Online Assessment - Student Guides
Module instructors can visit our online assessment page for staff or contact IT Services if they need advice on this process.
Guides for Submitting Assessments and Viewing Feedback
IT Services have created video guides providing an overview of how to submit your assessments through Blackboard; click on the links below to view the videos and access additional links and resources. For all submission types, you will need to use a web browser; Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are recommended; other browsers may work but you could encounter issues in some scenarios - do not use the Blackboard app to submit assessments. If you are unsure of the specific details of an assessment, check with your module instructors.
Top tips for students:
- Use Chrome or Firefox where possible
- Save and close submissions before uploading
- Ensure files have uploaded successfully
- For Turnitin: Upload all submissions through Blackboard NOT the Turnitin.com website
- Submission issues: contact your module instructors in the first instance
A note regarding grades in Blackboard: SITS (my.tcd.ie) is the system of record for all student results. Any results provided in Blackboard are provisional only.
Viewing Instructor Feedback: once your instructor releases your feedback and grades, you can access these via the My Grades section in Blackboard or by returning to the link where you submitted your assignment. The feedback and grades will be visible on the right-hand panel. You can also click the grid icon on the right to view rubric feedback if one is used. Click on the down arrow next to the file on the right to download a PDF with any annotations. Please click here for an example screenshot.
Uploading large files: after you click Submit, you will need to wait for the files to finish uploading. You will not see a progress bar so for large file; click Submit once wait until it finishes uploading. After it completes, you will get a submission receipt as outlined in the video above.
My file did not upload successfully: Make sure you do not have the file open/being edited when uploading. Close out of the file before submitting. If there is still an issue try in another browser such as Chrome or Firefox.
Viewing Your Originality Report: Your instructor controls whether or not the Turnitin originality report is available to view. If the report says 'Pending' please return to the file at a later stage - typically around an hour after first submitting but this can vary depending on the file size or whether it is a busy period. Resubmission reports can take up to 24 hours to generate (or longer if there is an issue with the paper or the Turnitin service) - please ensure you leave plenty of time before submitting. IT Services have no control over how long these reports take to appear. Please check with your instructor if you are unsure what options are available to you.
Viewing Instructor Feedback: Return to the link where you submitted your assignment once your instructor advises the feedback is available. Click on the submission and then on the annotations and feedback panel on the right. Please watch the video above for information on how to view feedback and grades when they are made available.
Submitting via Blackboard: if you are submitting your assignment via Turnitin in Blackboard, DO NOT create a Turnitin.com account or submit to Turnitin.com under any circumstances - instead submit your assignment via Blackboard and save the receipt once you have submitted.
Viewing Instructor Feedback: Access your grades and feedback for a test via My Grades once it becomes available. Please watch the video above for information on how to view feedback and grades when they are made available.
Online Exams Practice Module
IT Services have created a practice module for students to practice submitting attempts using these tools. You will need to self-enrol on this module before you on do this, see the instructions below Click on the link under Institutional Announcements after logging in to Blackboard to access this.
Joining the Online Exams Practice Module - Full Steps
- Login to Blackboard via mymodule.tcd.ie
- In the My Learning Space page, click on the link for Online Exams Practice Module for Students option in the Institutional Announcements. (you may need to click on My Learning Space at the top of your Blackboard page to find the Institutional Announcements.)
- Click on the Enrol button on the left side of of the page. (if you can't see the Enrol button, you may need to click on the blue bar to the left of the screen to make it visible.)
- Click on the Submit button on the bottom right of your page.
- Your page will then say you have been enrolled. Click on the OK button on the bottom right of the page to access the module.
- After this, you will be able to access the module from your Module List on the My Learning Space Page or via the link in the Institutional Announcements
General Advice for Students Undertaking Online Exams
Know what’s required for online assessment
Familiarise yourself with how the online assessment will work; read through any instructions and guidelines carefully and well in advance. And, make sure to test your access to any relevant online services or websites so that you won’t have any password issues on the day.
If there’s anything you don’t understand then get in touch with your lecturer to clarify things in good time.
Preparing yourself, your computer / device and internet connection
- Pick a comfortable and quiet spot where you can use WiFi without any issues and has access to an electrical plug (in the event you’ll need to plug in your laptop)
- Setup well before the start of the online exam; if you are using a laptop, then ensure it is plugged into electrical power
- Limit distractions on your device by turning off notifications or anything else that may disrupt your concentration during your exam
- Make sure you can access the relevant online service or website and login. Be aware of the Blackboard browser support advice, or similar advice for the service you will be using.
- If you are sharing WiFi in your house, then it would be worthwhile to ask others to restrict their use of online services that would require a high amount of WiFi while your exam is in progress.
Setting up a Low Distraction Study/Exam Venue at Home
- Set up the study/exam room well in advance of the exam starting. Occupational Therapists from Trinity Disability Service have recorded a seminar regarding Setting up an Exam Venue at Home that you might find very helpful.
