TEL team meet our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair

Staff from the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team and Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) programme enjoyed meeting our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair.  

Pic of Pete & Chris

Pete Moll (L) & Chris Johnson (R) from the TEL team

We had some great discussions with students about Blackboard (our Virtual Learning Environment, VLE), submitting work and accessing marks and feedback online. It was interesting to hear about students’ previous experiences of VLEs, both anecdotally and via a survey we ran on the day.

The headline survey results showed that 54% of students have used VLEs prior to joining UoR and 60% have submitted assignments or coursework online before. It’s worth noting that although many students have prior experience of using a VLE, only 19% have previously used Blackboard.

We have some really useful resources to help students who are new to Blackboard and/or online submissions. These can be found via Blackboard’s Help tab; there’s a searchable site containing helpful resources on all aspects of using Blackboard and Turnitin. 

Congratulations to the 8 winners of our survey prize draw – we’ve emailed you with details of how to collect your Amazon voucher prizes (kindly donated by Blackboard)!

The TEL team would like to wish all our new and returning students every success for the forthcoming year! 

Chris Johnson / Lauren McCann (CQSD TEL) 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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