Guide for External Examiners

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Your School will provide you with information about Blackboard, and how you can access the specific information you require. Practices vary between Schools, so may not exactly match what is shown below.

Logging on

You should log on to Blackboard at – see  Blackboard Learn: Logging in.

Please note that logging into Blackboard and many other University systems requires MultiFactor Authentication – please see the DTS Guide to Remote Services Access.

If you use Microsoft authentication at your home institution, you may find that in order to access the University of Reading Blackboard system you need to

  • sign out of the Microsoft account for your home institution
  • or use a private browser window
  • or use a different browser (e.g. use Firefox instead of Chrome)

Once logged on, you will see individual modules listed under ‘Courses’ on the left, but your first port of call is likely to be the External Examiner organisation listed under ‘Organisations’.

Screenshot of the Organisations page in the Base Navigation
Screenshot of the Organisations page

External Examiner Organisations

Your External Examiner organisation is designed to help you find all of the information you need. This may include

  • assessment regulations and other key University information
  • Programme specifications and handbooks
  • Module descriptions
  • Module assessment information


Access to assessed work

In line with the University’s move to electronic submission, marking and feedback, External Examiners are now enrolled onto the Blackboard course for each module, and you will be able to directly view students’ work and the feedback provided on it.

The way information is presented will differ from School to School. In the example shown below, the ‘Moderation Sample’ link will take you directly to the Blackboard Grade Centre for the relevant module, and show you a Smart View for the specific sample which was subject to internal moderation.

Links from External Examiner Organisation to assessment information

Helpful tip!

If you wish to see the marks and feedback for all students, not just those in the moderation sample, you should go to Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre.

Access the Full Grade Centre

As you hover over any cell in the Grade Centre, a chevron appears. Click on this, and select ‘Attempt’ to view the submitted work and feedback.

Blackboard Grade Centre - View Attempt

What appears next will depend on the type of assessment.

Turnitin assignments

You will see a screen similar to this.

Turnitin Assignment - Grade Centre view

  1. User’s Paper
    Click on the icon next to ‘User’s Paper’ to open the student’s work in the Turnitin Feedback Studio, in a new window.
    In most cases, the marker’s feedback will also be visible in the Feedback Studio, and sections 3-5 below will be empty.
  2. Student grade 
    Please note, penalties for late submission are only entered in SITS, and are not reflected in Blackboard.

In some cases feedback will not have been provided through Turnitin. In that case you will see feedback left

  1. in the Comments field
  2. and/or as an Attached file
  3. Instructor Notes
    This area may have been used by markers to leave private notes, which are not visible to students.

Where work has been marked using the Feedback Studio, there will be some or all of the following

  1. QuickMarks and comments left directly in the text
  2. Feedback summary
  3. Audio feedback
  4. a Rubric or Grading Form

Feedback Studio feedback tools

Feedback Studio feedback tools

Turnitin LTI Assignments

Going forward Turnitin will be accessed differently . If you have any LTI assignments in your current courses you will need to access through the grade centre.

Access each assignment through the grade centre or in the assessment area.

Showing how to access the inbox from the grade Centre or the assessment area

This will open the whole inbox for the assignment, no matter which student you open.

Filter by sample group to view the papers.

Showing how to filter groups in the inbox

Please note to view the next paper in the group go to the filter view. Do not click next as this paper is the next in the whole inbox.


Blackboard Assignments

Clicking on ‘Attempt’ in the Grade Centre will take you directly to the student’s submitted work.

Marked Blackboard Assignment

Most file types will display directly within the browser. In this case, markers may have left feedback directly within the student’s paper.

To see additional feedback, expand the ATTEMPT panel on the right.

Blackboard Assignment reveal feedback panel

You will now see additional feedback provided by the marker.

Blackboard Assignment feedback panel

  1. Rubric
    Click on the icon to open the rubric in a separate window.
  2. General Feedback to Learner
  3. Private Grading Notes, not visible to students.

Blackboard Group assignments

Where work has been submitted on behalf of a group, the Grade Centre will show ‘Group Attempt’.

View Group Assignment attempt

By default, all students in the group receive the same feedback and mark, but it is possible for this mark to have been modified for individual students.

Blackboard Group Assignment marks

Gradescope assessment

Please see our seperate guide Gradescope: A guide for external examiners

Other assessments

Some assessment work will have been submitted physically and marked offline – this could include physical artefacts, handwritten lab books, paper-based in-class tests. In this case, where no electronic submission was made, you will not see the ‘View Attempt’ option. Click on ‘View Grade Details’ to see feedback provided.

Grade Centre - View Grade Details

Typically you will see feedback in the ‘Feedback to Learner’ area and/or in an attached file.

Blackboard physical submission feedback

Further help

If you have queries about what you are seeing in Blackboard or Turnitin, please raise them with your contacts in the School or Support Centre.

If you experience technical difficulties, please log them with the IT Service Desk:
telephone 0118 378 6262

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