E-submission FAQs - Practical Considerations

Please note that this page is a subsection of the full document E-submission Frequently Asked Questions. The document is also available to download in its entirety: E-submission Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).


Practical considerations

What happens if the computer systems go down?

Information Services consults widely over the timing of planned maintenance. Information Services does not undertake planned maintenance work during teaching and all work is scheduled during vacation times. Turnitin commits to keeping their systems available for “at least 98% of the time during each month … except for scheduled maintenance and repairs”. Information Services will advertise any planned outage to both Blackboard and Turnitin via Weekly Email, IS news, Facebook and Turnitin, and messages on Blackboard itself. Unforeseen outages are possible and Information Services will communicate details of any problems as widely as possible.

Can the issues with the anonymisation process and turnitin be overcome?

This is an issue that other universities in the UK struggle with. The basis of the problem is that it isn’t possible to bulk download essays when they are submitted anonymously. The solution offered is that, if staff know they will want to download all the essays for marking, the Turnitin assignment is not set to anonymous submission. This will then allow another member of staff (probably an administrator or secretary) to download the documents and print them out. This is likely to require some anonymising on the printed documents.

Is it possible to stop Turnitin removing web-links in student work?

The reason for this is that Turnitin automatically creates a version of the document for online marking. We have raised the issue with Turnitin, and other universities have noted the issue as well. Unfortunately it isn’t a change that can be made locally by AU.

Is it possible to allocate marking to different members of staff involved in team marking? 

This can be done using the Group tool in Blackboard. It can be done before the essays are marked or set up afterwards. The Blackboard Team can advise.

How can ‘locked out’ students submit work?

We are currently discussing this with the Finance Office and Information Services.

How will work be archived?

The best method for long-term archiving of Turnitin assignments is to download the zip file of submissions and backup locally. The AU retention period for assessed work is 6 months after progression to Part 2 for Part 1 work, and 6 months after graduation for Part 2 work.  Departments will need to agree sensible storage structure and sensible file-naming conventions, as well as a mechanism for disposing of the files at the end of their retention period. 

What about the Health and Safety considerations?

Whilst it is true that online marking will mean extra time at a computer at certain times of the year, providing the normal AU guidelines are followed this should not greatly increase the risk of either eyestrain or RSI. We would advise that staff see their departmental Display Screen Equipment (or DSE) assessor if they are experiencing any problems.

Of course, there is research to show that bad posture, poor light conditions, insufficient breaks etc when working on a computer can cause health problems for people but it is likely that the same is true (although there is little research done in this area because it is not ‘new technology’) of paper marking and the same checklists regarding good posture, light conditions, breaks etc that are applied to online marking should also be applied to paper marking.

There is some more AU information at:

There is some more general information about online marking: