New solution: Submitting videos for assessment

Solution to support the upload of media files is now available – Assessment Journey Programme

A new solution has been integrated with Blackboard which will allow students and staff to upload media files (currently up to 2GB in size, approx 10 mins of video or 30 mins+ screencast), such as video assignments and video or audio feedback, safe in the knowledge that the files are stored securely. Staff can also view or listen to student video or audio assignments and provide feedback without leaving Blackboard. The videos are also playable across a range of devices

This will mean a change to the process for staff and students when submitting media files, so guidance including screencasts is now available in the Submitting Work Online section of Assessment Essentials. Students can access video guidance in the Submitting Work Online section of Assessment4Students.

For some assignments the videos created will be too large for the new solution. For reference, anything filmed on an iPhone or similar that is over 10 minutes in length will likely be too large. If this is the case for your module, please contact the TEL Team and we will advise on the best solution.

Please contact the HWB TEL team (! HWB TEL) if you need any support with video assessment and submission.

The Assessment Journey Programme are interested in your feedback – email your feedback to ! Assessment Journey Programme

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Google +/ Google Communities

google-plus-new-icon-logo-400x400 Google Plus

Using social media in teaching and learning can have great results, allowing students to easily interact with one another on a familiar platform. It can however also lead to issues with to privacy and security; Google Plus is one option that allows these issues to be easily managed.

Google Plus has been successfully used for teaching and learning within the University. Whilst it is not as widely used as some other social media platforms, its interface will be familiar to those that have used the major social platforms such as Facebook.

A key advantage of Google Plus is that all students and staff at Sheffield Hallam University can use their staff Google account to log in. If you are not familiar with how to use your staff Google account and what it is for you can find this information in our Google Apps blog post. This bypasses the concern of mixing private and professional life that can often arise when using social media in a work or educational context.

Google Plus and more specifically, Google Communities, allows you to create a secure area for discussion where students can share files and web resources and generally chat and ask questions. You can also post on your own Google Plus profile

Bear in mind you can control the privacy of any communities you create including having control over who can join, view and contribute to any communities you create. You can also restrict access so only those within SHU can access posts and communities.

Google Plus can be accessed from the list of Google Apps found in Google Drive. Information on how to access this list can be found in this previous blog post.

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Uploading a video to YouTube and embedding it into PebblePad

It is a common request to know how to upload videos to YouTube and how students can easily submit the for assessment.  It is not very well known that embedding a YouTube video into PebblePad is very straight forward and allows submission without problems of file format or size.

We have created a short screencast showing how to do this. It will be useful for those wanting to know how to simply upload a video, embed a video into a PebblePad portfolio or achieve both.

If your needs differ from these instructions or the screencast fails to fully show how to achieve your desired outcome, please get in touch with the TEL team and we can fill in the gaps or deliver further support by phone, e-mail or in person.

Please find the screencast below:

Upload to YouTube



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HWB assessment information: one stop shop!

As a team we create a number of resources to support staff with online assessment as well as signpost those created centrally by the University. This, along with the relevant faculty guidelines, leads to a lot of information in a lot of different places.

To try and make it easier to find the information or guidance you need, we have created an online resource which you can find by clicking on the link below. The resource has information about faculty policy and recommended practice as well as housing a number of helpful video and written guides.

Assessment web resource:


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Adobe Spark!

Adobe Spark


Adobe Spark is a collection of creative tools available for free online that allow you to quickly create professional looking animated videos, scrolling web stories and social media graphics. The three tools available are Spark Video, Spark Page, and Spark Post.

You will need to go to to access the tools and it is reccomended that you use your University Google account to login using the following format for your e-mail: and your usual staff password.

Spark Video:

spark video

Spark Video is helpful for presenting information and quickly stitching together short video clips in an engaging resource. The tool allows you to combine photos, videos and text with a basic theme and background music to create a video that can be shared directly from Spark or uploaded to somewhere like YouTube for wider sharing. You can also download videos to have the file for yourself (note: the free version of the tool will add a slide to the end of your video that says ‘created with Adobe Spark’).

Below is a link to an example of an Adobe Spark Video:

and here is an Adobe Spark video that has been uploaded to YouTube:

Spark Post:


spark post allows you to create graphics by combining text with pictures and effect filters to create more distinctive images. Below is an example from the Adobe website

spark post example

Spark Page:


Spark page allows you to create a webpage displaying images, videos and text in a variety of layouts that visitors can navigate through at their own speed. Click here to visit an example Spark Page about walking in the Himalayas.

More information and help can be found at and please get in touch with the TEL team if you would like support with using any of the above in your teaching.

