External Examiner Blackboard Access

With the pre-Christmas assessment period over, it will soon be time for your external examiners to moderate work on Blackboard and Turnitin. This can be tricky for examiners, who may be unfamiliar with University of Worcester processes and applications.

The first step is to ensure that examiners have their University of Worcester single sign-on account set up. They will need this to access all university systems.

Once this is in place, external examiners can request access to modules via the Blackboard Access form.

The process for this is:

  1. Navigate to the University of Worcester Staff Portal – the link to this can also be found at the bottom of the University website.
  2. Log in to the portal via the ‘Sign In’ button at the top right of the screen using University of Worcester account username and password.
  3. Click on the relevant Blackboard Access link. Usually displayed are the current year and the previous year. This will take the user to the Blackboard Access form.
  4. Complete the form for each module required. When entering the module code, it is important that there are no spaces before, after or within the code. Under type of access, select ‘External Examiner’.
  5. Access to the modules will be granted within 24 hours.

To access Blackboard:

  1. Navigate to the University of Worcester Staff Portal – the link to this can also be found at the bottom of the University website.
  2. Log in to the portal via the ‘Sign In’ button at the top right of the screen using University of Worcester account username and password.
  3. Under Applications, click the Blackboard 9.1 link.

Accessing Assessments

Once in the system, and the Access Request forms have been processed, External Examiners will see the modules they need to mark under My Courses (highlighted in yellow below) Clicking on the module name will open the course.

An image of the Blackboard home page

Accessing the students’ work for marking/moderation depends on the system the assignment is using. The course tutor can verify this if required.

The finer points of how marking/moderation is to take place should be agreed at a course level.


Turnitin is the most commonly used system for assessment and is the best system for text based assignments such as essays, reports and presentations.

Within the course, unless stated otherwise, Turnitin points can be found under ‘Assessments’. The External Examiner will click into the assessment that they are moderating. This will open the Assignment Inbox. Clicking on one of these documents will open students’ work.

For further information, see our sections of the Turnitin Workflow that cover finding assignments and online grading and feedback.


Blackboard Assignments are used for portfolios and non-text based work.

To moderate Blackboard assignments, External Examiners will need to enter via the grade centre and navigate to the correct assignment. Some guidance from the course tutor may be required for this.

See our guide on Grading and Feedback for further information – please be aware that this guidance is intended for tutors.

Vevox Voting System – Pilot Users Wanted!

Next semester we at the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit will be piloting a new voting system and we are looking for volunteers to try this out and provide feedback to the project team.

The new tool is cloud based and requires students to respond from their own devices. Full training and support will be provided to academic staff taking part in the pilot and we are currently looking for expressions of interest.

If you would like to be one of our pilot users please complete the form here and we’ll be in touch in the new year with more details.

Assessment as Learning using Peer Mark

PeerMark is a peer review assignment tool within Turnitin which allows students to read, review, and evaluate papers submitted by their classmates. Incorporating assessment into the learning process itself has many pedagogical benefits and uses. Reviewing the work of their peers can broaden students’ understanding and enhance analytical critique. Students could even review a sample essay in order enhance their learning. Peer mark may also reduce anxiety around assessments.

The TEL Unit are offering a workshop around PeerMark on the 10th January from 10:00 – 12:15 in EE1022 . If you are interested in utilising this feature within your own learning and teaching, please book on to the workshop via the ‘Staff Development Workshops’ page.

Are you September-Ready?

Say it quietly – September is just around the corner. Sorry to have to bring that up.

Do you have everything in place, ready for your students to arrive? Here is our checklist to help you to prepare.

Have you enrolled on your modules?

From this year, all staff, including module leaders will need to complete the Blackboard Access form on the logged in Staff Portal for each of their modules. Please allow 24 hours for your request to be actioned.

There is also a Blackboard Access 2018-19 form still live on the staff portal. If you are taking over a module this year, it may be useful to enrol on last year’s module.

Are you familiar with the new template?

Blackboard has a slightly new look this year. For more on this, see our previous blog post.

The sections marked out with a red stripe contain instructions for tutors and are not visible to students. These sections can be deleted once you feel you no longer need them.

If you have not yet updated your new Blackboard site the default welcome message will notify students that  their tutor has not added any content yet.

Have you transferred your content?

As ever, modules will be empty and you will need to transfer content from the 2018/19 instance of the module. Do not transfer the Assessment page as this needs to be set up afresh each year.

Instructions for transferring content can be found here.

Sharpen your skills

We run a range of courses designed to help you get the most out of Blackboard. These are published on the Staff Development Workshop page and will be advertised via our Twitter, blog and the staff newsletter.

If you require one-to-one training on a specific area of Blackboard, email us with details at TEL@worc.ac.uk

Blackboard Rollover

2019/20 modules are now live on Blackboard! Please be aware that there are a couple of changes this year:

All staff will need to enrol on their modules this year

Due to GDPR and data security reasons, staff are not being auto-enrolled onto modules. You will need to complete a form to enrol onto your modules, which can be found on the logged in staff portal (pictured). Please get the module leader’s permission (unless, of course, you are the module leader) and allow 24 hours for access to be granted.

For more information, see our previous blog post regarding this.

Blackboard Access link on Staff Portal

Things will look a little different

The TEL Unit have developed a new Blackboard template in consultation with a focus group of university staff. Pages now include guidance and tips for staff, which students are unable to see.

