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Edit 12th March: new annotation features temporarily withdrawn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.

 

 

 

 

 

Improvements to the Turnitin Assignments by Groups tool

The ‘building block’ which links our Blackboard system to Turnitin was updated yesterday evening.

Any staff who use – or who have considered using – the Turnitin Assignments by Group feature will be pleased to know that the interface has seen a few minor, but useful improvements.

Principally, you can now see the Grade when accessing Turnitin Assignments by Group. This means you can tell at a glance which papers have been marked, and which remain to be marked.

Please note:
This tool is NOT useful as a way of marking group work, where each member of the group will receive the same mark and feedback – Turnitin does not currently provide a solution for that scenario. But it should prove useful for any assignment where each marker is marking work submitted by a particular tutor group or seminar group. It can also be used as a way of randomly assigning students to markers.

Please see our updated guide for help with using the tool, and guidance on setting up Groups in Blackboard to accommodate a variety of assessment scenarios: Turnitin Assignments by Group.

For advice on assessing group work, see Group Assignments.

What’s new in Blackboard

Over the bank holiday we successfully upgraded Blackboard, which now includes a number of long-awaited new enhancements. We are very excited that Blackboard has had a make-over and now includes a new look, easier navigation and quick access to courses, fully automated anonymous and delegated marking, a student preview and two brand new tools, tracking students’ online performance and creating sign up lists.

Experience the new features by watching the screencast (4 min) below. For detailed overviews and video tutorials of the new features please read on and access the links below the screencast. Do not forget to visit the ‘Support for Staff’ tab to find our step-by-step guides!

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Blackboard Upgrade – Summer 2015

The upgrade of Blackboard in the summer to the latest version (9.1 2014) will provide you with access to some new and enhanced features. Here is a round-up of some of the new features:

A real student preview. Instructors can see exactly what a student sees in a course area, including the ability to submit assignments, take an online test or join a group, and even view results in My Grades.

True Anonymous grading using the Blackboard assignment tool.

Delegated marking of Blackboard assignments. This feature provides a streamlined online workflow for the allocation of assignments to markers, double marking and the reconciliation of grades.

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