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.

 

Students now get submission receipts for Blackboard Assignments

In the past, when students have submitted work to the Blackboard Assignment tool they did not receive a receipt. This was a source of dissatisfaction for both staff and students, as work submitted via the Turnitin tool does generate a receipt, emailed to their University email address.

This issue has now been addressed – the University has paid Blackboard for an additional building block (plug-in) and this was made live on Wednesday evening.

So now, every time a student submits work to a Blackboard assignment, a receipt will be sent to their University email address. This receipt contains the following information:

  • a submission ID
  • the student’s name and student number
  • the assignment title
  • the title and ID of the Blackboard course
  • date and time of submission
  • a link to the file(s) submitted
  • a link to a web version of the receipt

Blackboard Assignment receipt

 

We have updated the guidance available to students via the Support for Students tab on Blackboard

Please note our advice to students

  • Do not delete the email receipt – you should retain it as proof of submission.
  • This receipt only indicates that a submission has been made by you on the date and time shown, and received by Blackboard.
  • It is not confirmation that a file you have submitted is correct or has uploaded properly.
    Always check the files you have submitted to make sure that they can be viewed or downloaded.

Even with a receipt, the onus is still on the student to ensure that they have submitted the correct files, that they are in the correct format, and that they can be viewed in and/or downloaded from Blackboard. Not all students will read our guidance, of course, so please reiterate these points to any of your students who are required to submit work to Blackboard assignments.

Staff access to receipts

Once a student has submitted to a Blackboard assignment on your course, you will find that a Receipts folder has been created in the course Fileshare, and all submission receipts will be stored here.

Receipts folder

 

For each receipt you can identify

  1. the student username (contained within the filename)
  2. the date and time of submission

assignment receipts

 

You would have to open a receipt to see other details, such as which assignment it relates to, or what files were submitted.

So identifying submission by a specific student to a specific assignment could be time-consuming. But, in case of dispute, the first step would be to ask the student to forward to you the receipt which was emailed to them.

We hope that the introduction of Blackboard assignment receipts will reduce student anxiety around e-submission, and increase transparency for both staff and students as to what was submitted when.

Introducing the new Turnitin Feedback Studio

We have today enabled a new interface for marking work in Turnitin, called the Turnitin Feedback Studio.

What is the Turnitin Feedback Studio?

The Feedback Studio replaces the Grademark and Originality features used when marking work and combines them into a single set of features accessed from a simple menu when viewing a student’s paper. It retains all of the tools that were previously available to you to provide feedback or check originality. These can now be used via a set of ‘Instructor Feedback’ and ‘Similarity’ buttons that you can choose to enable using the new Layers feature.

The Turnitin Feedback Studio has been designed to provide a simple and clear interface for you to check originality and mark online. Turnitin is still accessed in the same way and there is no change to the design of the assignment Inbox.

The Feedback Studio lets you and your students have immediate access to the information and the tools needed for an efficient marking and feedback process. Navigation has been improved in the Turnitin Feedback Studio, allowing you to more easily annotate work with comments, and to switch between features and student papers whilst marking.

For full details go to https://guides.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Turnitin_Feedback_Studio_Success_Kit/Instructor_User_Guide

 

The new interface has been put in place for the 2016-17 academic year. It replaces the previous Document Viewer (now referred to as ‘Turnitin Classic’).

The new ‘Feedback Studio’ interface will display by default to both staff and students. However, any user has the option to switch back to ‘Turnitin Classic’ up until the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

Turnitin Feedback Studio does not alter the way Turnitin integrates with Blackboard – it does not require any changes to the way you create Turnitin assignments, or the way students submit their work or gain access to their feedback.

Where can I get help?

Getting started

The first time you access the Feedback Studio you will be offered a quick tour of the new interface, which may well be enough to get you started.

Welcome to the Feedback Studio

The Turnitin website has some really good help resources:

Turnitin Feedback Studio – Instructor User Guide

Interactive Feedback Studio demo – site where you can try out how the new interface works.

Video comparison of Feedback Studio and Turnitin Classic – highlighting the key changes.

 

We have also prepared some quick reference guides to the new interface:

Turnitin Feedback Studio: Finding your way around the new interface

Overview of the Feedback Studio – explanation of the key features all on one screen

Turnitin Feedback Studio overview

 

Help for students

The following guidance is available for students:

Turnitin Feedback Studio – Student User Guide (Turnitin website)

Turnitin Feedback Studio – student guide

Student guide to accessing feedback in Turnitin Feedback Studio

 

Not ready to use the new interface?

If you are currently using Turnitin  to mark student work, you should find the new interface fairly intuitive.

But, if you prefer, you can take advantage of this button at the bottom of the screen:

return to Turnitin Classic

That will restore the familiar version.

You can then try out the new version at a later date, when it is more convenient for you to do so.

 

For more help with using Turnitin for originality checking, e-submission, e-marking and feedback, please see the Turnitin pages in the Support section of this blog.

Downloading student papers from Turnitin

This post looks at the way Turnitin handles papers being downloaded from an assignment, in particular the differences you will see when anonymity is enabled on an assignment.

Turnitin introduced changes in this area just before Christmas but, in response to widespread criticism from HE institutions, made further modifications in mid-January. The way the process works now is definitely an improvement on earlier functionality, and hopefully the information provided below will continue to be accurate for the foreseeable future.

How to download papers from a Turnitin assignment: see our guide Downloading files from Turnitin.

Assignments where anonymity is not enabled

When you download the original files submitted by students, these will be saved in a zip file labelled turnitinuk_original_bulk_download.zip

Open the zip file and you will see that the filenames of the downloaded papers have been prefixed with Firstname_Lastname.

Papers downloaded from Turnitin

Papers downloaded from Turnitin

This enables you easily to match submitted work with the individual student.

Assignments where anonymity is enabled

When you download the original files submitted by students, these will be saved in a zip file labelled turnitinuk_original_bulk_download.zip

Open the zip file and you will see that the filenames of the downloaded papers have been prefixed with an 8-digit number – this corresponds to the Paper ID visible in the Turnitin Inbox.

Papers downloaded from Turnitin - anonymity turned on

Papers downloaded from Turnitin – anonymity turned on

Prior to December 2015, it was not possible to download papers from an anonymous assignment. Now you can download student papers, but anonymity is preserved.

Once the Post Date has passed – meaning that anonymity is removed – downloaded files will show the authors’ names.

Papers downloaded from Turnitin - Anonymous assignment after the Post Date

Papers downloaded from Turnitin – Anonymous assignment after the Post Date

FIXED Attaching feedback files on Turnitin assignments – avoid spaces in filenames

This issue has now been resolved: see Latest Turnitin connector installed 18th Feb 2016

 

The issue in a nutshell

  • If you are using the Blackboard Grade Centre to attach feedback files to Turnitin Assignments, you are advised to avoid spaces in the filenames of the documents that you upload.
  • Files with spaces in the name are currently inaccessible to staff via the Grade Centre.
  • Files with spaces in the name cannot be deleted if it needs to be replaced using the ‘Remove’ button.
  • This issue does not appear to affect student access to the feedback files.

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