Module Boxes and External Examiners in Blackboard Ultra
This guide is about how to create a Module Box in your Blackboard Ultra module and then, how to make sure it is visible to your External Examiners.
What do External Examiners see in Blackboard Ultra?
External Examiner is a type of Blackboard module enrolment, in the same way that module leader or student is a type of module enrolment, although with different access rights. In simple terms, an external can see what a student sees, plus all assignment submissions, grades and feedback, plus the Module Box area.
What is a Module Box?
A Module Box is a content folder which is accessible only to module leaders and external examiners, and which contains material private to the external examining process.
There are essentially two parts to enabling external examiner access to your module and your Module Box.
1. Enrolling your External Examiners into your Blackboard module
This process is managed by your school admin team, although course and module leaders will need to ensure that admin teams are briefed on the details specific to their modules.
The process within the admin team of adding an external examiner to a module is as follows:
- Almost all external examiners use Associate accounts (i.e. X number accounts) to access university IT systems, including Blackboard Ultra. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. If an external already uses a U number to access our IT systems (because of some other association with the university), please skip to stage 4.
- Firstly, the associate account needs to be created. Use apps.tees.ac.uk/associates to do this. Further support on associate account creation is available from ITDS.
- Secondly. the associate account needs to be authorised to use Blackboard Ultra. For the moment, please contact email@example.com to request this. Ultimately, the plan is for this stage to be devolved to the schools.
- Next, the external examiner needs to be enrolled in the Blackboard module. There are two sorts of module:
- Normal teaching modules: Use EEX / EEA records in SITS to allocate externals to modules. Further support on this is available from the FCD Helpdesk.
- Support Modules: Externals can be added to support modules (the ones with a code starting SPT-) using the support module website apps.tees.ac.uk/SupportModulesUltra/.
- Sometimes, you may see a “no records found” error when trying to add an associate account to an EEA record in SITS. Often this is because the associate does not have a PRS record in SITS. FCD Helpdesk will be able to investigate this situation.
- The time it takes for the external examiner to appear in a Blackboard module depends on the schedules of several interlinking university systems, but they should always be available by the next working day.
At this point, you have enrolled your external examiners into the appropriate Blackboard module and they will be able to access and navigate around it.
2. Creating the Module Box
The next step is to create the Module Box area inside the Blackboard module. Our suggestion is that this is managed by the teaching staff of the module.
The Module Box area is a content folder which is accessible only to module leaders and external examiners, and which contains material private to the external examining process.
To create a Module Box:
- Go to Blackboard Ultra and click through to the module in question.
- In the Module Content area, look to see whether a Module Box folder has already been created. This may be the case if your School has included a Module Box folder as part of your standard School Template. If a Module Box folder already exists, go to step 9, otherwise carry on to step 3.
- In the Module Content area, click on the “purple plus” icon at the point you want to create the Module Box.
- In the popup menu which appears, click on Create.
- A flyout menu will appear on the right hand side of your screen. Click on Folder.
- The menu will change to show the Folder creation options. Edit the name of the folder. For consistency, please call it Module Box.
- Add some appropriate Description text.
- Click Save.
- Find the Module Box area on your Module Content page.
- Click where it says Hidden from students.
- In the popup menu which appears, click on Release Conditions.
- A flyout menu will appear on the right hand side of your screen. Click on the Specific members or groups option.
- Start typing the surname of your external examiner into the Individual members box. A popup card containing the user’s information will appear below. Click on this card to give this external examiner access to the Module Box.
- Repeat the previous step until you have added every external examiner.
- Click Save.
- You have now created a content area which is only accessible to module leaders and external examiners.
- Don’t forget: You still need to set these “Release Conditions”, even if your School has included a Module Box folder as part of the standard module template.
- The Module Box can now be populated with materials relevant to the external examining process. For more guidance on appropriate content, please review the Assessment & Feedback Policy (Appendix E), or for school specific advice, contact your line management.
- All of the content items you add to your Module Box (documents, folders, files etc.) will also need to be made available to external examiners. You could add Release Conditions to each item in the same way as described above. However, the simplest and quickest approach is just to set everything inside the Module Box (though not the Module Box itself) as Visible to students. This is not a problem, as the permissions on the Module Box folder itself will override any permissions set on content inside it.
- Warning: Do not set the permissions on the Module Box folder itself to be Visible to students.
- All external examiners will have access to the module Gradebook, so unless there is a reason to draw a specific assignment submission to the external examiners’ attention, there is no need to copy assignment submissions and / or feedback to the Module Box folder.
If you prefer a video..
.. we have made one showing the process of creating a module box: