How to create assignments in Blackboard Learn LMS

Evgeniya Ioffe - December 21st 2023 - 6 minutes read

Dive into the dynamic world of assignment creation with Blackboard Learn LMS, where the art of crafting impactful learning experiences meets the precision of advanced educational technology. Whether you're taking your first steps in online course design or seeking to level up your instructional presence, our comprehensive guide will navigate you through the intricate process of designing, enriching, and managing assignments. Embark on a journey from mastering the basics to integrating multimedia and exploring the full spectrum of sophisticated assessment strategies. Prepare to unlock the full potential of Blackboard Learn as we equip you with the tools to foster engaging, pedagogically-sound assignments that resonate with the modern learner, streamline your grading process, and flexibly respond to the evolving landscape of education.

When creating an assignment in Blackboard Learn, the first step is to log into your course and navigate to the content area where the assignment will reside. From here, you initiate the process by clicking on the "Create Assessment" button and selecting "Assignment," which will take you to the "New Assignment" page. It's at this juncture that you give your assignment a descriptive title, one that will help students identify the task at hand among other course materials. Keep in mind that the title you choose becomes the clickable link for students to access the assignment details. Without a title or added content, the assignment won't appear on the Course Content page, which might leave students in the dark about its existence.

Your attention then shifts to refining the assignment's parameters. Determine and set the total points it's worth, which directly correlates to its weight within your grading system. This step is crucial because once the assignment is created, a corresponding gradebook item is automatically generated. Deciding on the number of attempts you will allow is another important parameter; you can restrict students to a single attempt or allow multiple submissions. Establishing a clear due date is equally important for maintaining a consistent schedule, as it provides a timeline for students' submissions and helps in structuring your grading calendar.

Lastly, specifying submission types and feedback options forms the basis for how students will interact with the assignment and receive input on their work. Depending on the assignment's nature, you can opt for simple text input, file submissions, or even SafeAssign for plagiarism checking. Always bear in mind that students can only view their assignments after you make them available, ensuring educators have ample time to test and adjust settings before going live. This foundational setup within the Blackboard Learn interface paves the way for a seamless assignment rollout and lays the ground for the more sophisticated features and interactions that follow.

Enriching Assignments with Multimedia and Interactive Content

To elevate the learning experience, incorporating multimedia elements into assignments can profoundly impact a student’s engagement and understanding. Blackboard Learn’s content editor facilitates this by allowing instructors to embed images directly into the text box of an assignment or within a content area. With just a few clicks, you can add visual stimulation to your instructions or supplementary material, providing a more dynamic and illustrative learning environment. Whether it's by embedding an instructive YouTube video, or by adding images that convey complex information at a glance, this multimedia integration can cater to diverse learning styles and break the monotony of text-only content.

Moving beyond static images, instructors can also embed audio and video files, including those from third-party sources, into assignments. The process is streamlined in Blackboard Learn; you simply attach the media files alongside your text. Once added, students benefit from in-line control features for playback, without needing to navigate away from the assignment page. This capability of the content editor not only enriches the assignment but also centralizes the resources needed for completion, enabling students to efficiently access all necessary components in one place.

Interactive content extends the frontier of assignments even further. Leveraging cloud storage integrations, you can now include files from web applications like OneDrive, thus keeping all materials up-to-date. When dealing with text-heavy assignments, adding text blocks with embedded links to external resources or applications can also direct students to interactive websites or tools related to the assignment topic. This level of interactivity within assignments fosters a more engaging learning experience, prompting students to actively participate and explore the subject matter beyond the confines of the LMS platform.

Advanced Assignment Options: Timing, Group Work, and Assessment Strategies

Incorporating time limits on individual assignments can incentivize students to manage their time efficiently and maintain academic integrity. Within Blackboard Learn, it is possible to set a finite duration for completion, after which all attempts are automatically submitted. This can help simulate real-world pressure and prepare students for deadlines outside the academic sphere. However, educators should consider the potential stress and technical difficulties that might arise. To mitigate these challenges, Blackboard provides options to offer additional time, helping to accommodate varying student needs and ensuring that those facing connectivity issues aren't unfairly disadvantaged. When reviewing completed assignments, instructors can see the amount of extra time used, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of each student's working pace and potentially informing future time allocations.

Creating group assignments encourages collaboration and mimics team-based work environments. While individual assignments can have enforced time constraints, it's important to note that Blackboard Learn does not currently offer the option to set time limits for group assignments. Instead, instructors must manually monitor group assignment deadlines, which can add a layer of complexity to managing assessments. Group workspaces in Blackboard permit members to collectively contribute, promoting teamwork and shared responsibility. Clear guidelines and communication from educators are vital to ensure every group member contributes equitably and effectively to the joint effort.

Leveraging Blackboard's suite of assessment strategies allows for diversity in measuring student success. The platform includes options for multiple attempts, which can be conducive to mastery learning, allowing students to learn from errors and improve over time. Advanced settings also let instructors determine how the final grade is calculated, selecting from the best score, last attempt, average, and more. Educators face important decisions when choosing between maximizing learning opportunities and maintaining rigorous assessment standards. Additionally, the use of delegated grading introduces a need for a structured approach; this feature should be used thoughtfully, with a clear rubric and an understanding of the workflow for final grade approval to ensure consistent and fair grading outcomes.

Assignment Management: Feedback, Grading, and Modifications Post-Deployment

Upon receiving student submissions, the process of assessment commences with a focus on providing constructive feedback and grading efficiently. Blackboard Learn offers a suite of tools to view and assess work, allowing educators to seamlessly toggle between student submissions. When utilizing the BB Annotate tool, instructors can add comments, highlight key sections, and pose targeted questions directly within the student's submission, creating a dialogue that can propel learning forward. Feedback recording features also enable personalization by allowing educators to leave oral responses, which can be particularly beneficial for comprehensive critiques or language courses.

Grading in Blackboard Learn can transcend traditional methods by incorporating rubrics that provide clear criteria and consistent assessment across all students. Rubrics not only streamline the grading process but also ensure transparency, with students receiving insight into how their work aligns with the expectations. In situations where cohort-wide assessment is necessary, the reconcile grades function can play a pivotal role in ensuring that multiple graders achieve fairness and consistency. Faculty can choose to release grades immediately upon completion via the enable assessment grade feature or, for a more controlled approach, delay the publication until all considerations are finalized.

Assignment evolution is integral to adapting course content to the dynamic educational environment. Modifications to existing assignments might be required to address gaps in student comprehension or changes in the curriculum. Blackboard Learn facilitates this through assignment settings, allowing educators to adjust due dates, point values, and other submission parameters to better align with course objectives. Additionally, accommodations can be set for individual students, providing a more inclusive learning experience. Making thoughtful changes and reviewing assessment strategies can help ensure that assignments remain effective and equitable tools for measuring student progress and understanding.


In this article, we explore how to create assignments in Blackboard Learn LMS, a comprehensive guide that takes you through the process of designing, enriching, and managing assignments. Key takeaways include the importance of giving assignments descriptive titles and setting clear parameters, the benefits of incorporating multimedia and interactive content, advanced options such as timing and group work, and effective assignment management through feedback, grading, and modifications post-deployment. The article provides valuable insights and best practices for creating engaging and effective assignments in Blackboard Learn LMS.