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"About This Course" | "Coursework" | AssessmentsGrade Center | Communication Tools | Study AidsGroups | Other Tools | Monitoring Student Performance | Customize Your Course


Assessments are added within any content area in Blackboard (e.g. Coursework) in one of two ways:

  • For Assignments, Turnitin Assignments, Surveys, and Tests, by clicking on the Assessments button at the top of the screen to expand the menu options and then selecting the appropriate assessment from the list.
  • For Discussion Boards, Journals, Blogs, or Wikis, by clicking on the Tools button at the top of the screen to expand the menu options and then selecting the appropriate tool from the list.

Rubrics are created and attached to assessments when they are set up to be graded.

Jump to: Assignments | Discussion Boards | Journals | Blogs | Wikis | Portfolios | Tests & Surveys | Respondus | Rubrics


There are two tools available within Blackboard for faculty to collect electronic paper assignment submissions: 1) the Blackboard Assignment tool, and 2) the Turnitin Assignment tool. See the Tips and Tricks: Blackboard Assignments vs Turnitin Assignments tutorial for a comparison of the features available in both tools to help you identify the best one for your needs.

  • Turnitin Assignment - Turnitin is an intellectual property verification tool. Papers submitted to Turnitin are checked against a comprehensive database of source materials. Originality Reports are generated that list the results of the matching process, flagging text identified as closely matching other internet, article, or student resources. In January 2012, ITS added two additional components to the Turnitin suite, both of which can be used with or without the originality reporting aspects of Turnitin.

    • GradeMark is an online tool for grading papers. Using GradeMark, papers submitted through Turnitin can be marked up with standard as well as customized grading marks. Try the GradeMark interactive demo.
    • PeerMark is an online tool for distributing student papers for electronic peer review. Using PeerMark, papers submitted through Turnitin can be electronically assigned to one or more students in the class for their review using criteria established by the instructor. Papers can simply be evaluated against those standards, or peer reviewers can also be encouraged to add inline comments, overall comments, and/or some basic editing marks. Instructors may also write a PeerMark review. Upon completion of the PeerMark assignment, reviewed papers are returned to students directly through the PeerMark assignment within Blackboard.
  • Blackboard Assignment - Blackboard Assignments allow instructors to electronically collect paper submissions from students. Those papers are accessed through the Grade Center. They must then be downloaded by the instructor to Word, marked up, saved, and returned to students through Blackboard. New in Blackboard 9.1 is an option to create group assignments where one student submits a paper on behalf of the group, and all members receive the same grade. At this time the inline grading feature is not available in Blackboard 9.1. If you wish to use markup in assignments, please use the Turnitin Assignment.

Discussion Boards

Building a sense of community among students is crucial for a successful online experience. The Discussion Board is an important tool for interpersonal interaction and can replicate the robust discussions that take place in the traditional classroom. Discussions can serve a range of purposes, such as:

  • An online meeting place for social interaction among peers.
  • An additional medium for collaboration and the exchange of ideas.
  • A medium to pose questions about homework assignments, readings, and course content.
  • A way to demonstrate the understanding or application of course material.
  • A record of discussion which can be reviewed at a later point.
  • A graded activity that demonstrates understanding or application of course material.

For instructions about Discussion Boards:

NOTE: With the December 2013 upgrade, Blackboard introduced a new “enhancement” which some may find more frustrating than helpful. In either the “List View” or “Tree View” within a forum, simply scrolling down the screen will automatically mark every thread in that forum as “Read.”  See the Known Issues web page for a recommended workaround.  


A journal is generally a private online writing space for students. Communication is one-to-one. Entries are created by students and, by default, are only visible by the student and his or her instructor. Instructors may comment upon journal postings.

View the following OnDemand tutorials from Blackboard for more information.


A blog is a public online writing space for students. Communication is one-to-many. Entries are created by individual students and are visible to all members of the class as well as to the instructor. Everyone in the class may comment upon blog postings.

View the following OnDemand tutorials from Blackboard for more information.


A wiki is a public online writing space for students. Communication is many-to-many. Entries are created and edited by multiple students and are visible to all members of the class as well as to the instructor.

View the following OnDemand tutorials from Blackboard for more information.


New: November 2014 -The My Portfolio page has moved. Access Portfolios through the Global Navigation in the top right corner of the page.

  1. Click on the arrow next to your name to expand the Global Navigation menu.
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Portfolios

Add Shared Portfolios to the Course

Add a link to the student's shared portfolios in your course with the Course Portfolio link.

Add "My Portfolio" page to the Course

Add a link to the "My Portfolio" page in your course with the Portfolio Homepage link.

New: November 2014 - Sharing Portfolios has changed. Rather than sharing the live portfolio, students now share a "snapshot" of their portfolio. You will see the portfolio as it appeared on the day and time they shared it with you or with the course. Any changes made to that portfolio after that "snapshot" will not be visible until the students share a new "snapshot."  Remind the students that every time they make changes to, or additions to their portfolios, they MUST share a new snapshot or you will not see the most latest version.

Consider sharing the following instructions with your students:

Tests & Surveys

Tests are used to assess student knowledge. Instructors assign point values to questions. Answers are submitted for grading, and the results are recorded in the Grade Center. Surveys can be used for polling purposes and evaluations. Surveys are not graded. Another primary distinction between tests and surveys is found in the assessment statistics. With a test, instructors can see how each student responded to each question. With surveys, the results are provided summarily, with no ability to tie a specific answer back to an individual student.

Auto Submit for Timed Tests

When instructors schedule a timed test, they have the option to have Blackboard automatically save and submit the test for any student still in it at the end of the end of the allotted time.

Timed Tests

Respondus and Respondus LockDown Browser

Respondus is a Windows application that enhances the functionality and usability of Blackboard's quiz, survey, and self-test tools with a very compact, user-friendly interface.

SIUE has also licensed LockDown Browser, a custom browser that prevents students from accessing anything on their computer except their test. A test created with Respondus can be set to require LockDown Browser at the time it is created. There is also a building block tool available within Blackboard 9.1 (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser) that allows instructors to set a test created within Blackboard to require LockDown Browser.

Visit the SIUE Respondus page for links to Respondus product downloads and reference materials.


Rubrics provide a means of clearly outlining the criteria to be used in grading an assessment. Blackboard 9.1 includes a rubric creation tool, the ability to associate a rubric with an assessment (e.g. Assignment, Blog, Journal, Wiki, Discussion Board, essay questions in a Test), and a ready means for using that rubric to grade an assessment.


NOTE: With the December 2013 Blackboard upgrade, by default, the grading rubric associated with a Blackboard Assignment is hidden initially from view on the Grade Assignment screen.  See the Known Issues web page for instructions for locating the grading rubric. 

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