For your information, this paper was taken to University Executive Team Committee on 14th June:

Moving forward with Submitting and Grading Electronically (SAGE)


Following a trial period in some areas of the University, it has been agreed by UET that all students are required to submit all text based assignments on-line from 1 September 2012. Support for academic staff has been and will continue to be provided by the learning technologists. The date of 1September has been determined so that all module guides and handbooks can be clear in advising students how to submit their work. It would not be possible to implement this within an academic year without causing confusion.


Moving to on-line submission will standardise submission for all students wherever they are studying and make submission easier for students on placements or in work. It should enhance the experience of students which is the prime reason for moving to on-line submission.

Testing for the academic integrity of the submitted work will be facilitated for all assignments.

It was always the intention that academic staff marked on-line and submitted feedback to their students electronically. The Software Systems team are working to ensure that grades submitted on-line can be automatically moved in the QLS, the student record system. This should enable administrative resource to shift from the entering of grades to supporting academics in their use of NILE. Now that the decision has been made to remain with Blackboard as the supplier for the learning environment, these projects can move forward.


  • From the 1 September student will submit work on-line via the module NILE site.

This will be for text based work with the following standard exemptions

    • Portfolios (currently primarily in the School of Health)
    • Artwork
    • Dissertations.( One hard copy to be submitted and one electronically)
  • Where an exception is required to this regulation, permission must be sought from Jill Holden, Student Process Manager.
  • All module guides and handbooks to be updated in accordance with this paper.
  • Tutors will retain evidence of the submission date and students will receive a receipt automatically providing evidence of submission.
  • Tutors will determine whether a grade should be capped. It is the responsibility of tutors to adhere to regulations in relation to the grading of work submitted after the deadline. To ensure equitable treatment of students these regulations must be followed. (See Staff Framework Guide)
  • All feedback must be presented to the student on-line, via NILE, within the published timescale. The feedback dates must be published with the submission dates in the student handbook.
  • Facilities have been made available to tutors for marking on line and Schools have been requested to provide tutors with electronic devices to assist with this away from their desks.  For further assistance staff can visit the  following sources

Training will be available on request from the Learntech team.  Staff are advised to address their training needs as soon as possible and to take the initiative in booking training sessions where required.

  • Any concerns should be discussed with the member of staff’s line manager. Ongoing technical issues or on policy matters can be submitted via the blog. It would be helpful if these could be raised as soon as they become apparent.
  • Students will continue to have access to NILE suspended if they are in debt to the University. This is current policy.
  • Academic staff should identify which work is to be moderated by the External Examiner in accordance with the Assessment Policy. External Examiners will be supplied with a NILE password to enable them to view and moderate the identified sample.
  • Staff are advised to review the following health and safety advice .
    • Display Screen Equipment Policy
    • Display Screen Management Procedure.

These are available on the SAGE blog.

Jane Bunce, Rob Howe, Jill Pickard

June 2012.


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14 Responses to Moving forward with SaGE

  1. Jeff Ollerton says:

    I’d like to raise a couple of concerns about SAGE:

    1. There is nothing at all in the OH computer use leaflet about the amount of time that staff should (or should not) spend in front of a computer. Surely the university has a duty of care to advise staff on this?

    2. It’s unclear to me (and others I’ve spoken to) as to what constitutes “text based work”. Does that include field/lab reports with graphs and images? Can NILE handle those?



    • Adel says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your comment.

      1. I have added a fact sheet from OH regarding good practice when working with computers. Hope this helps, it states that you should try to do 3-4 of the specified exercises once every hour of continuous PC work, and break for 5-10 mins an hour. Hope this helps.

      2. Text based work refers to standard essays and reports. If the types of files you are referring to need to be submitted in formats other than .doc, .rtf, .pdf then you would need to use the Assignment Tool in NILE rather than Turnitin for these submissions (have a look at the SaGE workflows for guidance). Although, if the files you are working with can be converted to a PDF, then they could be submitted via Turnitin. Give me a call on x2510, or email me if you would like more information on this.


  2. Gary Hill says:

    Just a couple of questions (that may have been answered elsewhere and I haven’t attended a SAGE development session recently).

    1: Will all assignments be automatically archived centrally for module tutors at the end of each academic year?

    2: Using grade mark – is there a way of indicating by two different colours (like the red pen – first marker, green pen second marker) any comments on the assignemnts? This would enable students, first, second markers and external examiners to distinguish between the feedback.

    3: I may have missed this, but has there been a proposal on how the external examiners access the SAGE work? If the externals are to use NILE/SAGE directly would this be something worth adding to the External Examiner induction sessions?

    4: Is there a plan for all external examiners to be centrally/automatically given access to all the NILE modules that they are contracted to? This would enable them to look at all assessments and marking etc for all their modules.

    5: I understand the file size limit for submission through turnitin is 20MB. Is there any advice to students on how to reduce their file size if it exceeds this e.g. due to a large number of images? I understand there is an option to use the assignemnt submission link above turnitin, but I’m assuming these assignments won’t be submitted to the turnitin system?

    6: I understand that if we mark in ‘grademark’ we need to use numeric grades and these will then link into the University record system? Is there a definitive grade comparison list available for staff and students to clarify for example that if you have a numeric grade of between 50 and 54 = C+?

    • Adel says:

      Hi Gary,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

      1. NILE sites will remain on NILE for up to 3 years. New sites are created each year so old sites will remain static and therefore all information in them is accessible whilst they are still on NILE. They are then archived centrally.

      2. In GradeMark, if you highlight a piece of text and click on the highlighted area, the bubble comment that appears offers a selection of 5 highlight colours to choose from. You can use this to do what you’re asking, but bear in mind that unless those comments are removed before the post date the student will see them. Also, if those comments are removed there is no evidence about them kept. It is recommended that you use the Grading Notes (notes which are invisible to students) area which is accessible through the Grade Centre to record notes between first and second markers. The Grade Centre guide (currently being updated) contains information on how to accessing this area.

      3. External Examiners access varies at the moment. We can give externals access to your sites within NILE. In this case yes, it would be worth adding to their inductions. Others download a PDF of the marked paper and send it out via email or upload it to a shared area that the external can access. The audit trail for this is then down to the tutor to record. We are still looking at options for this and guidance will be made available once we have a policy.

      4. We can give externals access to any modules we are asked to. I would like to talk further on this if possible. Where are the records of the external’s modules held currently?

      5. There is guidance for this: File Size Advice. It is not currently in the student guidance area on the help tab though so I will make sure it is available there.

      6. The plan for the third phase of the integration project is to have grade information passed between the two systems, yes. This is not going to happen, through an automated process, until 13/14 at the earliest . The guidance on the numeric equivalents to enter in GradeMark is in this document: Overview of Grading in NILE. There are two schemas in place within all the new sites on NILE. One for undergraduate and one for postgraduate marking. All the guidance explains where to go within the Grade Centre to ensure that the correct number to letter conversion takes place and that the correct letter is shown to the student. Using numeric grading in NILE is not intended to stop you from thinking in letters while you are marking. The conversion table is there for you to ensure you enter the equivalent number for the letter. As in, a student paper is worth a B- so you would enter a 61.

      Thanks for your questions. We have also developed the SaGE workflows which take you through the steps that are involved in SaGE. It would be worth looking at these as they link out to all the guidance. They are here: SaGE Workflows. We are always updating our guidance so please let us know if there is something that you would like to be included in it if it isn’t already.


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