Digi Know: Printing out responses to Essay/Short Answer Questions in Blackboard Tests

So, you finally took the plunge and used a short answer/essay style question in your Blackboard test and now you are needing to mark it. Problem is 250 students sat that exam and you have 250 different answers that need marking and just like a written exam you want to make notes/comments on the submitted responses. With a paper based exam this is easy – you just write on the exam script. Turnitin has the functionality to add notes/comments directly onto the assignment submission but with computer based exams, there is no functionality to do this at all.

The other issue is that there is no built in print or export function. However by following the instructions below will help in resolving the above. As I’m sure you have already realized if you want to retain these you will need to keep the hard copies

1 In the Module Management Menu on Blackboard, Select Grade Centre and then Tests.


The Grade Centre will appear.


2 Identify the test in the “Grade Information Bar” that has the short answer/essay style question


3 Click the “Click for more options” arrow next to the test name at the top of the score matrix.3a

4 Select the “Grade Questions” option.


You will see a screen similar to this


5 Identify under the Question Type column a question that is a short answer or essay style question.


6 There will be a number two columns to the right. This is the number of attempts for this question. Click on this number. This will show all the answers submitted to this question


7 Select the right hand mouse button next to a student name. On the resulting menu select “Print”


8 Follow the on screen guidance for printing
9 You can now make comments and notes accordingly.


10 Don’t forget that after each question you can give student feedback. You may wish to summarize your notes/comments and inform your students of how you marked the question

Digiknow: How to use Lecture recording to support inclusive learning and teaching

room with rope barriers leading to tv

Capturing lecture content, whether in the classroom or from your desk, and making this recording available to students, can give students the opportunity to re-watch content, enhance note taking and revise topics. This assists all students not just those with additional support needs.

However, these recordings can be made more inclusive and useful to students by following a number of simple practices.

Adding notes to the slides

Adding notes to slides, whether within PowerPoint or alongside the lecture recording, can make a big difference to how inclusive this learning resource becomes. Not only does it enable the student to draw upon the key points you make during the recording it also helps to provide an alternative to a transcript of what was said. You can either add notes to the PowerPoint slides in the note section (potentially converting this into a handout) or alongside the slides in your lecture recording.

Making the slides available to download alongside the recording

Making the slides available allows students to annotate and add notes to their slides either manually or digitally. This also makes learning more flexible as some students may want to take the slides with them on the move but would not have the ability to take the recording with them. There are two ways you can add these files, either upload them in Course Resources alongside the link to the recording or add them as a PDF to the recording.

Using holding slides to help students navigate within the recording

Sometimes within a recorded session time may be taken to participate in active learning within class. This part of the lecture recording will become less useful to students. In order to help with navigating past this part of the recording, consider using a place holder slide in your presentation. This makes it easy for students to use the slider to move past this slide and therefore this part of the recording.

Using the keyword search to aid navigation within the recording

You can easily navigate through a lecture recording using the search function, which allows you to use key words to search the recording and notes to get back to specific point in the recording. It then makes where this word occurs and means you can navigate to each point within the recording.

Use the Panopto app to view recordings on your mobile device

You can download and use the Panopto app on Android and iOS (Apple) via the iPad and iPhone to view lecture recordings. This enables you to take them with you on the go.

Making students aware of these features

In order for students to take full advantage of the practices and features of lecture recording which support an inclusive learning experience it is important to inform students how to access these. It might be during the first time lecture recording is used these features are highlighted to students or this is done within a short recording supplied alongside the first lecture.

More on the accessible features of our lecture recording system

BoB’s your uncle…

BoB, Learning on Screen’s OnDemand TV and radio recording service, has recently been revamped and upgraded.

Along with a new interface, there are tweaks to options like clipping, playlists and search.

Features like embedding program clips into your Course Resources page, or adding links to PowerPoints are still available and work very well.


There are over 60 UK and international TV and radio stations to search and record from, and every program has transcripts.

There are also comprehensive video help guides on using BoB, and an extensive FAQ.


17th Durham Blackbord Conference

Technology Enhanced Learning was represented at the recent 17th Durham Blackboard Users Conference at Durham University. The theme this year was “Ticked Off – Towards Better Assessment and Feedback”, the aim of the sessions was to show how presenters had improved the student experience in terms of the conference themes.