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Making sure your students can see their feedback

A guide is available in My Grades which will advise students on how to access their feedback. The screenshot below highlights where students can access this video.

However, if you make changes to a grade using Manual Override in Grade Centre this can affect the way feedback is displayed to students or hide it from view altogether. In some instances Manual override can be entered inadvertently (see Manual Override via Crocodoc below) and it is advised that Edit Grade is used as the preferred option. Using Edit Grade is suitable for moderation as it will still keep a record of all past grades and feedback in the Grade History.

Manual override via Crocodoc

A manual override grade is entered in Crocodoc by clicking on the pencil icon and entering a grade in the black area circled in red below. Grades should not normally be entered here but in the attempt box in the blue area below, circled in green.

two boxes

Once entered, a normal grade will then appear in the upper box as well as the lower one. If the grade is a manual override it will have the diamond symbol shown below next to the grade in Crocodoc…


…and the orange triangle shown below in Grade Centre.


Effect on feedback:

When feedback has been provided through Crocodoc and an override grade is provided this will have the effect of hiding the blue speech bubble (image) that normally indicates feedback has been provided to students in My Grades. If this is the case, students can still access their feedback but they will need to click on the title of the assignment in My Grades to be taken their feedback.

Manual override from View Grade Details

Manual override grades can also be entered from ‘View Grade Details’ menu accessed from the Grade Centre. This will have the same effect as described above, however if new feedback is provided in the Manual Override area this will appear as a speech bubble in My Grades.

Manual override from a Standard Column (offline submissions).

A Manual Override can only be completed in a Standard Column by going to ‘View Grade Details’. As with above; it is recommended to choose Edit Grade instead of Manual Override. If you have entered a Manual Override grade it is important to re attach feedback in the Manual Override area as any previous feedback will no longer be available to students.

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Making assessment easier with smart views

Smart views are a neat and tidy way to view specific students, instead of all enrolled students, in grade centre. The tool allows you to collect a number of students whether it is a tutor group or a marking group into its own unique area within the Grade Centre. This allows quick access to these groups submissions, grades and can save you a lot of time when it comes to marking and giving feedback.

Note: There is currently an issue with Smart Views that means when you cycle through submissions using the arrows at teh top, or by pressing submit/save draft, you will be taken to the next student in the full cohort rather than the next in the Smart View. To avoid this when marking or providing feedback through Crocodoc it is necessary to open each student’s submission individually, directly from the Grade Centre.

Below is a screencast on how to create smart views:

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Threshold standards for Blackboard sites

Threshold standards

The University has identified a set of standards that each Blackboard module site must meet. It is important that these requirements are adhered to to ensure a consistent student experience. This is particularly true with relation to assessment where submission points need to be set up correctly and in good time with appropriate instructions included. The TEL team can assist with all aspects of setting up submission points through direct support and providing you with the relevant guides and resources. Visit the ‘About us’ page for contact details.

The TEL team have created an exemplar module site based around threshold standards which includes examples from across the faculty. It will appear in your list of organisation sites with the name HWB Example Module Site (2015/6), you do not already have access, please contact the TEL team to be added to the site.

The site includes information and guidance as well as exemplar content that you can view and copy and paste to your own site, editing where appropriate.

There is also a faculty specific website available, based on a resource developed by the Development and Society TEL team, which clearly outlines the Threshold Standards and how to meet them. Click on the image below to access the website.

Threshold standards website:

threshold site image

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Blackboard and Turnitin submission points

This post is a guide to all of the options available when creating a standard Blackboard submission point. Rather than go through the process step by step, I have instead listed all of the options that you will see when you go to create a Blackboard or Turnitin submission point and explained the purpose and function of each one.

Blackboard Assignment Submission points


Name and colour: Here you can give a name to the submission point. The name should give a clear indication of which assignment should be submitted and also signal to students that they must submit here and to the Turnitin submission point. The colour simply affects the colour of the text for the assignment title.

Instructions: Here is where you can write instructions for students on submission. This should include information such as the word count, reccommended file types and the due date. A template for these instructions, which you are free to copy and paste, is available on the HWB TEL example module site. If you are not already enrolled on this site please e-mail us at ! HWB TEL and ask to be enrolled.

Assignment files: This button allows you to attach files to the submission point such as the marking/assessment criteria.

Due dates: A due date does not restrict the availability of a submission point, or a student’s ability to submit. Any submissions made after the due date will still appear in Grade Centre but will be categorised as a late submission and students will be notified of this. A due date it will be visible to students when they open the submission point but you should also include this in the instructions.

