Table of Contents

Online Assignments (Beta)

Updated

Currently in beta, online assignments let you create questions directly on Gradescope. Students will be able to log in and submit responses within the Gradescope interface. For some types of questions (multiple choice, select all, and fill-in-the-blank), you can also indicate the correct answer ahead of time, and student submissions will be automatically graded.

Online assignments are available to all Gradescope users and instructors while in beta. Once the feature is out of beta, online assignments will be available with institutional site licenses and for individual courses subscribed to Gradescope Complete

Setting up an Online Assignment

  1. On your course’s homepage, click Create Assignment (bottom right).
  2. Select “Online Assignment” from the list of assignment types. 
  3. Add an assignment title, set a release date, due date, and (Optional) late due date. If you’re making a test assignment that students should not see, make sure to set the Release Date far in the future, or use a demo course that has no real students in it.
  4. (Optional) To give students a set number of minutes to submit work, select Enforce Time Limit. Then, use the Maximum Time Permitted field to set your time limit. See more info on this feature below.
  5. (Optional) To allow groups of students to submit the assignment together, select the Enable Group Submission and set your preferred group size.
  6. Click Create Assignment. This will take you to the Assignment Editor where you add your questions.

Adding your questions

  1. On the left side of your Assignment Editor, enter your first question title (optional) and point value. You can preview your exam on the right side of your screen as you add questions.
  2. Next, add your question text in the Problem Field. You can use LaTeX and Markdown if needed to format the question text.
  3. Now, in the Problem Field, put your cursor on the line below your question text. Click the Insert Field dropdown. 
  4. From the dropdown, select the way you’d like students to answer this question: short answer, free response, multiple choice, select all, or file upload. You can add multiple answer fields to a question if you’d like, but be sure each answer field is on a line by itself. 
  5. Repeat this process for each question in your assignment. When you’ve added all your questions, click Save. Now, check out the next sections below for a deeper look at the answer field options, formatting your questions, etc.
The Edit Outline page for Online Assignments showing how to insert a short answer field into a question.
The Edit Outline page for Online Assignments lets you also create multiple choice questions.

Answer input fields

We currently support Multiple Choice, Select All, Short Answer, Free Response, and File Upload fields. For Multiple Choice, Select All, and Short Answer questions, you’ll supply the correct answer, and we’ll automatically grade your students’ responses.

A question can have multiple input fields, in which case the student must get all of them correct to receive credit.

Input markup must be the only thing on the line that it occurs on. This means that you currently cannot have text before or after an input field.

A sample question demonstrating how to insert a question type using the Insert Field button.
Short Answer
  • [____](answer) creates a text input with the correct answer specified inside the parentheses
  • Make sure to put the answer field on a separate line, with no text before or after it.
  • For short answer questions with numerical answers, you can specify a correct answer like =1+-0.1 to allow students to give any numerical answer within that range (in this example, any answer between 0.9 and 1.1 would be marked as correct).
Free Response
  • |____| denotes a free response text box
  • Students can enter any text into these boxes
  • If a question has any free-response boxes, they won’t be automatically graded and that question must be graded by hand
Multiple Choice
  • ( ) description creates a choice
  • (X) answer designates the correct answer among the choices
  • Don’t leave blank lines between choices, or it’ll start a new group of choices
Select All
  • [ ] description creates a choice
  • [X] answer designates a correct answer among the choices
  • Student must mark all required answers to get points
File Upload
  • |files| denotes a File Upload field.
  • This field lets students upload any file type (PDFs, images, code) as part of their response. 
  • It also lets instructors combine online questions and questions where students upload photos of handwritten work (or code files) within the same Gradescope assignment.

Formatting

Any normal text you type in the question box will be passed through as text. You can use Markdown and LaTeX expressions in your questions and students can use LaTeX in their responses (denote LaTeX with $$, eg. $$x^2$$). You can see a preview of what the assignment will look like to students in the pane on the right.

Check out our guides on Markdown and LaTeX for more details on how to use these.

Adding images

  1. In your Assignment Editor, find the question you like to add your image(s) to. Above the text you’ve entered for the question, click the Insert Images link. A dialog box will appear.
  2. In the dialog box, click the Select Images button and choose the image(s) from your files that you’d like to upload. Hold down the Command or Control key to select multiple images at once.
  3. When you’ve selected the image(s) you’d like to add to the question, click the Upload button.

Although using the Insert Images feature is recommended, you can also include images and graphics in the question body using Markdown by posting the link to the image. If you have the URL for the image, use the following syntax: ![alt text](image URL)

Adding explanations

You can add an optional explanation for the correct answer, which students will see after the due date. You can also enable showing the explanation after a student gets the correct answer (even before the due date) by going to the assignment’s Settings page and checking the box for Show explanations when students answer a question correctly.

There isn’t currently a way to provide explanations for incorrect answers. However, you can add details about incorrect answer options to the explanation for the correct answer.

To add an explanation to a question, put two square brackets ([[ ]]) around the explanation text. Make sure to put the explanation on a separate line, with no text before or after it. For multiple line explanations, use brackets around each line of the explanation. Empty lines between explanations will break them up into two separate blocks.

Adding and removing questions

You can add new questions or subquestions using the Insert Question and Add Subquestion buttons below each question. The dashed line with an icon, when hovered over, turns into an “Insert Question” button, which inserts a question at the spot where the line is (in between two questions).

The question interface showing options for adding questions and how to delete them.

