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.

The technical details

As colleagues will be aware, Turnitin GradeMark provides tools for marking student work and providing feedback. However in some departments, while Turnitin is used for originality checking, marks are still entered via the Blackboard Grade Centre, and Word or PDF feedback sheets are uploaded via the Grade Centre. This system is tried and tested, and (until now) it has worked.

Unfortunately the most recent Turnitin update has introduced a bug which means that, in some cases, having uploaded these feedback sheets, they are inaccessible to staff.

This problem only arises if the attached files have spaces in their names – for example

Student 1 ModuleXXX Dissertation Proposal Feedback 2015-16.pdf


When uploading files to any website, it is actually good practice to avoid spaces in filenames, as web browsers will convert every space to the corresponding ASCII character, namely %20.


Student 1 ModuleXXX Dissertation Proposal Feedback 2015-16.pdf


when opened in a web browser becomes



The current issue arises from a change in the Turnitin code, so that spaces are now rendered as + instead of %20. In this situation the uploaded file becomes



and when an instructor tries to open the feedback sheet, Blackboard is unable to locate the file.

Resource not found

The workaround

This problem is affecting numerous other UK Universities, and we are assured that Turnitin are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible – we do not have a timescale for this fix, however.

In the meantime, when saving feedback sheets in Word, please avoid the use of spaces in the filenames.

In fact, we would recommend that you always avoid spaces in filenames when attaching files in the Grade Centre. Either leave out the spaces completely e.g.



or replace them with a hyphen or underscore e.g.



What about feedback already uploaded to Blackboard?

  • If you need to access a document previously uploaded to the Grade Centre, you will have to manually edit the URL in order to access the file.
    •  Click on the filename next to ‘Currently attached files’.Attached feedback sheet - Turnitin assignment
    • A new tab will open with a Blackboard error message.
    • To view the attached file, edit the end of the URL where shown – replace all occurrences of + with %20.view attached feedback file - edit URL
    • Once correctly edited, press Enter and the file will open or download.
  • If you need to remove a previously uploaded file, please log a call with the IT Service Desk – there is a way to do this, but it is far too detailed and complicated to post on this blog!





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