An interesting keynote entitled “Translating evidence-based principles to improved feedback practices: The interACT case study” by Susie Schofield, University of Dundee opened the first day. She suggested that without a carefully constructed assessment criteria, feedback is useless. In other words you cannot give appropriate and worthwhile feedback without this as what exactly are you feeding back.

We then heard from Wayne Britcliffe, Richard Walker and Amy Eyre of the University of York. They described the various contexts in which the delivery of electronic feedback to students is being facilitated at the University of York through the use of learning technologies. Their main objective being to improve NSS scores or simply making the management of assessment and feedback processes more efficient and that  the electronic management of assessment (EMA) is undoubtedly a hot topic across the higher education sector.

Patrick Viney from Northumbria University described their journey with the Pebblepad e-portfolio tool and how they have replaced the paper system of submitting undergraduate dissertation proposals. With over 800 students supported by over 100 academic tutors, logistical issues in managing such large numbers were significant. Patrick demonstrated how using Pebblepad had resulted in a robust, auditable, paper- free processes for managing dissertation proposals, ethical approval submissions and tutor support during the dissertation.

Thursday finished with a demonstration and talk by Blackboard on their new product “Ally”. This will make course content more accessible and allow assistive technology such as screen readers (JAWS, Window Eyes for example) to be able to more easily access the content. In the demo Nicolaas Matthij from Blackboard took a PDF and converted it on the fly into various formats including ebooks, on screen display and through JAWS. Whilst it is not a substitute for badly created content, it’s use could be seen as advantages to the university and the student experience.


Day 2 commenced with Alan Masson, Head of International Customer Success at Blackboard presenting on how Blackboard themselves can assist in the assessment and feedback. He used examples of presentations from the day before and also touched on forthcoming ones.

Steve Dawes from Regent’s University talked about their common module and the difficulties and challenges that face assessment and engagement in a University-wide module and how these issues were met using a blend of e-learning tools. He explained how the Learning Technology Team assisted academic staff in utilising a range of digital tools to maintain engagement such as using Poll Everywhere classroom voting to engage large student audiences, promoting Blackboard Journals for consistent formative feedback, enhancing efficiency in the Blackboard Grade Centre, and using Turnitin Rubrics for Summative assignments.

The next session saw Christian Lawson-Perfect & Chris Graham from Newcastle University demonstrate and discuss “Numbas”. This is an open source mathematical e-assessment system which is now being used in subject areas outside of maths. Two such examples being psychology and biomedicine. Two case studies were discussed including how using existing open-access material, course leaders were able within a short time period to create a large bank of formative and diagnostic tests and deliver it to students through Blackboard.

Finally, Pete Lonsdale form Keele University discussed and demonstrated a custom in house solution for assessing nursing students. At the time there was nothing available that fulfilled the requirements identified. He described how the system included such features as audio feedback and the option to take and upload photos. He also explained how since introducing the system, requests for more complex marking criteria have been received and implemented such as the use of rubrics. He concluded that their design and implementation story highlights the appetite for online  assessment tools as well as the importance of getting the details of the system just right: they found that off-the-shelf tools just did not work for a variety of reasons, and even the  bespoke system required many iterations to get to a version that worked for all.

For me, this conference is significant in that it was my first time that I have presented at a conference to peers and others in the academic world. My presentation was about how we have used Blackboard OpenEducation (A Free online version of the VLE that we use) as a diagnostic tool in the recruitment process for Health and Social Care programmes. Candidates that get through to stage 1 were invited to the University to undertake numeracy and literacy tests before the next stage. Candidates that failed these tests were rejected at this stage. This method was proving expensive both in terms of money and time for both for candidates and the university and alternatives were sought.  In the presentation I discussed how this stage was adapted to work with OpenEducation, considering the likely challenges that lay ahead, how these could be factored in as well as how dealt with those we didn’t foresee.

I would like to thank the organizers and staff of the conference. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and worth going.

Digi Know: Fonts and what they can do!

Choosing the right font when you are writing an email or creating a document can have an impressive effect on how the reader reacts or forms opinion to what they have just read.

