Learning Environment News

Stay up to date with all the news from our team.

Learning Environment News

The Learning Environments News feed is a great place to look for any of the latest updates and communications from the team.

Keep up to date with training opportunities and updates to VU Collaborate in our regular posts. We also offer helpful hints and tips about the technical aspects of using VU Collaborate which are tailored for staff. Out posts are planned to respond directly to the most common questions and inquiries we get at each point of the semester.

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Evaluate student assessments and provide grades in VU Collaborate

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You can use the standard dropbox tools on VU Collaborate or add Turnitin Feedback Studio for marking and grading.  It all depends on how you prefer to mark assignments and the tools that make it easiest for you to do that. View our key questions on using the dropbox, GradeMark and Turnitin below. 

I have created an Assessment Dropbox folder, why can’t I see it in the Gradebook? 

In order for feedback left in the assessment dropbox tool to appear in the Gradebook, each Assessment Dropbox folder must be associated with a grade item. For more information on creating and linking grade items to an Assessment Dropbox, please view this guide.

How do I evaluate a submission through the Assessment Dropbox? 

The 'Evaluate Submission' page in the Assessment Dropbox enables you to evaluate and leave feedback for student submissions. You can download submissions from the Folder Submissions page to mark the files offline, you can use Turnitin Feedback Studio (if enabled), or you can view and grade a file directly on the Evaluate Submission page. You can then choose to publish feedback immediately or save your feedback as a draft to be released later. This enables you to revise individual assessments, review evaluations, and publish your feedback for all students at the same time. 

How can I grade a student’s assignment in VU Collaborate? 

There are two ways to mark a student’s assignment, through the Assessment Dropbox tool or through Turnitin. Ensure you know which tool you would like to use and communicate to students so they know exactly where to go to view their feedback. 

How do I grade submissions using Turnitin (GradeMark)? 

In order to use GradeMark, Turnitin must be enabled for an assessment dropbox folder. GradeMark can be accessed through Turnitin by clicking on the Originality Report colour box in the Assessment Dropbox area and by selecting the QuickMark tab in the top left hand corner of the new window. Using GradeMark, you can add QuickMarks (comments) to specific areas of a student’s assignment, assign a numerical grade and provide overall audio and text based comments. Refer to this guide for more information on assessing submissions via Turnitin. 

How do I send a score from Turnitin Feedback Studio to VU Collaborate Gradebook? 

Please view this guide for information on how to transfer marks from Turnitin to the Gradebook. Please note only the mark will be transferred across – students must access GradeMark to view any feedback given in Turnitin.

How can I upload grades from a spreadsheet to the Gradebook? 

If you have a large cohort of students, it can be difficult to enter marks online one-by-one.  This guide on Importing Gradebook Data will assist you with managing a large amount of student grades.    

For more information on grading assessments and using the dropbox in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service.

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Ensuring students can access the feedback you provide

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The assessment dropbox is a powerful tool within VU Collaborate that allows you to provide meaningful feedback to students for a variety of different assessment tasks. Leaving quantitative and qualitative feedback can be done with ease. 

Can students see their feedback instantly? 

Students can see all comments entered by you in the dropbox once you publish it but you can ‘save as draft’ to delay the publishing until all assessments are marked. If you are using Turnitin Feedback Studio, they will be able to view the grade and comments once the GradeMark date in the dropbox lapses. To check this date, navigate to your Assessment Dropbox Folder, click Edit Folder and select the Turnitin tab on the right; the GradeMark section is at the bottom. You will have the ability to adjust the date that GradeMark becomes available to students.  For more information view Step 5 of this guide.

Students cannot view their feedback in Turnitin Feedback Studio, what’s the problem? 

Ensure that students are opening their Originality reports and clicking on the blue comment bubble in the top right hand corner of the page. Secondly, verify that feedback has been left for them and that the GradeMark Available to Students date setting within the Assessment Dropbox settings has been set correctly. Your students may find this guide on accessing Turnitin Feedback Studio on VU Collaborate helpful.

My assessment tasks don’t require students to submit anything, what’s the best way to evaluate them? 

You can still use the assessment dropbox tool to provide meaningful feedback to students for assessment tasks such as in-class presentations. Create an assessment dropbox folder and change the ‘Submissions’ search to “Show users without submissions”. Here you will see the list of students, allowing you to select “Evaluate Submission” just above the students name, despite the student not uploading anything. Publish this feedback when ready in order for the student to receive it. 

Want to leave audio or video feedback for students in VU Collaborate? 

By using the Video Note tool instructors can leave short audio and video clips of feedback for their students. This can help in giving students individualised and engaging evaluations of their work. 

For more information on providing feedback in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service

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Learn more about viewing Turnitin Originality reports in VU Collaborate

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Turnitin Feedback Studio allows educators to check students’ work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against continuously updated scholarly databases. It also provides a method of commenting on written work and provide personalised feedback in a time saving manner.  This software has been integrated into VU Collaborate and is located within the Assessment Dropbox tool.  

What is an Originality Report and how do I use it? 

The Originality Report enables you to monitor written assignments and identify potential cases of plagiarism by automatically comparing submissions to an online database of original content. You can then view Originality Reports which highlight key areas, provide a percentage of similarity with other content, shows a breakdown of matching sources, and provides direct links to the matching content. 

What is QuickMarks (GradeMark) and how do I use it? 

