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EDU Support Blackboard Instructor Assignments, Assessments & Exams Assignments & assessment methods Essay assignment

Essay assignment

An essay assignment can be used for open questions. You can add audio and/or video to your questions. An essay assignment can contain subquestions, you can set a maximum word count for students' answers and you can fill in the possible points for each question. 

With essay assignments, the answers of the students are automatically saved and also logged by Nestor every two minutes during the exam.

Create Essay Assignment

  1. To create a new essay assignment, go to the folder ‘Exam/Tentamen’ and choose Add Essay Assignment.

  2. In the first field ‘Title’ you can enter the question title. This is what the students see in the overview page of the exam.

  3. The text in the ‘Short Description’ will be visible without opening the assignment. You are advised to enter only a short summary of the assignment here (a few words).

Student perspective

Here is an example of an essay assignment from the perspective of a student. The student will see the title, short description, points possible and the maximum word count on the overview page.  

When the student clicks on the title of the essay assignment, they will see the question title, question text, points possible and a word counter (if there is a maximum word limit).

If you want to add audio, video, pdf or an image to the question, you can click here for an instruction how to do that.

Essay question without subquestions

  1. Enter the question in the field ‘Question Text’. This will be visible when the students type their answer. 

  2. If you want to use an example answer during review and/or grading, enter a model answer in ‘Example of answer’. The example answer is not visible to the students during the exam.

  3. The ‘Possible points’ and the ‘Maximum number of words’ can be set. If you choose a maximum number of words, all the words will be registered, whether the maximum limit is exceeded or not. If an answer exceeds the word limit, students will see the word count in red.

Essay question with subquestions

  1. To add subquestions, you can use the dropdown menu. Choose the number of subquestions you would like to use. After clicking on the number of questions, the question will appear. By default question 1, question 2, etcetera is entered as the title. You can adjust this.

  2. Enter the question text in the first field. 

  3. If you want to use an example answer during review and/or grading, enter a model answer in ‘Example of answer’. The example answer is not visible to the students during the exam.

  4. You can set the ‘Possible points’ and ‘Maximum number of words’ for each subquestion.

Additional settings

  1. By enabling the ‘Do not review option’, students get the option to mark their question. If they mark it, the question will not be graded. This option is useful when students have to answer a selection of questions, e.g. answer four out of five questions.

  2. The text-editor contains a spellchecker, which can be disabled by checking this option.

  3. The editor height is the height of the text field where the student can type. This is standard at 30, a good height for laptop screens. Students always have the option to scroll. It is advised to leave this at 30.

Review settings

It is advised to set everything to ‘No’ before the exam.

Additional options

The options below are controlled by team Assessment Support. Please do not change these settings.

Once you have finished, you can click on Submit or Submit and Create Another. All the text and settings are saved, but can be adjusted later. 

Edit the essay question

After creating the essay question, you can still edit the question. 

  1. Click on the grey arrow and choose ‘Edit’. 

Grading essay question

Information about grading an essay question you can find here.

Whom to contact?

For further information about exams and the help we can provide, please email our team at

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Last modified: 5 April 08:20 am
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