Skip to content

Submitting / Sitting

You are here: Academic Essentials > Assessment Essentials > Submitting / Sitting

FeedbackThis resource is maintained by the Academic Development & Diversity Team on behalf of our stakeholders.  If you’d like to become a stakeholder and contribute to this resource, have a suggestion for content or just want to offer feedback, click the feedback button and let us know!


The Submitting / Sitting theme guides you through the submission of work, associated assessment tasks and tools including the protocols for sitting examinations. 

  • Submission of work:
    online management * Blackboard * formats * storage and system issues * instructions to students * submission: arrangements and points * capping report * in-module retrieval * exceptions * group work * rationale for online submission.
  • Academic Advising Framework
  • Portfolios:
    types * student guidance * collected work.
  • Receipting:
    online * other.


Submission of work

 Blackboard * formats * storage and system issues * instructions to students * submission: arrangements and points * capping report
* in-module retrieval * exceptions * group work * rationale for online submission.

Online management

The University’s aims include:

  • Students will primarily submit work online and will have access to feedback and their marks, online from a single point of access.
  • Feedback tools and resources are made available that support staff to generate quality feedback for students quickly and consistently.
  • Marking criteria and practice is clear, fair and transparent.
  • Assessment processes are effective and efficient and activities are automated as far as possible.

These aims have been driven by a recognition that the University wants to improve the assessment experience of students by providing electronic submission as well as consistent, constructive and timely online feedback.

The vast majority of coursework prepared in an electronic form will be suitable for submission online. However, it is recognised that there may be some specialist coursework or assessment types which cannot be submitted online, for example:

Back to top of section

Blackboard: Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Is used to facilitate online submission. Assignment submission points can be set up in any Blackboard site, with the submitted assignments (normally submitted as files) stored in the Blackboard Grade Centre for staff access.

Back to top of section


Module Leaders are responsible for stipulating how work is presented for online submission for each assessment task such as font size, word limits, electronic file type etc.

This must be clearly articulated to students in the module assessment brief published via the module guide and on the Blackboard module site. Blackboard places no restrictions on the file formats that students can submit therefore it is important that the acceptable and accessible file formats are clearly stated. This is to ensure that students only submit formats that the markers are able to open, such as those supported by the University’s provided software.

Most file formats are supported, as long as the member of staff reviewing and marking the work has access to appropriate software to download and open the file outside of Blackboard.

We expect students to take all reasonable steps to adhere to University submission arrangements and instructions for individual submissions. However, there could be occasions where there is a technical or user-error issue with a student’s online submission.  The general position in these circumstances is to find in favour of the student and aim to have a consistent approach which is not punitive towards the student.  A judgement on the appropriate action should be made on the basis of:

  • how clear the instructions are which have been provided to the student regarding how to submit.
  • whether the student concerned has a disability which may affect their ability to follow written instructions.
  • whether the student has been advised previously about incorrect submission attempts. 

There is a potential issue affecting students who submit their assignments to Blackboard using the Microsoft Edge browser. Students who submit their work using Edge and who have a copy of the work open whilst the submission is in progress are encountering an issue whereby the content of the file that is submitted becomes blank, any text, images etc. are removed and a single blank page is submitted.  When advising students or publishing guidance about submitting work to Blackboard, please can you alert students to the following advice:

If you have recently submitted an assignment to Blackboard using the Edge browser please check both your email receipt for the submission and review your assignment via the submission point. If you have ‘0 bytes ‘ file size showing on your email receipt and/or a blank page in the assignment preview window, you will need to submit your work again via the Start New Submission button.

If you are an Edge user who is yet to submit (or needs to resubmit because of a problem), ensure you do not have a copy of your work open whilst submitting your assignment to Blackboard, or better still, use an alternative browser.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your work is successfully submitted. Always check your email receipt and the submission point again following each submission.

Back to top of section

Storage and system issues

The majority of student work generated electronically can be submitted online through Blackboard. However files that are over 250MB cannot be submitted directly as attachments to Blackboard. There are alternative methods to allow students to submit large or medial files electronically for marking.

It is recommended that you do not store any submissions content to local D drives.  Please refer to Digital Technology Service (DTS) guidance on Cloud Storage (SP site) and staff guidelines on the use of IT Facilities (SP site).

If you require additional storage on your personal drive F (all staff get 500mb), a private area on shared N drive or access to the Q drive, contact DTS via the Assyst online portal (SP site), who will consider requests for additional space. 

If system unavailability prevents the submission of work, an extended period of time equivalent to the duration of system unavailability (up to 48 hours) is to be allowed to complete the submission.  A standard message will be placed on Blackboard and College will contact students with further details.  If there is to be a delay in allowing students to submit work due to system unavailability, updates will be communicated to students via the Assessment Scheduler. 

