Downloading Assignments

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Previously, CLEW provided the option to download all student assignments for a single assessment to be able to work offline. Then, instructors were able to provide additional files containing feedback into individual student folders, update a master spreadsheet containing grades for that assessment, then re-zip the entire folder containing all of the student work and grades. Finally, instructors were able to upload the zipped folder back into CLEW, and it would subsequently upload all of the individual student's assignments with instructor feedback.

Sadly, we have to report that the Download Assignments in Blackboard isn’t remotely comparable to the same features we used to have in CLEW. We’ve heard from a few instructors who used the download all assignments options and are missing it. We can empathize with your frustration, particularly, when it was a vital component of grading in your course.

While not entirely similar, Blackboard has provided an article on Downloading Assignments which details what the system can perform, and how to accomplish the tasks.

Assignments Features in Blackboard

What we do have in Blackboard Assignments, that we didn’t have in CLEW are the following features:

  • An integrated rubric (which calculates into the Grade Centre and displays in the My Grades area for students (except for discussions)),
  • An online annotation editor for comments, and annotations – has some features similar to Track Changes in MS Word,
  • Ability to download an individual’s file from the assignments grading interface, and
  • A few areas to provide feedback to students or other graders, including attachments.

More on creating assignments from Bb help pages.

Accessing Feedback and Grading


To access attachments uploaded as feedback, students can view them through the My Grades tool. All students need to do is click on the name of the assignment, which becomes a hyperlink, and will take the student to the uploaded assignment, with the feedback box and the attached file. Admittedly, it looks a little odd on the instructor end when attaching the file, and the *instructor* doesn’t get to view that attachment in the same way. But the students should be able to find it. (And if not, all they need to do is to go back to the assignment itself, click on that link, and it should show them their submission and the attached files.)


If the instructor wants to view the uploaded feedback file again, they must do it through the Grade Center, by going to the specific student assignment cell, and clicking the chevron in the cell and choosing View Grade Details. This will open a dashboard showing the attempt and the instructor’s feedback and file.

Instructors have in the Grade Centre, the ability to clear an attempt, provide another attempt, manually override grades, and see the history per student’s grades.

Downloading and Uploading Spreadsheets with Grades

Instructors can upload an external spreadsheet to upload scores for an assignment if needed. This is easiest if the column is created originally in Blackboard as it contains the unique ID for the column. This occurs automatically if you set up a Blackboard Assignment. Access the downloadable template from the Grade Centre -> Work Offline -> Download. Then reverse the process when grades are filled in and ready to upload. Therefore, parts of the original function exists, but in separate places.

We are actively looking for the ability to regain the functionality we had in CLEW, and Blackboard is fully aware of our request. We will update those who have contacted us about this issue of any developments in this area if / when we are notified of any relevant changes from Blackboard.

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