Faculty members use Blackboard Assignments to manage the file upload of essays, papers or other documents submitted by students. Assignments allow students to type in a short answer or essay response and/or attach a document with their submission. Instructors can allow one or multiple attempts. Once student work is submitted, download the documents from the grade center one-by-one or as a “batch” per assignment. You can respond to each student separately with comments and attached files.
Like other assessment tools, you can provide instructions for your students and a point value for the assignment. Written assignments allow for the assessment of critical thinking, synthesis and other higher order skills.
For more information about Blackboard Assignments, select from the following:
Create an Assignment
You can create assignments in several areas within the course, such as in a content area, learning module or lesson plan.
- Navigate to the content area where you want students to access the assignment.
- On the action bar, point to Assessments and click Assignment. [View screenshot]
- On the Create Assignment page, provide the name, instructions, and any files students need.
- Optionally, select a Due Date.
- In the Grading section, type the Points Possible and optionally, associate a rubric. Optionally, expand the sections to make selections such as anonymous grading and how the grade is displayed. To learn more, see Blackboard's Assignment Grade Settings ».
- Make the assignment available.
- Optionally, select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Display restrictions do not affect availability, only when the assignment appears.
- Optionally, select the check box to Track Number of Views.
- Click Submit.
Be sure to remind students to attach any required files to the assignment before clicking Submit. Inform students that their assignments are not complete until the documents are submitted. They must contact you if they submit the wrong files or forget to attach files so that you can reset their assignment attempt.
Optionally, in the Assignment Files section, click Browse My Computer to upload a file from your computer. You can also upload a file from the course's storage repository, click Browse Content Collection.
You can add a due date for the assignment that will be visible to students. If a student submits an assignment after the due date, the submission is identified as late on the Grade Assignment page. Students will see it marked late on their Review Submission History pages as well. You can use due dates when you are creating an assignment and want to grade anonymously. To learn more about anonymous grading, see Blackboard's Assignment Grade Settings ».
You can share grading responsibility with teaching assistants, graders, and other instructors. You can allow multiple graders to grade the same assignments to promote reliability in grading. Note: grades entered by delegated graders always needs to be approved by an instructor. You can also grade anonymously to eliminate bias. To learn more, see Blackboard's Assignment Grade Settings ».
You can associate a rubric with your assignment. Use rubrics to create reliable criteria for evaluating student performance. To learn more, see Blackboard's Rubrics ».
To help students stay on track, allow them to submit assignments more than once and receive feedback for each submission. This can raise the quality of assignments, and ultimately improve student success and retention. To learn more, see Blackboard's Multiple Assignment Attempts ».
Assignments and SafeAssignments
Plagiarism checking is available with the SafeAssign option listed under Submission Details / Plagiarism Tools. The SafeAssign report is integrated with the assignment grading page. To learn more, see Blackboard's Use SafeAssign in Assignments ».
Assignment Grade Settings
On the Create Assignment page, the Grading section is organized into three sections:
- Submission Details: Select whether the assignment is for individual students or student groups and how many times students can submit to it. The SafeAssign option is here.
- Grading Options: Set up anonymous and delegated grading.
- Display of Grades: Select Grade Center column settings, such as whether to show the grade to students.
1. Submission Details
Select options about the student submissions:
Assignment Type: The default setting is Individual Submission, all students will upload a file to this assignment. You can also select Group Submission, one member of each group will upload a file to this assignment, or Portfolio Submission. You can require a portfolio as the assignment submission. To learn more, see Blackboard's Assigned Portfolios ».
Number of Attempts: Allow single, multiple, or unlimited attempts. If you select more than one attempt, you also decide which attempt to use in the Grade Center. To learn more, see Multiple Assignment Attempts ».
Plagiarism Tools: To use SafeAssign select 'Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign'. You may opt to show the SafeAssign report to students (the default setting is not to show the report). If you are having students submit multiple drafts to one assignment you may opt to exclude their drafts from the SafeAssign database. To learn more, see Blackboard's Use SafeAssign in Assignments ».
2. Grading Options
You can choose to grade assignments anonymously and to assign other graders to help you with your grading tasks.
