Blackboard 9.1 **NEW** Feature Spotlight: Inline Assignment Grading!


To celebrate Pi Day, we’ve rolled out a new Blackboard feature: Inline Assignment Grading!   What does this have to do with Pi?   Absolutely nothing.   But hey, I had to acknowledge the day somehow, right?

Inline Grading is an improvement (we think) to how instructors can view and provide feedback to student submissions that were made through the Assignment Manager tool.   The old way required instructors to download student submissions and feedback was provided in the native application (e.g. Microsoft Word’s commenting features, PDF drawing tools, etc.).   The graded commenting/feedback then had to be uploaded back through the Grade Center so that the student could view it.   The new and improved method allows the instructor (or TA or grader) to provide this feedback directly in the browser window without needing to save a local copy first!

Feedback options include a commenting tool, highlighter, text selection tool, strikeout tool, and… wait for it… a drawing tool!   That’s right, if you have a stylus (digital pen), you can annotate the document and your drawings will be preserved within the document!   Once you have saved your feedback, your options for downloading include the original submission attachment as well as the marked up version, saved in PDF format.   (These are the same options the student has, by the way.)

Do I need to install additional plugins to my browser?  
Nope!  The feature is supported on current (read: non-beta) versions of Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.

What file types are supported?
Supported submission types are Word (.doc, .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx), and PDF.   If a student submits an attachment through the Assignment Manager that is not in one of these formats, you will have to download the submission and view it using the native application.

Can I use the mobile browser on my iPad to provide annotated feedback?
As of right now, our testing shows that this isn’t supported yet.   However, we’ve already provided feedback to Blackboard about this so hopefully that feature will be forthcoming!  When it happens, we will be sure to update this post!

I already have assignment manager items posted in my course site.  Will I need to remove them and re-add them in order to take advantage of this feature?
Nope!   Assignment Manager items will automatically be converted so you will see the inline grading features in any new and pre-existing submissions!

The New Inline Assignment Grading feature snapshot

The new Inline Assignment Grading feature screenshot


For more information on the new inline grading features, check out the official Blackboard Release Notes!

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