Tips & Tricks Video Tutorial buttonopen in new window
Electronic Paper Grading Tutorial (XP)
Create an Assignment
Using Assignments
Using Word Track Changes
Using Word Comments
Using Word Macros for Common Comments
Copy a Macro Project
Managing the Assignment in the Grade Center


Creating the Assignment

When creating the assignment documentation to place in your Blackboard course, it is very important to include:

To view an example of an assignment documentation click here.

Assignment files (e.g., .doc, .pdf, .html) can be added to Blackboard's Course Material or Assignment areas. To import the assignment into Blackboard please review the Add Assignment tutorial.

More Information

Q: What type of file should I create to place into my Blackboard course?
A: Most instructors have their files in word (.doc) already. Below is the list of files and how students see them:

  • Word: Students using Internet Explorer will view the word file in the browser. Students using other browsers would download the word file, open word and then open your file to view it.
  • PDF: A pdf file is a web friendly file that can be viewed in any browser as long as the browser has the Acrobat Plugin. All new browsers have the Plugin, and the Plugin is also available on the Blackboard Support site under the Plugins.
  • HTML: HTML files are web friendly and do not need a Plugin. A student would be able to view an html file on any browser.

Q: What concerns should I have when creating online assignments?
A: Most students will not try to take advantage, but for those who may you need to be 100% clear what happens if the file is not submitted on time. What is an acceptable excuse and what is not? What happens to their grade if they are late? To ensure that your students know how to use the Assignment tool, tell them to read the tutorial and send you a file before the assignment is due. Try to eliminate any excuse that may come up. Instead of the Dog eating their homework, now it is the internet.

Q: What concerns should I have about file naming?
A: File names should not be longer than 32 charters including the file extension (.doc). Correct file naming for the Bb / Linux system is...

  • Dog.doc
  • theDogRan.doc
  • thedogran.doc
  • Dog1.doc
Using the Assignment Tool    [ top ]

Blackboard's Assignment tool allows you to create an assignment for your students to complete. It automatically creates an item in your Grade Center so you do not have to. When your students finish and upload their assignment, the Grade Center will update the students’ completion status and will have a link to their uploaded file. You can then download, view, and grade the assignment directly from the Grade Center and give your students detailed feedback about their assignment. Files can also be returned with your graded comments (like word track changes).

More Information

Q: What concerns should I be aware of when using the Assignment tool?
A: Once you download the files to your computer it is difficult to know who's file is who's and if they are named the same you may over right the one on your desktop. It is very important for you to create a file naming rule for each assignment. The file name should have the assignment and a student identifier (e.g., TermPapDKS.doc). If your students are sending you versions with the same name, you must have them add the version number (e.g., TrmPapDKS1.doc). Create the rules and be very clear on how to use them so there are no excuses for lost papers. File names that are not named correctly or are longer than 32 characters will not work.

Screen Image of Student Assignment Instructions
(download the .html file of instructions to add to your Bb course) Copy and past all the text into the Instructions field.

(PC - IE/Firefox, Mac - Firefox)

  1. Copy the HTML/Text.
  2. Click on the HTML View screen image of html view button button
  3. Paste the Instructions into the Instruction field.

Using Word Track Changes (Microsoft Office 2003)    [ top ]

Make the changes you want by inserting, deleting, or moving text or graphics. You can also change any formatting. Microsoft Word uses revision marks (a mark that shows where a deletion, insertion, or other editing change has been made in a document) for tracking changes.

screen image of  Word revision marks

From Word:

  1. Open the document you want to revise.
  2. Go to Tools > Track Changes.
  3. Click the Show button to confirm the tool is set.
  4. Screen image of Word Highlight Changes
More Information
Q: I am trying to edit the word document, but it doesn't appear that the revision marks are working. How do I get this to work?
A: If the Track Changes is not turned on, then the revision marks will not appear. Make sure you turn on Track Changes (directions above).

Using Word Track Changes (Microsoft Office 2007)

From Word:

  1. Open the document you want to revise.
  2. Click on the Review tab.
  3. Click on the Track Changes button.

Using Word Comments (Microsoft Office 2003)   [ top ]

You and your reviewers can make annotations on the screen without changing the document text by typing comments.

Screen image of Word Comments

When a comment is added, Word numbers it and records it in a separate comment pane. Word then inserts a comment reference mark in the document and shades the text that's commented on with light yellow. As with revision marks, Word tracks each reviewer's comment reference marks in a distinct color.

From Word:

  1. Select the text or item you want to comment on, or click at the end of the text.
  2. Click on the New Comment button.
    Screen image of the Track Changes tool bar
  3. Type the comment text in the comment pane at the side of the screen.
More Information
Q: When I view my Word XP application I do not see the tool buttons shown above.
A: If they are not already on the top of the window just go to Tools > Track Changes.

Using Word Comments (Microsoft Office 2007)

From Word:

  1. Open the document you want to revise.
  2. Click on the Review tab.
  3. Click on the New Comment button.

Using Word Macros for Common Comments (Microsoft Office 2003)    [ top ]

Macro: a sequence of Microsoft Word actions that you can record or write in the form of Visual Basic for Applications code. A macro can be used to create a quick key for common comments to save you time when grading papers. For example if you are commenting on the use of a wrong word, a macro can be made so that the key combination (Control W) would type the "wrong word - look it up" comment with only two key strokes.

