Creating an Assignment

Starting a new assignment

To create a new assignment, click Add in the top-left corner. You will then be able to begin entering the details for your assignment:

  1. Enter a title and select a time frame for the assignment. You can choose the dates by either using the dropdown menus or the built-in calendar function.
    • Open date: Choose when the assignment is released. Students will not see the assignment listed until the Open date.
    • Due date: The deadline for the assignment. Any submissions received after will be marked as late.
    • Accept Until: No assignments can be submitted after this date.Note: If you are using Turnitin, the title cannot have any special characters in it, (e.g. #&) and the assignment cannot be copied/imported from another site but must be set up as a new assignment.
  2. Define how you want your students to submit their assignments using the dropdown menu for Student Submissions:
    • Inline only: Typed directly into a text box.
    • Attachments only: Via uploading files.
    • Inline and Attachments: Allows students to both attach files and type direct input.
    • Non-electronic: Useful if you are collecting assignments outside of OWL (e.g. in class) but still want electronic documentation, or want to release grades electronically through the Assignments tool.
    • Single Uploaded File only: Students are allowed to upload just one attachment.
  3. Allow Resubmission: Check off this box if you want your students to be able to resubmit an assignment. You can define the amount of resubmissions allowed, as well as the close date for any resubmission.Allow resubmissions if you want your students to be able to submit a draft, as opposed to a final copy, of an assignment. assignments01-a.png
  4. Grade Scale:
    1. Decide how you will mark submissions.If you want to add this assignment to the GRADEBOOK, you must select points as your grade scale.
    2. If you are using points, enter the maximum possible points into the box below the dropdown menu. Maximum points must be a positive number or a zero.
  5. Assignment Instructions: Fill in a description outlining your expectations of the assignment. To learn about the various features of the rich-text editor, click here. Entering instructions is optional. If you choose to not enter any, you will receive an alert message when you try to post the assignment; however, click "Post" again to override and continue.If you have attachments to add as part of your instructions, you can click Add Attachments, found towards the bottom of the page.
  6. You can also find more features below the text box for instructions:
    • Add due date to Schedule: Check this box to automatically add the due date to your course schedule when you post the assignment.
    • Add an announcement about the open date to Announcements: By checking this box, upon posting your assignment, an announcement will be automatically generated to notify students of the open date. If the assignment isn’t open yet, students will still see the announcement but not have access to the assignment itself.
    • Add honor pledge: When submitting an assignment, students must check off a box agreeing to the following statement: "I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment."assignments02-a.png

Enabling Turnitin

  1. To set up Turnitin within an assignment, check Use Turnitin when creating an assignment. If you have already created an assignment with which you wish to use Turnitin, you can click Edit underneath the corresponding assignment, found on the Assignment List view. assignments03-a.png
  2. Make sure that you have followed the provided note so Turnitin works successfully:
    1. Student Submissions can be anyone of the available types, except "Non-electronic".
    2. Students can submit more than one attachment of the following file type: Word Docs, PDF, HTML, RTF, or plain text. They must also include the file extension. It is suggested that you copy these steps directly into the Assignment Instructions for students.
  3. Select to submit papers to "Standard Paper Repository" so that current and future papers can be checked against them. If you choose "None", papers could be submitted again with no originality penalty.
  4. Decide when originality reports are to be generated.
  5. If you want your students to be able to review their Turnitin originality report, check off Allow students to view report.
  6. You can choose to allow Turnitin to automatically remove quoted material from a assignment.
  7. Check originality against: Decide what to check student submissions against within the Turnitin database. assignments05-a.png

Linking to the Gradebook and controlling access

If you have the Gradebook enabled within your course/project site, you will have the option to either:

  • Add Assignment to Gradebook: Create a new item within the Gradebook for this assignment. You will have an option to assign the item to an existing Gradebook category.
  • Associate with existing Gradebook entry: Link it to an already existing item by choosing from the Select an Assignment dropdown menu.

For whichever you choose, this means that as you enter grades through the Assignments tool, they will automatically update the corresponding Gradebook item.