Read more about the new template here.

Transferring content

As ever, modules will be empty and you will need to transfer content from the 2018/19 instance of the module. Do not transfer the Assessment page as this needs to be set up afresh each year.

Instructions for transferring content can be found here.

If you have any queries, please contanct the TEL Unit at TEL@worc.ac.uk

New Blackboard Template

Based on feedback from users, we have made some changes to the standard template for Blackboard courses to improve clarity and usability for staff and students alike. This means that when you open Blackboard in September you will see some changes to how the tabs are laid out.

The module template now contains guidance on what should go on each page.

Only staff can see this content – this is invisible to students (try the Student Preview to see this in action) so should not be edited. Once you have set up your course area for the new academic year, you can delete this information if you wish. 

The Assessment tab has been separated out so as to be more easily identified. All assignments and information relating to them should be included on this tab. For information about which would be the best system to use for your assignment, see our handy flow chart. For information about setting up assignments see our guidance on using Blackboard and Turnitin for assessment.

Don’t forget to edit the welcome message to include the name of the module leader and a contact email (see how to edit your welcome message here). 

For more advice about your Blackboard modules:

If you have any queries, contact the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit at TEL@worc.ac.uk

Taking Over Another Tutor’s Blackboard Page

So, you have been given the keys to someone else’s Blackboard page and you have just moved in. You might find that they haven’t been the best tenants and have left things in a bit of a mess. Or maybe everything appears to be ship-shape, until you discover the dodgy wiring and the funny smell coming from the cupboard under the stairs. You don’t know which problem to fix first or even how.

Having extended this metaphor further than is feasible, we thought it would be useful to prepare a list of six things to check when taking on another tutor’s Blackboard page.

1. Welcome Message

Check that the Welcome message has been updated (the default message begins with “This module is not using Blackboard”). Update the welcome message and add your contact details so that the students can get in touch with you.

2. Links

Check that all of the links on the module are working and update where appropriate.

3. Materials

Make sure that the previous tutor has passed on any teaching materials ready for you to continue to use (e.g. via OneDrive).

4. Module Outline

Make sure that the current Module Outline is available on the Module Information page and that its contents are up to date.

5. Assessments

Poorly set up assessments can cause students a great deal of trouble so it is well worth taking the time to check that these have been configured correctly.

  • Are the assessments set up on the Assessment page?
  • Do all Blackboard assignments appear in the grade centre?
  • Are assignments set to mark out of 19?
  • Are the dates set up correctly?
  • Are Turnitin submission points named meaningfully rather than just being called ‘Turnitin’? This helps students identify the correct place to submit work.
  • Check that there are no stray Turnitin submission points lurking around the module such as on the Welcome page. These are likely to have incorrect settings and students can easily submit to the wrong place.

For more information, see our Blackboard Manual and our Turnitin Workflow.

6. Not using SOLE?

If you are not using SOLE for assignment submission, check that registry have been informed so that they do not send out automatic emails to students for non-submission of work.

Still need help?

Hopefully these pointers should get you well on the way to running an effective Blackboard module. If you do run into trouble however, you can email us for help at TEL@worc.ac.uk

Setting up Turnitin for Assessment

Wednesday 6th March, 13:45 – 15.15

When used correctly, Turnitin is a fantastic tool for managing formative and summative assessment. It is also invaluable for students to check their referencing and originality, as Turnitin compares submitted work to both internet sources and a database of previous submissions.

Turnitin is a plugin to Blackboard and is becoming more and more popular, with more departments coming on board. The long-term aspiration is for all departments to accept assessment submissions through Turnitin.

Setting up assessment submission points on Turnitin is relatively straightforward, however, it is really important that these are configured correctly, as incorrect settings can cause a range of problems for students. A significant proportion of student queries that come to the TEL Unit are due to Turnitin set-up issues, which must be referred back to the tutor, causing more work for everyone concerned.

Thankfully, these issues can be easily averted. Our handy 90 minute workshop will take you through the settings that you need to apply. Most of the settings can also be saved so that setting up future assignments could not be simpler. The session will also cover marking and providing feedback.

If you are interested in attending this session, you can sign up via the Staff Development Workshops Page.

Blackboard Student Preview

As a Blackboard instructor you need to be certain that your course is accessible, well designed and that all of the links work as intended. The “Student Preview” option (outlined in the image below in red) gives you the functionality to be able to view your course in the same manner that a student would see it. The Preview function can be particularly useful for ensuring that hidden files or folders have been deployed appropriately, submitting assignments, or for instructors taking multiple choice tests in order to make sure they work as intended.


Remember that if you cannot see course content in student preview, then your students won’t be able to see it either.

Please watch the short video below showing the Student Preview feature.

We’ve Moved!

Following our recent office move to WB073, the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit (formerly LTTU) is delighted to launch our new website.

There have been a number of developments in the field of TEL over the past few years, to reflect these changes and provide a more relevant identity for the team we have completely updated our web pages and changed our name to the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit (aka, TEL Unit).


Please visit our website www.uwtel.co.uk to find information about the team, the services we offer and our current projects.

Here you’ll be able to access current information around the University’s technologies that we support in your learning and teaching practice, such as Blackboard, PebblePad and Turnitin.

subscribeBe sure to stay up to date with new technologies, updates to existing applications and available training by subscribing to our blog.

The website is still a work in progress so any comments or feedback would be welcome – please note our new email address – tel@worc.ac.uk