The Assignments tool in D2L Brightspace allows you to set up a place for students to submit their assignments digitally, with the ability to:
- Control the window for submission.
- Facilitate individual submissions or group submissions (provided the groups have been set up using the Groups tool first).
- Collect and assess submissions (with a connection to the Grades tool, if needed).
- Assess offline assignments, such as hard copies of essays, or in-class presentations.
- Enable plagiarism detection through Turnitin®.
Two main types of assignments:
- Individual assignment folders allow each student to submit to the assignment, and receive their own assessment and grade.
- Group submission folders allow each group to have one member submit the assignment, and all group members would receive the same assessment and grade (both in the assignment and any connected grade items)
Note that you must select the type of assignment when you first create it, and you will not be able to change it after the fact.
Turnitin for Assignments
Some assignments require plagiarism detection using Turnitin This feature can be added to any D2L Brightspace assignment through the options in the Evaluation and Feedback panel. Since this process requires some special consideration, please review our instructions on how to Enable Turnitin for assignments.
These settings can be found in the "Properties" tab of the assignment editor.
2. Enter the Name of the assignment. Ideally, this should be the same as the grade item that will connect with it, so that it’s easy to identify.
D2L Brightspace can accept a wide variety of file types. Many common file types will be displayed in the inline document viewer. However, we have noticed that files that have very precise layouts which are created in different versions of Word may display slightly differently, as they may not convert perfectly. If the document design is complex or contains different types of content, you may wish to recommend that your students submit PDF files, to ensure that page design, charts, etc appear consistently. If the assignment is a typical essay, composed of simple paragraphs, this is not a concern.
If students do not have Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat installed on their device, you can recommend that they create documents in Google Docs, then save to their desktop as PDF, before uploading the file to your assignment.
Files Allowed Per Submission:
You can decide whether students can only upload one file, or unlimited files. We recommend unlimited, in case an assignment requires multiple files/formats, and also if students notice a problem with their submission before the due date, they can upload again without the need to email you.
Allowable File Extensions:
This is a way to control the file types that you allow students to upload. This can help ensure that you receive assignments in the correct format, and that students do not try to upload dangerous files. When file type restrictions are used on an assignment, the list of allowable file types are listed on the Submit Assignment dialogue page.
- No Restrictions - students can upload any file type. If the file cannot be viewed in the document viewer, you will need to download and open using a program on your computer.
- PDF Only
- Annotatable Files - includes all file types that are supported by the Document Viewer and the Annotation tool in Assignments. For the complete list of file types, see File types supported by Annotations (external link) on the D2L Community website.
- Files that can be previewed without conversion - such as .HTM, .HTML, .MHT, .MHTML, and .BMP
- Images and Videos
- Custom File Types - Enter one or more allowable file extensions separated by a comma.
You can decide if all submissions are kept (recommended), only the most recent submission is kept, or only one submission is allowed. We usually recommend keeping all submissions. If there's a problem with the last submission, you can refer to previous submissions.
If you wish to receive an email notification each time a student uploads an assignment, type your email address into the Notification Email field.
Multiple email addresses can be comma-separated, if desired.
*Most instructors do not want this, as it could result in a lot of emails in your inbox.
Click Save to save your settings so far, and then proceed to the Evaluation and Feedback settings (if needed).
Click Save and Close if you are done setting up your assignment.
If you want to set up group assignment submission folders, it's important that you first set up groups. You can choose to create the group assignment during the group creation process, or after the groups have already been created.
NOTE: We recommend creating the group assignment using the Assignments tool, after the groups have been created, as you will have easier access to all of the settings.
A group assignment:
- Allows any member of the group to submit on behalf of the group.
- Ensures the instructor only needs to grade one submission per group.
- Provides all group members the same grade and feedback (in both the assignment and any associated grade item).
Please see the page on creating groups for instructions.
If you realize you've made a mistake when creating groups, or connecting groups to a group assignment, keep in mind that if you delete the group category/group, the associated assignment will also be deleted. If that is not what you want, make sure to associate the assignment with the correct group category/group first, then delete. Or switch the assignment to Individual, go to Groups to delete or create the groups you want, then edit the assignment to switch back to a Group Assignment,. and connect to the desired group/category. Learn about how to delete groups/group categories.
Changing assignment or submission type: If your assignment doesn't have any submissions yet, you can change the assignment type (individual vs group) and/or submission type (File submission, Text submission, On paper submission or Observed in person).
If you discover that you need to change one of these details after you have received student submissions, you will need to create a new assignment, and ask any students to resubmit to that assignment.
Some assignments require plagiarism detection using Turnitin. This feature can be added to any D2L Brightspace assignment through the options in the Evaluation and Feedback panel, under Manage Turnitin.
Since this process requires some special consideration, please review our instructions:
Text submission assignments tips: At this time, we do not recommend using Turnitin for a text submission assignment. The assignment will not display as expected in Turnitin. If you wish to use Turnitin, please use a file-based submission instead.
Please also note that if you create an assignment submission folder of a particular type (file, text, on paper or observed in person), and then change your mind, once the first student has submitted, you cannot change it to a different type of submission. You will need to create a brand new assignment.
The release will happen for all students at the same time, so if you have an assessment set to open at 3PM EST and close at 6PM EST, each student will need to adjust the time for their own time zone.
Have the students confirm the assessment times for their time zone in advance
There are two areas that will display the availability times in advance, provided they are not set to be "hidden from students":
- Assignments (under Assessments > Assignments)
- Content (under Content > locate the content)
In each of these areas, you will see the release date and time and the due date (if applicable), if they are not hidden from students. Each user will see it reflected in their own time zone.
Quizzes (under Assessments > Quizzes), unfortunately, do not always display the availability and end dates in advance. As such, it may be best to add the link to the quiz in the Content tool, where the dates will be displayed in advance (as described above). Quiz links can be added to Content using the Existing Activities feature.
Include the time zone if you reference assessment times in your communications
When posting information to your students using tools like Announcements, be sure to always include your local time zone when referencing the availability and due dates and times for your assessments.
For example, specify that a quiz will be available to start between 3:00 PM EST and 4:00 PM EST.
Other submission types
While file submission is the main type of assignment used in Brightspace, there are a few other options to choose from.
- Text submission - students enter their submission directly in the text editor in Brightspace. This is not recommended for Turnitin-enabled assignments.
- On-paper submission - students submit paper-based assignments to the instructor, and not online.
- Observed-in-person - students submit their work in a way that is observed but not collected (i.e. presentation or performance).
Settings specific to each of these options is available further down this page.
Find all of our D2L Brightspace video tutorials and webinars on our Brightspace Stream Page