Enable Anonymous Grading
Enabling anonymous grading during the creation stage allows you to eliminate grading bias for high-stakes assignments. You can hide student names from submission attempts during grading, making them anonymous. Without knowing who submitted an assignment, you are not unduly influenced by a student's previous performance, class participation, conflicts, race, gender, or perceived student aptitude. This practice can also contribute to the student-instructor relationship because students are assured that grading was unbiased.
After you select the Enable Anonymous Grading check box, choose when you want to automatically remove students' anonymity:
- On specific date: Provide the date you want to turn off anonymous grading. The system automatically begins removing anonymity before the end of that date.
- After all submissions are graded: Provide a due date. After students submit attempts, the due date passes, and you have graded the attempts, student anonymity is disabled.
You can manually disable anonymous grading at any time by clearing the Enable Anonymous Grading check box. To learn more, see Blackboard's Anonymous Grading »
Enable Delegated Grading
NOTE: all delegated grading in Blackboard requires the instructor of record to 'reconcile' the submitted grades after the graders are finished. Please contact the Educational Technologists if you would like to discuss options for multiple graders grading large classes.
You can assign specific users in your course to grade particular sets of student submissions. For large classes, you can divide up the grading tasks among TAs and other graders. Someone with the Instructor role must then 'reconcile' the grades that the graders have entered.
After you select the check box for enabling delegated grading, you can view a list of all potential graders. Roles with default grading privileges include instructor, teaching assistant, and grader. Use the drop-down list next to each grader's name to assign submissions to grade:
- All Submissions
- Random Set: Grade a random set of the selected number of students. If you assign multiple graders to grade a random set, students are distributed evenly before any student is included in multiple random sets.
- Groups: Grade all students who are part of the selected course groups.
When all graders have assigned grades, someone with the Instructor role must view all grades and feedback on the Reconcile Grade page and determines the final grade for each student. To learn more, see Blackboard's Delegated Grading ».
3. Display of Grades
Choose how grades will appear in the Grade Center and to students in My Grades. Only your Primary selection appears to students. The Secondary grade display only appears to instructors.
You can choose whether to include the assignment score in grading calculations. You can also choose whether or not to show the grade and class statistical information to students in My Grades.
After students submit documents to an assignment their submissions can be downloaded for offline review instead of reviewing them online in the Grade Center. Choose to download all or just selected student documents as a single .zip file. Unzip or expand the file to view the contents, where each submission is saved as a separate file.
- In the Grade Center, locate the column for the assignment you want to download.
- Access the assignment column's contextual menu and select Assignment File Download.
- On the Download Assignment page, select the student submissions to download, or select the check box in the header bar to choose all available submissions.
- Click Submit.
- On the next Download Assignment page, click the Download assignments now link. A pop-up window displays to prompt you for instructions on what to do with the file.
- In the pop-up window, select Save File and click OK.
- Browse to the location where you want to download the file, and then click Save.
- To return to the Grade Center, click OK on the Download Assignment page.
When using the Assignment File Download function, user names are included automatically in the file names for easy identification. However, files downloaded one by one from the Grade Assignment page will not include the user names. To avoid confusion, you may want to instruct students to use a detailed file name that includes their last name or their user name when submitting assignments.
For more information about downloading assignments, visit Blackboard's Downloading Assignments ».
When you create an assignment, a column is added automatically to the Grade Center. An assignment that has been submitted, but not graded, is indicated with an exclamation mark—the needs grading icon.
Access the Grade Assignment page from the Grade Center or the Needs Grading page.
Inline Assignment Grading
For instructions on using the inline grading tools, visit the Inline Assignment Grading page.
On the Grade Assignment page, you can annotate directly within the browser on uploaded files displayed in the inline viewer. You can assign a grade, provide feedback for the student, and make notes for yourself.
On the action bar, find the following functions:
- Navigate to another student attempt using the arrows left or right of the student's name.
- Hide user names so that you can grade anonymously. To learn how to enable anonymous grading during the creation of assignments, see Anonymous Grading ». Enable anonymous grading during the creation stage to eliminate grading bias for high-stakes assignments.
