Turnitin update – new option to accept any file type

Turnitin’s latest update  includes the option for Instructors to choose to allow any file type as a submission. Although Turnitin will not produce Originality Reports for all file types, this provides the ability to give/receive feedback using Grademark on files for which Originality Reports cannot be generated, and files that cannot be displayed in the Document Viewer. This includes images, music, video, and other file types. Turnitin have provided the following information about this new feature:

Instructors will see a new assignment setting when creating or editing Paper assignments in Turnitin. The new setting will appear below the assignment name and point value fields, and will have two options: “Allow only file types that Turnitin can check for originality” and “Allow any file type”.

The system default will remain “Allow only file types that Turnitin can check for originality”. The requirements for generating an Originality Report have not been changed, they are:

  • The file must be less than 400 pages in length
  • The file must be less than 20 MB
  • The file must contain more than 20 words of text
  • The file must be in one of these file formats: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul (HWP), Google Docs (submitted via the Google Drive submission option), plain text files.

If “Allow any file type” is selected, any file that is less than 20 MB and that is less than 400 pages in length will be allowed to be submitted. If the submitted file meets the requirements for generating an Originality Report (listed above) an Originality Report will be created for the file.

For more information, go to Turnitin’s Help Centre and search for “allow any file type”. If you have any questions, please contact tel-help@bristol.ac.uk.

Turnitin maintenance – Saturday March 1st

Turnitin have announced that their services may be intermittently unavailable during a maintenance period on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 3 pm to 7 pm. Turnitin recommend that instructors modify any assignment due dates to either before or at least several hours after the maintenance window.

We recommend that any Turnitin submissions be postponed until 9 am on Monday, when local support will be available.

Questionmark Authoring Manager running slowly.

We have received reports that Questionmark Authoring Manager is running very slowly. We have reported this problem to our technical support team who are in conversation with Questionmark.

If you do need to make changes to any tests you can still do this through Enterprise Manger accessible from http://qmp.bris.ac.uk/

We will provide all updates through this blog.

If you have any questions please email TEL-Help@bristol.ac.uk

BbDrive – available for all staff on request

After a successful pilot we are pleased to announce that BbDrive is now available to all staff to use with Blackboard on both their work and home computers.  We should also like to thank those staff that participated in the pilot for their feedback.

One of the more interesting results from the pilot was that those that had problems were those staff who tried to do too much on BbDrive.  It makes your Blackboard courses work a bit like a network drive allowing you to open and edit your files directly from Blackboard – however as you are accessing your files at a remote location over the web it is slower than if you are using files on your local pc.  For most of the pilot participants who would go to Blackboard make a couple of small changes to a file and leave this worked fine. By contrast some participants moved the majority of their files onto Blackboard and attempted to do significant amounts of work on there (such as creating a 20 page powerpoint from scratch) and they found the slowness problematic.

As such if you are planning on using BbDrive we should stress that it is ideal for adding files  and making small changes to files you have already added to Blackboard, it is however not ideal for making extensive changes to files (such as typing in a word document for 20 minutes).


Joseph Gliddon
Learning Technologist
Technology Enhanced Learning Team


BB Drive is a desktop application available on request that you can install onto your PC which makes dealing with your files on Blackboard easier and more efficient.

When you wish to update a file in Blackboard you no longer need to take a copy, edit the copy, save it, delete the original and upload the copy. Instead you just open, edit and save.
Watch this video to see how simple it is.

It is also possible to open your whole course as if it was a network drive, allowing you to drag in new files, move files around, create folders and update files, as demonstrated in this video.

We think that this has the potential to save staff time both when creating and updating their courses. This longer video follows someone through the process of setting up their course.

If you have any questions or would like to use BbDrive please email us at tel-help@bristol.ac.uk telling us your work computer name and we will have it installed on your work computer. If you wish to use it at home we can send you the exe file.

Critical Dates for TEL Systems – Blackboard and QMP.

If you know the dates of your Critical Activity on Blackboard or QMP until the end of August 2014, please forward them to TEL-Help@bristol.ac.uk

Please provide the following information:

* Course ID or name

* Date and time of activity

* Type of activity e.g. Submission, Exam

(For online assessment activity could you please include the following code – M for mock, A for assessment and E for final exam)

* Number of students sitting the exam/Submitting

* Room name or number where the activity will take place, along with a contact number (if applicable)

* Contact Name and phone number

This information is vital for the TEL Team to plan system maintenance and upgrade.

All dates will be entered onto the critical dates spreadsheet, you can check your dates by clicking on the link below:


Turnitin Service Issues

There have been reports of some issues affecting Turnitin submissions since Turnitin implemented an upgrade on January 23rd. The issues are intermittent and have straightforward workarounds, which are outlined below. Turnitin are aware of these issues and are working to rectify them.

Firstly, some digital receipt emails may not have been sent to submitters. In these cases, although the submission has been completed successfully, the email confirming this has not been delivered. Submitters can check that the submission was successful within Turnitin, and can also download a pdf version of the digital receipt from there.

Secondly, some Turnitin submissions may not be showing in the Grade Centre, even though they were successful and can be seen in the assignment inbox in Turnitin. This workaround for this issue is to edit the Turnitin assignment settings, and then save them without making any changes – this will trigger the data to be resent.

Further information about these issues can be found on the Known Turnitin Service Issues website.

Please accept our apologies if you have been affected by any of these issues.