The look of the Blackboard submissions page is changing

The interface for Blackboard submissions such as essays, some timed assessments and some exams is changing on June 2, 2023. There is no change to functionality.

After June 2, if students need to upload a submission, this option will be contained within a ‘concertina menu’. This makes the interface less confusing, allowing them to select the options they need without having to navigate the options they don’t.

Below are three images: one showing the current interface and two showing the new interface.

Old submission point: this is the old submission point for Blackboard which has all upload options on display.

The old interface has all the ‘Attach Files’, ‘Write Submission’ and ‘Add Comments’ functions on display.

New submission point (unexpanded): the new submission points have three clickable options: one called "Create Submission", one called "Upload Files", and one called "Add Comments"

The new interface places the same features behind concertina menus.

New submission point (expanded): once the "Upload Files" option is clicked, three buttons are revealed; one for "Browse Local Files", one for "Browse Content Collection", and one for "Browse Cloud Service". 

Once expanded with a click, the same options are available.

[Open] Footnotes in Blackboard submissions can be rearranged unless in PDF

An error has been identified in Blackboard that can affect the display of submitted documents containing footnotes and formatting styles. The error rearranges the footnote order, affecting the marker’s view of the document. The Blackboard developers are aware of the error, and are working on a fix. In the meantime, we recommend that students submit documents in PDF where they contain footnotes.

This error affects the DEO’s “Blackboard Online” workflow, and we have updated the recommendations in our EMA – Blackboard Online Workflow guidance accordingly.

[Resolved] Issue affecting marking groups in Turnitin

To fix the issue affecting marking groups in Turnitin, please try refreshing the Assignment Inbox, using the refresh button in the top right-hand corner.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Click on the Turnitin submission point to access the Assignment Inbox
  2. Make sure the first filter is set to All Students
  3. Click the Refresh Inbox Data button with a circular arrow, in the top right-hand corner of the Assignment Inbox
  4. Try the filter again (if it still doesn’t work, please close and re-open the submission point)
  5. If steps 1-4 do not work, please try accessing Turnitin from within the Grade Centre at least once using “Mark User Activity” (and close and re-open the course if required)

[Closed] Issue affecting marking groups in Turnitin

We are aware of an issue affecting the availability of marking groups when attempting to filter by marking group in the Turnitin inbox. We’re currently in contact with our service suppliers and will be looking to get this resolved as soon as we can.

In the meantime, Markers can locate their students in the unfiltered assignment inbox and select them to carry on with the marking.

[Open] Issue affecting ‘Forced Completion’ setting in Blackboard tests

An issue has been identified with the “Forced Completion” setting in Blackboard Tests.   

When Forced Completion is set to ON, the auto-submit feature necessarily also becomes active and cannot be switched off. This behaviour is expected and as designed. However, if you then switch Force Completion OFF again, the option to deactivate auto-submit remains unavailable.  

Blackboard are investigating the issue and we will post further updates when available.  

In the meantime this can be resolved by: 

  1. Removing the force completion setting and clicking submit. 
  2. Re-entering the settings page and clicking submit a second time. 
  3. Re-entering the settings page for a third time, where the option to change auto-submit should be available again. 

The Digital Education Office generally recommends that Force Completion is set to OFF. If it is ON, then students must finish the test in one go. If a student leaves the test for any reason, eg closes their browser by mistake or loses Internet access, they will not be able to re-enter it. Staff would then need to clear the attempt, in which case the student would have to start again. This can lead to significant additional administrative work for staff and as well as cause undue distress for students.  

If you have any questions, please contact

Useful start of term Digital Education links for staff

  1. Refreshing Blackboard courses – preparing your Blackboard course for a new teaching block 
  2. Make your Blackboard course available to students  
  3. New Unit Teams for TB2 are now available to activate if you wish to use them 
  4. Ensure your Re/Play set up is right for Lecture Capture 
  5. Blackboard course design 
  6. Online assessment – including planning and running tests, and electronic management of assessment workflows 
  7. Daily DEO drop-ins 
  8. DEO training – on Develop 
  9. Tools and software 

For queries, please email 

[Resolved] Turnitin loading error for instructors

Turnitin has now solved the issue that gave intermittent access to Turnitin, slowness when opening Similarity Reports, and generated errors when attempting to grade or add feedback to student’s submissions. Staff accessing these services may have been affected between 10:19 and 15:31 today, January 16.

Students were not affected by this issue.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us.

[Closed] Turnitin loading error for instructors

It has been reported that staff may be experiencing issues with slowness when opening Similarity Reports in Turnitin, and receiving errors when attempting to grade or add feedback.

Students making submissions are not affected by this issue.

Turnitin UK is currently working to bring the service back to optimum health. We will update this blog with any further developments.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us

Reminder – Turnitin maintenance 14-15 January 2023

This is a reminder that Turnitin services will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance by the supplier from Saturday 14th January 2023 at 17:00 until Sunday 15th January 2023 at 01:00 GMT. During this maintenance window users will be unable to submit or mark papers, or view marks, feedback and similarity reports.

Further information is available on the Turnitin status page.

Hiding marks and feedback until ready for release

Before exams, coursework or timed assessments are marked, schools should please ensure that Blackboard Grade Centre columns are hidden from students until marks and feedback are ready to be released. To prevent students from seeing marks too early, you should also ensure Total and Weighted Total columns are hidden. Check a column header for a circle with a red line through it which indicates the column is hidden from students.

Demonstration column

If it is not hidden, and you need to hide it, click the down arrow next to the column header and select Hide from students (on/off).

The menu to hide columns from students

If this option isn’t available, or if the column has a green tick next to it, you will need to hide it in a different way:

Total column

  1. Click the dropdown arrow next to the column name.
  2. Click Edit Column Information.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and set Show this column to students to No.
  4. Click Submit.

For more information on administering Electronic Management of Assessment workflows, please see our EMA guidance page.

If you have any questions, please email