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Blackboard Evaluation Tools

This webpage outlines the assessment tools available through Blackboard; Assignments, Tests/Surveys/Pools the Grade Center and Safe Assign. Through these features students are able to submit content and receive grades and feedback from the course instructor.

Assignments

Creating an Assignment

To create an assignment go to Create Assessment > Assignment.

 

Do not use Build Content > Create Itemfor an assignment since students cannot upload content through this feature.

An assignment must have a name and a point value. Instructions, file attachments, number of attempts and a due date are optional.

To make an assignment available for students, check the box under 4) Availability. By default this box is always checked so if an assignment is not ready for student use uncheck this box or set up Limited Availability with the Display After/Until Menu.

 

Downloading and Grading Individual Assignments

Once an assignment has been created, a column is automatically created in the Grade Center. To navigate to the Grade Center go to Control Panel > Grade Center.  Please note that by default new columns appear on the far right of the Grade Center so you may need to scroll over to view your newest addition. To change your Grade Center layout see Organizing Your Grade Center.

You can access ungraded submissions by going to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center or by clicking on the Assignments smart view link.

Ungraded submissions display as a green box with an ! icon.

To access submissions individually, mouse over a submission until you get the double down arrows. Click on the arrows and select View Grade Details.

The next screen lists the attempts and grade history for that student’s assignment.  Click View Attempt to access an attached file, add a grade, and add feedback within Blackboard.

 

Under 3) Grade Current Attempt, enter a grade, enter comments within Blackboard or upload an attachment with comments in the assignment itself.

Please note that Section 4) Instructor Notes are NOT visible to students. This tool is useful if multiple instructors/ TAs are grading assignments for a course. Do not put feedback intended for students in the Instructor Notes section.

When finished select Save as Draft to save content for later, Exit to quit without saving any changes, or Submit to enter the information into the Grade Center. Please note that Save as Draft only hides values entered into the Grade field from students. It does not hide content entered in the Comments field from students, even though Comments saved as a draft display under a message stating that the students cannot see them. We recommend that instructors only use Save as Draft to save Grades and not Comments to keep their in-progress grading private.

 

Downloading Multiple Assignments

To download multiple submissions mouse over the column name and then click on the double down arrows and select Assignment File Download.  

Check off as many submissions as needed and click Submit to package and download them.  

On the following screen click on the link for Download Assignments Now to download the files. Do not click on OK or you will navigate away from the download page without the files.

Grading Anonymously

Go to Control Panel > Grade Center and click on the double-down arrows to the right of the assignment you wish to grade.  

Select Grade Anonymously from the dropdown menu.

This will provide a screen where you can add points/feedback without any identifying information about the student.

 

Clearing an Assignment Attempt

In the event that an assignment needs to be resubmitted and only one submission is permitted by the assignment settings, you will need to clear the previous attempt in order for the student to resubmit.

Go to the submission in question and click the double down arrows and select Grade Details. Then under Attempts select Clear Attempt. You will receive a prompt asking if you want to delete the attempt. Click OK and the submission will be deleted. The Grade History section however will keep a record that this was done although the submission itself was deleted.

 

Allowing an Additional Attempt

In the case of multiple drafts for one assignment or a problem with a previous submission, you can allow a student to submit  an additional attempt using the assignment submission tool, this just needs to be enabled via the Grade Center.

Go to the student’s cell for that assignment in the Grade Center. Click on the double down arrows next to it and select View Grade Details.

On the next screen click on Allow Additional Attempt. A box will ask you if you want to "create another attempt for this user," click OK. Then this student can send in another document without the previous submission being cleared.

Creating and Grading a Group Assignment

Blackboard now has the capability to accept one submission for a group project and then auto-add an assignment grade for all members of the group.

To do this first groups must be created for the coursesite.  To create groups go to Control Panel > Users and Groups > Groups and select Create Single Group> Manual Enroll to add a group or Create Group Sets > Manual Enroll to make several groups.

On the next screen you can give the group a name and then enable the tools for their group space under 2) Tool Availability. Under 4) Membership select which users to include by highlighting them and selecting the arrows to move them to the Selected Users box. When finished click Submit.  

Group grading then must be selected when creating the assignment. In the Create Assignment Menu scroll down to 6) Recipients select Groups of Students from the menu and then highlight the group(s) and use the arrows to move them over to the Selected Items section and click Submit.

