Aula Assessment Guidance


  • to provide a standard set of guidance for making decisions regarding setting up assessments, marking and uploading grades using Aula. 
  • to pull together and update existing ‘how to’ guides as required

Please note: This guidance document pulls together support resources from a range of sites, Aula Zendesk, the University’s Knowledge Base and links on the Staff Portal.  The source of the documents is indicated against each link.  Aula Zendesk sources are generic and not specific to Coventry University, they therefore may contain guidance on functionality which does not align with University recommendations. 


  • Deciding on an assessment tool in Aula
  • Setting up submission links in Aula
    • First submission point
    • Group assignment in Aula
    • Creating an extension submission point
  • Rubrics in assessment and feedback in Aula
  • Uploading student work
  • Marking and giving feedback in Aula
    • Marking formative and summative assessment in Aula
    • Allocating markers and releasing feedback
  • Moderation practices and approaches in Aula
    • Internal moderation
    • External examining (Educator area)

Deciding on an assessment tool in Aula

  • Turnitin
    • Turnitin assignments provide an integration with the academic integrity tool, and work submitted via an assessment using this option will generate an originality report.  This option is best used for all text-based assessments. 
    • Multipart submissions and group assessment are not possible in Turnitin.
    • It allows for the implementation of anonymous marking, use of in-text comments, rubrics, and audio feedback.  It does however have a limited file size (100 MB) and only recommended for text-based assessments (e.g. MS Word or PDF formats).
  • Handin
    • Handin, similar to Turnitin, accept text-based assignment but has the additional functionality that it allows for the submission of group assignments and multimedia submissions. 
    • Handin also allows for multipart submissions in addition to group assessments.
    • Handin does not produce an originality report, but a submission link can be created separately for the plagiarism check via Turnitin.  Notify students that they need to submit to both, but feedback and marking will be within Handin.  Where visual and audio presentations are submitted, students can also upload a transcript of the audio as a word document or PDF to Turnitin (and Handin).  
    • Handin allows for the implementation of anonymous marking, and rubrics as well as having a “conversation” space for communication between the marker and the student.  It allows the submission of multiple numbers of files and accept up to (1 GB).

First submission point

In this section, links to guidance on setting up assessment in AULA will be given.

  • Turnitin
    • Turnitin: Guidance on creating and editing assignments [Aula help article]
    • For the CU Group, additional requirements [Staff Portal] are set as briefly outlined below:
      • Required: Check the “Allow late submissions” box
      • Recommended: “Allow anonymous marking”
      • Recommended: “Attach a rubric”
      • Required: Set the similarity report to “Generate reports immediately (students can resubmit until the due date)”

Group assignment in Aula

Group assignment functionality is available through the Handin tool. To set up a group assignment, first establish the groups: see Creating Assignment Groups [Aula help article].

Once this is done, set up your Handin assessment and link to the Group Set that has been created for this task – Handin: Creating Group Assignments [Aula help article]

When using Handin it does mean the submitted group task will not be uploaded to Turnitin for text-matching. If text-matching is required for this assessment, then the following steps can be taken as a workaround:

  1. Set up group assessment as above using Handin. This assessment will be linked to the Assessment Item for return of marks.
  2. Set up Turnitin assessment for the task, solely for the purpose of receiving the group submission for text-matching. This assessment should not be linked to the Assessment Item.
  3. The assessment task will need to include clear guidance for the group to nominate one individual who will submit the finished assignment to Turnitin for text-matching.

See also Setting up group assignments in Aula [Knowledge Base article]

Creating an extension submission point

Note that for Academic Year 2021-22 changes have been made to the University Extensions and Deferral procedures.  These are:

  1. The extension period for coursework assessments is reduced to 5 working days.
  2. Supporting evidence is required to be submitted with the request and approval will be granted to applications with appropriate supporting evidence.  “Value judgements” of evidence will not be made to ensure a consistency of approach.
  3. The 24-hour grace period after the original assessment deadline is retained for work to be submitted without penalty up to 24 hours after the deadline
  4. Deferral requests require supporting evidence to be submitted but approval will be granted with appropriate supporting evidence.

For further guidance visit the Extensions and Deferrals Portal [Student Portal].

24 Hour Grace period

A student can submit up to 24 hours after the deadline, without penalty or needing an approved extension request.

