Submitting assignments

After you have designed or modified your assessment design you will need to consider how it will be compiled and submitted.

Choices in this area depend very much on the type of assessment and the number of students and staff involved:

Examinations are organised to a prescribed pattern, and arranged by Student Academic Services. See Exams and Assessment.

Written work such as essays, reports, theses are normally prepared electronically by the student. Some departments still require printed copies for submission - and in the case of dissertations, theses and non-standard forms, printed copies are normally required. For all other submissions, however, online submission provides a flexible, faster and cheaper method for the student. There are two recognised ways to receive (and subsequently mark and process) submissions online:
  1. Online submission via Blackboard. This uses Turnitin (which incorporates a plagiarism check and is the recommended choice) or Blackboard Assignments (without a plagiarism check) to collect submissions ready for marking.
  2. Setting up a Turnitin submission (ITS Help)
  3. Setting up a Blackboard Assignment (ITS Help)
  4. Online submission via the Student Records System. A full assignment submission and handling system is currently being piloted with several departments - with an aim to offer it more widely in the future.
  5. Other, simpler, methods are also in use by departments: the simplest requires the students to submit work via an email attachment - although this then requires manual downloading, storage and tracking by the department.
Tests and Multiple Choice Questions can be created and marked automatically within Blackboard. The range of question types will suit most needs, but there is currently no support for branched questions.
For summative tests, good practice includes:
  • Creating one or more ‘question banks’ in Blackboard, from which questions can be drawn randomly for each student. This makes it harder for students to trade answers.
  • Students can either be asked to complete the test within a limited timescale (eg. a 24 hour period), or can be asked to take the test in parallel within a computer lab. Both methods reduce the possibility of cheating.
...and for Multiple Choice Questions specifically:
  • Write clear and specific questions, so that the meaning is obvious; avoid negatives and double negatives (easy to miss when reading under pressure).
  • In the list of answers, make sure only one is correct, and avoid padding the rest with frivolous or ridiculous statements. On first glance, all should look plausible; on closer inspection, only one can be correct.
  • Avoid using ‘all of the above’, ‘none of the above’ or similar (they are easier to ‘guess’ once the student has identified at least one correct answer).
  • Spread the correct answer around evenly - so that in a test with ‘A’ to ‘D’ options, a student choosing ‘A’ for all questions will only achieve 25%.
  • To test deeper knowledge, cross-reference key concepts in multiple questions.
Blogs and Wikis which are used for formative or summative assessment can be marked online within Blackboard, and so it is just a case of asking students to complete entries by a certain date. Access can be closed off to students at the deadline, to prevent further amendments.
Other forms may include portfolios, physical artefacts or digital media. In these cases, individual methods of submission will need to be developed which balance the need to make things as easy as possible for the student, and yet not too demanding for the department to administer. In particular:
  • date stamps, or digital time-tracking, are useful for recording submission times;
  • where possible, secure central filestore areas (such as the X: drive) should be used to store digital submissions, with access given only to staff who are marking or administering them;
  • spreadsheets, stored in secure central filestore (eg. the X: drive), can be used to track the status of submissions.
The Leicester Learning Institute provide timetabled workshops and training sessions in assessment design, and can also arrange targeted departmental or college-level consultations for specific design problems; for further details contact: lli@le.ac.uk.

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