- Jump to another attempt to view or grade.
The Grade Assignment Page
Annotation sessions expire after one hour. You will receive a warning message. After the time limit, annotations may not be saved. Need more time? Expand the Attempt section in the right column and select Save Draft to save your work and continue later. Your text and files are saved on the page. When you return, you can resume working.
To learn more, see Blackboard's Assignment Inline Grading ».
Watch a Video Demonstration of Inline Grading:
Inline Assignment Grading and New Box View
The inline viewer is powered by a third-party, cloud-based technology called New Box View. The viewer is supported on current versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
Student file submissions are stored in the Blackboard system. A copy of the submission is transmitted to the New Box View cloud service for conversion. The converted version of the document lives in the cloud on servers managed by New Box View.
When submitting, users’ usernames and user IDs are sent to New Box View for attribution and submission ownership information. No grades, first or last name, email, or other information is shared with Box. Only the files in native format are transmitted to New Box View for conversion.
Edit an Assignment in a Course Area
You can edit, organize, and delete assignments. In a content area you can change the order of assignments using the drag-and-drop function or the keyboard accessible reordering tool. For example, reorder the assignments to keep the current one at the top.
Put your cursor on the assignment name, click the contextual menu (gray circle) and select an option:
- Move an assignment to another location in your course. Moving it removes it from its original location. You cannot copy an assignment.
- Edit an assignment to change the name and instructions, add or delete file attachments, and adjust availability or availability dates.
- If you change an assignment's Points Possible, this alters the percentage correct for existing submissions.
- If you change the instructions, students who have already submitted will see the new instructions only on subsequent attempts.
- Apply adaptive release, tracking, metadata, and review status.
Delete an Assignment
You can delete an assignment from a course area and if no student submissions exist, the Grade Center column is also deleted.
When you delete an assignment in your course that has student submissions, you are also deleting all the student documents. You have two options:
- Preserve scores in the Grade Center for the assignment, but delete the assignment and all its submissions.
- Delete this assignment, the Grade Center item for the assignment, all grades for the assignment, and all submissions for this assignment.
Tip: To prevent submissions from being deleted, choose Cancel and make the assignment unavailable (invisible to students) rather than deleting it.
Use SafeAssign in Your Assignments
You can use SafeAssign plagiarism checking for any of your Blackboard assignments.
- On the Create Assignment page, expand Submission Details.
- Select Check submissionsfor plagiarism using SafeAssign.
- Optionally, select one or both options:
- Allow students to view the SafeAssign originality reports on their submissions.
- Exclude all student submissions for this assignment from the institutional or global reference databases. This can be used if you are allowing multiple drafts for the same assignment. You can exclude the drafts, then when it is time for the final draft, remove this setting so that the final draft is checked by SafeAssign.
- Complete the Create Assignment page.
- Click Submit.
Note: Even though there is a message on the Create Assignment screen that states that SafeAssign only supports English language submissions, nothing has changed regarding SafeAssign's functionality. It will continue to accept international language submissions.
For more information on SafeAssign visit Blackboard's SafeAssign » page.
Allow Multiple Assignment Attempts
You can allow more than one attempt for an assignment. This is a way to permit students to send in drafts and earn credit on improvements. Allowing multiple attempts can also allow students to self-correct if they forget to attach their document or upload the wrong document initially. Be sure to inform students which of your assignments allow multiple attempts, and what the expectations and grading policies are for each attempt.
Example:Research Paper Assignments
In one assignment with four attempts, students can submit file attachments for the following items:
- Rough drafts
- Final papers
You can provide feedback at each stage. You can assign grades as each attempt is submitted, but only use the grade for the final paper as the assignment's grade.
Alternatively, if you want to provide four grades—one for each portion of the research paper process—you can create separate assignments for each. You can set up a calculated column in the Grade Center to add the points of each assignment to produce a final score for the research paper.
You can also allow groups to submit their assignments more than once, and receive feedback and a grade for each submission.
