This summer we are planning to transition our Blackboard online submission tool from SHU Assignments, a custom Sheffield Hallam tool, to the default Assignment tool Blackboard provides. This is being done to ensure that we can take advantage of current and future enhancements to the online submission, grades and feedback features of Blackboard.
More details will be sent about the transition when dates are agreed. For now, we recommend staff do not set up assignment online submission points where the due date is June 2012 onwards. If you have already set up a SHU Assignment with a due date of June onwards don’t worry, we will be able to provide assistance in transitioning these assignments to the new format. Please contact your e-learning adviser if you have a summer online submission you want to set up.
By reintroducing the regular Assignment tool we will be able to fully utilise all grading features that are available in Blackboard, as well as saving time and resource in testing new iterations of the Assignment Handler each time we upgrade the Blackboard system. Some of the features and functionality that you will have immediate access to when using regular Assignments include:
- grading by group (i.e. automatically provide the same feedback and grade for each group member);
- allowing individual students or groups an additional attempt, meaning that students can resubmit to the assignment while retaining the original submission, feedback and grade;
- and following the Blackboard upgrade in July, rubrics can be attached to assignments. These can demonstrate to students what they need to do in order to achieve a particular level when completing their work, and be later used to provide generic statements, individual comments and a weighted grade breakdown as feedback on their submissions.
Some key changes as a result of the transition:
- the reintroduction of the regular My Grades. Although this means that students will no longer be prompted to reflect on their feedback before they can see their grades, the regular My Grades will ensure that students can access feedback from new grading features such as rubrics. Students will also be able to access feedback and grades directly from notifications and other parts of Blackboard where grades might appear. Students will be able to access grades via the SHUgo mobile app as well.
- intuitive workflow for the release of feedback and grades to students. Although there will no longer be a separate option that triggers the release of feedback and grades to students from the actual assignment, a more intuitive workflow for their release will be reintroduced You will need to hide any columns from students where feedback and grades (including calculated and weighted columns) should not be visible immediately. This will provide consistency in behaviour across all Grade Centre columns, and will help reduce problems where grades were sometimes not visible to students.
- student submission history. Although email receipts will no longer be sent to students upon submission, students will have access to a submission history (accessed via My Grades and the original submission point) confirming details of their submission.
- improved workflows for grading attempts. Although batch upload of feedback file attachments will no longer be possible with the new assignment tool, improved workflows within the Grade Centre (including Smart Views) mean that it can be as quick (if not quicker) to attach feedback files to individual attempts as it was to prepare package files for batch upload. There are fewer clicks too as you don’t need to return to Grade Centre each time you grade a student’s attempt and move onto the next.
Note that Turnitin Assignments are not affected by the transition and do not require any change in practice.
More information about this transition will be made available shortly. Queries about the changeover can be sent to Stuart Hepplestone or your faculty e-learning adviser.