UM Carey Law | Blackboard | Assignments

Assignments v. the Digital Drop Box

The Assignment and Digital Drop Box tools allow instructors to exchange files with students.

The Digital Drop Box tool allows instructors to store and exchange files with their students. Students can send files to the instructor; the instructor can then retrieve and review the files and then return them to students.

The Assignments tool also allows instructors to exchange files with students, but it combines this ability with the organization and management functionality of the Gradebook. The instructor can post an article, case or other document with the assignment, retrieve the completed assignment from a student, and grade that assignment via the Gradebook. With Assignments, there are also enhanced management options, such as bulk downloading and clean up of the files.

Make sure to let your students know which method you will be using and where to find assignment and assignment files in your course. If you know that you will not be using Assignments, the Digital Drop Box, or both, delete links to either tool from your Course Menu.

Which should you use?

You should use the Digital Drop Box when you only need to exchange a file with one student or a group of students or when a project will not be graded. An Assignment is effective when a grade will be assigned to student work, and the graded product requires submission of one document. Some other considerations include:

  • Sorting Files. Assignment Files can be sorted by Assignment and organized by student name. The list of Drop Box files cannot be sorted; they are posted by the order in which they were received.
  • Downloading Files. Multiple Assignments may be downloaded at once. Drop Box submissions must be downloaded individually.
  • Multiple Student Revisions. Use the Drop Box for submissions that require multiple revisions by students. Once an Assignment has been submitted, it cannot be re-submitted.
  • Restrictions on Date and Time for Submission. Assignments give you more control over the date and time of submission submission. Deadlines can be given for Assignments, while students can submit files at any time as long as the Drop Box is available.
  • Gradebook. Assignments are integrated with the Gradebook, while the Drop Box is not. To use the Gradebook for a Drop Box submission, you must create a separate Gradebook item.
  • Ease of Creation. The Drop Box is easier to set up and use, but offers less powerful features; submissions to the Drop Box can be more difficult to manage.
  • Student Comments. Students must includes comments with an Assignments submission; comments are optional for students with Drop Box submissions.
  • Course Builder Access. Only a TA or Instructor may download Assignment submissions. You should use the Drop Box if you plan to have your Course Builder handle submissions or have assign a new role such as Grader or TA to your Course Builder for the purpose of downloading Assignments.

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Create an Assignment

Download Assignment Files

View and Download an Individual Assignment

Downloading Multiple Assignments

Enter Grades for an Assignment

Item File Clean Up (Deleting Assignment Files)

Retrieve Student Files from the Digital Drop Box

Add Files to a Student Drop Box


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved