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Blackboard Annotate

1. Introduction

This is a staff guide to Blackboard Annotate, the new marking and feedback interface for Blackboard assignments (and not Turnitin).

2. Open a student's submission

Before you start adding any marks and feedback to a Blackboard assignment, please check if you have hidden any columns in Grade Centre that contain marks that you are not ready to release to students.

a. In the Module Management menu at the bottom left of your module, click Grade Centre, then click Full Grade Centre.

b. Find the column for the assignment. You may need to scroll to the right. All new submissions that need marking are highlighted with an exclamation mark


c. Click the action link (circle with down arrow) next to the exclamation mark, then click the Attempt that you want to mark – as below ‘Attempt 08/07/20’:


d. Click the right pointing arrow to collapse the marking panel for a larger view of the assignment:

assign panel contract


And you have an expanded screen to view the assignment:

assign expand screen

3. What type of files can I annotate?

You can add inline comments and annotations for the following file types:

• Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX)

• Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX)

• Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX)

• OpenOffice Documents (ODS, ODT, ODP)

• Digital Images (JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, TGA, BMP, HEIC)

• Source code (Java, PY, C, CPP, etc)

• Medical Images (DICOM, DICM, DCM)






For other file types, you can leave feedback using the panel to the right of the submission.

4. Annotation tools

When you open a compatible file type in Blackboard Annotate, you will see a toolbar at the top of the submission. To start annotating the student's work, click the View Annotation Tools icon (it looks like a piece of paper with a pen).


Drawing, Brush, and Eraser
These tools allow you to draw freehand on the submission. You can select the eraser to remove parts of a freehand drawing or click the Delete icon to remove the whole drawing

Image or Stamp
You can choose an existing stamp or create your own stamp or image to add to the submission.

Type directly on the submission. You can move and edit the text.

When you select an annotation tool, a second toolbar will open. You can use this to change individual properties such as annotation colour, opacity and more.

text toolbars

Using the text tool click in the page where you want the comment to appear and a feint blue outlined box will appear for you to type into - see above.

typed comment

Once your comment has been typed in click off the text area and then click on the text again.  It becomes a moveable box which you can also duplicate – see below:

typed comment duplicate

We can then choose the Font icon on the second toolbar to change the text size, font etc:

We have changed the text size to 12 point:

font menu toolbar

To make the comment stand out from the essay text we can change its colour by choosing the text colour icon (the T with a shadow) as below:

font colour change colour picker

Deleting a comment – with the comment's text area selected, press the delete key on the keyboard.

5. Content library

a. This is where previously created comments can be saved for re-use.  Click the stacked books icon on the right-hand side of toolbar:

content lib

b. The content library shown here is empty and I will add to it by clicking the small cross icon by the heading Content Library:

content lib open

In the Add Content box add the comment in the Body section and click Save:

add content content lib

The content library will then display it and clicking the three-dot menu to expand it shows the options – the first being to place the comment:

content lib three dot menu

Click this once and then click at a point in the assignment where you want to place the comment.  

6. Feedback Panel

 You can use the feedback panel on the right of the submission you are viewing to add a written feedback summary or use a rubric.

a. When you have opened a student submission, you can enter marks and feedback in the panel on the right. Click the down arrow to expand the feedback section.

b. This will display a text box where you can type feedback for the student. Options in this panel may vary depending on your assignment settings.

For example, if you have attached a rubric, set up delegated marking, or if the assignment is for a sub-group.

c. Unlike Turnitin, feedback for Blackboard assignments does not save automatically. Please click Save Draft to ensure that you don't lose any of your comments.

d. When you have finished adding marks and feedback, click Submit. This will add the student's marks to the associated column in Grade Centre.

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Page last updated: 09/03/2021

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