How to Set Up a Group Sign-up Sheet in Blackboard

You will use Groups to represent the “slots” that students are signing up for.

Creating Groups for Sign-up

To begin, access the Groups tool by going to the Users and Groups section of the Control Panel, and choose Groups.

Control panel - Groups

Click Create and choose a Self-Enrollment Group Set

Create Group Set, Self-Enroll

In section 1, provide a name for the Group Set, and any descriptive information. Make sure “Group is visible to students” is set to “Yes”

Provide name of Group Set

In section 2, unselect all of the Tools available to groups. Unless you are also using this for group work, students will not need them.

In section 4, provide a starting name for your group/slot, here “Recitation” is used. Provide any instructions that are common across the entire sign-up.

Use the “Maximum Number of Members” option to specify the maximum number of students who will be allowed in each group (or slot)

Check the “Show members” box if you want students to see who is already signed up in the group when they are registering.

Leave the “Allow students to sign-up from the Groups listing page” checked.

Group Sign-up options

In section 5, indicate the total number of groups that you need.

Click Submit.

The list of recitations will look like this.

List of Group Sets

You now need to edit the names of the individual groups to designate specific information about the recitation, including date, time and location.

In the Group Set column, select the pull-down menu for the entire group and select “Edit Group Set Membership”

Edit Group Set Membership

Change the group names to reflect the specific information needed in order for students to choose the group/recitation. In this case, the Day of the Week, Time of Day, and Meeting Location are added. Additionally, incremental numbers are added at the beginning so that the sessions can be placed in order, starting with Monday and ending with Friday. The sessions will be displayed alphabetically to the students, so having the numbering system helps place them in a more logical order.

Change group names

This is the final list of recitations with names edited to include numbers for ordering, and dates/times/locations.

Final List of Recitations

Adding Group Sign-up to your Course Menu

Optionally you can add a link to the Groups tool to your course menu to indicate to students that that is where they should go to sign up.

First, select the “+ Add” button in the top left corner of the menu. Choose “Tool Link”.

Add a Tool to the Menu

Provide a name for the link – Recitation Sign-Up – and change the Type to Groups. Check the box “Available to Users”. Hit Submit.

Add Tool Link

How to use the “Quick Submit” function in Turnitin to quickly check a paper for similarity

You can obtain a similarity report from Turnitin for a paper on an ad-hoc basis using the “Quick Submit” function at

To check a paper outside of Blackboard, log in directly at and then use the “Quick Submit” option.

Here are the steps:

  1. Go directly to and click the “login” option at the top right. If you have never logged in directly before, click the “Forgot your password?” link and then provide your email address and last name, and Turnitin will sent you a reset link so you can set your password for the first time.
  2. Once you are logged in, use these instructions to activate the “Quick Submit” option, which will let you upload a paper for a quick plagiarism check without needing to go through Blackboard:

We hope this is helpful.

Academic Technologies

Turnitin Assignments Versus Blackboard Assignments

There are two ways to collect assignments/papers/files from students in Blackboard – one is the “Assignments” feature, and the other is the “Turnitin Assignments” feature.

Both of these assignment type may be added to your Blackboard course by clicking the “Assessments” button in a Content Area.  Both of them automatically create a column in the Grade Center that you can use for grading and accessing papers, and both allow for inline commenting and mark-up on submitted papers.

Here are the differences between the two types of assignments:

The Assignments option accepts any file type from students (e.g. .zip, .doc, .jpg, .xls, etc) from students and lets the instructor view and grade the paper from the Blackboard Grade Center.  Assignments accept multiple files, so long as they are submitted all together for each attempt.  Assignments support online viewing/markup for feedback and grading, but do not have a plagiarism detection feature.  “Group” Assignments are supported; for a group assignment, one student hands in one paper for all of the students in a group, and they are all graded together for it.  You can add an Assignment to your course by clicking here:

Turnitin Assignments give you a choice when first creating the assignment whether to accept any file type or to accept only text-based file types, for example MS Word (.doc, .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx), PostScript (.eps), Portable Document Format (.pdf), HTML (.htm, .html), Rich Text (.rtf), Plain Text (.txt), Google Docs, OpenOffice (.odt), and Hangul (.hwp).  Text-based Turnitin Assignments have the advantage of automatic plagiarism detection. Turnitin accepts only one file per student, but can be set up to allow the students to re-submit the same assignment multiple times up until a deadline/due date.  Turnitin does not support “Group” assignments in the sense that one student hands in one paper for everyone in the group.  All Turnitin Assignments are individually submitted. You can add a Turnitin Assignment to your course by clicking here:

Other differences include the fact that Rubrics are stored separately (Turnitin rubrics and Assignment rubrics cannot be used across assignment types), and the mark-up tools and interface looks a bit different between the two types.

Some additional Turnitin Assignment notes – the file the student submits must be less than 400 pages in length, less than 20MB in size, and must contain more than 20 words of text.

Here are complete instructions for creating both assignment types:


Turnitin Assignments:


We hope this information is helpful.

Downloading the Poll Everywhere PowerPoint Add-in on Classroom Computers

Presenters can download integration software for PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides via the Poll Everywhere website. If you’re using Poll Everywhere on a classroom computer, however, you will need a special version of the installer that doesn’t require administrative credentials. Instructions for downloading this installer are posted here:

Poll Everywhere PowerPoint Add-In

Download the installer software here and run the installer package. You won’t need administrative credentials so long as you choose “Just me” when it asks if you would like install for everyone or just you. You won’t need to open a separate program, but you will need to click on the “Poll Everywhere” tab in PowerPoint and log in every time you run Poll Everywhere questions in your PowerPoint presentation.

  1. To log in, click the “log in” button and type in your address in the username/address field.
  2. The app will recognize that you need to sign on via single sign on and prompt you to click the link to the single sign on form.
  3. Click the link and enter your portal/Blackboard credentials.

You’ll be logged into the app, which will allow you to run poll questions when you run your PowerPoint presentation in presentation mode.

How to Use the Student View in Blackboard

Blackboard instructors can view a course exactly as a student sees it in order to verify the availability of items to students, try an assessment from a student’s point of view, or to see what the course looks like as a student generally.
To view a course from the point of view of a student, select “Go To Student View” from the top-right of your course site.

This will create an example student called “Demo User” in your course.  You will become the demo student and you will be able to click around your course and see what it is like from the point of view of a student.

When you are ready to return to the instructor’s view of the course, click Return to Teacher View at the top-right.

If you submitted an assignment or took a test while using the Student View, when you return to Instructor view, you will find the results in the Grade Center under the student name “User, Demo” (Demo User).  You may also add the Demo User to Groups so that you will be able to see the groups in Student View.

This Demo User is temporary and will be deleted automatically within 24 hours. You can bring it back whenever you’d like by using Student View again.


We hope you find the Student View useful in your course.