D2L Brightspace: Creating Assignments


FACULTY: Create an Assignment folder inside D2L Brightspace for student submission of assignments.



  • How do I create a submission folder for students to electronically submit their assignments?
  • What are the steps taken to create a submission folder inside D2L Brightspace?

Introduction to Assignments by D2L

Finding Assignments in D2L Brightspace

Within D2L, within your D2L course, use the Assessment dropdown and select Assignments.

Within the Assignment tool, click on the New Assignment button to begin the process of setting up an Assignment submission folder.

The Initial Landing


Upon entering the New Assignment form for assignment creation, type in the name of the assignment.

Grade Out Of 

On a new folder creation, the folder will populate with no grade. If you click or select into Grade Out Of, D2L will ask for points.

Grade Item 

If nothing more is done than placing a number in the Grade Out Of field, D2L will create a grade item in the gradebook at the same point value as the Assignment folder and the two will be associated (i.e., you can grade the paper in Assignments or Grades and the grade will be visible in both places).

If the dropdown menu is selected that initially says In Gradebook, an instructor could chose Edit or Link to Existing [grade item], Not in Gradebook (the points are solely for the purpose of having a numeric value to evaluations in the assignment folder), or Reset to Ungraded (which will removed the Grade Out Of points and reset the assignment folder to ungraded.

Due Date

A due date can be entered. Due dates are soft dates, students can still submit after the due date though it will be flagged late.


The Instructions field is available for the assignment. (Most faculty do not fill in this field but rather refer students to the Syllabus or other course documents dealing with the assignment instructions.)   

Upload a Document / Attach a document

Below the Instructions field there are several means of attaching or uploading a file to the assignment folder. From left to right these include Upload [from your computer], Quick Link [to something in the course], place a link to any where, link to a file in Google Drive, or to a file in OneDrive. (On a phone or mobile device, there may be only one icon with a context menu that will allow you access to the options.)

Assignment Options 

Availability Dates & Conditions

  • Start Date - Students cannot post to the folder for the date. Interesting note here is that students cannot post to the folder before the date but they could access the description and any uploaded/linked file.
  • End Date - Students cannot post to the folder after the date

Release Conditions

There are many uses for release conditions, see Minnesota State's knowledge base article for more on Managing Release Conditions (behind a StarID login).

Special Access

If you wish to provide special access to one or more students, or even make the folder visible to only certain students, special access allows that flexibility.

Select/Click on Manage Special Access and a pop up window will appear with a radio button option for (1) Allow users with special access to submit outside the normal availability dates for this folder, or (2) Allow only users with special access to see this folder. Most of the applications for extensions or early submissions are met by the first radio button. The second option is used for restricting the visibility of the folder to only those special users.

Submission & Completion

Assignment Type

An assignment can be for individual students or groups of students. If a group assignment is determined, Groups will have to be set up in the Groups tool and then you can choose that group for the assignment folder. (If you need help with groups, see Minnesota State's knowledge base article on Create and Manage Groups.

Once an assignment type is saved, the choice of assignment type is locked. If it is determined later that an type needs to be changed, the submission folder will have to be recreated. 


You can select a pre-existing category from the category dropdown menu.

If you are looking to create a category, this is done outside of the assignment creation window. On the tool page of assignments (Assessments -> Assignments), you will see a button: Edit Categories. Within the edit categories window, there is an Add Category option.

Submission Type

D2L gives four options for submission types.

  • File Submission - This is the historic submission folder type, requiring students to upload a file to the Assignment. Works with TurnItIn. 
  • Text Submission - Students only submit text. Students use the text editor to deliver an assignment. Does not work well with TurnItIn. (TurnItIn analyzes the HTML code.)  
  • On Paper Submission - If a paper is physically turned in, create this Assignment. 
  • Observed In Person Submissions - If a presentation is observed in class, this submission type works. 

Based on the last two submissions types (On Paper or Observed in Person) additional options will be given: Marked as Completed. This is locked in stone on save. 

  • Manually by Learners - This is default and will require the students to log in to mark paper as submitted. (This is not a recommended option. This is the D2L default, however.) 
  • Automatic on Assessment - When faculty grade the student, the assignment will be marked as completed. 
  • Automatic on Due date - The assignment is marked complete on due date. (It is due date (as it says), not end date.) 

Be aware, D2L can indicate the due date on the Assignments tool homepage but D2L is actually displaying the End date and Due date using the same field labeled Due date.

Once a submission folder is saved, the choice of submission type is locked. If it is determined later that an type needs to be changed, the submission folder will have to be recreated. 

Files Allowed Per Submission

How many files can a student upload for a submission. This is different than Submissions below in that this has to do with a single upload--how many files can be attached to a single upload event. What we will see with Submissions (below) is how many upload events are possible. Default allows for any number of files to be simultaneously uploaded.

Allow File Extensions

D2L allows for faculty to be selective on the file types the assignment folder accepts. For more on the file extensions, see the D2L Brightspace Restricted File Extensions article.


This has to do with how many upload events (a whole submission could be one or more documents) are given to a student or how many are kept.

  • All submissions are kept - as many submissions as the students want
  • Only one submission allowed - students have one shot and will not have an opportunity for a second submission
  • Only the most recent submission is kept - the last submission is the only submission faculty see 

Keep in mind, I find it hard to articulate the difference between Files Allowed Per Submission and Submissions and you may, in fact, struggle to understand what the difference is; students are going to be hard pressed to understand the difference. Often times what we see where multiple files are needed for a submission is multiple submissions. We recommend leaving the default.

If faculty change the default on Files Allowed or number/kept Submissions, communicate this to the students; as most of the courses at Metro State have the default options in place and this change will catch students off guard.

Notification Email

For the email Notification, place an email address in the field and every time a student submits to the folder D2L will send an email of confirmation to that email address. 

A use case for this may be: After the Assignment is past due, faculty can place their email address in the Notification line and anytime a student submits a late paper you will be notified. 

Evaluation & Feedback

Add Rubric

Attach a D2L Rubric to the Assignment by clicking on the Add Rubric button and then selecting a Create New or Add Existing. 

Learning Objectives

Not used at Metro State at this time.

Annotation Tools

D2L provides annotation tools for use when assessing students' submissions. Be cognizant that the tool itself is not helpful for students with seeing restrictions and this tool is not accessible.

Anonymous Marking

To avoid unconscious bias in the grading and feedback process, instructors can configure assignments to use anonymous learner names. When the feature is turned on, instructors only see an anonymized learner name on the assignment.  

If Turnitin is used in an assignment folder, Anonymous marking will not work.  

Turnitin® Integration

To turn on Turnitin, simply select/click on Manage Turnitin. Check the box for Enable Originality Check® and the recommendation is also to check the box for Allow learners to see Turnitin® similarity scores in their submission folder. Please refer to the the knowledge base article for more on Turnitin® and the setup within Assignments.



Article ID: 74146
Wed 3/20/19 9:45 AM
Fri 2/2/24 3:25 PM

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