Only one student in the group needs to submit the assignment. Then it will auto-submit for all those in the group. When you open the assignment and assign a grade to one submission it will copy over in the Grade Center to all other group members.

 

Turnitin

Beginning in Spring 2013, Turnitin, the plagiarism checking tool, will be available in Blackboard and Canvas. Turnitin allows instructors to receive student assignments electronically and also runs a plagiarism check as part of the submission process. These reports can be used to detect plagiarism and also shared with students as a teaching tool.

Turnitin checks student papers against the current and archived internet, scholarly databases, a global repository of student papers and a Penn-only repository of student papers.

Instructions on using this tool for faculty are posted below.

Turnitin for Instructors
Turnitin for Students

Safe Assign: SafeAssign is the native Blackboard plagiarism checking tool which compares documents against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works. Safe Assign checks against a limited set of resources and also requires the instructor to manually submit all materials. For these reasons we recommend using Turnitin for plagiarism checking. Please direct any questions to bb-support@pobox.upenn.edu

iThenticate

For faculty, researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students engaged in high level research who are interested in checking their own materials for plagiarism, we have also licensed iThenticate. This tool is the scholarly/publishing version of Turnitin. For more information on this tool, please see our documentation: iThenticate

Tests

Creating a Test

To create a test go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests > Build Test

 


 Give the Test a name (required) and then add a description (optional) and instructions (optional) and click Submit.

Blackboard will give you three options for adding questions to your test, Create Question, Reuse Question and Upload Questions.

Select Create Questionto create a brand new question.

After selecting the type of question, add the question text, point value, provide the correct answer and feedback (if desired). When finished click Submit . Then repeat this process until you have finished making all your questions and click OK.

If you have already created questions you would like to use select Reuse Question > Find Questions and then either pull from a block, pool or previously created test.

After selecting Reuse Question select whether you wish to copy selected questions or link to original questions. Copying allows you to make distinct changes to the questions in your tests while linking to original questions allows you to edit that question within this test and in its original location simulatenously.

Your computer will produce a pop-up window displaying all the questions in all tests, surveys, and pools within your site. To narrow down your results to the desired question(s) click on the double down arrows for the various Criteria (Pools, Tests, Question Type, Categories, Topics, Level of Difficulty or Keywords) to select only the necessary locations.

Check the box(es) for the locations you wish to include and deselect the content you wish to omit. Then on the display screen check off the questions you wish to include in your pool. Click Submit when finished.

If you wish to create randomzied blocks of questions select Reuse Question > Create Question Set to pull questions from all tests and pools in your site.

 

Create Random Block should only be used if you only wish to pull questions from previously created Pools.

Upload Questions should only be used if you have exported questions from Blackboard or if you have created a file in the correct format. Due to the difficulty of authoring questions offline in the appropriate format, we do not recommend uploading questions.

 

Deploying a Test

When the test is completed and ready to be deployed for students, go to the location (Assignments/Course Documents/Folder) where you would like the test to be added.  Click on Create Assessment >  Test


 Under the Add Test menu select the Test you previously created and click Submit.  

 On the next screen under 2) Test Availability set up when the test should be available, number of attempts students are allowed and timing. Please note that unless Make this Link Available is checked the test will NOT display for students. To set specific display dates for students use the Display After/ Display Until boxes.

 Under 3) Due Date you have the option to indicate when a test should be taken. Please note that this date does not affect the availability of the test you set up under Test Availability.

Under 4) Self-Assessment Options select if the test should be recorded in the Grade Center by checking the box for ". If the test is only for practice or self-evaluation purposes, check the box for "Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor and the Grade Center" which will not record the attempt in any way beyond the temporary results screen displayed when a test is completed.

 Under 5) Test Feedback check off what should display once a student has completed a test. Score is the only option checked by default.

 Under 6) Test Presentation select how the test should display while students are taking it. If students will be taking a test/quiz in class Randomize Questions can be a useful tool to ensure academic integrity.

Once the test has been taken by students, if it is set to auto-grade, you can view results in the Grade Center. Go to Control Panel >  Grade Center > Tests.

 

Editing a Test

To edit a test once it has been deployed click on the double down arrows next to the test name

 Select Edit the Test to edit the test questions and Edit the Test Options to change test availability and feedback.