Adding a subquestion turns the question into a question group and adds a child question of the current question. Note that when you make a group of questions, the top-level question can only be used for description text, and students cannot submit any input fields within that question. i.e. If you have questions 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, students can only submit answers to those, and not to Question 1, the parent of the group.

Finally, you can delete questions using the Delete Question button. Deleting all parts of a question group will revert that question group to a regular question (i.e. inputs will work again).

Hiding questions and responses

  1. If you’d like to, you can choose to hide an Online Assignment’s questions and students’ responses after the time limit expires or the due date passes (if no time limit is set). To do this, first, open your assignment and navigate to the Assignment Settings page from the left side panel.
  2. On your Assignment Settings page, under Questions and Student Work Visibility select “Show after grades are published.”
  3. Then click the Save button. Questions and students’ responses will now be hidden after the time limit expires or the due date passes. Students will regain access once you click Publish Grades.

Timed assignments

The optional Maximum Time Permitted feature lets you give students a set number of minutes to complete an Online Assignment from the moment they open it and see the questions. When students open an assignment with a time limit, they’re told how long they have to complete it and can then confirm that they’d like to begin. Students will then see a countdown timer on their screen as they complete the assignment. They can hide the timer, if they don’t want to see it, and reveal again, if they change their mind. During the submission period, students can update their answers any number of times. The most recently submitted answer for each question at the end of the time limit will be saved for you to view and grade. Because students only have a finite amount of time to submit work, timed assignments reduce the risk of students cheating or working together to get the answers.

Extending time limits

  1. To give a student a time limit extension on all Online Assignments in a course, select the course and then Extensions in the left panel. To give a student a time limit extension on one specific Online Assignment, select the course, the assignment, and then Extensions. The rest of the steps are the same for adding assignment-level and course-level extensions. Note that assignment-level extensions override any course-level extensions for the same student. 
  2. Select Add an extension at the bottom right. A dialog box will appear.
  3. In the dialog box, select the student’s name from the dropdown. Then, under Extension Type, select Maximum Time Permitted. Add your desired number of minutes or multiply the available time by a set amount.
  4. When you’re finished, click Add Extension.

Submission Interface

Example question of the student interface showing how simple it is for a student to fill out the form.

Once you’ve created the assignment, your students will be able to log in and enter their responses within the submission period. Students can use LaTeX in their responses to free response questions, and they can upload files of any type to file upload questions. As students complete each question, they’ll see a progress indicator telling them how many questions they’ve answered and how many questions they have left. 

The way students save or submit answers is slightly different based on whether or not the assignment has a time limit:

  • In timed assignments, students’ answers will be autosaved as they enter them. They will not have a button to submit each one. Students will also see a countdown timer (which can be hidden) in the top right corner of their screen. 
  • In non-timed assignments, students will need to click the Submit Answer button as they finish each question. They’ll see a timestamp next to each answer they submit. Along the top of their screen, they can also track how many questions they’ve answered or started but haven’t submitted. Any answers they haven’t submitted will have an asterisk next to them in their assignment. 

During the allotted time (if you set a time limit) and submission period, students can submit or update their answers as many times as they need to. You will only see students’ final answers for each question.

When students log in, they will see a link on their course dashboard to submit an online assignment. If they have already submitted, the link will take them to their submission, and there will be a “Resubmit” button that they can use to resubmit as many times as they’d like before the deadline or time limit expiration. 

You can preview what the student submission interface will look like by going to the assignment’s Manage Submissions page and clicking New Submission. Note that this interface will automatically show the instructor whether the answer was correct or incorrect, but students will not see this unless you’ve published grades.

Submitting work for students

Instructors and TAs can submit work to an online assignment on behalf of students at any point, regardless of any set due dates or time limits.

  1. Open your assignment. Click the left side panel to expand it (if it isn’t already) and select Manage Submissions. This will take you to a list of submissions that have been made to this assignment so far.
  2. Click the New Submission button at the bottom of the screen.
  3. On the submission page, type or select the student’s name from the dropdown under the assignment title.
  4. Enter or select the responses your student has given you. Upload any of their documents to the appropriate Upload File question. Click the Submit Answer button as you complete each question. If your student had existing responses that you did not touch, those will be preserved.
  5. When you’re finished, click the View Submission button to see the work you submitted for your student.

Grading

Student submissions for multiple choice, select all, and short answer questions will be graded automatically. Short answer questions require an exact match to be marked correct. You can enable options for making the matching case-insensitive and to remove leading/trailing whitespaces on the assignment’s Settings page. If there are multiple input fields in one question, students must answer all of them correctly to receive any credit.

If there are any free response or file upload questions or fields, you can grade those manually from the assignment’s Grade Submissions page.

Note that students won’t see their feedback and scores until you publish grades. If you intend for students to see their results for auto-graded questions immediately, you should publish grades from the Review Grades page when you are finished creating the assignment. Note that students can resubmit and update their answers as many times as they’d like before the due date or time limit expiration, and only the scores for their most recent submission for each question will be shown.

If you’d like students to see the correct answers for each auto-graded question after the due date has passed (even if they did not get the correct answer), you can check the Show answers after due date box on the assignment’s Settings page.

Editing an assignment currently leaves any grading on existing submissions alone. To delete a student’s submission, check their score, or see when they started an assignment or last updated their latest submission, head to your Manage Submissions page. If you need scores for auto-graded questions recomputed, you’ll find a Regrade All Submissions button on the assignment’s Manage Submissions page as well.

The manage submissions page showing how to delete student submissions.

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