Essential preparation for e-submission & e-marking

Are your students submitting their assignments online?

Many of you will be preparing for assessment deadlines.  With e-submission being used and e-marking being trialled for the first time in some modules, the information below will help you to prepare, and make it easier for you and your students. This advice has sections relevant to:

  1. All staff involved in the assessment of an assignment
  2. Module convenors or staff responsible for creating submission points
  3. And information to share with your students about e-submission.

It is important that you are fully prepared before the University Christmas closure, as staff will not be available to provide support during this period.

Note that the University does not require staff to mark online this year. We recommend that you only start e-marking if you have received advice and undertaken staff development.

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Getting seasonal with ‘The 12 Apps of Christmas’!

Image from 12 apps of Xmas

12 apps of Christmas

Last December, hundreds of academics, learning technologists and librarians around the world took part in a new free open course hosted by Regent’s University, London – The 12 Apps of Christmas.  I was among them. In just a few minutes a day, we tried out a range of free mobile apps with potential educational use and built a community of practice, whilst having fun doing so!

The course was a success, winning the Credo Digital Information Literacy Award and inspiring people to run versions at other institutions.

Now, the original is back and is, reputedly, better than ever! From 1-16 December 2015, Regents will be presenting Christmas 2.0!

The 12 Apps of Christmas 2015 will offer a completely new range of carefully selected apps, while keeping to the same simple, entertaining formula which made it so successful last year. Expect guest posts, engaging hands-on activities, a chance to be part of a friendly, enquiring community of educators worldwide, and the obligatory Christmas cracker jokes!

To enrol on the 12 Apps of Christmas 2015, go to

Wishing you an early ‘appy’ Christmas!


Grade Centre Total and Weighted Total Columns have been hidden

On Monday morning, 23rd November, Blackboard engineers ran a process to hide two Grade Centre columns. The change was prompted by a desire to avoid confusion for students, and save time for staff.

What does the change mean?

Following this change, on all Blackboard courses

  • the Total column has been hidden from both staff and students
  • the Weighted Total column has been hidden from students, but is still visible to staff in the Grade Centre.

The Total column is at best meaningless, and at worst seriously misleading for students (see further details below). We have been advising  staff to hide this column on all courses, as it provides a way for students to access their interim grades while marking is still taking place.

As a result of this change, the Total column has been automatically hidden, so staff can have greater control over when assessment marks and feedback are released to students.

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Which browser works ‘best’ with Blackboard?

Image: CC0 Public Domain: (downloaded 12-11-15)

Image: CC0 Public Domain: (downloaded 12-11-15)

The TEL team are often asked which browser to use with Blackboard. We thought it was worth sharing a few tips and recommendations to help you – whichever browser you chose to use. Blackboard is compatible with the main browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Edge. It’s worth checking this list of support browsers to make sure the version of your browser is supported.

Our preferred browsers for working with Blackboard are currently Chrome or Firefox. In our training sessions, we advise staff to use one of these two browsers.

Chrome and MS Edge

If you are using Chrome, please be aware of he issue of Plug-ins not working in Google Chrome.

You might also be aware that the latest versions of Google Chrome and Microsoft’s new Edge browser (for Windows 10) do not support a type of plug-in that is used in some live chat tools and some media players. Any tools that use this plug-in aren’t supported by Blackboard in these browsers. This issue also prevents you from using the multiple file upload feature in FileShare.

Internet Explorer

If you like to use Internet Explorer (IE), to make Blackboard work correctly you will need to turn off ‘compatibility view’.

Further details on how to tackle common issues using IE with Blackboard can be found on the on the Blackboard help site.

Test your Browser

Our best advice is to check out Blackboard’s Support for Staff tab where you’ll find the Browser Test feature. This allows you to check the compatibility of your browser with Blackboard and other features.

Beneath that, Technical Support has links to other information to help you identify how well various browsers work with Blackboard. The same browser test and information is also available for students on the Support for Students tab.

We hope you find this helpful!