Please note that once students have begun taking a test you will only be able to make minor textual changes through Edit the Test. Edit the Test Options are always availble regardless of the status of a test.
 

 

Importing a Test/Uploading Questions

If there is an exported test you would like to reuse click on Control Panel > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests > Import Test. Generally we do not advise using this method of adding tests to Blackboard since it requires the file to be in a very specific format in order for it to upload correctly and usually creating a new test within Blackboard is easier and more efficient.   

In addition to creating or reusing questions you can also upload them. Uploading questions is not recommended due to the difficulty of creating files in the correct format in order for them to upload correctly to Blackboard. For more assistance, please see the File Parameters.

 

Clearing a Test Attempt

In the event that a test needs to be resubmitted and only one attempt is permitted by the test settings, you will need to clear the previous attempt in order for the student to retake the test. 

Go to the Test in the Grade Center and click the double down arrows and select View Grade Details for the submission you want to change.

Then select Clear Attempt. You will receive a prompt asking if you want to "delete the attempt." Click OK and the submission will be deleted. The Grade History tab however will keep a record that this was done although the submission and all recorded answerswere deleted.

Proper Test Procedures

For more information on proper procedures when taking a test, please see our online guide.

Viewing Test Results

Go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Tests

This will display all test submissions in your Grade Center in a smart view.

To view results individually click on the double down arrows to the right of a submission and select View Grade Details.

On the next screen click on View Attempt to see the student's test and submitted answers. You can also make changes to the points assigned to each question.

To view the complete results of a Test go to the column for the survey in the Grade Center. Click on the double down arrows next to the Test name and select Download Results.

On the Download Results menu the default for the format is Tab and By User and Valid Attempts are the included data. You do not need to adjust these selections. Select Click to Download Results.  You can select to open this file with Microsoft Excel using the Open With tool on your computer and then view/save the file in this format.

Test results can also be viewed by question with a breakdown of percentages for each answer. To do this go to Control Panel > Grade Center click on the double down arrows next to the Survey name and select Attempt Statistics. This will display a screen with all the survey questions with the percent answered for each response.

Grading Tests by Question

In Blackboard 9.1 there is the option for an instructor/TA to grade tests by question as opposed to grading them one student submission at a time.

To use this feature, go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Tests and click on the double-down arrows to the right of the test.

 From that dropdown select Grade Questions.


 Then click on the number link under Responses.

Select EDIT for the question you wish to grade. This will open a dropdown where you can enter a score and feedback.

Click Submit when finished. A green bar will appear across the top of the graded question confirming your action. Graded questions now display with a green checkmark. Then you can proceed to grade the next submission.

Mobile Compatible Tests

Mobile Compatible Tests are a new feature in the most recent version of the Blackboard Mobile Learn building block. Although regular tests can be taken on mobile devices, not all question types are compatible with the Blackboard Mobile Learn app. Mobile Compatible Tests have limited functionality when compared to regular Blackboard assessments, including fewer question types and fewer options. Instructors cannot make any changes after the test has been started. These limitations make it easier for students to complete assessments on their mobile devices. Mobile compatible tests can be taken through Blackboard Mobile Learn or the regular web application.

Please note that the Blackboard Mobile Learn app is available for users of iOS and Android devices on any network for a fee of $1.99/yr or $5.99 for unlimited use.. Users on other devices will need to complete the test using the web interface on their computers. More information on the mobile app can be found here.

Surveys

Creating a Survey

Surveys are anonymous confidential assessments that students can take in Blackboard. Credit can be given for completing surveys but there is no way to tie a student to his or her responses.

Surveys are set up and function exactly like tests. To create a survey go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Surveys  

 In the survey manager you have the option to Build Survey or Import Survey. Due to the file formatting issues of using Import Survey, we recommend using Build Survey.

Select Build Survey. Give your survey a name (required) and description (optional) or instructions (optional) and click Submit.

In the Survey Canvas you will be given the options to Create Question, Reuse Question or Upload Questions.

Create Question lets you select from all available question types like a test. If you have already created questions you would like to use select Reuse Question and then either pull from a block, pool or previously created survey.

 When you create a survey, it creates a column in the Grade Center. You can either use this to keep track of who has taken the survey or add a value for completion. To add points go to Control Panel > Grade Center and navigate to the column for the survey. Completed surveys display as a green check mark.