Grading: Here you can enter the points possible in the assignment. It is important to put the correct number in here in order that the Grade Centre column attached to the submission point is configured correctly. In most cases the number will be 100. You can also attach a feedback rubric at this point. For more information on feedback rubrics click here.

-Submission details: Here you can choose whether the assignment is an individual or group assignments (this setting defaults to individual). you can also choose the number of attempts and which attempt is marked. The default setting is multiple attempts restricted to 2 attempts with the latest attempt being graded, these are the recommended settings for .

Display of grades options: The primary display is the form in which the grade will be typed into Grade Centre and will display to students in My Grades. The secondary grade will only display in Grade Centre next to the primary display. Selecting ‘Include in Grade Centre grading calculations’ means that the grades for this assignment will be included in a total column in Grade Centre and can contribute to a weighted column. If ‘Show to students in My Grades’ is selected, students will be able to see any grades entered for this assignment in My Grades. This option can also be controlled using the ‘Hide from students on/off’ option in Grade Centre. selecting ‘Show Statistics to students’ will allows students to see the average score for the cohort on that particular assignment.

Availability: Selecting ‘Make the assignment available’ allows students to see the submission point. Any restrictions subsequently placed on availability dates or via adaptive release will take precedence over this so it should be left ticked if these are being used. The availability dates determine when students can see and use the submission point. If ‘Display After’ is left blank the submission point will become immediately available, provided ‘Make the Assignment Available’ is ticked. Selecting ‘Track number of views’ turns on statistics tracking for the assignment so a report can be generated on the number of times it was accessed although the tool’s accuracy has not been formally assessed.

Click ‘Submit’ when you have finished to create the submission point.

Turnitin submission points


When viewing the options below in Turnitin, each setting has a blue question mark next to the title which will provide information in addition to the below about that particular setting. Hover over the question mark to view the information.

Select your assignment type: Paper Assignment is the default option and the one that should be used for a summative submission alongside the Blackboard submission point. A Revision Assignment should be used when you would like students to be able to submit multiple drafts and compare the submissions against each other.

Assignment title: Here you should type a title that makes it clear which assignment should be submitted here and that this is the Turnitin submission point.

Start date and Due date: These function similarly to availability dates for  a Blackboard submission point, determining when the link is available to students. You can choose to leave the submission point open for late submissions in the optional settings.

Allow only file types that Turnitin can check for originality/Allow any file type: This setting will default to the first option and it should be left this way to avoid any submissions failing to generate a report.

Optional settings: Click on this heading to view the additional settings for the submission point.

Enter special instructions: Here you should type in instructions that signpost the Blackboard submission point above and briefly indicate what the submission point is for. Students should also be made aware that it is compulsory to submit here AND to the Assignment submission point. Exemplar instructions are available on the HWB example module site.

Allow submissions after the due date: This setting will default to no and this is the recommended option.

Generate originality reports for submissions: This will default to yes and should be left this way as this is the reason for using Turnitin at SHU.

Generate originality reports for student submissions: It is recommended that you leave this option as the default: ‘immediately can overwrite reports until due date’

Exclude bibliographic materials…: If this option is set to “Yes”, any content appearing in the work after one of the following keywords/phrases will be excluded from the similarity index:

  • references
  • references cited
  • references and notes
  • resources
  • bibliography
  • works cited
  • The keyword/phrase should appear on a line on its own.

note: if you choose no (the default option) you can still choose to individually view the reports with the bibliography excluded at a later date.

Exclude quoted materials from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment: It is recommended that you leave this option set to no.

Reveal grades to studnets only on post date: You can leave this option as the default ‘no’ as grades should not be provided to students via the Turnitin submission. If you do find that you need to provide a grade for this submission, you will still be able to do so and release it via Grade Centre.

Submit papers to: ‘Standard paper repository’ this option should be used for summative submissions and means the work will be added to the pool of work submitted to Sheffield Hallam that Turnitin will check for matches in the future. ‘No repository’ can be used if you want to check/allow students to check the originality of the work without adding it to this pool.

Search options: This determines which repositories of work the submission will be checked against. It is recommended to leave this as the default with all options selected.

…Save these options as your defaults for future assignments?: As most of the recommended settings are the default you can leave this box un-ticked.

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Potential issue for Edge users when submitting assignments to Blackboard

The below information is from the central TEL team and includes important details relating to an issue with Blackboard than can lead to a students’ submission appearing to be blank. The issue only occurs under certain circumstances when using the Microsoft Edge browser which is the default Microsoft internet browser on Windows 10. The full details are below.

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 (i.e. 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. (Please note: if you are a student studying in ACES or SBS you may need to request an additional attempt via the Faculty Helpdesk before you can reattempt your submission).

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.



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