Learning Environment News

Stay up to date with all the news from our team.

Learning Environment News

The Learning Environments News feed is a great place to look for any of the latest updates and communications from the team.

Keep up to date with training opportunities and updates to VU Collaborate in our regular posts. We also offer helpful hints and tips about the technical aspects of using VU Collaborate which are tailored for staff. Out posts are planned to respond directly to the most common questions and inquiries we get at each point of the semester.

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Publishing grades and creating surveys in VU Collaborate

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Publishing grades through VU Collaborate is easy once the grade items are associated with the required assessments.  Assessments can be in class presentations, online discussions, quizzes, reports, and more.  Grades can also be automatically published to students or can be done manually.  You can now get started on a survey in VU Collaborate too.  Before your students depart, create a survey to capture their opinions with real data about any aspect of the course. 

Making sure grades display in the gradebook.

Ensure that your assessment activities are linked to your grade items and that your evaluations have been published. If grades relate to quizzes, ensure that the Auto Export to Grades  setting is ticked.

I have published the grades but students cannot see them, what do I do?

There is a chance that the grade item may be hidden from students’ view. Please check the visibility settings of your grade item.

How do I build a survey?

Creating a survey can be done by clicking on the Space Admin tab and then Surveys within the VU Collaborate Space. Click on the New Survey button and proceed to add your questions.  If you want to create more than one survey, you could build your questions in the Question Library first.

What types of questions can I add to the survey?

The Survey tool uses the same question types as the Quizzes tool, including Likert questions, short answer, long answer and multiple choice questions.  See how to create a survey with this guide. You can also make survey results anonymous by selecting the make results anonymous checkbox.

Can students view or edit their survey submission?

Once a student has submitted their survey responses, they are unable to review their submission or make further changes. A new submission will have to be made.

Where can I find an example of a survey used in VU Collaborate?

All staff are enrolled in VU Collaborate Essentials so you can see how different things look from a student point of view. There is also information and communication tools for you to learn more about VU Collaborate and the other learning tools.  By going into this Space and selecting Assessments and Surveys, you will be able to see an example of a survey including questions designed to collect space evaluation data.

For more information on publishing grades in VU Collaborate, please visit the Assessments or Analytics Section on the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service.

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Evaluate assessments & provide grades in VU Collaborate


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You can use dropbox tools on VU Collaborate or add Turnitin Feedback Studio for marking and grading.  It all depends on how you prefer to mark assignments and the tools that make it easiest for you to do that. View our key questions on using the dropbox, GradeMark and Turnitin below.

I have created an Assessment Dropbox folder; why can’t I see it in the Gradebook?

In order for feedback left in the assessment dropbox tool to appear in the Gradebook, each Assessment Dropbox folder must be associated with a grade item. For more information on creating and linking grade items to an Assessment Dropbox, see step 3.2 in this guide.

How do I evaluate a submission through the Assessment Dropbox?

The 'Evaluate Submission' page in the Assessment Dropbox enables you to evaluate and leave feedback for student submissions. You can download submissions from the Folder Submissions page to mark the files offline, you can use Turnitin Feedback Studio (if enabled), or you can view and grade a file directly on the Evaluate Submission page. You can then choose to publish feedback immediately or save your feedback as a draft to be released later. This enables you to revise individual assessments, review evaluations, and publish your feedback for all students at the same time.

How can I grade a student’s assignment in VU Collaborate?

There are two ways to mark a student’s assignment, through the Assessment Dropbox tool or through Turnitin. Ensure you know which tool you would like to use and communicate to students so they know exactly where to go to view their feedback.

How do I grade submissions using Turnitin GradeMark and QuickMarks?

In order to use QuickMarks, Turnitin must be enabled for an assessment dropbox folder. GradeMark and QuickMarks can be accessed through Turnitin by clicking on the Originality Report colour box in the Assessment Dropbox area and by selecting the QuickMark tab in the top left hand corner of the new window. Using GradeMark, you can add QuickMarks (comments) to specific areas of a student’s assignment, assign a numerical grade and provide overall audio and text based comments. Refer to this guide for more information on assessing submissions via Turnitin.

How do I send a score from Turnitin Feedback Studio to VU Collaborate Gradebook?

Please view step 5 in this guide for information on how to transfer marks from Turnitin to the Gradebook. Please note only the mark will be transferred across – students must access GradeMark to view any feedback given in Turnitin.

How can I upload grades from a spreadsheet to the Gradebook?

If you have a large cohort of students and use spreadsheets to record marks, it can be difficult to enter marks online one-by-one.  This guide on  Importing Gradebook Data will assist you with managing a large amount of student grades.   

For more information on grading assessments and using the dropbox in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service.