 

Deploying a Survey

When the survey is ready to be deployed for students, go to the Content Area where you would like the test to be added.  Click on Create Assessment > Survey.

Under the Add Survey menu select the Survey you previously created and click Submit

Then follow the same steps as you would for deploying a Test.  

Giving Credit for Completing Surveys

Click on the double down arrows next to the survey name.  In the next menu select Edit Column Information.

 

Under Primary Display you must keep it set as complete/incomplete.  This display cannot be changed since surveys are given based on completion not on the answers actually given. Choosing another display will result in a zero appearing as the grade regardless of whether the student has completed the survey or not.  

 Under Points Possible you can enter a value for completion. The student’s scores will still display as a green check in the Grade Center but you can add the Survey points into a weighted column or total grade for the course.

 

Viewing Survey Results

To view the complete results of a Survey go to the column for the survey in the grade center. Click on the double down arrows next to the Survey name and select Download Results.

 On the Download Results menu the default for the format is Tab and By User and Valid Attempts are the included data. You do not need to adjust these selections. Select Click to Download Results.  You can select to open this file with Microsoft Excel using the Open With tool on your computer and then view/save the file in this format.

Survey results can also be viewed by question with a breakdown of percentages for each answer. To do this go to Control Panel > Grade Center click on the double down arrows next to the Survey name and select Attempt Statistics. This will display a screen with all the survey questions with the percent answered for each response.

Pools

Creating a Pool

Pools are a way to create and store large numbers of questions for tests, quizzes and surveys that you can then use as needed. To create a Pool go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Pools. You will then have the option to Build a Pool or Import a Pool.

To create a new pool click on Build Pool. Give the Pool a name and then add a description and instructions if needed

The Pool Canvas is identical to the Test Canvas. Select Create Question to create the questions within Blackboard. Use Find Questions to select questions from another test or pool or Upload Question to upload questions through a file.

 

Use Find Questions to pull questions from existing pools and tests within Blackboard.

After selecting Find Question your computer will produce a pop-up window displaying all the questions in all tests, surveys, and pools within your site. To narrow down your results to the desired question(s) click on the double down arrows for the various Criteria (Pools, Tests, Question Type, Categories, Topics, Level of Difficulty or Keywords) to select only the necessary locations.

Check the box(es) for the locations you wish to include and deselect the content you wish to omit. Then on the display screen check off the questions you wish to include in your pool. Click Submit when finished.

Importing/Copying a Pool

Import Pool should be used if you have exported a Pool from one site and want to upload it into another Course Site. Only pools exported from Blackboard can be imported using this feature.

If you wish to copy over mutilple pools from one course site to another we recommend using the Course Copy function under Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Course Copy.  Use Browse to select the destination site from a listing of your course sites then check the box for Tests, Surveys and Pools to include this content in the copy.

 

Grade Center

About the Grade Center

To access the Grade Center go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center.

 When you create an assignment or deploy a test or survey in Blackboard, a column is automatically created in the Grade Center.  For assessments or other credit not submitted via Blackboard, you can add columns to input this data.

 

Creating Columns

Click on Create Column to add a column. You must give it a name and add a value for Points Possible. Set up your options for how the column will display (Score, Percentage, etc.) and under Options set up the availability for this grade in Grade Center calculations and for the students.

 

Inputing Grades

You can input grades directly into the Grade Center by clicking on a cell, entering the value and hitting the enter/return key. You will see a yellow Last Saved message appear in the top right corner of the Grade Center indicating your entry has been saved.

 To input grades for Assignments, Tests, or Surveys, please see the previous documentation.

 

Creating Weighted Columns

To Create a Weighted Column or Weighted Total go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Create Calculated Column and click on the double down arrows. Select Weighted Column from the Menu.

On the next screen give the column a name and select how it will display under Primary Display (percentage, letter, score, etc.) Then under 3) Select Columns highlight the assessments to include and click on the arrow to move them over to the Selected Columns Menu and assign a percentage for each. Your overall total must add up to 100% .

Under Calculate as Running Total select whether the total should include only assessments which have been graded or if the total should input a 0 for ungraded assignments.

Finally under Options select how it should display for students and within the Grade Center and click Submit.

 

Organizing Your Grade Center

By default Blackboard displays a number of fields in the Grade Center aside from Grades like Last Access and Availability while pushing any new columns to the far right of the screen. You can reorganize your columns and display to maximize the space available.

