Blackboard: Adaptive Release, Assessment and Notifications

This article attempts to clarify how Adaptive Release works for Blackboard and Turnitin submission points, and how it affects notifications in the Ultra Base Navigation.

Where are due dates displayed in the Base Navigation?

Blackboard assignments and tests produce notifications in a student’s Activity Stream when the due date is approaching, and when a submission is overdue.

Notifications do not appear in the Activity Stream for older Turnitin assignments, however, Turnitin LTI assignments will appear in the Activity Stream.

Due dates for Blackboard assignments and tests, and Turnitin assessments, do appear in the Calendar.


Restricted Availability / Adaptive Release

If you set up submission points in a folder, and students do not have access to that folder – either because of adaptive release, or because the folder is set to become visible at a later date – you do not need to restrict the availability of the assessments inside the folder as well.

Obviously you might feel that you want to take a belt-and-braces approach, and restrict the individual submission points as well. But in general we would advise against it.
If you do apply restrictions in both places it is vital that the conditions applied to the submission points tally with those applied to the folder as a whole – we have encountered cases where the Adaptive Release rules on an assignment clash with those on the folder, leading to students being unable to access an exam or other assessment.

What will students see on the Base Navigation?

Blackboard assignments and tests which are not available to a student – whether because of adaptive release, date restrictions, or because they are in an unavailable folder – do not display to students in the Activity Stream or Calendar.

Due dates for Turnitin assignments display in the Calendar regardless of whether the assignment is available to a student or not.

So if you make a Turnitin assignment only available to students in Group A, then only students in Group A will be able to see the assignment and submit to it. But all students on the course will see it listed in their Calendar.

Please ensure that you use clear names for your assessments to reduce the chances of students becoming confused.

For instance

  • If an assignment is just for Group A, make sure this is clear in the assignment name.
  • Resit assignments should always contain the word ‘Resit’.

Do I need to apply Adaptive Release to assessments?


It is much better to use the Display After / Display Until options on a folder, assignment or test, than to use Adaptive Release to set date restrictions.

Assessments in a folder

Use Display After / Display Until options for the folder. This will restrict access to everything inside the folder.

Blackboard assessments (Blackboard assignments, tests, journals etc.)

Use Display After / Display Until options for the assessment.

Turnitin assignments

The Start Date controls the date at which a Turnitin assignment becomes visible to students. Normally, for coursework, you do not need to hide the assignment after the due date – students who have already submitted cannot resubmit after the due date, and if appropriate you can choose not to allow new submissions after the due date.

If you do need to hide a Turnitin assignment (for example, take home exams)

  • Place it in a folder, and use Display After / Display Until options for the folder.
  • Otherwise use Adaptive Release on the Turnitin assignment to apply a Display Until date.

Important – mixing date restrictions and other adaptive release criteria


  • you have set date restrictions on a folder or Blackboard assessment
  • and you also need to apply an adaptive release rule e.g. to limit the assessment to just one group of students

be aware that the date restrictions applied to the folder or item will copy across to the Adaptive Release screen. And will not automatically update if you change the date settings on the individual item later on.

In this situation, when you go into the Adaptive Release screen, untick the date boxes before applying other rules. That will ensure that date restrictions set on the item itself are the only ones that apply.

To avoid complications, always apply date restrictions in one place only – never apply dates to the item or folder AND on the Adaptive Release screen.


When you want only particular individuals or groups to see the assessment, use this Adaptive Release criterion.

Only use the adaptive release on the submission point or the folder not both. Using both with increase chances of error and means that it needs to be edited in two places if change is needed.

This will hide the item from students not required to submit the assessment, however Turnitin assignments will still appear in the Calendar for all students on the course  (see above).

Review Status

When the Module Convenor would like students to read or acknowledge some instruction or task before being able to access the submission point.

More on Review Status.

Page last updated on March 27, 2023 by taralehane

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