E-submission and Feedback Policy

Introduction

1.1. Aberystwyth University (AU) requires that students submit all text-based word-processed assignments electronically.

1.2 Where possible staff should provide a grade and feedback electronically through Blackboard.

1.3.  Students should submit their work through Blackboard, the virtual learning environment.

1.4.  AU provides Turnitin and Blackboard tools (including Blackboard Assignment) for e-submission.

1.5 This policy is available on the Information Services website and referenced in the Academic Quality Handbook.

2.    Definitions

2.1.  The submission aspects of this policy apply to all assessed work that is text-based and word-processed. Items relating to submission therefore do not apply to other work, such as:

  • Notebooks
  • Paintings, drawings, and sculptures
  • Performances
  • Seminar contributions
  • Laboratory experiments

2.2.  This policy applies to work submitted by undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

2.3.  AU recognises that some assignments are submitted using specialist software. If this is the case, we recommend that marks and feedback be returned to students through Blackboard.

3.    Use of Your Data

3.1.  Both Turnitin and Blackboard are cloud-based services. This means both companies hold information about staff and students.

3.2.  This information includes your name, email address, module enrolments and role on the module. A copy of submissions, feedback comments and grades will also be stored.

3.3.  AU staff may also use data generated from both services as part of the AU Learning Analytics service. Information about Learning Analytics can be found at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/infocompliance/dp/learning-analytics/

4.    Submission

4.1.  Departments are responsible for creating submission points in Blackboard modules for each e-submission. These submission points must contain relevant information for students, including the date when the assignment is due.

4.2.  Deadlines should be Monday-Friday during office hours unless there are specific reasons for not doing so.

4.3.  Students should leave sufficient time before the deadline to submit their work. IT problems will not be considered as ‘special circumstances’.

4.4.  Departments should provide a practice submission for first year students in advance of their first deadline. Students should make sure that they use this to check that they understand how to submit and they can submit correctly from the computer they will use.

4.5.  Both Blackboard Assignment and Turnitin provide an email receipt. Students should check that they get a copy of this receipt and keep it safe. If they have not received the receipt, they should check their submission and raise any problems with Information Services and their department immediately.

4.6.   As agreed by Academic Board in 2020, Turnitin submission points should be set up to allow students to make multiple submissions before the deadline and to view their Turnitin originality report.  

4.7.  All submission points should be set up for anonymous submission unless there are specific reasons for not doing so.

4.8.  Locked users will not be able to submit their work. Student whose accounts are locked at the time of submission should contact is@aber.ac.uk for advice.

5.    Grading and feedback

5.1.  The AU Feedback policy is part of the Academic Quality handbook. This policy includes information about the AU Principles for Effective Feedback.

5.2.  Staff should return feedback to students within 15 working days of the date of submission. Working days are recognised as Monday to Friday when the University is open. More information about this is in the AU Academic Quality Handbook.

5.3.  Marks and feedback should be provided through Blackboard. Staff can use the in-built feedback tools in Turnitin or Blackboard to provide grades and feedback.

5.4.  Marks and feedback for work that is not submitted electronically should also be provided electronically. This helps students find their feedback in a single location, see a breakdown of their marks across a module. It also enables marks transfer from Blackboard to AStRA. In circumstances where feedback cannot be given electronically, staff will provide clear information to students about how and when feedback will be returned.

6.    Dissertations

6.1.  All undergraduate and taught postgraduate dissertations should be submitted electronically.

6.2.  In 2019, Academic Board agreed that where departments wish to work with paper copies they need to agree how to manage this, in discussion with their Faculty Registrar.

6.3.  There is no requirement for undergraduate dissertations to be bound.

7.    Retention Period

7.1.  Submitted documents are retained in Blackboard for five years.

7.2.  Marks are kept in Blackboard for five years.

7.3.  Students are able to access their feedback and marks for their assignments until their AU account closes or the five-year period has expired (whichever is sooner).

7.4.  Students who wish to keep a copy of submissions and/or feedback after they leave AU should download these materials before they leave. The university cannot guarantee to supply a copy of any submission after a student has left.

8.    Copyright

8.1.  Students retain the copyright to their original work submitted to Turnitin. Information about Turnitin’s copyright statement is available on the Turnitin web site.

8.2.  Under some circumstances, staff may want to set up an assignment which doesn’t add the submissions to the Turnitin central database. This may be used for draft assignments or assignments that contain personal information.

9.    IT Failures

9.1.    In the event of a large-scale system outage of more than two hours during 9am – 5pm on weekdays, deadlines for that day will be extended by 24 hours.

9.2.   In the case of a Blackboard outage, this will be all deadlines (Blackboard Assignments, Blackboard tests, blogs, wikis and discussion boards and Turnitin).

9.3.   In the case of a Turnitin outage, this will be just Turnitin assignments.

9.4.   The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (LTEU) will monitor all outages. LTEU Manager will recommend the outage plan is put in place. The Director of Information Services and the Academic Registrar will then approve this. The decision will then be sent to the Faculty Registrars who are responsible for contacting all relevant students.

9.5.   Information Services will also send messages using IS News, Twitter, Facebook.

9.6 Once the outage has finished, the Faculty Registrar will organise updating all relevant submission points with the new deadline date and time.

 

10.         Accessibility

10.1.  Online marking will mean extra time at a computer at certain times of the year. Staff and departments should make sure that AU Health and Safety guidelines for followed to avoid increasing the risk of RSI or eyestrain. Information about the use of Display Screen equipment is available on the Health, Safety and Environment web site.

10.2.  Turnitin provides information about the accessibility of their product on their web site. Information about Blackboard accessibility is also available on the Blackboard web site. Staff who have accessibility concerns about using Turnitin should raise these with their Head of Department and staff in the LTEU.

10.3.  Despite extensive lobbying, there is no Welsh language version of Turnitin. However, Turnitin can be used to submit and check Welsh language papers for originality using Turnitin (a number of Welsh universities use Turnitin). Staff who want a Welsh interface for submission and marking should use the Blackboard Assignment tool.

Support

Information Services offer support and training for all staff on e-submission. Information can be found at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/it-services/elearning/esubmission/

 

This Policy is maintained by Information Services, was last reviewed by Academic Enhancement Committee in May 2021 and is due for review in January 2022.