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VU Collaborate Progress & Analytics Tools


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Would you like to know how many times a student has accessed the unit Space this semester or who has engaged with the material in Echo360 ALP?  Perhaps you would like to automate some emails to remind students to check their own progress.  User Progress, Intelligent Agents and Echo360 ALP can help you do these things. Read some of the common questions below.

How can I view a student’s online activity in my VU Collaborate Space?

View the student’s progress based on login, content accessed, results or discussion activity using the User Progress tool in the Results tab.

How can I use Intelligent Agents?

Intelligent Agents (IAs) can be used to send emails to students according to almost any criteria you set. For example, you can set an IA to send a student an email when they have not logged in for a week and BCC yourself so you get the notifying email too. It is also possible to send IA support emails if a student receives a low score (or congratulate for a high score) on an assignment or quiz. Setting up Intelligent Agents is simple and easy to set up at any time of the semester.  Go to this space to see some examples.

Can I manually run intelligent agents?

You can manually run intelligent agents instead of using a schedule by clicking on the triangle dropdown menu next to the name of the intelligent agent.  Select Run Now.

How can I view analytics in Echo360 ALP?

If you have used Echo360 ALP, there are various analytic capabilities that track who has engaged with recordings, presentations and activities and for how long. Please view this resource for further information.

For more information, please see the VU Collaborate Help Guides on the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service.

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Ensuring students can access the feedback you provide

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The assessment dropbox is a powerful tool within VU Collaborate that allows you to provide meaningful feedback to students for a variety of different assessment tasks. Leaving quantitative and qualitative feedback can be done with ease.

Can students see their feedback instantly?

Students can see all comments entered by you in the dropbox once you publish it but you can ‘save as draft’ to delay the publishing until all assessments are marked. If you are using Turnitin Feedback Studio, they will be able to view the grade and comments once the GradeMark date in the dropbox lapses. To check this date, navigate to your Assessment Dropbox Folder, click Edit Folder and select the Turnitin tab on the right; the GradeMark section is at the bottom. You will have the ability to adjust the date that GradeMark becomes available to students. For more information view Step 5 in this guide.

Students cannot view their feedback in Turnitin Feedback Studio, what’s the problem?

Ensure that students are opening their Originality reports and clicking on the blue comment bubble in the top right hand corner of the page. Secondly, verify that feedback has been left for them and that the GradeMark Available to Students date setting within the Assessment Dropbox settings has been set correctly. Your students may find this guide on accessing Turnitin Feedback Studio on VU Collaborate helpful.

My assessment tasks don’t require students to submit anything, what’s the best way to evaluate them?

You can still use the assessment dropbox tool to provide meaningful feedback to students for assessment tasks such as in-class presentations. Create an assessment dropbox folder and, when ready to mark, change the ‘Submissions’ search to “Show users without submissions”. Here you will see the list of students, allowing you to select “Evaluate Submission” just above the student’s name, despite the student not uploading anything. Publish this feedback when ready in order for the student to receive it.

Want to leave audio or video feedback for students in VU Collaborate?

By using the Video Note tool instructors can leave short audio and video clips of feedback for their students. This can help in giving students individualised and engaging evaluations of their work.

For more information on providing feedback in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service

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Turnitin reports and feedback in VU Collaborate


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Turnitin Feedback Studio allows educators to check students’ work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against continuously updated scholarly databases. It also provides a method of commenting on written work and provide personalised feedback in a time saving manner.  This software has been integrated into VU Collaborate and is located within the Assessment Dropbox tool.

What is an Originality Report and how do I use it?

The Originality Report enables you to monitor written assignments and identify potential cases of plagiarism by automatically comparing submissions to an online database of original content. You can then view Originality Reports which highlight key areas, provide a percentage of similarity with other content, shows a breakdown of matching sources, and provides direct links to the matching content.

What is QuickMarks (GradeMark) and how do I use it?

The QuickMarks component of Turnitin Feedback Studio provides the option to mark assessments and provide feedback entirely online.  The great thing about QuickMarks is that it has a database of dozens of detailed pre-made comments about written work that you can use, options to add your own custom made comments to the assignment and/or your database of comments, as well as options for either written or verbal overall feedback.

Students are unable to view their Originality report, what do I do?

If you are using Turnitin with your Assessment Dropbox folders and you wish for your students to view their Originality reports, ensure you select the Allow learners to see Turnitin similarity scores in their dropbox folder checkbox underneath Display in the OriginalityCheck Options in the Dropbox. For more information check Step 5 in this guide.

The originality report won’t generate for a student’s submission, what’s gone wrong?

Turnitin Feedback Studio will only accept MS Word (Doc, Docx), WordPerfect (WPD), PostScript (EPS), Acrobat PDF (not scanned), Rich text (RTF), Plain text (TXT) documents. Please also ensure that the file size is less than 20Mb and the content of the document has at least 20 words.

For more information on Turnitin Feedback Studio in VU Collaborate, please visit the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service.

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