Assignments Tool Warnings for Instructors

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Assignments can be a very useful tool for both instructors and students when used well. Unfortunately, there are some issues that instructors need to know about so they may use the tool to its best capabilities. We will continue to add to this page as more become known with workarounds where possible.

File Formatting Issue

Blackboard has indicated there is a known issue with the inline grading service, where certain fonts are replaced with others leading to unexpected formatting changes. Blackboard did release a partial fix on Oct 1, 2020, which may have resolved the issue for the following fonts:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Century Schoolbook
  • Comic Sans
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Impact
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana
  • Yu Mincho

A note that the student's original submission file is unaffected by this issue, and can be downloaded using the white download arrow on the right-hand side in the grading panel.


Students can be advised to submit their assignments as a .pdf file which will preserve any formatting. Details on using the Bb Annotate tool are found in Blackboard's help article.

Assignments and Student Mobile App Warnings

We are aware of a problem that instructors need to be knowledgable about when students are using the Assignment function from a mobile device. Unfortunately, instructions about the assignment ARE NOT VISIBLE to the student UNTIL they begin an attempt. Please be aware of this and provide alternate means for students to retrieve important information.

Work around

Consider adding an attachment with the same set of instructions in it. Not all students are able to access a desktop computer when completing work online.

Delegated Grading

Delegated grading allows an instructor to use grades and feedback from one or more graders to promote reliability and remove bias. Users in the role of Instructor, Lead Teaching Assistant, and TA-Grader can be assigned as delegated graders who grade and provide provisional feedback. One or more instructors can be assigned to review the grading completed by the delegated grader to determine a final grade or reconcile it. The University of Windsor DOES NOT RECOMMEND using this feature at this time.

How to set up Delegated Grading

Delegated grading can be performed in the following steps as outlined by Blackboard's Delegated Grading article when setting up an Assignment.

Enable Delegated Grading when Creating an Assignment

The delegated graders are notified when the assignments they are responsible for are ready to mark. The delegated graders can access assignment submissions in the Full Grade Centre and on the Needs Grading page. After delegated graders have marked their assignments, instructors will be notified that grades need reconciling. The Reconcile Grades page is accessible from the Needs Grading and the Full Grade Center.

Known Issues with Delegated Grading

Grade Centre Column Hidden, Comments Visible

One of the major issues, is the problem with provisional comments (from delegated graders) being visible to students when the Grade Centre column has been hidden from students and after the instructor has entered a final reconciled grade. Additionally, we have encountered issues with the blue needs reconciliation icon remaining even after the instructor has completed the reconciliation Delegated Grading icon. Assignments also remain in the Needs Grading area. Finally, we have experienced problems if the Grade Centre column associated with the delegated grading gets set inadvertently to be the external grade column (green checkmark External Grade icon). If this happens, the students will get an error if they view the My Grades tool in the course site for any grades. This occurs after the first submission gets uploaded by a student.

Blackboard is aware of these issues and are working on them.


We recommend, at the bare minimum, that your graders be made aware that their comments could be visible to students, and to use great discretion when inserting comments. We might even go so far as to suggest that comments from graders in the tool be discouraged, and perhaps sent to you outside of the tool so you can decide if they are to be included in student feedback or not.

Cannot Add Grade Manually for Students with no Assignment Submission

Another issue involves the case where Instructors Cannot Manually Enter a Grade for Students who did not Submit an Assignment Set to Delegated Grading. In this situation, there is no patch, but Blackboard has provided a workaround. Future releases will contain a fix for this problem.


As a workaround, Instructors can use the Work Offline feature to enter a grade for these Users:

  • While in the Grade Center, hover over "Work Offline" and click Download
  • Download the Full Grade Centre or only the column that needs grading, to computer
  • Open the spreadsheet and enter the "0" (or other) grade
  • In the Grade Center, hover over the Work Offline option gain and click Upload
  • Upload the modified spreadsheet, clicking Submit on the confirmation page after reviewing the updates that will be made.

Using Groups or Auto-Groups

(Auto-Groups is a feature whereby instructors with more than one section in their course, will have each section automatically designated into a group by section number. More on this feature in the Auto-Groups article).

An effective workaround for delegated grading is to use a combination of Groups and Smart Views in the Full Grade Centre. To use this workaround, instructors would need to set up a SmartView for each of their Auto-Groups (and possibly create new groups if the Auto-Groups are not adequate), and remind their graders to access the SmartView (of the group they have been assigned to) manually in the Full Grade Centre. Note that this solution will not prevent those with permissions to grade from accessing and grading all of the students in the site, but as long as they apply the filter, they can easily locate the students to whom they have been assigned.

This set up circumvents many of the problems of delegated grading while still ensuring that graders can filter their view of the Grade Center to see only their own students. Additionally, instructors can still review any grade given and see the full history of who / when a grade has been issued while having full override capabilities by selecting View Grade Details from the chevron in the student’s grade centre cell. Graders will still have access to the inline marking tools (Box Inline Grading or rubrics) that have been set up for the assignment but will need to access them through the chevron in each student’s grade centre cell and selecting the attempt (instead of from the Needs Marking area).

We recommend that the use of delegated grading be reserved for those instances where multiple eyes on a high stakes assessment are needed. For more information, please view the Best Practices when using Delegated Grading article. Note that Delegated Grading isn’t necessary for those with the appropriate permissions in your site to be able to grade assignments, and with this combination of Groups and SmartViews, your graders can use the Filter feature -> Current View in the Full Grade Centre to view only those students in their group.

Advance to next student
Advance to next student
Smart Views will not apply, however, when grading using the Assignment interface and advancing to the next student using the arrow features to navigate to the next item to be graded. See the "Advance to next student image right for clarification."

Advise your graders to submit the grade, and then return to the Full Grade Centre to view their next student, and look at "View Grade Details" then "View Attempts" in the Grade Centre column accessed from the chevron in the student's cell. See the View Attempt image (left) for clarification
View Attempt
View Attempt

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