From Word:

  1. Select the text or item you want to comment on, or click at the end of the text.
  2. Choose Tools > Macro > Record New Macro.
  3. Type a name for the macro, in the Macro Name box.
    Screen image of Word Record Macro window
  4. Click Keyboard to assign the macro to shortcut keys.
  5. Click the template or document in which you want to store the macro in.
  6. Type the key sequence in the new shortcut key box.
  7. Click Assign, and then click Close to begin recording the macro.
    Screen image of Word Customize Keyboard macro window
  8. Perform the actions you want to include in your macro.

    1. Click on the Comments button.
    2. Type the comment text in the comment pane at the right of the screen.
    3. Click the stop (blue square) button on the macro record tool.
      Screen image of the stop/pause tool bar for macros
More Information
Q: When I try to type the keyboard sequence in the Press New Shortcut Key box, nothing happens. Why?
A: If you use the windows key or shift key to create the shortcut, then you will notice that nothing will appear in the text field. Once you use the alt key then the text will appear in the field.

Using Word Macros for Common Comments (Microsoft Office 2007)

From Word:

  1. Open the document you want to revise.
  2. Click on the Developer tab.
  3. Within the Code Group, Click on the Record Macro button.
  4. Type a name for the macro, in the Macro Name box.
  5. Click the template or document in which you want to store the macro in.
  6. Assign a keyboard shortcut To assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut, do the following:
    Click Keyboard.
    In the Commands box, click the macro that you are recording.
  7. In the Press new shortcut key box, type the key sequence that you want, and then click Assign.
  8. Click Close to begin recording the macro.
  9. To stop recording your actions, click Stop Recording in the Code group.

Copy a Word Macro Project (Microsoft Office 2003)    [ top ]

You can copy a macro project to use in another document or template using the Organizer.

From Word:

  1. Choose Tools > Macro > Macros.
  2. Click on the Organizer button.
  3. Select the macro project you want to copy from either list, and then click Copy.

    Note: Word displays the macros used in the active document in the list on the left and the macros in the Normal document template in the list on the right.
    Screen image for the Word macro Organizer

    1. If the template you want to copy from does not appear in either list, click Close File. To select the template or document you want, click Open File.
    2. To copy an individual macro, select the macro in the Macros dialog box (Tools menu, Macro submenu), click Edit, and use the standard editing features of the Visual Basic Editor.
  4. Click on the Close button when finished.

More Information

Q: How can I reuse the Macros for all my student papers?
A: If you create a word document (MacroTemplate.doc), then you may use the Organizer to copy the macros into that file. Each time you want to use the Macros. Use the Organizer to copy from the MacroTemplate file to the student file.

Copy a Word Macro Project (Microsoft Office 2007)

  From Word:

  1. Open the document you want to revise.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Visual Basic Editor.
  3. Click Project Explorer .
  4. Drag the module you want to copy to the project you want to copy the module to.

Managing the Digital Drop Box    [ top ]

Managing the Assignments    [ top ]

Blackboard's Assignment tool allows you to create an assignment for your students to complete. It automatically creates an item in your Grade Center so you do not have to. When your students finish and upload their assignment, the Grade Center will update the students’ completion status and will have a link to their uploaded file. You can then download, view, and grade the assignment directly from the Grade Center and give your students detailed feedback about their assignment. Files can also be returned with your graded comments (like word track changes).

Once the student has submitted the assignment you can access it via the Grade Center.

From the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Grade Center link in the Assessment section.
  2. Roll over and click on the arrows next to the !
  3. Click on Grade Details
    screen image of assignment grade detail link
  4. Choose the View Attempt button on the right of the spreadsheet.
    screen image of assignment grade view
  5. To download the students file click on the file name (link). Students comments are also viewable in this section.
    screen image of download window for students work
    Note: If you are unable to download a file (link) by clicking on it...Depending on the browser (Netscape, IE, Safari, or Firefox) computer (Mac or PC), and mouse you can download it by:
    • Right click on the link: Download to Disk.
    • Right click on the link: Save Link Target As.
    • Right click on the link: Save Link As.
    • Option/ Alt, Left Click : Save Link As.
    • Control, Left Click: Download Link to Disk.
    • Control, Left Click: Save Link As.

  6. Type the Grade into the Grade text box. Add comments that the student may view within their View Grades tool. Click on the Browse button to attach edited (graded) files that the student can download and read.
    Note: You may add more than one file by clicking on the Add Another File button.
    screen image of assignment feedback
  7. Type your comments into the Notes text field. This information is only available to the Instructor, TA or Grader in that Course.
    screen image of instructor comments
  8. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Submit button.
More Information

Q: When I review the Grade Center Assignment the student has a lock Lock icon icon in his row and I nothing happens when I click on it, why?
A: If the student has Saved the assignment and not Submitted it, this lock would appear. Until the student as finished and submitted the file you will not see the ! icon and will not be able to access the file

Q: A student submitted the wrong file and would like to resend the correct one, how can I allow this?
A: Once the student submits the assignment they are unable to do so again ( You've already completed this assignment, click ok to review your results.). Click on the View button on the right of the spreadsheet and click on the Clear Attempt button. Then the student can start over.
Note: Clearing an attempt cannot be undone and does remove all information (grades, files, etc.,).