Electronic Management of Assessment

The term electronic management of assessment (EMA) is used to describe the way in which technology can be used across the assessment life cycle to support the electronic submission of assignments, marking, moderation and feedback. Many HEIs have put in place (or are putting in place) institutional systems and processes for EMA, and it is rapidly becoming expected practice in a digital age.

A strategic consultation process was undertaken in January 2016 which recommended the use of the Blackboard VLE for EMA. This is being phased in over a number of years.

  • A pilot project to deliver EMA through Blackboard was initiated in September 2016 with the Psychology Department and the School of Law.
  • Additional subject areas / courses joined the project in 2017-18
  • All remaining subject areas not currently using electronic submission should be using the system for appropriate assessment types by September 2019.
  • Assessments which currently use SOLE for submission can migrate at any time but should plan to do so from 2019 onwards.

Aims of the project

  1. Enabling a good student assessment experience through:
  • Greater consistency of approach
  • Ability to submit assignments without having to physically travel to campus
  • Automatic receipts for proof of submission
  • Ease of access to marks and feedback from anywhere and at any time
  • Improved clarity and understanding of feedback through legibility of text
  • Location of feedback alongside learning materials (in blackboard), enabling students to refer to these easily
  • Ability for students to review originality reports on drafts of their work to help develop their writing in accordance with principles of academic integrity
  1. Benefits for academic staff of marking online, including:
  • Ability to access marking at a time and place to suit them
  • Convenience of not having to carry large quantities of paper
  • Ability to quickly edit feedback in a document and re-use common feedback
  • Access to originality reports
  1. Benefits for administrative staff and the University including:
  • Saving of time currently spent handling assignments
  • Access to an archive of student work and feedback
  • Reduction of physical storage space
  • Provision of easy and secure access for external examiners
  • Saving of paper and reduction in printing and toner costs

Further Information

To find out more about the project, please contact Judith Keene, University Librarian: j.keene@worc.ac.uk

Types of Assignments


There are a number of tools embedded within the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment that can support electronic submission, marking and feedback. Deciding on which of these tools to use will depend upon the nature of the assignment and the below diagram is intended to help with this process.

EMA flowchart

From the student perspective the process will be seamless as each of the options is embedded within the Blackboard interface, however the set up for each of the tools is slightly different from the staff perspective so it is important to choose the correct assignment type at the outset.

Supporting Information for different assessment types

EMA Resources

Policy Statement on the use of Turnitin

This policy statement provides guidance to staff and students on the availability, responsibilities and support for the use of Turnitin at the University.

The Turnitin Workflow Guide

This is an online guide for staff to the end-to-end management of assessment using the Turnitin plug-in to Blackboard. You can use the menu to skip to the part of the workflow you are currently working on.

E-Marking Health and Safety Guidance

An Academic Perspective

Dr Helen Scott, Deputy Head of the School of Psychology has been using Blackboard and Turnitin for assignment submission, marking and feedback since 2016 and was one of the pilot users providing feedback into the policies and processes that have been developed during the project. In these two video clips she provides some top tips from her experience of using the systems and an example of the process in practice from end to end.

Top Tips – 5 minute video clip

Academic Process – 18 minute video clip

EMA, what’s in it for you? – TEL Unit presentation for academic departments

Student Support

There are a number of resources available to students to support them with electronic assignment submission:

Submitting to Turnitin Tutorial

This video will guide students through the process of submitting an assignment through Turnitin.

Guide to Interpreting the Similarity Report

Turnitin have put together this online guide for students looking for further information about interpreting their Similarity Report.

Resources to Avoid Plagiarism

The University of Worcester Library Services offers a range of study skills support on their website, including advice and guidance around plagiarism.