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Creating Assignments

The Assignments tools allows you to easily create, collect, view, and grade assignments. You can use the Assignments tool for a variety of assignment types, including:

  • Case Studies
  • Problem-based learning exercises
  • Essays and research papers
  • Group projects

The Assignments tool is used to present a variety of learning activities to students, allowing them to view and submit assignments from one location. Assignments can be submitted as:

  • Text entered on the assignments page
  • Attached Files
  • A combination of both text and attached files

Students can benefit from the Assignments tool in several ways. For example, the Assignments tool:

  • Improves time-on-task by providing an efficient way to view and submit assignments
  • Submissions can be returned with feedback, allowing students to improve their work before resubmitting for a grade.
  • Is often used with alternative assessment techniques, some of which, actively involve students in the process. Rubrics and examples may be provided as part of the assignment to let students know how they will be evaluated.

  1. In "Edit Mode", access the "Content Area'.
  2. On the Content Area's "Action Bar", click "Evaluate".
  3. On the drop-down list select "Create Assignment".
  4. On the create Assignment page, enter a "Name".
  5. Add Instructions for the assignment, if desired. Format the text with the Text Editor, if desired.
  6. Optionally, "Browse" for a file from your local computer. Confirm your choice by clicking "Attach File".
  7. Enter "Points Possible".
  8. Select the "checkbox" to Make the Assignment Available. Select more "options" for Availability, if desired.
  9. Optionally, select a "Due Date".
  10. Select the "Radio Node" by the intended "Recipients".
  11. Click "Submit".


When attaching a file, you can name the link of the uploaded file. The Link name entered is displayed in the Content Area.If you do not enter a new link name, the file name is used.

Under Availability, if you allow more than one attempt, Grade Center uses the most recent attempt. A different attempt can be used for the score by editing the column in the Grade Center.

The interactive calendar interface allows you to select dates easily.

Due Dates

If Groups of Students are selected as the recipients, a link to the assignment will automatically appear on the Group Homepage, and in the Content Area where it was created. Only the intended Group members will be able to see it in the Content Area.

Presenting Assignments

You have a number of options for presenting assignments. You can use a single Content Area, different Content Areas, or a single Content Area with links.

  • Add Assignments to a Single Content Area - Use this option to keep the process quick and centralized. You simply add all assignments to the same Content Area. For example, you can add them all to an Assignments Content Area, which is created by adding a new Content Area to the Course Menu and naming it "Assignments". Instructors in blended or hybrid courses may find this simple option particularly useful.
  • Add Assignments to Different Content Areas - Once you have set up the Content Areas for your course, you can add assignments to them. For Example, if you created Content Areas for each week of your course, you could add a weekly writing assignment to the appropriate Content Area. Or, you could add a group assignment to a Content Area created specifically for that group. Instructors teaching a fully online course may find this an effective way to integrate assignments with course content, offering a more flexible learning environment.
  • Add Assignments to a Single Content Area + Add Links to Assignments in Other Relevant Content Areas - The Assignments Content Area provides a single location for accessing and updating assignments, while the links in the other Content Areas allows assignments to be presented alongside course content. Although this option does require an extra step, it caters to different online course-usage styles and creates an integrated, cohesive learning experience. This option is most appropriate for instructors teaching robust, fully online courses.


Adding assignments as a content area to hold all assignments for a course.

Editing Assignments

After you have created assignments, there are actions you can perform to keep assignments and the Content Areas in which they appear, up-to-date:

  • You can change the order of assignments in the content Area using the drag-and drop function to move the assignment to it's new position. For example, reorder the assignments to keep the current one at the top.
  • You can edit the assignment to change the name and instructions, add or delete file attachments, and adjust availability or availability dates.
  • You can manage the assignment to apply Adaptive Release, Tracking, Metadata, and Review Status.
  • You can delete assignments. When you do this, the assignment and all of it's submissions are permanently deleted; however, the assignment grades are not removed from the Grade Center.

Editing Assignments

Grading Assignments

You review and grade assignment submissions from the Grade Center. When you create the assignment, a column is automatically created in the Grade Center. Assignments that have been submitted but not graded are indicated with an exclamation mark in the Grade Center. When reviewing assignment submissions, you can provide feedback and either assign a grade or return the submission to the student with comments only.

The grading screen is divided into four parts, where you can:

  • Review your instructions for the assignment
  • View the student's submission and comments
  • Enter a grade, feedback, and file for the student
  • Enter notes and files for yourself

When grading the assignment, you will also see an Instructor's Notes section, where you can enter notes and attach files. Only the instructor can view this information; it is not available to students.

Returning Submissions Ungraded:

You can give students the option of submitting their assignments for your feedback. You can view and return the submission with comments only. For example, you might ask students to submit their assignments and set milestones so you can review them and provide feedback. When students access their My Grades tool, instead of seeing a grade for the assignment, they will see and exclamation mark. They can click the exclamation mark to view the instructor's feedback.

  1. On the "Control Panel", click "Grade Center" under Evaluation.
  2. In Grade Center, locate the cell for the student's assignment containing an "exclamation mark".
  3. Move the mouse pointer over the cell to see the "Action Link".
  4. Click the "Action Link" to access the contextual menu.
  5. Select "View Grade Details".
  6. On the Grade Details page, under "Attempts", click the "Action Link" next to the "exclamation mark" to access the contextual menu.
  7. Select "Open Attempt".
  8. On the Grade Assignment page: Click the file name under "Submission Materials" to view or download attachments. Enter a numerical value in the "Grade Box". Optionally, enter feedback in the "Comments" area and attach files for the student to review. Optionally, enter "Instructor Notes" and attach files that only you will be able to access.
  9. Click "Submit" to return to the Grade Details page. Next, click "OK" to return to the Grade Center.

*To return an attempt to a student with comments only, follow the steps above, but at Step 9, click Save as Draft. The attempt remains ungraded and the student can access your feedback.

Grading Part 1

Grading Part 2

Grading Part 3

Instructor notes and files are for the instructor's eyes only.

When you Save as Draft instead of submitting, the assignment remains ungraded and an exclamation mark is displayed in My Grade and the Grade Center. Students access your comments through My Grades and can resubmit by accessing the assignment. If you enter a score, Save as Draft will prevent the score from displaying in the Grade Center and My Grades.

Reviewing Assignments Offline

Rather than reviewing assignments online from the grading system, you can download assignment submissions to your computer to review offline. You can download all or selected submissions.

Submissions are downloaded as a zipped file. Each submission is saved as a separate file. You will need to unzip the file to view the contents. Within the downloaded zipped file, each submission's file name includes the assignment title, username, and attachment file name. If students included comments when they uploaded their files, you will also find a related .txt document.

  1. In Grade Center, locate the assignment column containing the assignment files you want to download and "click the Action Link" to access the contextual menu.
  2. Select "Assignment File Download".
  3. On the Download Assignment page, "select the student submissions to download".
  4. Click "Submit".
  5. On the next download Assignments page, click "Download Assignments Now".
  6. Click "OK" to return to the Grade Center.

Reviewing Assignments Offline

As shown by the arrow above, Assignment File Cleanup allows you to select users and delete files associated with their submissions.


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Last Updated: 3/20/13