Fonts can be divided into roughly five categories: Serif, Sans-serif, Slab serif, Script and Modern.


Associations: authority, tradition, respect, and grandeur

Top 5: Times New Roman, Bodini, Georgia, Garamond and Baskerville.

When to use: In the body text of an editorial, or when you want to give your research paper that extra assurance of success.


Associations: clean, modern, objective, stable, and universal

Top 5: Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, Century Gothic, and Calibri

When to use: as your corporate presentation header text, for extremely small body text (sans-serif fonts are more legible from far away), when you want to emphasise a single word, and as the body text on your website (sans-serif fonts are more legible than serif fonts when read on a computer screen).


Associations: Bold, Strong, Modern, Solid, and Funky

Top 5: Rockwell, Courier, Museo, Clarendon and Bevan

When to use: on your next advert, when printing on poor quality paper (slab serif fonts are known to be most legible in cases of poor quality printing), and when you want to attract attention in general


Associations: feminine, elegant, friendly, intriguing, creative

Top 5: Lobster, Zapfino, Pacifico, Lucida and Brush Script

When to use: on greeting cards, on the place cards for guest tables at your wedding, and as the font for your creative company’s logo.


Associations: exclusivity, fashionable, stylish, sharp, intelligent

Top 5: Inifinity, Eurostyle, Majoram, Matchbook, Politica

When to use: on your hipster photography blog header, for modern fashionable company logos, and when you want to attract the attention of Millennials.

For more information please read: http://contentgroup.com.au/psychology-typography/



Digi Know – Turnitin Rubric Examples

Example TII RubricFollowing on from Greg’s post about Rubrics in Turnitin, I thought it would be useful to share a teaching resources page from the Turnitin website, which showcases a variety of rubrics. These rubrics can be downloaded, customised and used in your own assessments.

For further advice and guidance, please contact the TEL team via tel@derby.ac.uk or ext 1865

Sharing media within your teaching

Everyone has access to their own My Media section within Course Resources where you can upload your own content and share it within the modules that you teach on, the system used is easy and secure.

Sharing media within your teaching and learning is a great way of providing the students with an increased experience of their studies. Adding media can inspire and engage the learners by getting them to question key issues within their studies, enabling interactive discussion throughout the module. As well as providing them with an innovative and dynamic way of learning.

Within Media Gallery, as well as uploading your own media, you can search through the university’s ever growing Shared Repository of media content. Here you can search topics from study skills to specific areas within your course to see what others have already created around your chosen topic.

All media within the Shared Repository is available for anyone one to use and is an expanding resource tool for academics. If you find there isn’t a media source that fits with your chosen area please do get in touch with the Learning Enhancements TEL media team, who can assist you with getting any ideas you have for media creation off the ground.

If you create your own media content that you have uploaded to Media Gallery and believe that it would benefit other colleagues in several programmes around the university, please contact your Media Adviser who can add the content to the Shared Repository.

If you would like any further help or guidance with using Media Gallery and the Shared Repository, see the guides below or contact Learning Enhancement’s Media team at tel@derby.ac.uk

Digi Know: Creating e-mail rules for your sanity!

This simple little trick could save you from feeling completely bombarded by emails in your inbox in the New Year.

It is useful to set up a simple rule for email messages to be delivered straight to that labelled inbox rather than filling up the main inbox and filtering through all the emails to get to the important ones!

So for the important emails such as that from my line manager I would have her emails go straight into a Folder just for her and I focus on those first (of course!) when I get back after the break.


Step 1: Create a new folder in your email structure to house the emails in categories.







Step 2: Click on the Rules > Manage Rules & Alertsimage2

Step 3: Click to create a New Rule


Step 4: Use the Wizard to select what type of rule you want to create


Step 5: Follow through step 1 and step 2, specifying your rule and folder.


Step 6: Click finish to apply the rule.











E-portfolio and Identity Conference (Open Badges)


CC by-sa-nc Luigi Anzivino

CC by-sa-nc Luigi Anzivino

The Palazzo Gnudi within the university town of Bologna, Italy, was the picturesque setting for the e-portfolio and identity conference.  This meeting brought together academics, educationalists, higher education institutions and companies to discuss digital badges currently and beyond.  Home to the world’s oldest university, Bologna was the ideal venue to discuss this recent approach to recognising education and skill development in a classic case of old meets new.

