Leicester School of Biological Sciences

13 January 2011

Adding a new menu button on Blackboard

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to — Tags: , , , , — jobadge @ 5:26 pm

To add a new menu button on Blackboard 9.0

  1. switch on Edit mode (top right)
  2. click on the grey + button on the top left of the menu
  3. add content item
  4. name the item (e.g. ‘exam’) and make available to users

You can copy content into the new ‘exam’ area using ‘copy’ on the item or folder of items.

4 October 2010

Text for plagiarism disclaimer on turnitin items

Filed under: Uncategorized — jobadge @ 12:01 pm

The DEADLINE for submission is TIME, DATE, YEAR.

If you believe you have unintentionally submitted an incomplete or incorrect file then you should contact THE CONVENOR as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT NOTE CONCERNING PLAGIARISM By submitting your work using this link you are declaring: “I confirm that I understand the University’s regulations regarding plagiarism and that this is my own work. It has not been copied from any other person’s work (published or unpublished), and has not previously been submitted for assessment.”

14 September 2010

Manually excluding matches from new Originality Report

Filed under: how_to, turnitin — jobadge @ 2:01 pm

Quick help with Blackboard 9

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to — Tags: — jobadge @ 1:58 pm

Blackboard was upgraded in August 2010, we are now running version 9.0 SP3.

A quick help sheet is available

23 February 2010

Setting up a Turnitin assignment on Blackboard

Filed under: Uncategorized — jobadge @ 11:14 am

Turnitin Assignments work best when a new one is made for each year and each peice of work that needs to be submitted. Re-using assignments from previous years can cause problems with re-sit students not being able to submit work and the links to the submitted assignments can break.

Setting up a new assignment is straightforward. Follow the instructions on the Turnitin UK support site.

Under ‘more options’ add the following standard text as the ‘special instructions’ (this includes some HTML code to insert line breaks and improve the layout).

The DEADLINE for submission is TIME, DAY, DATE, YEAR.<br>
If you believe you have unintentionally submitted an incomplete or incorrect file then you should contact the convenor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.<br>

By submitting your work using this link you are declaring: “I confirm that I understand the University’s regulations regarding plagiarism and that this is my own work. It has not been copied from any other person’s work (published or unpublished), and has not previously been submitted for assessment.”

other settings in ‘more options’ can generally be left at the default, but please make sure you select the option for students NOT to view the originality report.

To hide a previous assignment, click ‘MODIFY’ next to the assignment, then ‘ADAPTIVE RELEASE’ and choose a date after which the assignment will not be displayed. Blackboard may protest, but you can ignore this.  

Modify a Turnitin assignment

9 February 2010

Case Study: using PeerMarking in Turnitin

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to, turnitin — Tags: , , , — jobadge @ 3:04 pm

Dr Richard Badge has used a formative assignment with his MSc Bioinformatics students over the last two years. The aim of the exercise is to help the students improve their writing and use citation and referencing correctly. The course combines molecular biology and programming, so the students need to be adaptable and able to write well to succeed on the molecular biology section of the course. Many are from overseas and working in English as a second language. The students are taught face to face in a lab with networking and use laptops provided by the course for their work.

The students submit short answer questions in a single document through blackboard to Turnitin. These are scanned for non-original text. Once the deadline for the piece of work has passed, the students are given a mark scheme, with detailed answers and grades. They use this in conjunction with the PeerMark system to mark another student’s paper. The students make sure that the work they submit is anonymous (no names on the paper itself in headers/titles/ filenames) and the papers are allocated to each student anonymously by the system.

The students work through the piece of work they have to mark in class on their laptops. Dr Badge stated that the formative assessment using PeerMark allowed the students to work through the marking at their own pace, allowing them ask questions of each other and him as they went along. This promoted in depth questions that related to the content of the answers and their interpretation. In previous years, working through the same exercise on paper was much more stilted and didactic.

Overall the PeerMark system offered several advantages over the paper based system:

  • work was anonymised and distributed automatically
  • students could work at their own pace
  • promoted questions about content, understanding and interpretation over technical issues
  • allowed all the students to see all the papers submitted once the marking was complete

Peermarking in Turnitin

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to, news, turnitin — Tags: , , , — jobadge @ 1:00 pm

PeerMark appeared in the January roll out of a major Turnitin update in January 2010. For a change, this new feature works within the Blackboard integration, so I’ve been taking a look at it. Here is a quick video demonstrating one of the assignments I set up.

There is a full demo of the system available on Turnitin’s support website.

