Start of Semester - Set up assessments and Grade Centre

Grade Centre, online assessments and other gradable items need to be set up in your Blackboard site each year.

Please remove/update any instructions relating to deadlines and submission information for previous years' assessments to prevent any confusion to students completing and submitting work this year.

Please ensure that you are familiar with Sections 7 and 9 of the University's Principles and Procedures for Summative Assessment for the online submission of coursework and return of feedback.

Blackboard Assignments, Offline Assignments and Turnitin Assignments

Blackboard Assignments (online submission points) and Offline Assignments (where a receipt can be issued for work that cannot be submitted online) for summative tasks and subtasks are automatically created at the start of the academic year based upon the data held within the Student Records System (SITS). For 2017/18 sites, this process took place on 11 September 2017.

Blackboard Assignments and Offline Assignments for summative tasks and subtasks will appear in the Assessment area of the Blackboard module site. They will appear below any existing content or items. Please note:

  • You can edit the Assignments to provide additional instructions for online submission points or Offline Assignments, marking criteria, attach a Feedback Rubric and, if required, change to a group type assignment. Alternatively further information about the assessment can be published to students in a separate item below the submission point - the name of the item must clearly reflect that of the assessment task or subtask name.
  • You can re-order the position of the Assignments on the page or move them to a different folder to locate them with information provided in relation to a particular task. Assignments should be retained within the Assignments area (or folders therein) of the Blackboard module site so that students can easily locate them.
  • If you wish to change the Due Date/Time of an assessment, you must first seek local approval by Assessment Leads (HWB), Course Leaders (ACES), Programme Leaders (SBS) or Heads of Academic Development (D&S) to ensure that there are no adverse effects on bunching and the assessment load on students or turnaround in advance of assessment boards. Each faculty have a standard agreed deadline (see section 7.4).
  • If you wish to change the Name of an assessment, or change a Blackboard Assignment to an Offline Assignment (or vice versa), inform the Helpdesk or Professional Services representative.
  • A single submission point is created for each task and subtask. Additional Blackboard Assignments can be created for managing extensions and IMR, though this is not recommended and approval for this must be sought from your faculty assessment lead (see section 7.6.5). It is important that the automatically created submission points are retained with the automatically created grade column being used to consolidate marks for the cohort before passing marks on to Student Administration. With the changes to policy which allow for students to submit their work up to 24 hours after a submission deadline and still receive a capped mark for the work, it is advised that best practice is to manage submission, marking and feedback using one single submission point which remains open for up to 7 calendar weeks (49 days) after the deadline. This enables the use of the marking report to ascertain what rules are to be applied to marks according to when the work was submitted and any extension arrangements the student may have had agreed. This does not apply to IMR which is not identified by the marking report. 
  • If you delete the Assessment area or any of the auto-created submission points you will need to re-create these again manually.

If, after 11 September 2017, you cannot see any Blackboard Assignments or Offline Assignments for summative tasks and subtasks:

  • They will not have been created if any of the assessment information required by Helpdesk or Professional Services (name, due date/time, and assessment item type) was missing or not returned by 31 August 2017. You will need to manually create the submission points, and also contact your Helpdesk or Professional Services representative to provide the missing assessment information so that it can be updated in SITS.
  • Any assessment item type selected as 'Online Test/Exam (in Blackboard)' or 'Online Other (in Blackboard)' will not create anything automatically.
  • Any assessment type item selected as 'Online Test/Exam (electronic, not in Blackboard)', 'Non-electronic Test/Exam', 'Online Other (not in Blackboard)', 'Non-electronic Assignment (Indvl: no BB receipt)' or 'Non-electronic Assignment (Group: no BB receipt)'will only create a grade column for return of feedback and marks online, while an assessment item type selected as 'Task with subtasks' will created a Weighted Total column (see below).
You need to manually set-up any Blackboard Assignments, Offline Assignments or Turnitin Assignments for formative or draft submissions, or Turnitin Assignments that will be used in addition to the official Blackboard submission point for supplemenatry text-matching of summative work.