Multiple Attempts Options
When you create an assignment, you decide how many attempts to allow and which score to use in the Grade Center.
For example, if you allow three attempts, you can select which grade will be used for the assignment:
- Last Graded Attempt—the default
- Highest Grade
- Lowest Grade
- First Graded Attempt
- Average of Graded Attempts
Grade Multiple Attempts
If you allowed multiple attempts for an assignment, and a student has submitted all attempts, they all appear in the grade cell's contextual menu.
If an attempt is ungraded, the exclamation mark remains in the cell along with the scores for attempts you graded.
The Grade Assignment Page
- On the Grade Assignment page, the number of attempts submitted appears next to a student's name on the action bar.
- Students can view which attempt you are using for the final score, such as last graded attempt or the average of all graded attempts.
- Click the Attempt drop-down list to view other attempts. If you associated a rubric with the assignment, you can refer to it while grading.
After selecting an attempt, type a grade and feedback, and click Submit.
Allow Additional Attempts
If a student has submitted the maximum number of attempts for an assignment, you can allow an additional attempt. In the Grade Center, access a cell's contextual menu and click View Grade Details.
Allow Additional Attempt only appears if a student has already submitted the maximum number of attempts allowed for that assignment. You can continue to offer opportunities to resubmit attempts each time a student reaches the maximum number. You do not have to grade previous attempts to allow a student to submit again.
Alternatively, click Ignore Attempt to ignore the attempt's score in grade calculations and not count it against the maximum number of attempts.
Create a Portfolio Assignment
- Access content area in your course.
- Select Assignment from the Assessment button.
- On the Create Assignment page, expand Submission Details in the Grading area.
- Click Portfolio Submission. Optionally, choose a template students should use in their portfolio submissions. [View screenshot]
For more information about Bb Portfolios visit Portfolios.
Source: Blackboard Help »
Assignments are created in Content Areas, but can also be added to Learning Modules, Lesson Plans, and folders. Any instructions and file attachments that students need to complete the assignment are provided at the time of creation. You can deliver assignments to each student individually or as collaborative work for groups of students.
As assignments are created, you will work in Edit Mode ON. Edit Mode ON allows you to view all of the instructor functions.
The easiest way to collect assignments, papers, or files from your students is to create an Assignment in Blackboard.
- In Edit Mode ON click the Assignments link on your course’s homepage.
- Click on Assessments.
- On the drop-down list, click Assignment.
- On the Create Assignment page, enter a Name for your assignment. This is required.
- In the Instructions box, add the instructions for the assignment–if desired. This is optional.
- You can also browse and attach a file from your local computer if you wish. While this is completely optional, some instructors attach a journal article to their assignments, others attach an exemplar of what an exceptional student submission should look like. Again, this is optional. But, this process is similar to the process of attaching a file to an email message.
- Scroll down and enter the Points Possible.
- Select the checkbox to Make the Assignment Available. This makes your Assignment available to students, although you can choose the date and time that students can see or not see this Assignment under Limit Availability.
- For Number of Attempts, we strongly recommend that you either allow unlimited attempts or allow a certain number of attempts rather than allowing just a single attempt. Experience shows that at least one of your students will accidentally submit the wrong file or accidentally submit an assignment with no file attached. If you set Number of Attempts to Allow Single attempt, that student will be locked out of the assignment and you will need to manually clear his or her assignment attempt in your Grade Center before the student will be able to submit the correct file. However, choosing to allow 2 attempts gives your students one “do-over” if they need it and it and won’t impact your grading at all because, by default, Blackboard shows you the student’s most recent submission (although there is an option to view and download a student’s previous submissions.)
- Select and set Display After for the date and time you will start accepting student submissions and select and set Display Until for the date and time the assignment is due. This prevents students from submitting assignments after the deadline.
- If you are going to accept late submissions, select and set the Due Date and time. If you are not going to accept late submissions, leave this section blank.
- Finally, choose if this assignment will be available to all of your students or to select groups of students.
- Then, click Submit.
Blackboard will display a green success box telling you that you assignment has been successfully created. To see what your assignment looks like from a student’s point of view, turn Edit Mode off.