To reorder your Grade Center go to Manage > Column Organization and move your cursor over the icon of four interconnected arrows for the column you wish to move. Then click on the arrows drag the column and drag it into the place you wish it to appear. A green bar will appear across the top of the screen indicating your change. When finished click Submit to save your changes.

In this menu you can also hide columns from the main display. This does not permanently delete the columns or associated content, it only removes them from view. To hide a column, check off the column(s) you want to hide and go to Show/Hideand select the option you want from the dropdown.

Any changes made on this screen are not automatically saved in the Grade Center. Once you make changes, a green bar will appear at the top of the screen notifying you to click Submit to save them.  

 

Smart Views

Blackboard 9.1 provides custom smart views for Needs Grading, Assignments and Tests. Instructors can also create their own Smart Views linked from the Control Panel.
To access this feature go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Manage > Smart Views.
 
Provide a name and check the box to "Add as a Favorite."
Select the Smart View Criteria and click Submit. Your new Smary View will appear under Control Panel > Grade Center.

Grading Color Codes

In Blackboard 9.1, Grade Center submissions can now be color coded by status (In Progress, Needs Grading, Exempt) or by grade criteria (between, more than of less than specific percentages.)

To access this feature, go to Control Panel > Grade Center> Manage> Grading Color Codes.

Check the box to Enable Grading Color Codes.

Click on the double-down arrows next to an existing criterion, select a color from the dropdown menu and click Apply.


To create a criterion based on percentages click on Add Criteria and then enter the percentages, select a color and click Submit.

Working Offline/ Downloading the Grade Center

You can work offline in the Grade Center or save a personal copy to your computer by using the Work Offline Menu and selecting Download.

 Under 1) Data select what to include in your download. Under 2) Options if you leave the defaults you can download an Excel compatible file.

On the next screen click Download. Do not click OK or you will navigate away from the download screen without your file.

You will then be able to Open With/Save As to Excel and work offline.

 

Uploading Grades into the Grade Center

To upload content to the Grade Center, you need to download  the Grade Center into Excel first, save your changes in a compatible format and then upload it.  

In Excel, go to the Button > Save As > Other Formats


Select either CSV (Comma delimited) or Text (Tab delimited) as the file type and click Save.

 If you receive any messages about compatibility issues just click Yes.

Then go to Work Offline > Upload in the Grade Center. Under Choose File use the Browse button to locate your file. Under Delimiter Type select the format you saved the file in and click Submit.

You will then see an Upload Grades Confirmation screen with information on the changes you made offline and how they carried over to the Grade Center.

 

Submitting Final Grades to the Registrar

Unfortunately there is not a way to directly submit grades to the Registrar through Blackboard. However you can create a Blackboard extract that can be submitted to the Registrar.

First configure your Grade Center to display Penn IDs. Go to Grade Center > Manage > Column Organization.  If Penn ID is displaying as hidden, check the box for Penn ID and click Show/Hide > Show Selected Columns.  Click Submit to save this change.

Next you need to change the display option for the Total column. Go to you Total Column and click on the double down arrows and select Edit Column Information. Select Letter as the Primary Display and click Submit.

Now you need to download your Grade Center. Select Work Offline > Download.  

Under 1) Data leave the data to download settings at Full Grade Center.

Under 2) Options select Comma as the Delimiter Type and select No for hidden information.

Click Submit. On the next page click on the DOWNLOAD button. Do not click OK this will navigate away from the page without your file.

Your computer will prompt you with an Open With/Save As window. If you choose Open With please remember to save the file in.csv format so that you can upload it to Courses in Touch properly.

Further directions for submitting your file to Courses in Touch can be found in Section 13.4 of the Courses In Touch User Guide:
http://www.upenn.edu/registrar/CIT/CIT-OLG-user-guide.pdf

 

How Students View Grades

If students will be viewing their grades on Blackboard, make sure that the "My Grades" or "Tools" link is available to students on your course site page. Students will only see their own grades and comments.

If it is available and a student is having problems viewing grades, the student is likely trying to access his or her grades through the Blackboard Welcome page and not through the individual course site. The "View Grades" tool on the Blackboard Welcome page works inconsistently. Until this problem is resolved, we recommend that students view grades for each course individually.

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