If you want to do anonymous or open peer marking with students, this is certainly a good way to do it.  It was used on the Bioinformatics MSc last week, which has been written up as a separate case study.

I have some usability issues with the system – it is difficult to preview the assignment to know how exactly it will appear to students.  Getting the dates for submission and posting sorted out can be challenging, there are a lot of dependent dates involved and again it isn’t intuitive to know what dates to pick. Overall if you want to do peer marking on work that can be submitted through Turnitin, this is a good option.

21 January 2010

Grademark: still not what we want

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to, turnitin — Tags: , , , — jobadge @ 11:54 am

Whilst looking at the new features on Turnitin that were added this January, I took another look at Grademark. On the face of it, this online marking system within Turnitin is an ideal candidate for us to use for electronic marking. It does many of the things we would want:

  • easy online mark up as text, highlights or symbols (tick/ cross/ speech bubble)
  • pop up or sticky comments
  • clipboard to keep comments for re-use
  • sharable library of comments and quickmark grammar listing/ common errors
  • rubric card, available in grade, criteria or percentage marks for marking to learning outcomes
  • general overall comments
  • timed release for return of the reports to students
  • integration with the Blackboard gradebook

However, the main issue I still have with grademark is the lack of ability to download the grademark reports. Students can print off a copy, which is laid out in a useful format (general comments, a numbered comment list and highlights marked up on their text), but they cannot save the electronic version (as far as I can see). From the staff view, there is no bulk download facility of the marked reports for offline storage. This poses two problems for us, first, we do not work on a cohort system, so our students have access to their blackboard modules for the current year only. This means that they will not have access in the third year to work they did in the second year. Second, we cannot keep offline copies for quality assurance, back up or any other purpose. External examiners would not be able to view the reports without a dedicated blackboard account created for them.

So, whilst this may be used by some of our taught postgraduate courses, that last for 12 months only, I cannot see many of our staff making us of it on the undergraduate courses. It’s a shame, as it is a nice tool and I have a feeling that the students would like it and it would improve our feedback systems substantially.

19 January 2010

PeerMark in Turnitin

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to, news, turnitin — Tags: , — jobadge @ 2:59 pm

Peermark is a system within Turnitin that enables you to distribute student submitted work back amongst the cohort for peer review. The students review work already submitted to an existing (or newly created) Turnitin assignment.


1. Allows anonymous peermarking using a set of questions set by the instructor. The questions can be rating (is this paper good/poor) on scale of 1-5, open text answers.

2. Good control over the distribution of the work amongst students. You can set how many scripts each student reviews. These can be randomly assigned by the system, chosen by the student. You can pre-assign students in pairs or exclude students from the process altogether.

3. Instructors can write a review of the student work themselves and comment on the reviews the students have undertaken.

4. Students can see reviews written by others on their work easily

5. Students can download reviews of their work.


1. As we re-use our courses year on year in the Biological Sciences undergraduate courses, the links to the peermark assignments will be lost at the end of each year

2. I can see no way to keep any of this work ‘offline’ after the fact (easily) for staff/ QA/ External examiners

If you would like to use Peermark please feel free to get in touch with me.

Demonstration of setting up peermark by Turnitin

18 January 2010

Working with Groups in Turning Point

Filed under: how_to, voting — Tags: , , — jobadge @ 1:21 pm

The electronic voting system Turning Point, can be used to collate information from various groups in one audience.

There are two methods to do this:

1. Team assignment

Insert a ‘team assignment’ slide and change the teams to represent the ggroups you are working with (e.g. Medical genetics students/ Biol Sci students or school 1/ school 2 etc)

Have the participants register with their team using this slide as the opening voting slide. use the ‘team scoring reports’ to provide analysis on overal comparative data between teams on each question.


2. Create a participant list split into groups

More comlicated, but ensures that particular handsets are allocated to particular groups.

Use a barcode scanner to read the device IDs on the handsets into an excel spreadsheet. Allocate the device IDs to groups by typing/ pasting a group name next each entry. Save as /csv format (comma separated file).

Go to Turning point and create a participant list: ‘participants>participant list wizard’. Use the default settings to create a very simple template with only one field in which the group name can be entered. Create the number of groups required. Import the .csv file with the devide IDs and then manually add to the groups (check box). Save the participant list and re-use when voting with the groups.

Tip for session management: you can merge two sessions (i.e. voting on the same questions before and after an event) if they were saved separately.

If you can rely on your audience (!) you can se the first slide of your questions to be a Team Assignment slide.

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