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Assignments Overview

The Assignments Tool allows instructors to create, distribute, collect and grade online assignments. Assignments are private and student submissions are not visible to other users of the site. The Assignments Tool allows letter grades, points, check marks, pass/fail or ungraded. Assignments can also be returned, with or without grades, for re-submission. This feature can be used to evaluate drafts of final projects or papers, or to allow students to correct and re-submit an assignment. Students can also be asked to agree to an 'honour pledge'.

Key concepts

How do I?

Create, Edit or Delete Assignments

Create, add, edit, or remove an assignment

Note: To complete these procedures, you must be assigned a role having the necessary permissions. To determine your role, follow the directions in Participant roles. For a basic understanding of roles and permissions, see Permissions and Roles.

Add a new assignment

To add a new assignment:

Text Editor Tips

Text Editor Tips

This tool makes use of the Sakai Text Editor.

Our Text Editor article includes a number of tips including how to add images or paste content from MS Word.

Note: This step is optional, but you will receive an alert message at the top of the page when you post the assignment if you leave it blank. Click Post a second time to proceed.

Create Assignment
Create Assignment

Additional Assignments Options

Under the text box for Assignment Instructions, you will see the following options:

"I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment. Yes (You must respond to submit your assignment.)"

Assignments and Gradebook Options

Under "Grading", you will see the following options:

For more, see Link Assignment to Gradebook.
Note: Assignments added in the Assignments tool can only be graded, edited, or removed in the Assignments tool, even if they are added to the Gradebook or associated with a Gradebook entry.

Access and Group Display Options

Note: The "Access" section will only appear if groups have previously been defined for this site. See Sections or Manage Groups.

Submission Notification Email Options

To choose what kind of notification you would like to receive when students submit their assignments, choose from one of the following options:

Released Grade Notification Email Options

To select the type of notification to students when grades are released, choose from one of the following options:

Attachments for Assignments

You can set a model answer or all-purpose item to provide scheduled or immediate feedback. If desired, you can also set a private note (i.e., a note students cannot access).

Student Email Options for Assignment Grades Release
Student Email Options for Assignment Grades Release

While previewing the assignment, you can click Save draft if you want to save your assignment before you post it. You can then go back to it and revise it before you post it; see Posting an assignment previously saved as a draft. Only instructors (or those with the proper Permissions and Roles) can view drafts. Click Post when you are ready to make the assignment accessible by students, or Cancel to end the operation without any changes.

Edit an assignment

To revise a posted assignment before or after its open date or due date:

Note: If the assignment is currently open to students, you will only have the options of previewing and posting the assignment. When students view the revised assignment, they will be notified that changes have been made.

Delete an assignment

To delete an assignment:

Add an attachment to an assignment you have created

See the Add an attachment to an assignment article to find instructions on how to add or remove an attachment to an assignment.

Duplicate an assignment

Note: The duplicate assignment is a draft (i.e., your site's participants can't see it). If you want site participants to see the duplicate assignment, click its title, and then click Post.

Link Assignment to Gradebook

See the Link Assignment to Gradebook article to find instructions on how to link an assignment to the Gradebook tool.

Post an assignment previously saved as a draft

See the Post an assignment previously saved as a draft article to find out how to post an assignment that was in "Draft" mode previously.

Grade, Return or Download Assignments

Grade assignments, return an assignment or review student status

See the Grade assignments article to find out details about how to grade assignments, return a graded assignment or review the status of student submissions.

Read or download individual students' assignments

See the Read or download individual students' assignments article to find out more about reading or downloading individual assignments.

Export grades to a spreadsheet

See the Export grades to a spreadsheet article to learn how to export grades in Assignments to a spreadsheet.

Upload or Download all assignments

See the Upload or Download all assignments article to find out more about this feature in Assignments which enables instructors to batch upload or download submitted assignments, and grade spreadsheet.

View Assignments(Student Perspective)

See how assignment looks

Note: To complete these procedures, you must be assigned a role having the necessary permissions.

You can view how an assignment you created will look to participants who access it. To see your assignment in student view before or after it's been posted:

Before posting

After posting

Enter Student View link

Assignments Considerations

Note: The biggest disadvantage of using this option is that if you want to edit settings, you must make the changes in both the Assignments and Gradebook tool. The advantage is that you can use the Gradebook to override an assignment grade, though the change won't be reflected in the Assignments tool.

