Grade Assignments Inline

Bb Annotate, BbLearn's assignment inline grading tool, allows you to add annotations to any area within your student's submission. It supports many common file types such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OpenOffice, Images, Source code, TXT, PSD, and PDF files--all without having to download the submission. It offers a robust feature set to provide customizable feedback to students.

Warning when viewing the annotations

Note: A known issue with some browsers' (e.g. Chrome) built-in PDF viewer may not display all annotations. Please view annotated PDFs in a native PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat. PDF File not fully displaying? Download to view by right clicking and selecting Save Link As... Note: Blackboard acknowledges that Word files don't alway render the same in Bb Annotate as in Microsoft Word. For example, we have seen a student's work display as 7 pages in Bb Annotate, while only displaying as 5 pages in Word. The content remains the same, but the formating is changed. more >>

Watch Tutorial

(2:02 min video)

Open a Submission

To start grading an assignment, follow the steps below:

  • Under the Grade Center, select Full Grade Center.
  • Click the action menu for the student's assignment that you want to grade.
  • Select the Attempt you want to grade from the drop down menu.


  1. If you are using SafeAssign, the plagiarism detection software, for this assignment...[CLICK TO EXPAND]
    You should see an originality score for the student's attempt. If instead, you see "Report in progress...", this just means the SafeAssign originality report has not yet been processed and you should check back later. You may need to exit and return to refresh the browser. Note: The SafeAssign report runs on student submitted text and files. SafeAssign only supports file types that are convertible to plain text including: DOCX, DOC, PPT, PPTX, PDF, TXT, ODT, RTF, HTML, and HTM. Spreadsheet files are not supported.
    SafeAssign should be used as a proactive tool rather than a policing tool. The originality score is ONLY a warning indicator and is not a measure of student intentions or dishonesty. Originality scores below 15% show NO EVIDENCE of plagiarism. Review work with scores above 15% to see if the matches are properly attributed. It is the instructor's responsibility to examine the phrases that match outside sources and determine if they are properly attributed. Please review each case carefully.
    Learn more >>
    - Click SafeAssign to expand this section.

    - Click View Originality Report

    - Student work marked with a color is found to match other sources. The originality report displays the list of potential sources and each source is highlighted in a different color.

    - Click a highlighted phrase in the text of the work to view a comparison of it to the original source.

    - By default, all sources are included. Click Select Sources and Resubmit to exclude sources from the results.

    - Clear the check box for each source you wish to exclude from the results and then press Resubmit.

    - Click on the printer icon at the top of the page to print the originality report.

    - Close the originality report when you are done viewing it.

Give Yourself Room to Annotate

Bb Annotate requires a lot of screen real estate to display correctly. When viewing an annotated assignment, you may discover that you cannot view all that you need to. Use the tips below to increase the viewing area.

  • View the annotated submission in full screen, if possible.
  • Click the Collapse the Grading Panel icon (the greater than symbol (>) circled in red below).
  • Click the Maximize View icon (the 4-arrow icon circled in red below).

Document View Settings

  • A. Sidebar: View submission Thumbnail, Outline, Annotation, or Bookmark.
  • B. Pages: Use the arrows to jump to different pages in the submission.
  • C. Pan: Pan across the submission.
  • D. Zoom and Fit: Zoom in and out of the submission or adjust the view to fit the page, fit the width, or select the best fit.

Add Annotations to a Submission


  • Highlighter: Select specific portions of the submission to highlight. As you highlight text on the submission, an additional menu opens allowing you to highlight, strikethrough, underline, squiggle, or comment on the highlighted section.
  • E. Additional Annotation tools:
    • Drawing, Brush, and Eraser: Draw freehand on the submission with various colors, thickness, and opacity. Select the eraser to remove annotations. You can erase parts of a freehand drawing with the eraser or select the Delete icon to delete the whole drawing.
    • Image or Stamp: Choose a preloaded stamp or create your own customized stamp or image to add to the submission.
    • Text: Add text directly on the submission. You can move, edit, and change the text and select the font, size, alignment, and color of the text.
    • Shapes: Choose Line, Arrow, Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, and Polyline. You may change the shape's color, width, opacity, etc.
  • F. Comment: Provide feedback as a comment. Be sure to press Comment once you are finished typing your comment. Comments appear in a panel next to the submission. Students can access the annotated files but won't be able to add annotations in their submissions.
  • G. Print or Download: Print or download the annotated submission.
  • H. Search: Search the submission for specific text.

Bb Annotate is only valid for 60 minutes before it expires. You'll receive a warning message before your session expires. Your completed annotations, feedback, and files are saved on the page. When you return, you can resume working.

If the PDF file name contains two periods in a row (name..pdf), it will not render in Bb Annotate. Your options are to download the PDF file and grade it oofline or clear the student attempt and allow them to resubmit the file.

Submit Score & Additional Feedback

  • Leave the field next to GRADE blank. Do not enter a score in this area. Clicking the pencil gives you the opportunity override the grade by entering a score, but this is NOT recommended.
  • Enter a score for the ATTEMPT as shown below.
  • By default, the FEEDBACK TO LEARNER section is hidden until a score is entered. As soon you enter a score, the FEEDBACK TO LEARNER section and its corresponding Submit button become visible.

    However, if you wish to view or edit the FEEDBACK TO LEARNER section without entering a score, click the tiny arrow below ATTEMPT to open up the FEEDBACK TO LEARNER section.
  • Enter Feedback for your student.
  • (optional) Attach files to give back to your student by clicking the paperclip located in the feedback section.
  • (optional) You may record audio/video feedback by clicking on the A icon (circled in pink above) to open up the full content editor. Then click on the microphone icon () in the full content editor to go to BbLearn's recording app.

Student Submission Receipts

Each time a student uploads and submits files to the Assignment tool, a submission receipt is emailed to them. They may also view these receipts in their My Grades area under the Submitted tab. Instructors may also view these receipts by following the steps below:

  • On the Control Panel, expand Grade Center.
  • Click on Full Grade Center.
  • On the Grade Center action bar, hover over Reports and select Submission Receipts to view a record of all the submission receipts emailed to your students.

Not finding what you need? Try BbLearn's User Manual.
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