My own presentation on behalf of the University of Derby was based on our badges validation process and I showcased how badges have been implemented at the university.  In particular, the university’s distribution of badges in our series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) was discussed with regards to recognising ranging degrees of learning and engagement.  However, it was our validation process for badge implementation that attracted significant attention and interest from other higher education institutions, particularly from within Europe, as did the differing and interesting designs of our badges.  It became apparent that compared to other higher education institutions and industry, the University of Derby was working in the right direction for badge design and implementation.

Many in attendance presented their own badge designs and how these had been used in practice.  However, a particular focus, and arguably issue, was based on what can be done to increase their worth and recognition beyond the institution in which they are awarded.  Most were in agreement that learners accessing education believe that badges will showcase their achievements and enhance their training and qualifications repertoire.  Yet, the current reality is that badges are unrecognised by employers.  Moreover, many raised the point that whilst institutions are looking to issue badges, they themselves will not accept/recognise badges as credible receipt of educational qualification from other institutions.  Indeed, the learners who achieve a badge from an institution may be hard pressed to get that same institution to value the badge if they applied for a vacancy there.  Essentially, it is left up to the learner to sell the credibility of their badge to employers and this is perhaps the biggest challenge facing their wider application.

Inside Palazzo Gnudi - Courtesy of the author

Inside Palazzo Gnudi – Courtesy of the author

There was agreement that progression was needed in order to change the current situation, but what exactly can be done?   A discussion emerged that was based on education providers using badges to bridge the gap between learners and potential relevant employers, thus giving worth to badges whilst simultaneously creating career pathways.  ‘Endorsement’ soon became the buzzword in the room that I now associate with the conference and it encouraged me to think a little deeper about how this could be achieved.

As an example of possible practice, learners may need to compete for a limited number of recognised industry badges by producing projects that reflect some elements of priority areas that have been agreed to by a cluster of key employers.  This would add value to the achievement of badges and also create career pathways that are of benefit to students and employers.  If employers had a platform to enable learners to work towards areas that are of priority to them, they would effectively be promoting the necessary skillset and knowledge in potential new recruits.  This would be a key benefit of their involvement with badges and can be likened to a PhD student starting a research project and being regarded as an expert in that area on completion.

As with so many theories and ideas that sound entirely feasible and limitless on paper, the reality of this process may take somewhat longer than one might anticipate.  It seems inevitable that external companies will need to be convinced of the viable nature of badges and that requires extensive piloting and implementation.  Moreover, there also needs to be a relatively large shift in how educational institutions award educational development and other, perhaps unrecognised skills.

'Due Torri' (The Towers of Bologna) - Courtesy of the author

‘Due Torri’ (The Towers of Bologna) – Courtesy of the author

Nonetheless, supporting badges will encourage a move towards hybrid curriculum vitaes of which the inclusion of badges will enable employers to link back to the evidence of achievement, criteria and authenticity.  In this way, employers can have more confidence in the abilities of candidates and be more certain that they meet their essential and desirable requirements.

Following on from conversations with colleagues and others in attendance at the e-portfolio and identity conference, it seems safe to assume that there is a future for badges, and potentially, a star studded and celebrated one at that.  Yet, as we still negotiate their foundations, there will need to be a degree of forcing the issue through trialling and trialling again.  Finally, this leads to the consideration of something that only time will answer:

“Change is not always growth, just as movement is not always progress” – William Pollard 

Dr Dominic Petronzi
Innovation Hub Researcher & Associate Academic
University of Derby
Enterprise Centre

Courtesy of the Academic Innovation Hub

Courtesy of the Academic Innovation Hub



Digi Know: You can see what student’s see

A tip that a few people have found useful recently is using Edit Mode in Course Resources to check what students can see in modules. This has come in handy when academics have been told by students they can’t see some content.

Simply by turning Edit Mode off, you’ll be able to have a student eye view of a module area. Here’s the difference it makes to the module menu:

Edit Button in Course Resources