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.

FIXED: Turnitin email receipts don’t include the Paper ID

Update: this has been resolved

From April 2016 Turnitin receipts have once again included the Paper ID

There is currently a technical issue which means that Turnitin email receipts (automatically sent to students when they submit their work) do not contain the Paper ID.

The email does contain details of the

  • submission title
  • assignment
  • course
  • date and time of submission

so is still proof of submission. However the Paper ID is the one unique identifier, and a vital piece of information if we need to raise a support call with Turnitin.

Turnitin are aware of the problem, and say that it will be resolved during their next maintenance window. But they have not as yet indicated when that is likely to take place.

While this problem persists, students are strongly advised to download a full receipt from Turnitin – instructions on how to do this can be found via the link labelled ’email receipt’ on the Support for Students tab in Blackboard.

Formatting Turnitin instructions for greater impact

When you create a Turnitin assignment, under the ‘Optional Settings’ area you can ‘Enter special instructions’ for your students.

It is good practice to use this space to enter specific instructions for the assignment, so that students are absolutely clear what is required of them e.g. Can they submit and resubmit drafts of their work? Is there a standard setting for naming their files?

The ‘special instructions’ text box  has no formatting options, so what you type displays as plain text only. That applies also to line breaks – if you press Return when entering the instructions it appears to start a new line, but once you Submit the line break will disappear.

This can lead to the instructions – which are designed to provide helpful guidance to students – appearing in a rather unattractive, even unreadable, way.

All is not lost, however: you can enter simple HTML code to introduce some formatting, to make your instructions stand out to students.

Here is a simple example. If you type the following:

<strong>This Turnitin submission point is for your final drafts only.</strong><br><br>

Your first submission is final and whatever you submit here will be marked.<br><br>

Please submit draft work to the Drafts assignment. <br><br>

the instructions will display as shown:

formatted 'special instructions' in Turnitin

Simple HTML you can use to make your instructions stand out:

<strong>bold text</strong>

<em>italic text</em>

<br>insert a single line break

Note: The code is shown within angle brackets and this is called a tag. The option to add bold text and italic text requires you to add an opening and closing tag around the text you want to modify, but to insert a line break you only need to add the tag in the position you want the line break. There is no closing tag.


Update on the use of Green Stickers with the e-submission of coursework

The first phase of the University’s transition to full e-assessment (work is submitted, marked and graded electronically) is the expectation for the electronic submission of coursework: From 2015 all UG and PGT students, where appropriate, will submit coursework electronically. 

Students identified as requiring Green Stickers for Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) now need to add an electronic Green Sticker to each assignment submitted online.

Continue reading

Emailing Turnitin non-submitters

A few weeks ago Turnitin introduced a new ‘Email non-submitters’ feature – but unfortunately we then had to advise staff that this wouldn’t work in Blackboard.

We’re pleased to be able to announce that Turnitin have now carried out some additional development work, and as a result you will be able to email students who have not yet submitted to a Turnitin assignment – even if that assignment is set to be marked anonymously.

How to use this feature

When you go into a Turnitin inbox (via Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments on your Blackboard course) you will see ‘Email non-submitters’ just above the list of student names.

Turnitin: Email non-submitters

Clicking on that link allows you to compose an email which will be sent to any student on the course who has not yet submitted to the Turnitin assignment in question. Continue reading

Turnitin filesize limit increased

turnitin logoThe maximum size of files being submitted to Turnitin has been increased. Previously, you could not submit a file larger than 20Mb, but this limit has now been doubled to 40Mb.

Ironically, this change coincided almost exactly with the publication of a new user guide: A student’s guide to reducing file size for online submission

It is unlikely that many students will produce documents in excess of 40Mb. However the advice in the guide is still relevant – knowing how to compress images in order to reduce overall filesize is a useful skill for any IT user. And besides, submitting a 40Mb file could take a long time, especially off-campus, so it still makes sense to reduce the size of unnecessarily large files.