Tests and Surveys

All Tests and Surveys, including Question Pools will remain within the Test, Surveys and Pools area of the site (Control Panel, Site Tools, Tests, Surveys and Pools). However they may need to be redeployed by adding them to a content area on the site for students to access. Before making any Tests available again, it’s a good idea to review them and try them out to ensure that they work as expected. New Tests and Surveys can also be created.

PebblePad (ATLAS)

Links to ATLAS workspaces are not copied and need to be recreated. After adding a new ATLAS link to your module, click on the link, select the 'Choose an existing workspace to copy settings and other components from' option on the new screen and select the old workspace to copy.  Select the relevant copying options on the next page and, once it has been created, you can make any necessary updates to the new version of the workspace. Once you have copied the old workspace you should archive it by opening it in ATLAS, clicking the 'Management' button and then the 'Archive' button, as this will ensure a record is kept for any future assessment audit.

Other gradable items

Gradable items and activities such as Wikis, Blogs, and Discussions will need to be created manually.

Grade Centre and grade columns

Grade columns are set up in the Grade Centre for any assessments that cannot be submitted online and don't require a receipt as evidence of submssion and are used to return feedback and/or grades to students online.

Blackboard Grade Centre grade columns for summative tasks and subtasks that cannot be submitted online and do not require a receipt to be issued (and a Weighted Total column for tasks with subtasks) are automatically created at the start of the academic year based upon the data held within the Student Records System (SITS). For 2017/18 sites, this process took place on 11 September 2017. Please note:

  • You can edit the grade columns to provide attach Feedback Rubrics, change the display of grades (e.g. for grade-based assessment), and set weightings in Weighted Total columns (If a grade column is missing from the Columns to Select for inclusion in the weighted grade, you need to return to Full Grade Centre, locate and edit that particular column, and under Options change Include this Column in Grade Centre Calculations to 'Yes'. You will then be able to select that column when configuring your Weighted Total column). 
  • If you wish to change the Due Date/Time of an assessment, you must first seek local approval by Assessment Leads (HWB), Course Leaders (ACES), Programme Leaders (SBS) or Heads of Academic Development (D&S) to ensure that there are no adverse effects on bunching and the assessment load on students or turnaround in advance of assessment boards. Each faculty have a standard agreed deadline (see section 7.4).
  • If you wish to change the Name of an assessment, inform the Helpdesk or Professional Services representative.
  • A single grade column is created for each task and subtask. Additional grade columns can be created for managing extensions and IMR, though this is not recommended and approval for this must be sought from your faculty assessment lead (see section 7.6.5). It is important that the automatically created grade columns are retained with the automatically created grade column being used to consolidate marks for the cohort before passing marks on to Student Administration. 
  • If you delete any of the auto-created grade columns you will need to re-create these again manually.

If, after 11 September 2017, you cannot see any grade or Weighted Total columns expected for summative tasks and subtasks:

  • They will not have been created if any of the assessment information required by Helpdesk or Professional Services (name, due date/time, and assessment item type) was missing or not returned by 31 August 2017. You will need to manually create the grade and/or Weighted Total columns, and also contact your Helpdesk or Professional Services representative to provide the missing assessment information so that it can be updated in SITS.
  • Any assessment item type selected as 'Online Test/Exam (in Blackboard)' or 'Online Other (in Blackboard)' will not create anything automatically.
  • Grade columns for exam marks will be created automatically at a later date.

You need to manually set-up any grade columns in the Grade Centre for any formative assessments that cannot be submitted or taken online and don't require a receipt as evidence of submission in order to return feedback and grades to students online. 

Once you have set up all assessments including Grade Columns, you can set up your Weighted Total, used in most cases to calculate an overall module mark.

There are also other things that you might like to set up in the Grade Centre at this time, such as change the order of your Grade Columns or set up Smart Views.

Explore the following topics for related information: 
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