Important points to note: ·

  • Requests for an extension or a deferral must still be submitted before the deadline.  The deadline for assessments is still the deadline.
  • Any submissions made before the deadline will be taken as the final submission at the deadline. This means that if a submission was made before the deadline, the assignment tool will not allow a submission after the deadline has passed.
  • This period of time should be used entirely at the student’s own risk and only when absolutely necessary and is designed to ensure students do not fail assessments by missing the deadline by minutes due to technical or other difficulties. Any submissions made after the 24-hour period will receive an automatic fail.
  • A sub-assignment link will need to be set up for submissions where 5 working day extensions have been granted to enable marking to commence and students with an extension to continue to submit work (see guidance below).

The extension and deferral form and the student portal extension and deferral page has been updated to advise students of the below point:

“To accommodate any last-minute technical difficulties or changes to personal circumstances, the University will automatically accept any submissions made up to 24 hours after the deadline without penalty. There is no need to complete an extension request form if you submit within this timeframe.”

To support the messaging around this policy change for students, we ask that all Module Leaders, where possible, add the following two points to their assessment briefs to support students to understand this change: ·

  • To accommodate any last-minute technical difficulties or changes to personal circumstances, the University will automatically accept any submissions made up to 24 hours after the deadline without penalty. There is no need to complete an extension request form if you submit within this timeframe. ·
  • You may submit draft assessments up to the deadline to receive an originality report from Turnitin, however the most recent submission will be accepted as final once the deadline has passed.

All staff should be lenient and supportive in the managing of this process change for students during semester one. If a student submits a draft and then needs to submit after the deadline due to technical difficulties, Module Leaders should allow students to do this where possible.

If you have any questions about the 24-hour grace period, please speak with your line manager initially or the Faculty Registrar.

Actions to take within the Aula assessment submission space:

It is possible to create sub-assignments that will only be visible to a chosen group of students. Using this feature means that all grades are collated under the same assignment and therefore the  assessment item will be exported as grades to Universe.  This feature allows:

  • Granting assignment extensions to a specific student or group of students, with new deadline reflected in the platform.
  • Creating different variations of the same assignment for different sub-groups of students.

Guidance and steps to take to Creating assignment extensions [Aula help article], in both Turnitin and Handin.

Once you have created an extension (see guide above) for your assignment the extension will be nested within their “parent” assignment, to avoid overcrowding the Assignments page.

For guidance see the guide to Extensions: Viewing, editing and grading [Aula help article].

Please note:

  • If students have already submitted a draft to the main assignment link prior to receiving an extension, then they can only be moved to the extensions link after this draft submission has been deleted.  Students must therefore be made aware of this. 
  • If anonymous marking is switched on it is not possible to identify students to move them from the main link to the extension.  It is therefore recommended that anonymous marking is switched on once the assignment has closed and before marking commences.

Rubrics in assessment and feedback in Aula

Rubrics are assessment tools used to help to evaluate student work, based on criteria and scales that can be created within Aula, or can be imported from elsewhere. They help students to understand what is expected of them from an assignment and why they have received their grade. There are typically two types of rubrics, analytical and holistic.

Use of rubrics is recommended where possible for assessments to increase efficiency and ensure consistency in marking.

Assessment criteria and rubric guidance available:

For guidance on generic CU Assessment criteria:

Additional guidance related to Assessment criteria and rubric.

Uploading student work

From time- to time, students may email their assessment to you as tutor.  It is important that the student understands that the submission needs to come via Aula and not via email.  If the submission is before the deadline then ask the student to submit through Aula if they are able to do so. 

Please note that it is not possible for staff to upload an original submission on behalf of the student via either Turnitin or Handin.

If the reason the student cannot submit an original submission is caused by technical issues check if they can upload a small file, which can then be replaced by the emailed version. Students who face technical issues should open a ticket with Aula Support at ASAP

It may happen that your students might need to resubmit their previously uploaded work. In both Turnitin and Handin, the student can resubmit for as long as an assignment is open.  If a student is unable to submit for technical reasons then, in Turnitin, staff can resubmit manually on behalf of an individual student.  It is not possible to make an original submission on their behalf.

Marking and giving feedback in Aula

Marking formative and summative assessment in Aula

Guidance here will refer to marking and giving feedback in both formative and summative assessment.

  • Turnitin

Marking using the Turnitin assessment will be through the Turnitin Feedback Studio. This allows students to receive feedback associated with the grade using General comments (written or audio), Rubrics and QuickMarks.

