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


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

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

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.

Continue reading

Turnitin changes

This post contains news of two recent changes in Turnitin functionality.

Deleting Turnitin assignments

We have updated the connector which links our Blackboard system to Turnitin.

As well as minor improvements and bug fixes, this introduces one new piece of functionality: the ability to delete Turnitin assignments from the Control Panel.

This will be particularly useful on courses where – probably as a result of course copying in the past – you can see redundant Turnitin assignments listed in the staff view which are not visible to students, or in the Blackboard Grade Centre.

To delete a Turnitin assignment

Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments

You will see a list of all the Turnitin assignments on the course.

On the right-hand side, for each assignment you will see a Delete Assignment button.

Delete Turnitin assignment

When you click on Delete Assignment you will see a warning message – press OK to confirm the assignment deletion.

Delete Turnitin assignment - warning message

A success message will be displayed .

Assignment successfully deleted

Image updated 26/02/2016 following minor Turnitin updates



If you are in any doubt at all – do not delete a Turnitin assignment!

On some courses, you may have what appear to be duplicate assignments.

Before deleting an assignment

  • go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments
  • click on the link to go into the assignment
  • if there are student submissions – do not delete the assignment
  • if you are sure this is a redundant assignment, click on the Edit assignment tab
    Edit Turnitin assignment
  • then edit the assignment name – append OLD or DELETE to the name.
  • now, when you go back to the (possibly very long) list of assignments on your course, you will easily be able to identify which assignment(s) to delete.


Downloading papers

As part of Turnitin maintenance just before Christmas, changes were made to the way staff can download papers from the Turnitin inbox.

  1. You can now download papers from the Turnitin inbox, even if Anonymous Marking is switched on.
  2. When you download a papers in this way, students’ names are no longer appended to the filename of the downloaded papers.
    This is the case even on assignments where Anonymous Marking has not been enabled – the result is that it is very difficult to match downloaded papers with the students who submitted them.

Please note, Turnitin have received a great deal of criticism about the way this change was implemented, and our understanding is that the changes may well be reversed in the near future- we will post any updates here.

Update 26/02/2016: improvements have now been made – see Downloading student papers from Turnitin