Back to top of section

Instructions to students

Students must submit coursework for assessment as stipulated by the Module Leader.  It must be clearly articulated to students how submission is to be made online or via another method. Whichever method of submission is stipulated, the deadline date and time must be clearly articulated to students via their Assessment Statement at the start of the year, as well as via Blackboard throughout the academic year.

It is recommended that the time set for submission is such that staff are available should any technical difficulties be encountered or students require access to support services regarding their submission. It is suggested that deadlines should be set between 9.30am and 3.30pm local time (local to the student), Monday to Friday (there should be no weekend deadlines or deadlines set for when the University is closed). The implications of setting a deadline on a Friday or the working day prior to a University closure day should be considered in relation to the ability to submit late coursework. The standard deadline time for submission of work is 3pm for all students. 

Back to top of section

Submission: arrangements and points 

Module leaders are responsible for providing students with clear guidance on how submission points operate. Submission points will be created automatically, where appropriate, in Blackboard module sites for summative tasks and sub tasks, including non-electronic assessments. These will be created based on the assessment task information held in SITS including due date, task name and assessment type, as provided by the course/module teams. Turnitin, PebblePad, formative Blackboard submission points will not be automatically created. Submission points will be set up in Blackboard in the following way:

  • as individual submissions but can be modified to manage group submissions later if required.
  • with unlimited submission attempts, allowing students to re-submit if there is a problem with their submission of there is a need to make changes.
  • to remain open for 7 calendar weeks (49 calendar days) after the published deadline date to allow submission of late work, extensions or in-module retrieval (where granted).
  • made available at the point of creation to allow details, particularly the corresponding due date to be visible to the student in Blackboard notification tools and channels, i.e. the Blackboard Calendar and To Do list.

Where submission points have not been automatically created but are required, i.e. for formative assessments, as previously, these can be created manually at the start of the academic year. A re-assessment submission point will be automatically created in a separate hidden content area at the start of the academic year. This will not be available to students until the Module Leader makes it available closer to the time of re-assessment. Module Leaders will have the responsibility to make this available to students as appropriate.

The University’s submission model for online submission of work is that of a single submission point is used for first sit assessments to allow submission of work up to the deadline as well as submission of any late work or work with approved extensions, or to allow for in-module retrieval (where granted). 

Back to top of section

Capping report

The capping report can be used to identify work that has been submitted:

  • on time, before the deadline (marked as normal).
  • after the original deadline but within an approved extension (marked as normal).
  • after an agreed deadline but within 24 hours (capped at pass mark).
  • late (zero mark).

The report will identify the correct scenario (from above) for each piece of work and confirm the appropriate marking approach to be applied e.g. cap at pass mark, full mark or zero mark. The capping report is available on the University Reporting: assessment reports (website) portal. Guidance covering how the report should be used, what it includes and common issues and solutions is available alongside the report.

Back to top of section

In-module retrieval (IMR)

Refer to Assessment Essentials: Setting (module level): re-assessments – IMR guidance. 

Back to top of section


Where exception from the University’s model is deemed to be absolutely necessary, additional Blackboard submission points can be created and used by the module team. This may be practical where there are large cohorts and or marking teams or where specific management of IMR (as above) is required. Agreement to do this should be sought from your College Teaching and Learning Lead.

Alternative models such as the use of different submission points or adaptive release to manage the different extension periods, late submissions and IMR have been considered to ensure that the implications of their use is fully understood. Whilst there are potential benefits around controlled release of marks and feedback to students, consideration of the implications of using these alternative modules is needed as they will:

  • require significant set up and management.
  • pose potential issues around late submission.
  • not allow the use of the marking report.
  • require a decision in Colleges about who manages this.


Back to top of section

Group work

Refer to Assessment Essentials: Setting (module level): assessment scheduling – Group Work guidance. 

Back to top of section

Rationale for online submission

Is covered via the following sources of reading:

  • National Student Survey (NSS) and Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) – 2014.
  • National Union of Students (NUS) – effective feedback and assessment 2014.
  • Hallam Students’ Union:
    • course rep conference – Feb 2015 (student priorities).
    • elections and referendum booklet – March 2015 (manifesto points).
  • Student focus group workshop – March 2015.
  • JISC: Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) – published Dec 2013 / updated Mar 2016 (website). 

Back to top of section

Back to top of page

Academic Advising Framework

Academic Advisors can access a student’s record of online marks and feedback in order to engage in a two-way dialogue with the student on their academic attainment and progression over the course of their studies.  This will allow students to reflect on their feedback to improve their continuing personal and professional development. Visit the Student Support Triangle SP site > I am an Academic Advisor for a host of resources.   

Back to top of page


 types * student guidance * collected work 

This section provides information around the use of portfolios including examples of good practice and resources for staff. There are two main types of portfolio;

  1. commonly associated with artists, contains individual pieces of work collected together to demonstrate the individual’s range of skills and key works.
  2. developmental portfolio that contains evidence of skills and knowledge acquisition, reflection on how these integrate with existing skills and knowledge and consideration of the individual’s personal objectives and their progress toward them.