Upload All Issues

File Type

Upload and Release Issues

FAQ - Assignments

How do I . . .?

Respond to students wondering if assignment has been received?

To reduce the number of requests you might receive asking for confirmation of submissions, let your students know that when an assignment has been submitted through the Assignments tool, CLEW sends an email notification about the successful submission to the student.
If they haven’t received their confirmation and would like to check on the status of their assignment, students can always check the Assignments to verify successful submissions.

Grade Assignments Offline?

When using the Assignments tool, you can grade assignment submissions on-line or download all the assignment's submissions at once and grade off-line. Once you are finished grading all the submissions off-line, you can upload all graded submissions at once. See the Assignments article for further details about how to perform this function.

Know if I have the correct browser settings for "Upload All" to work?

The CLEW's Assignments tool enables instructors to grade an assignment offline and then when done, upload a compressed file back into Assignments. This works when you compress the folder containing the Assignments content such as student submissions, grade file, comments file, etc. into one zipped (or compressed) file that CLEW will understand and unpack appropriately. This is usually done by right clicking in your computer's file directory (in your system's browser) on the necessary folder and then selecting compression options available from your operating system. Occasionally, these zipped files are not labelled correctly by your Internet browser settings, which results in cryptic unfamiliar errors for the user, like "Invalid zip file" or "Alert: You have not selected a zip archive file. You must select either a .zip or a .sit archive file as the upload file".

Why does this error happen?
CLEW's Upload All announcements feature has very strict specifications for its uploads. The file extension must be .zip or .sit and the MIME type must be "application/zip" or "application/x-zip-compressed". MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) types or Content Types as they are informally known, are bits of information in a file which tells the application using that file, what type the content contained within the file is. It is like labelling boxes with their contents before you move. A box labelled "kitchen" will be read by the mover and they will know that this box only belongs in the kitchen. In Assignments, CLEW accepts only two zip MIME types (see above) and these specifically tell CLEW that the file you are uploading is the correct file type for it to process. This is extremely important because if the incorrect file type somehow gets uploaded, it could cause a lot of problems for that user in CLEW.

During the upload, your browser will scan the file and try to figure out what file type it is. If it is not able to determine the file type (the box is not labelled, using the metaphor above) your browser will ask your operating system if it recognizes the file type. If the file type is not recognized by the operating system either, it may substitute a generic MIME file type ("application/octet-stream") or try to make a best guess using similar file types (the box contains tools, so it must be labelled "garage"). This may further frustrate you as you will still get errors when this happens.

What do I do when this happens?
Contact Help Desk and someone from the CLEW Team will work with you to establish correct browser settings in order to avoid the problem. Your browser settings will need to be reconfigured so that the correct MIME type can be processed.

Release grades?

If you have already created the assignment, click on the name of the assignment to open the assignment summary. Click the Edit Assignment Settings link. Next, click in the check box beside "Release assignment. Make this assignment ..." to place a check mark in the box. Click the Submit button. Now your students will have access to their grades.

When you create an assignment in Gradebook, and then associate it to an assignment when creating or editing the assignment, make sure there is a check mark beside "Release assignment. Make this assignment visible in the assignment list displayed to students". If you don't, your students will not be able to see the assignment at all.

You can also ensure students receive an email indicating the Assignment grades are released by clicking the Send Notification Email to Student when Grade is Released under the Released Grade Notification email options.

Related Articles

This article is based on the equivalent Sakai help article created by Indiana University found at:
Additional sources of content include Brock University's Sakai / Isaak Wiki and the University of Florida Sakai / e-Learning Documentation with thanks and appreciation for the collaboration.

All respective sources used are under a free-for-reuse license and additional permission has been obtained.

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Other articles about Sakai tools and how instructors can use them:

Core Tools: Announcements | Assignments | Email | Forums | Gradebook | Quizzes & Tests II | Resources | Site Editor | Syllabus

More Tools: Polls | Chat | Drop Box | Home | Discussions | News | Feedback | Sections | Lessons | Site Stats | Web Content | Wiki

Related articles: How to add tools to CLEW | Using the Text Editor | Manage Groups | Permissions and Roles | Contact the CTL for help

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