Troubleshooting Gradebook-Linked Assignments for French-language OWL sites

Some instructors using OWL in the French language have encountered problems with the Gradebook failing to read the grades from linked assignments correctly. If you encounter this issue there are steps you can follow to have the Gradebook display the correct grades.

  1. In SITE INFO, click on Edit Site Information (French: Information du Site) and change the language of the site to English or User Language (default).
  2. Once the site is in English, go to the ASSIGNMENTS tool and in your Assignment List click Edit underneath the assignment you are having a problem with.
  3. Under Grading on the editing page, click 'Do not associate assignment with Gradebook.'
  4. Click Post at the bottom. If this is a closed assignment you will get an alert prompting you to change the due/retract dates or click Post again. Click Post again.
  5. Once the assignment has been re-posted, click Edit underneath the same assignment again.
  6. This time under Grading click 'Add Assignment to Gradebook.'
  7. Click Post at the bottom. You will get the same alert, but simply click Post again.

Check your Gradebook. Your grades should be displaying correctly. You can now switch your Site Language back to French. Please note that these steps will not work while the site is in French. You must switch the site to English and then follow these steps. The grades will remain fixed when the language of the site is changed back to French.

Controlling assignment access

By default, when you create an assignment, the access is set to Display to site, meaning that everyone enrolled within your course or project site can submit to that assignment. However, if you only want to release the assignment to specific students, you can select Display to selected groups instead. From there, you can check the groups for whom you want to release the assignment. For example, if you are creating a group project, create groups within SITE INFO for students, then check off all the groups that apply.

For information on creating and managing groups, see Site Info.

Adding additional information

You can also add supplement items to further customize your assignment. Click Add beside any of the following items to begin entering information, and then Save to save the item to your assignment:


Model Answer

If you have a sample essay or an ideal answer for you assignment that you want your students to be aware of before they begin, you can select to show to your entered model answer to students Before student starts assignment. Alternatively, you can provide the solution to your assignment, and select to show your students After student submits, After submission is graded or returned, or After accept-until date.

Private Note

You can use this item to add thoughts, issues or reminders to an assignment. This will not be available to students, and will only be shown to you while grading submissions. You can also make the note available to other instructors within the course by selecting Allow other instructors to read or Allow other instructors to read and edit from the "Share" dropdown menu. This item is also useful if you are marking an assignment a fair time after creating it, and want to leave a note to remind yourself/other instructors of anything.

All Purpose Item

This multi-use supplement item allows you to release information for a specific period of time. You can display the item to specific students, teaching assistants, and/or instructors.

Posting an assignment

Once you have finished working on your new assignment, you can publish your assignment by clicking Post. You can also click Preview to view how the assignment will look to you, as well as your students.If previewing, click Post on the Preview page to publish the assignment.

If you wish to edit your assignment later without publishing it, you can click Save Draft. It will still be listed in your Assignment List, but as a draft that your students cannot view.

Navigating the Assignment List

Once you have added an assignment, you will be taken to the Assignment List view. Any assignments that you have created will be listed in the table, and by default are sorted by due date. To sort by another column, click on the corresponding column title.

You can also view by student, by selecting Assignment List by Student from the "View" dropdown menu. From there, you can click on the black arrow next to each students' name to see a list of assignments available to them. When you click on an assignment, you are taken directly to their submission to grade.

Viewing student submissions

To access student submissions within the Assignment List view, click Grade underneath the assignment for which you want to mark. You will be taken to the submission page for that assignment. If you have set the Grade Scale to "No Grade", the link will say View Submissions instead of Grade.

To view a specific student's submission, click Grade below their name. You can find their submission under either "Assignment Submission" or "Submitted Attachments." If it is an attachment, you will be able to save the file to your local computer. To return to the main submission view, click Return to List in the top right corner. Alternatively, you can download all student submissions at once to your local computer by clicking Download All, on the main submission view for a specific assignment. You will be able to select Student submission attachments, as well as the files to enter grades or comments into for offline marking.

