and students to download papers with the annotations left by markers. We hope that this functionality may be reintroduced in a future version of the Box viewer.

For more information, please see the Blackboard help site: Transitioning from Crocodoc to New Box View

 

What will happen to feedback provided using Crocodoc?

The most important thing to know is that all feedback left using Crocodoc will still be available when we move to Box.

The feedback will continue to be visible – to both staff and students – within Blackboard, and when the marked paper is downloaded as a PDF.

Please note however that, once we move to Box, annotations made using Crocodoc are “burnt in”, and cannot be edited or deleted.

Annotations added using Crocodoc, after the transition to Box

Annotations added using Crocodoc, after the transition to Box

 

Annotations added using Crocodoc, downloaded as a PDF, after the transition to Box

Annotations added using Crocodoc, downloaded as a PDF, after the transition to Box

 

Important notice for staff marking work online in December and early January:

In accordance with University policy, feedback on assignments where the submission deadline falls on or before 8th December (the last day of UG term), should be made available to students by Tuesday 9th January. By switching to the new Box viewer on 10th January we hope to avoid any inconvenience to staff marking work due on or before 8th December.

However we are aware that there are some Blackboard assignments – particularly those set up for late submission after the due date – where our move to Box falls within the 15 day turnaround period.

If you are marking work where 10th January falls within the 15 day turnaround period, please ensure that any annotations you make before 10th January are in their final version – i.e. make sure that your annotations do not require editing before they become visible to students.

 

 

What is affected / what is not affected

  • This change affects only Blackboard assignments. Turnitin assignments are not affected.
  • This change affects only annotations made using the inline grading features.
  • It does not affect
    • feedback provided via an uploaded feedback file
    • feedback typed into the ‘Feedback to Learner’ area
    • student Grades
  • Switching to the new interface is a relatively quick process, and we do not expect it to cause any disruption to students submitting work, or to the Blackboard service as a whole. There may be a brief period after 8 a.m. on 10th January when staff are unable to mark work submitted to Blackboard assignments.

 

Further questions?

If you have queries relating to this change, please contact the TEL team via the IT Self-Service portal.

 

Module Evaluation and Blackboard

Colleagues will be aware that Module Evaluation is currently underway. Following the collection and distribution of student responses, Module Convenors are required to write a brief commentary on the module evaluation and upload this to the appropriate Blackboard course.

For further detail on this, please see our Module Evaluation support page.

 

To facilitate this, every Blackboard course representing a 2017-18 RISIS module was set up with a Module Evaluation area at the bottom of the course menu.

This area includes information for staff and students, and a content item to which the Module Convenor’s response can be attached.

Shared Courses

In some subject areas, Shared Courses are used to combine separate RISIS modules which are being delivered together. These Shared Courses will not automatically have the required Module Evaluation area, but it is possible to add the area following the simple steps in this guide:

Setting up the Module Evaluation area on Shared Courses

Blackboard upgrade 17th December: planned system downtime, Talis issue resolved

There will be a Blackboard upgrade taking place on 17th – 18th December. This upgrade requires system downtime.

Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable to all users

from: 14:30 GMT on Sunday 17th December (22:30 MYT)

to: 12:00 midday GMT on Monday 18th December (20:00 MYT)

NOTE: We aim to make Blackboard available as soon as possible following the upgrade and it may be available before midday.

 

This update fixes the issue with broken links to Talis Aspire Reading Lists from Blackboard course menus.

If you are responsible for module reading lists, please read the guidance below.

 

Reading lists for Spring term modules – information for Module Convenors

The Blackboard upgrade at the beginning of August introduced a bug which broke links from Blackboard course menus to Talis Aspire reading lists.

To deal with this issue, these broken links were automatically hidden in course menus to prevent confusion for students.

The Blackboard software update taking place on the 17th – 18th December resolves this issue.

After this time, if Module Convenors want to use the Reading List course menu link you will need to:

  • Configure the Reading List link in the Blackboard course to point to your 2017-18 list.
    See how to do this at https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reading-lists/staff/blackboard
  • Un-hide the Reading List link on the course menu:
    • Hover over the link, click the ‘Reading List menu item options’ button that appears.
    • Click ‘Show Link’ from the menu. (See screenshot below)

      Make a course menu link visible to students

        Make a course menu link visible to students

Module convenors / list owners should not postpone the publication of their Spring Term 2018 reading lists until the Blackboard issue has been fixed.

If setting up links from Blackboard to Talis before 18th December, Tutors will need to continue to embed links in an appropriate Blackboard course content area – as shown in this user guide Setting up links to your Talis reading list.

Academic staff should continue to update reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.


Please note that the problem described affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.
If a Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or module convenors have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and are not affected by the Blackboard bug.

Talis links in Blackboard – an update

Blackboard are still working on a patch to fix the issue which has affected course menu links to Talis.

In the meantime, Blackboard engineers have located all 2017-18 courses where the menu includes a link to a Talis reading list (these are the links which are currently broken), and made the links unavailable i.e. not visible to students.

This should help to to avoid student confusion, and removes the need for you to do this on your Blackboard course.

However, if you have not already done so, please do create a new working link from Blackboard to your Talis module reading list.

 

See this guide for instructions on creating a link to Talis from your Blackboard course.

 

Please note that the problem affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.

If your Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or you have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and should not be affected by the Blackboard bug.

 

Please continue to update your reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.

Linking to your Reading Lists from Blackboard – action required

You will be aware that the Blackboard upgrade at the beginning of August introduced a bug which broke links on Blackboard course menus to Talis reading lists. Initially Blackboard seemed optimistic that they would have a resolution for this problem before the start of term. However, to date, no solution has been forthcoming.

With Welcome Week fast approaching, we wanted to ensure that Module Convenors were aware of the situation, and of the workaround which you can put in place to allow students to access their module reading list from Blackboard.

Please see this guide for instructions on creating a working link to Talis from your Blackboard course.

 

Please note that the problem affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.

If your Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or you have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and should not be affected by the Blackboard bug.

 

Please continue to update your reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.