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 both first-sit and reassessment 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 2019/0 sites, this process happened on 5 September 2019. The Assessment Item Type determines what is created.

Blackboard Assignments and Offline Assignments for first-sit 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:

  • The Assignments are immediately visible to students once your site is made available to students (unless you have hidden the Assessment area of your sites). 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 (see: how do I set up an area for students to submit online?). 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.
  • If you need to amend any assessment information or create an assessment type in Blackboard, please see the decision tree to identify what action you need to take.
  • 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 Academic 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 50 calendar 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.

Blackboard Assignments and Offline Assignments for reassessment tasks and subtasks will appear in the Reassessment area of the Blackboard module site. Please note:

  • In addition to the information listed above, the reassessment items and the Reassessment area are hidden from students. You can make the reassessment items and the Reassessment area available when needed.

If, after set-up on 5 September 2019, 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 Department Academic Administration Teams (name, due date/time, and assessment item type) was missing. Pease see the decision tree to identify what action you need to take.
  • 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 first-sit and reassessment summative tasks and subtasks that cannot be submitted online and do not require a receipt to be issued are automatically created at the start of the academic year based upon the data held within the Student Records System (SITS). For 2019/0 sites, this process happened on 5 September 2019. The Assessment Item Type determines what is created. Please note:

  • All grade columns are hidden from students. You make these available individually when you are ready to release or publish feedback and marks to students.
  • You can edit the grade columns to provide attach Feedback Rubrics, change the display of grades (e.g. for grade-based assessment).
  • If you need to amend any assessment information or create an assessment type in Blackboard, please see the decision tree to identify what action you need to take.
  • 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, following set-up on 5 September 2019, you cannot see any grade columns expected for summative tasks and subtasks:

  • They will not have been created if any of the assessment information required by Department Academic Administration Teams (name, due date/time, and assessment item type) was missing. Pease see the decision tree to identify what action you need to take.
  • Any assessment item type selected as 'Online Test/Exam (in Blackboard)' or 'Online Other (in Blackboard)' will not create anything automatically.

Please note: Weighted Columns for tasks with subtasks are no longer automatically created. You can create Weighted Columns yourself with support from your faculty TEL team. (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). 

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. 

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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