Accessing Turnitin Reports

In order to view Turnitin reports, ensure first that you have enabled Turnitin correctly within the assignment prior to having students submit. For instructions on how to set up Turnitin, click here.

Turnitin reports will be displayed under the Turnitin column of the submission view for an assignment. If an originality report has been successfully generated for a student, it will appear as an icon of a report that links to the Turnitin Document Viewer. Though the colour of the icon differs depending on the percentage found within the originality report, they all link to each student's corresponding report.

To view a student's Turnitin Report, click on their corresponding icon under the Turnitin column. The Turnitin Document viewer will open in a new window.

Troubleshooting Turnitin

Grading submissions

Please do not grade assignments with multiple browser windows or tabs. Grade assignments and navigate the system with only one browser window.

To assign a grade to a student's submission, enter it within the Grade box on their grading page for that specific assignment. As well, you can enter comments into the text box provided. You can also add an attachment to return with the grade by selecting Add Attachments. If you are marking with a rubric, you can return the marked rubric to the student using Add Attachments.

You can then save the grade by selecting either Save and Don't Release to Student or Save and Release to Student. It is recommended that you select Save and Don't Release to Student, and release grades to all students at once.

If your comments/grades have been saved successfully, a green alert message will appear at the top indicating that your changes have been saved. You can then navigate to either the next or previous student, or click Return to List to grade another assignment.

Grading Groups

If you want to assign students within a group all the same grade at once, first ensure that you have set up the groups through the Site Info tool by following the instructions here.

Within the submissions page for the specific assignment you would like to grade, select a group from the "View" dropdown menu. Above the table of corresponding students, you will find a text box to assign a grade to participants without one. Enter the grade and then click Apply to update the grades for the students listed. If you wish to change the grade, you will have to reassign each grade individually.

Releasing Grades to Students

Releasing grades allows students to view any grades/comments saved to their assignment. When you are ready to release the grades for an assignment, click Release Grades, found on the submissions page for the assignment. Students whose grades have been released to them will have a checkmark under the Release column.


Organizing your Assignment List

Reordering assignments

If you have more than one assignment within your Assignment List, you will be able to reorganize the order that they appear in as default to your students and other instructors.

  1. Click on Reorder
  2. Click and hold on an assignment to drag and drop it into the order that you wish to create.
  3. When you are finished, click Save to preserve your changes.

Editing, Duplicating, and Deleting an assignment

How to edit an assignment

  1. Click Assignment List
  2. Click Edit under the assignment you wish to edit. You will be taken to the edit view for that specific assignment.
  3. Once you have made your changes, click Post to save them.

How to duplicate an assignment

  1. Click Assignment List
  2. Click Duplicate under the assignment you wish to duplicate. A copy will be made, with a "Draft" status, meaning that students cannot view the assignment. To post the assignment, click on the title of the draft and then Post.

How to delete an assignment

The ability to delete an assignment is not enabled for instructors by default; however, you can enable it yourself:Use the remove assignment function with caution - once you have deleted an assignment, you cannot get it back.

  1. Click on Permissions.
  2. Check the box within the row Delete Assignment and under the Instructor or Maintain column, depending on whether or not you are within a course or project site.
  3. Click Save. You will be returned to the Assignment List.
  4. Under the "Remove?" column, check the box for the assignment you wish to delete.
  5. Click Update. You will be taken to a confirmation page.
  6. Click Delete.


Video Tutorial


external link: Assignments Video Tutorial (Please be patient as the video loads)

Download Link: external link: Assignments .mov file

Additional Information

Submitting on Behalf of the Student

If for any reason the student is unable to submit the assignment in OWL and you receive the student submission in another form, it is possible to upload an electronic copy on behalf of the student in the assignment list. This is useful if you are using Turnitin to check assignments.

  1. From the Assignment List, choose "Assignment List by Student" from the View dropdown list
  2. click on a student
  3. click "Submit on behalf of Student" under the appropriate assignment title
  4. follow the process to submission