Creating Assignments

This document describes how instructors and teachers' assistants can use the Assignments feature in Blackboard gradebook to organize and grade electronic submissions from students.

You can create an assignment link in any of the Content Areas of your class (the area named "Assignments" might be the best place). For more on organizing and managing content, see documentation on Managing the Course Menu.

Assignments vs. SafeAssign

Both features allow you to accept documents online (e.g. student papers, projects). The Assignments feature is older, and slightly more stable. Blackboard added the SafeAssign feature during the summer of 2007, and it works well but sometimes the servers can be slow.

Using SafeAssign has the added benefit that it does plagiarism detection for you. This document describes Assignments only. For SafeAssing, see Using SafeAssign.

Add Assignment

Go to a content area (through Control Panel, or by clicking Edit View within a folder). Along the top bar, select Assignment, then click Go:

add assignment

On the next page, you will be able to enter details about this assignment. This works just like adding any other content item (see documentation), except there's a place for Points Possible.

assignment info

You can use the text area to give students instructions and you can upload a file if students need something to start with or your instructions are in a Word document. Here's a sample paragraph you could include in the instructions:

Use the link "View/Complete" link below to upload your assignment. You can only upload the assignment once. After your assignment has been graded, you can click the link to see your score and read any comments. If you have trouble, see these more detailed instructions: http://www.biola.edu/offices/clear/resources/blackboard/bb_submitting_assignments.cfm

Once you click Submit, Blackboard will create the item in your folder and add a column in the Grade Center. Therefore, you should add your assignments to Blackboard before you add items to the Grade Center and weight the semester grades.

Students Submit Assignments

Next, you wait for students to submit their assignments. You can refer them to "Submitting Assignements on Blackboard" at http://www.biola.edu/offices/clear/resources/blackboard/bb_submitting_assignments.cfm. Basically, they click on the View/Complete link and upload their document:

view complete assignment

Students can only complete the assignment once. After they submit the assignment, they can click on the link to view the grade and any response that you may have posted.

If a student needs to re-submit an assignment, an instructor or teachers' assistant will need to click the Clear Attempt button (see picture below, in next section) so they can try again.

Grading Submitted Assignments

After a student has submitted their assignment, it will show up as a green exclamation point in the Grade Center. Click next to the green exclamation point to pull down a menu and choose "Grade Details."

Grade Details Menu

On the next page, click the View Attempt button to see the student's submission and assign a grade:

View Attempt

On the Grade Assignment page, click the link next to User's Files to see what the student submitted. Next, type in a Grade. Then click Submit to put this grade into the Grade Center:

Grade Assignment

Before you click Submit, in Section 3, you may want to write in the Comments section - these comments will be available to the student, if they check their grade. Anything you write in the Instructor Notes section is private, not visible to the students. In both of these sections, you can upload files. (For example, if you want to give a revised document back to the student).

After you grade a student's assignmnet and click Submit, you will be back on the Grade Details page. From there, you can click the arrows next to the student's name (top right corner) to move to the next student or the next grade column:

Grade Details Arrows

Downloading Submitted Assignments

You will need to be logged in to Blackboard to grade each student's work in the way described above. An alternative is to download all of the assignments at once, through the Grade Center. Go back to the Grade Center, (1) Pull down the menu next to the name of the assignment and choose Assignment File Download, (2) select which students' assignments to download and click Submit, then (3) Click on the link to download the files. They will download as a compressed ZIP file. After you read and grade all the assignments, you can enter each grade in the main Grade Center view.

Download Assignments

Back to Blackboard Overview.
To read about SafeAssign, a similar feature, see Using SafeAssign.