The QuickMarks component of Turnitin Feedback Studio provides the option to mark assessments and provide feedback entirely online.  The great thing about QuickMarks is that it has a database of dozens of detailed pre-made comments about written work that you can use, options to add your own custom made comments to the assignment and/or your database of comments, as well as options for either written or verbal overall feedback. 

Students are unable to view their Originality report, what do I do? 

If you are using Turnitin with your Assessment Dropbox folders and you wish for your students to view their Originality reports, ensure you select the Allow learners to see Turnitin similarity scores in their dropbox folder checkbox underneath Display in the OriginalityCheck Options in the Dropbox. For more information check Step 5 in this guide

The originality report won’t generate for a student’s submission, what’s gone wrong? 

Turnitin Feedback Studio will only accept MS Word (Doc, Docx), WordPerfect (WPD), PostScript (EPS), Acrobat PDF (not scanned), Rich text (RTF), Plain text (TXT) documents. Please also ensure that the file size is less than 20mb and the content of the document has at least 20 words.  

For more information on Turnitin Feedback Studio in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service

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Using the Assessment Dropbox tool in VU Collaborate

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Written assignments are a large component of the curriculum for many units and courses. Take advantage of the Assessment Dropbox tool in VU Collaborate to receive, store and mark assessments online, check for originality using Turnitin and post qualitative and quantitative feedback. View common questions on these tools below. 

How do I create an Assessment Dropbox? 

Creating a Dropbox folder can be done in a few steps. When creating assessments, ensure that you always link to a grade item. Secondly, be careful of your start date, due date and end dates as the end date controls the visibility of the dropbox to students. Finally, when entering the Out Of mark; ensure that it’s the maximum number of points given in the linked grade item. 

How can I add assessment information? 

Basic assessment instructions should be placed in the description field; you can also create a rubric and attach it to the dropbox.  It is also advisable to attach the assessment item in the Add a file area so students can access their assessment item in multiple areas.  

What is Turnitin and how do I use it? 

Enable Turnitin (Step five) when creating Assessment Dropbox folders to check submissions for originality and plagiarism against thousands of sources. If you are using Turnitin and you wish for your students to view their Originality reports, ensure that you select the Allow learners to see Turnitin similarity scores in their dropbox folder checkbox within the Turnitin tab. 

A student has applied for an extension for the assignment to the Dropbox; how do they submit their assessment? 

You can add special considerations to specific students by changing the dates of submission only for those students. View this guide on giving Special Access for more information. 

For more information on using Assessment Dropbox in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service

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Do you want to run multi-access or online tutorials? Look into WebEx Virtual Classrooms.

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Connect with students who cannot make it in to the actual classroom by using WebEx, the Virtual Classroom tool. Communicate, collaborate and demonstrate with students in real-time just like you would in a workshop or tutorial. WebEx provides options for involving students who are inside and outside of the classroom at the same time as well as record the session for later viewing.   

How do I create a Virtual Classroom? 

You can create a WebEx Virtual Classroom in a few simple steps. For workshops and tutorials, choose the WebEx Training Centre to run your session as it has the most useful functions for running these types of sessions. 

I’m having trouble accessing the Virtual Classroom, what do I need to do beforehand? 

When using WebEx Virtual Classroom for the first time, ensure you download and install WebEx for Chrome.  Follow this guide from VU ITS Intranet on details of how to ensure it is properly installed on the computer you are using.   There are also basic instructions on the VU Collaborate Help site. If there are still issues, it is a good idea to make sure that your internet browser (e.g. Google Chrome) is not blocking pop-ups. Click here to check your browser.  

How do students access the Virtual Classroom? 

The availability dates you select when creating a Virtual Classroom determine when your students can access the Virtual Classroom. Note: If you want students to collaborate for a certain period of time, consider opening the virtual classroom for a couple more hours. 

Students can access the Virtual Classroom by clicking on “Communication”, “WebEx Virtual Classroom” and then clicking on the “Join” link. It is also advised to send students a link to the classroom via emailing the classlist and placing the link and instructions in the News. It is also helpful to direct students to follow this guide for step-by-step instructions.  

Can I use my laptop’s inbuilt microphone and speakers? 

Yes, however it is recommended to use an external good quality headphones and microphone. When you enter the WebEx Virtual Classroom you should run the audio set up wizard to ensure that you can communicate with each other.  This is described in step 3 of this guide

Can I record WebEx Virtual Classroom sessions? 

Yes you can view this guide for more information. If you want to use WebEx to pre-record content for students and real-time classroom interaction is not required, you are able to do this. The alternative option for making recordings is to use Echo360 Personal Capture. Echo360 Personal Capture also provides the option of capturing a presentation from your desktop and uploading it to be viewed through VU Collaborate. 

Recordings for your Virtual Classroom can be found by clicking on the Communication tab, selecting WebEx Virtual Classroom and then Selecting Event Recordings towards the top left of the screen.  See the Recording and Sharing a WebEx Virtual Classroom guide for steps on how to do this. 

Am I able to invite external staff members or guest speakers to the WebEx Virtual Classroom? 

Invite industry or guest speakers to attend your virtual classroom by using the Invite and Remind tab in the main screen. You can invite anyone by inserting their email address into the field that appears. 

Can I access a WebEx Virtual Classroom session on a mobile device? 

Absolutely.  The WebEx application has a high level of functionality so you can host classes and students can participate in them no matter where you are.  For detailed information about the application see this guide. 

For more information on using WebEx Virtual Classrooms in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service

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