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Types of Assignments

There are two types of assignments in Blackboard that allow students to submit their work electronically. One is the native Blackboard Assignment feature, and the other is the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool (which is accessed through Blackboard.) Both of these tools automatically add a column to the Grade Center, and both allow the instructor to optionally use a rubric for the grading process.

There is an advantage to using Turnitin (instead of Blackboard Assignments) not only for those people who choose to use the plagiarism detection features, but also for the Grademark tool (built in to Turnitin) which allows instructors to enter comments and editing markup on the paper from within the tool. This negates the need for downloading student assignments for grading.

Information and instructions for using the Turnitin assignment tool can be found here.

Peer Assessment and Peer Review

Many instructors are finding that having students review and/or grade each others’ work can improve the writing of both the reviewer and the person whose work is being reviewed. Both Blackboard and Turnitin (Peermark) provide tools for students to submit work for distribution to their peers. Also, in both products, instructors (or TAs) can grade the peer reviewer.

The Blackboard Self and Peer Assessment tool collects assignments and distributes them to a specified number of peers for grading. The peer grader may enter a score for the assignment along with comments that relate to the entire submission. This tool does not permit markup within an assignment.

Peermark also collects assignments, but papers are distributed to peers for review (not grading). Peermark allows peer reviewers to enter comments and editing markup directly on the paper from within the tool, and also directs them to respond to questions – either scaled or free-form – from the instructor about the work. Reviewers are not able to directly grade their peers’ papers.

Blackboard Tests

A Blackboard test can be used to assess student comprehension of course material. Tests can also be used for pre-testing to assess the students’ level of knowledge of a topic and for review of content previously learned, in preparation for an in-class quiz.  An open-book test is another appropriate use of this tool.  

Blackboard Tests are not recommended for the following situations:

  • Prelims or other high-stakes testing
  • Tests where students are not allowed to obtain information from outside sources or other students

See Blackboard Tests for information on how to create and administer a test in Blackboard.


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