In both cases, portfolios are typically collections of evidence in a range of forms and different media which often include a reflective commentary provided by the student demonstrating how they have met the learning outcomes.


Developmental Portfolios

  • to record actions, thinking and reflection. The use of portfolios promote reflective thinking and personal and professional development planning (PPDP) (website).
  • to demonstrate engagement with a topic or course objective and  require students to accept a high degree of responsibility and encourage the student’s deep engagement with the intended learning outcomes.

They can accommodate evidence in a range of forms and different media which makes them suitable for supporting learning and assessment in complex situations, such as authentic assessment based on real world tasks. These portfolios encourage reflective thinking, often requiring students to collate evidence, review, select, order and annotate it and to write a reflective commentary. A portfolio’s structure and content must be clear enough to present the evidence in a systematic and accessible way.

Creating and managing portfolios can be time consuming for students, but can also instil great pride for some. Portfolios often highlight student achievement and so promote student self-efficacy. They can also be used with future employers or for attaining professional recognition. Therefore, the portfolio should be seen as an active document that stems from and develops via a reflective process. They accommodate diverse situations and different levels of personal engagement in topics. However, this can make marking difficult, inconsistent and time consuming for teachers.

Back to top of section


Are increasingly used and can be constructed, for example, in PebblePad or using blogs. As well as being a record of learning that has taken place a portfolio can also provide a reflective record of professional development enabling the individual to document progress.  

PebblePad can be used to supplement and enhance the functionality of required Blackboard module sites where there are sound educational reasons/benefits. PebblePad should be integrated with Blackboard for the submission of any coursework to ensure marks are linked with the Blackboard Grade Centre. Feedback is accessed via PebblePad.

Back to top of section

Student guidance

Keep in mind what it is for and when presenting the evidence, a number of questions will help to guide you:

  • What are you wanting the evidence to show?
  • Is the evidence relevant?
  • Are you demonstrating competence in your field?
  • What is missing?
  • Identify gaps of knowledge.
  • What is to come?
  • How will you fill those gaps?

Not all these questions are applicable to every situation, but will help order the evidence you collect and keep it appropriate. It should also demonstrate reflective practice with positive and negative outcomes of learning. This balance will help assessors see the development of thinking and allow them to gauge to what extent you have taken an active part in your learning rather than being a passive recipient. 

Back to top of section

Collected Work

Are typically used to showcase work. They will often contain the person’s best work, demonstrate their ability work within different forms and techniques, or draw together a range of individual works thematically. In addition to the works themselves, these portfolios will frequently include a reflection detailing the reasons for the selection of the specific pieces of work and, possibly, how they are linked together. Examples of this type of portfolio include:

  • a creative writing student creating a portfolio containing examples of their prose, poems and non-fiction work.
  • a fine art student may create a portfolio that shows their interpretation of a theme in a variety of styles or different media.

As students increasingly produce work electronically, e-Portfolios are becoming more common as a method of collecting examples of work and recording reflections about them. The advantage of such tools is that the same pieces of work can be incorporated into multiple collections, structured in different ways for different audiences, and shared simultaneously.

Therefore, a student could create a portfolio containing their best graphic design work when applying for a job as a graphic designer, while another portfolio contains all of their typographic work for consideration for entry onto a Master’s Degree,  all while including some of the same works in a general portfolio for an electronic degree showcase. Also refer to e-portfolios above.

Back to top of section

Back to top of page


The receipting feature for our students when they submit their work via a Blackboard Assignment. After their work is submitted, students receive an email confirming the details of their submission.

Online submissions through Blackboard

The student, or group of students if it is a group submission, will get an email confirming who submitted the work, when it was submitted, the module title, the assignment title, and the name of the file(s) submitted, including file size(s). It will also contain the name of the module leader and their email address as well as a link to the relevant College Helpdesk should further help or support be needed by the student. A copy of the receipt will be saved as a PDF in an area of the Blackboard site teaching staff can access.

All other submissions

Physical work can also be receipted by helpdesks or in class by tutors where determined by the Module Leader. This will generate an electronic receipt for the student and an attempt is recorded in a Grade Centre column, enabling feedback to be provided. For assessment types such as presentations, Module Leaders will have a choice about if they issue a receipt of not and will need to confirm this when validating their assessment data to determine the type of Grade Centre column that is set up. 

Back to top of page


Transition to APA 7th referencing style

From September 2021 the standard referencing style at Sheffield Hallam University is APA 7th

  • New enrolments will use APA 7th from September 2021
  • Continuing students, not expected to complete in 21/22, may submit work using APA 6th in 21/22 and will be expected to adopt APA 7th for 22/23. 
  • Final year students may continue to use APA 6th.
  • Students engaged on long term projects, such as doctoral students who will not complete in 21/22, should consult with supervisors about the appropriate referencing style to use.

