Author Archives: Russell Davidson

Allowing additional submissions

From time to time a student will have an issue turning in a test or assignment and you’ll want to give them another opportunity to submit their work. If you’ve set up the test or assignment for single attempt (or if they’ve used up the multiple attempts you’ve alloted), you’ll need to let Blackboard know the student can submit one more time. Fortunately, the process for clearing an attempt is straightforward.

First, locate the table cell in the Grade Center for the attempt you wish to clear. Click the OPTIONS button (which appears when you hover your mouse pointer over the cell) and choose View Grade Details.

view details

Beneath the From here you have a few options. Beneath the current grade information, you’ll find a list of all the student’s attempts.


Here’s where you have some options.

1. The Fast and Easy Option

Click ALLOW ADDITIONAL ATTEMPT. The current attempt information will be saved (which may be helpful, especially if you want to refer back to the old draft or keep any grade feedback you’ve provided), but the student will be allowed to resubmit. If you’re doing anything fancy with grading (e.g., you’re scoring using the average of all graded attempts), you may want to consider one of the other options ….

IGNORE ATTEMPT keeps this attempt’s information, but removes from the attempt tally. So the grade for this attempt won’t be factored into an average of all attempts.

CLEAR ATTEMPT deletes the attempt from the system entirely. The student’s submission, and any feedback you’ve provided, will be deleted in the process.

Create a Survey From a Pool of Questions

If you’re using the IDS provided template, you’re probably considering providing the students with an opportunity to give you feedback on their experience of the course while the course is in progress.

IDS has added a number of course and unit evaluation questions to the template in question pools. Selecting which questions you’d like to use and adding them to a survey is easy.

First you’ll need to create your survey. Choose TESTS SURVEYS AND POOLS from the Course Tools heading.


Then choose SURVEYS, then click the BUILD SURVEY button to create a new survey.


Name and provide a description and instructions for your survey as necessary, then click SUBMIT. While you’ll note you can create questions here on the survey canvas, just as you can create questions on the test canvas, we’ll be adding questions from a pool, so click FIND QUESTIONS.


Select the pool you want to add questions from (or choose ALL POOLS to view and pull questions from all question pools in the course).


Once you have your pool selected, you’ll be presented with a preview of the questions available to add. To view the full question text, point to the QUESTION DISPLAY button and choose FULL TEXT.

You also have the option to copy the question into your survey or link the question. If you choose to link the question, then any changes made to the question in the pool will be reflected in the survey (and in all other linked instances of the question).

If you choose to copy the question, then edits made on the survey instance won’t appear in the question pool and vice versa.


Check the boxes for the questions you wish to add, then click SUBMIT.

You can now re-order your questions by click-dragging them up or down, or by using the re-order button in the upper right of the test canvas.


¬†Once you have all your questions added, use the same process to deploy your survey as you’d use to deploy a test.

Download (and Print?) a Graded Assignment

At some point you may want to keep a copy of the feedback your professor gave you on a written assignment submitted through Blackboard, either for your own records or for a portfolio-type project. Courses on Blackboard won’t necessarily be available forever — your professor may decide to disable them at any time, so we recommend capturing any feedback you wish to save as soon as you receive that feedback.

Fortunately, the process is pretty easy.

First, locate the assignment in question in your My Grades page. You can do this inside the course by going to TOOLS then choosing MY GRADES.

Click on the assignment name

assignment name

This will launch a “Review Submission History” page, which shows a copy of the marked-up paper in a view. At the top-left of the markup page you’ll find a zoom-out button, a zoom-in button, and a download button. Click the download button.


Next, you’ll be prompted whether you’d rather to download the original file you uploaded or an annotated PDF of the file. If you wish to keep the professor’s feedback, choose Download annotated PDF.

download annotated

You’ll then be asked what you wish to name your download and where you wish to save it. Choose an appropriate name and location. Once you have downloaded the file to your computer, you can print at your leisure.


Subscribe to a Discussion Board Forum

Want to be notified whenever someone posts to a discussion board forum? If the option has been enabled by the instructor, you can subscribe to a forum. When you’ve subscribed to a forum you’ll get an email (in your UDM inbox) whenever someone posts on the forum.

Depending on how the forum is set up, you may receive an email alert containing a link to the new forum post, or you may receive an email that includes the link as well as the full text of your post.

Subscribing is easy, just click the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of the forum page.


If you want to stop receiving email alerts, click the Unsubscribe button (which replaces the Subscribe button when you are subscribed to a forum).

Link to an interactive tool from a content area

Are you having your students engage in online discussion, write blog or journal posts, collaborate using a wiki, or work in groups? If you’re organizing your course by topic rather than content type (that is, putting all the content and activities for a unit / lesson / module / week together in a single folder), you’ll links directly to these activities inside your content area.

Once you’re familiar with the process, linking directly to these tools is easy. But the first couple times you go through the process it may be a little confusing.

First, in the content area you’d like to add the link to (Unit 01, say), point to TOOLS, and select the tool you’d like to link to. We’ll use the Discussion tool for this example, but process is the same for any of the above tools.

tools - discussion

Next you’ll be prompted to select where you’d like the link to point. Do you want to point to the tool’s main page — e.g., the main Discussion Board page from which any of the discussion board forums can be selected? Often, it would be better to link the students to the particular item on that page you want them to post to (sticking with the discussion example, a particular discussion forum). If you’ve already created the form, choose the second option (Select a Discussion Board Forum) and choose the appropriate item. Haven’t created the item (discussion forum) yet? Click the CREATE NEW button.


If you went the CREATE NEW route, your next step will be to create that new item. So if you decided to add a new discussion forum, you’ll be creating the discussion forum — name, instructions / description, availability, etc.

When you click SUBMIT on this on this page, you’ll be bounced back to the CREATE LINK page above, this time with your new new item in the select list. Select the item and click NEXT to finish the process.

The final step of the CREATE LINK process is a page that probably pretty familiar to you by now. The name of the thing you’re linking to will be pulled in automatically, but you can change that if necessary. Then, in the text space, provide your students with instructions on how they should use the tool you’re linking to. Remember that, even if you’ve included instructions on the instance — when you created the discussion board forum, say — your students will be bypassing that page, so you’ll want to reproduce those instructions here.

Similarly, when you put availability dates on this link, you’re setting the availability for the link. If you haven’t set availability dates on the item itself (e.g., the discussion forum), then students will still be able to access the item through the course TOOLS page. If you need to adjust availability dates (make the access window longer for a discussion board forum), you’ll want to adjust the dates on the link and on the item itself (again, via the TOOLS page).


Once you’ve got the link’s settings the way you want them, click SUBMIT to add your link to the page.


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