For guidance on alternative functionalities in Turnitin for giving feedback, see the Feedback Studio walkthrough: [Turnitin webpages]

  • Handin

When setting up assessments in Handin the following options are available for marking and giving feedback:

  • Grading
    • Free form grade
    • Percentage grade
    • Pass/Fail
    • Letter Grade
  • Rubrics.
    • (see rubrics guidance)
    • When grading comments provided in the feedback field are associated with and released with the grade.  This is separate to the Conversation  [Aula help article] field, which can be used for formative feedback.
  • Handin – Grading Assignments and Submitting Feedback [Aula help article]

With regards to formative tasks that can be accommodated in Aula, this can be in the form of either a Quiz, Turnitin and or Handin tools.

  • Formative tasks in the QUIZ tool:

For formative tasks, that requires automated marking, see guidance on setting up quizzes.  see guidance on using quizzes.

  • Formative tasks in the Turnitin tool:

For formative tasks requiring the submission of work not necessarily graded, Handin is the recommended tool, see guidance below.  However, if an originality score is required, then Turnitin is the recommended tool as this functionality is not available in the Handin tool.  In this case the assignment link will be created as normal, but no grade needs to be added when marking and giving feedback.  If using Turnitin for formative tasks, it is critical that the settings be updated to activate the ‘Do not store the submitted papers’ setting.

  • Formative tasks in the Handin tool:

The Handin tool provides functionality for creating a conversation around formative tasks. The feature allows students to respond to their formative task feedback and so opens important opportunities for dialogue. As well as having the option of a feedback field linked to grading student work Handin has a ‘Conversation’ field. Comments added to the feedback field are released to students along with the grade. Feedback provided in the conversation field is independent of any grading and students can respond to these comments, so generating opportunities for developmental discussion.

Handin: creating ungraded assignments [Aula help article]

Allocating markers and releasing feedback

The Adding Students to Group feature in Aula can also be used for the allocation markers.  Using the groups allows the Student Submission List to be filtered by individual marker.  For guidance see: Allocating marking of assignments directly in Aula [Aula help article]

When releasing feedback, this can be done in conjunction with grades when using Turnitin and Handin. 

  • In Turnitin, the release date and time can be set up in advance, so details are released automatically at the specified time. 
  • It is possible to change the release date, for example if marking has been completed and can be released early issues have arisen in being able to meet the scheduled release date.  It is important to also keep the students informed of the delay, and when to expect the feedback and marks.
  • In Handin, there is no automatic release date feature. Feedback can be made available by clicking on “Release Grades” within the submission area.
  • Handin: Grading assignments and submitting feedback [Aula help article]

Moderation practices and approaches in Aula

Internal moderation

Each Aula module space includes an Educator area. This is accessed in the Journey area and is a private space just for staff associated with this specific Aula space. As well as providing a space for staff communication, private from students, it has been populated with links for moderation templates. This area is where module leaders will provide their assessments, evidence of moderation and marking for external moderation.  For guidance on moderation policies see section Moderation of Assessed Work [CU Assessment Policy]

Moderation forms:

External examining (Educator Area, access, etc.)

  • Importing results into AULA (for assessment outside of AULA)

The manual assignment function in Aula allows grades that have been generated outside of Aula to be imported. This ensures all grades are available to students through Aula and the Export Grades to Universe function can be used.

  • Mapping and Export to Universe

Grades are exported to Universe through the Student Success App using the Assessment Items.  In using the Student Success App it is important to understand the difference between Assignments and Assessment Items.

  • Assignments are the individual assessed tasks created in Aula, these can be formative or summative.
  • Assessment Items are the individual assessment components for each module and will be populated from Universe.

Before grades can be exported the relevant Assignments need to be mapped to the Assessment Item, this will mean that once grading has been completed the marks will be linked from the Assignment to the Assessment Item. 

The export of grades is completed by using the Export Grades button.

After completing the export, you will have one of the following three notifications

  • Export successful: If the entire grade export is successful, the item will display “Export completed” in grey with a time stamp.
  • Export partially successful: If some students’ grades were successfully exported and some failed, the item will display “Export completed with errors” with a time stamp.
  • Export failed: If the entire export fails, the item will display “Export failed” with a time stamp.

The guide below provides an overview of the exporting process and explains the error codes that might be reported in the outcomes reports and the actions to be taken:


Updated on April 29, 2024
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