This will not affect students who currently use other referencing styles for consistency with subject or professional practice.  Subject and course teams will continue to advise these students.

Referencing is an essential part of academic writing. When your students are writing an assignment they will be drawing constantly upon information they’ve read in books, journal articles and other sources. There’s a requirement to acknowledge these sources through referencing.  Accurate referencing is very important because:

  •  it demonstrates that they have researched or read around the subject which they’re writing about.
  • it provides evidence for their arguments.
  • it allows any reader of their work to find the original sources they used.
  • it shows that they are not passing off someone else’s research as their own thoughts.

Students should reference whenever they use someone else’s work in their own work, not only when they quote but also when they paraphrase or summarise someone’s ideas. At Sheffield Hallam University most of your courses use a style of referencing called APA 7th. However, some courses and subject areas use a different referencing style which is determined by the course and module leaders. You must advise your students on what style they are required to use.  There are a number of aspects to consider when assessing student referencing:

  • the range and quality of the sources that have been chosen.
  • how the information from the sources has been used and evaluated.
  • whether it is possible to understand which resources have been used and where to find them.
  • if references are clear and unambiguous.
  • that a consistent style has been maintained. 

Ideally, the references should be presented in the referencing style you have recommended, but functionality and consistency are the most important points. The presentation of references is much less important than the quality of the sources selected and how they have been used. Students often find the presentation of citations and references difficult. They therefore need to be told clearly which referencing style to use and how they will be marked on using it. Ideally the same style should be used by all staff who teach on a course/module.

The APA 7th style of referencing is recommended, because it enables your students to use the many apps and tools available to help with referencing and for them to benefit from the wide range of support resources that are available for this style. However, if there is an academic reason why another style needs to be used instead, students should be given detailed guidance on how to cite and reference in that style.  It should be noted that different referencing tools and apps that use APA 7th can sometimes produce slightly different references. To ensure consistency in referencing, students are recommended to use only one referencing tool / app rather than a mix of different ones.

Back to top of page

Originality Checking / Turnitin

Turnitin is an online text-matching service that is integrated with Blackboard and can generate automatic feedback on student writing and referencing. It can be used as a tool to teach students about good referencing and to discourage plagiarism, and therefore many tutors use it formatively to enable students to check drafts of their work before they submit a final version for marking. Visit:

Also read more about:  Contract Cheating / Conduct and Discipline: Academic Essentials: Regulations, Policies, Procedures – students and staff overview page.

Module Leaders must clearly state to students how to upload their work to Turnitin and how to submit their work to the assignment submission point on Blackboard.  It should be clearly stated that these are two different actions. There’s a range of guidance currently available to students on how to submit to Turnitin and access originality reports to embed in the Assessment Content Area of your Blackboard site.  

Back to top of page


Each student is provided with an Assessment Statement for each year of their course at the start of the academic year. This states what assessment tasks need to be completed and what the submission deadlines are. It is intended that this helps students to manage their time and plan carefully to meet all assessment submission deadlines.

  • Coursework submitted within one working day (24 hours) of the deadline date and time without an authorised extension will receive a mark capped at the minimum pass mark.
  • Coursework submitted beyond that time without an authorised extension will receive a zero mark.
  • The assessment task will be referred (if at first submission) or failed (if at referral submission).

Should the student have any concerns about completing their coursework on time or if you suspect in advance that personal circumstances may cause them to miss a deadline, direct them to their Departmental Student Support Adviser (website). They can request an extension to the coursework submission deadline and will need to complete an extension request form which must be submitted at least 24 hours before the deadline date together with a copy of any uncompleted work and documentary evidence to support the request.

If students have a general problem with prioritising, working under pressure or require specific areas of development The Skills Centre (website) can support and provide guidance to help them develop practical ways of managing their time and workload. 

Back to top of page


At start of the academic year, exam deadline dates for students will not show in their assessment statement, only that an exam is part of the assessment for the module.

  • exam periods will be accessible from the academic calendar (SP site) and this will show the date range of when exams will be held.
  • the specific date for each exam task will be confirmed in the assessment statement following publication of the exam timetable.
  • student’s exam schedules:

Staff guidance: policy and procedures

Staff guidance: design and delivery of examinations

Student guidance

Back to top of page


Once the main cohorts feedback is released, markers need to be aware that any further feedback created after this point will be immediately available to students i.e. for those students with extensions or in-module retrieval. To control the release of feedback, staff can use the ‘save as draft’ functionality which allows online feedback to be published to the student at a chosen date and time.

Back to top of page

Back to Supporting students Move to Marking / Feedback
Last updated: 20th January 2023 NB