- Remove as much clutter from the desk area as possible. All unnecessary materials should be placed outside the room for the duration of the examination.
- Set up lighting to your preference, by locating near a window if you prefer natural light, or setting up in a dark space with lamp lighting.
- Desks should be placed facing blank walls where possible.
- Talk to housemates/family in advance of your examination, to reduce distractions during this period as much as possible.
- If possible, use a room away from the kitchen and common seating areas.
- Earplugs can be purchased from most pharmacies, or low-level white noise on Youtube or Spotify may be effective if in a noisy environment.
- Movement breaks including squats, wall push-ups or planks can help modulate the sensory environment during your exams.
- Please contact the Disability Service at email@example.com for more specific advice on setting up a low distraction study/exam venue.
Submitting your assessments and assignments online
You will need to upload your assessments and assignments in the correct formats:
- For online exams where you are typing long essay-style answers you should be using MS Word and typing you answers into the Answer Booklet provided for the exam. Do not type long essay answers directly into Blackboard. You will upload the MS Word Answer Booklet to Blackboard at the end of your online exam.
- For online exams where you are handwriting answers, such as writing formula and equations or drawing diagrams, you will need to take photographs of your answers. You will copy the photographs into an MS Word Answer Booklet provided for the exam. The Answer Booklet should clearly highlight the place where you need to paste your uploaded photograph answer for each question. You will upload the MS Word Answer Booklet to Blackboard at the end of your online exam. Do make sure that all your photographs are in focus, taken in good light and fully capture all your work.
- For online exams where you are writing and submitting computer code, you will need to zip the files before you upload to Blackboard at the end of your online exam. You can find the list of supported file types: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Original/Assignments/Supported_File_Types
- As it may take additional time to upload your online exam answers as Blackboard Assignments, or via Turnitin in Blackboard, there has been allowances made and you have extra time to submit your answers.
- For online exams where you are taking a Blackboard Quiz, such as a Multiple Choice Assessment, please take the quiz using a single recommended browser - Blackboard browser support. If you exit during the quiz then be aware the timer will not pause. If you are taking a quiz, without automatic submission switched on, you need to remember to submit your answers by clicking the "Submit" button before the time is up. When the time is up for you online exam then all selected answers will be automatically saved and submitted.
Important -- What to do if you have issues on the day
Document everything. If you encounter technical issues on the day of the exam or during the exam, then it is important to document the problems in detail. Take screenshots of errors, note the times of any incidents and record what actions you took.
If you encounter any issues with your Blackboard Module, such as submitting or accessing an assignment or a test, please contact your module instructors in the first instance; IT Services cannot reset or allow additional submission attempts as only module instructors manage the assessment settings. Module instructors can visit our online assessment page for staff or contact IT Services if they need advice on this process.
Your WiFi Connectivity isn’t working?
Look for the simple fixes first:
- Check that any cables or wires are not disconnected, and that your broadband is plugged in.
- Reset your internet by ‘turning it off and turning it back on again’ – unplug the electrical plug, wait for a minute, and then plug it back in again. It may take another minute before service is restored.
You could also use your smartphone as a WiFi hotspot.
What if we have a power outage?
If your home has a power outage and you need to use the Internet then you could try to connect your laptop to the WiFi hotspot on your phone.
Using your smartphone as a hotspot: what to know beforehand & instructions
You can use the data on your smartphone by turning your device into a ‘hotspot’.
Things to Know about Using Your Phone as a Hotspot
- Tethering uses the data bundle of your mobile phone plan
- Protect your hotspot with a password so that others cannot use your data
- Hotspots use a lot of power so your phone’s battery can run down quickly; keep your phone plugged in while using it as a hotspot
- Turn the hotspot off when you are done using it
- If you are in a place without a mobile phone signal then your phone's hotspot will not connect a device to the Internet.
- Test your hotspot before you need to use it; Make sure your phone and service provider both permit hotspot connections.
- You may be able to have multiple devices connected to your hotspot, but remember the more devices that are connected to your hotspot, the faster your data allowance will go.
Don't know how to turn your smartphone into a hotspot? See our instructions for using your iPhone or Android as a WiFi hotspot.
Worried that you may have a bad internet connection or phone signal at home?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) said “it is imperative that mobile and wireless networks are able to carry extra voice and data traffic on their systems and so now telecoms operators have been put more plans in place to manage and handle the surge in voice and data traffic”.
So, they have released extra radio spectrum to provide additional capacity for mobile phone and broadband provision in Ireland due to the steep increase in the use of mobile networks.
Guidelines for Undergraduate Students Completing Real Time Online Exams
View the 'Guidelines for Undergraduate Students Completing Real Time Online Exams' document from summer 2020 - note a revised version may be issued for 2021; please check with your school/Academic Registry if unsure of the exam scheduling.