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Submitting assignments online

Online submission

Site: Solent Online Learning
Course: Learning Technologies Student Help
Book: Submitting assignments online
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Wednesday, 17 July 2019, 10:05 PM


If you encounter any technical difficulties with uploading your assignment to SOL, please visit the Mountbatten Library, Floor 2, Learning Technologies helpdesk or contact - ext. 5100 urgently well before your deadline.
For any other enquiries, please contact your tutor and/or course team.

There are different types of online assignment submissions available to Solent University students. 

The type of submission and the tool used is determined by your lecturer.  For every submission, you can expect an assessment brief giving you clear instructions of what type of assignment is required. 

For all online assignments, you will have an Assignment Upload link on your unit (unless instructed otherwise by your lecturer).  Your lecturer will set this up depending on the requirements of the assessment and could include a file submission, video submission, myPortfolio submission, etc. If it is not clear what is being asked of you, you must seek advice from your lecturer.

If you are asked to upload an essay, report or dissertation, these text-based assignments are often sent through to Turnitin which checks your work to see if it matches previous submissions or is copied from other sources such as the internet or ebooks. You will be given a similarity report (even if your assignment is under 'draft' status) and be able to see where you need to correct any referencing or citations to avoid plagiarism.  

Make sure you check what type of files are accepted by Turnitin (see information about file types).

Unless the assessment is exempt from anonymous marking, your lecturer will set up all online submission links for anonymous marking. This means that your name will be unknown to the marker when they assess your work. This offers advantages as the marking will be unbiased and your mark is given purely on the quality of the assignment submitted. 

Plan your time

Sometimes student life can get really busy and the workload can be pretty intense which means its possible to leave it quite close to the deadline before submitting your assignment. With careful planning, try to submit your assignment at least 24 hours beforehand to eliminate some of the stress.

Make multiple submissions

From the moment your lecturer sets an assessment on Turnitin you can submit drafts of your work and review feedback from the Originality Report. The clever thing about Turnitin is that you can submit more than once. So, if you spot any changes you'd like to make, you can edit your work and then resubmit before the deadline.

Effective planning

A good tip is to write yourself a schedule, noting down when you're going to do each stage of your work. Start at the end - when does your work need to be submitted? Then work backwards planning when you're going to carry out research and write your assignment, upload and review drafts and then formally submit your final version.

Don't forget with Turnitin in particular, it is possible to resubmit drafts as many times as you like to check your originality/similarity report, so work this into your schedule as well.

For example, if you have an assignment deadline of Thursday 31 March. Your schedule might look something like this:

  • Wed 2: Plan work schedule (this bit!)
  • Thurs 3 - Fri 11: Research
  • Mon 14 - Fri 18: Write assignment
  • Mon 21: First draft upload to SOL (Turnitin), review Originality Report
  • Tues 22 - Thurs 24: Redraft work
  • Fri 25: Second draft upload to SOL (Turnitin), review Originality Report
  • Mon 28: Redraft and proof work
  • Tues 29: Final submission (two days spare in case of problems)
  • Thurs 31: Deadline

Extenuating Circumstances

Read the university's Extenuating Circumstances Policy for further guidance on what to do if you are unable to meet your assignment deadline.

Prepare your work

When preparing your work there are a few things you need to check:

Make sure that you have added only your student ID number and your unit code to your assignment on the first page. This is to ensure your paper is 'anonymous'.

student id and unit code

When decided on a file name, use your student ID number and your unit code again, ie. student ID number and unit code. (A unit code is normally three letters and three numbers, e.g. MKT451). Do not use any special characters in your file name.

File name

Make sure your file size is less than 40MB for written assignments (e.g. Office docs, PowerPoint, text-based PDFs).  Check what type of files are accepted by Turnitin (see information about file types). Check your file has a file extension.

Other files e.g. photoshop, spreadsheets, etc. can be up to 250MB depending on what has been set up by your tutor. For any queries, you must contact your tutor.

If you are submitting a video or audio assignment online (via Medial), the maximum file size is raised to 1GB. Again, this is dependent on the set up by your tutor.

Upload your work

Make sure you leave yourself enough time to upload your work.  It takes a minimum of 5 clicks to upload a file, and even more if uploading a video, so depending on the speed of your connection, the process can take a while.  Don't leave it to the last minute as even a few seconds late is late! 

Good internet connection - To upload your work, you will need to have a good internet connection. Any Broadband connection over a good network or wifi connection will be fine, but if you don't have access to a fast internet connection, go to the Mountbatten Library and use the computers in there. The Learning Technology Advisors are available on Floor 2 if you need further assistance.

Up-to-date browser - Also make sure that your browser is up-to-date.  Please take a look at the information about minimum browser requirements for Solent Online Learning and Turnitin.  We recommend Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome but any browser upgraded to the latest version would be fine.

See the following chapters about How to upload your assignment/file.

Check your work

After submitting your work, its an excellent idea to check that your submission has been successful.

Submitted for grading

Check that you have received an email notification from SOL.  This is the confirmation of your submission and it will give proof of a successful submission.  

Receipt from SOL

You will also receive an email direct from Turnitin when you upload any text-based document.  This is NOT a formal receipt for assessment submission, it is simply an acknowledgement that you have uploaded a file.  However, it does provide useful details (such as your Turnitin paper ID) if you ever need to discuss your submission or have to appeal.  It is good practice to keep all of your receipts for future reference. 

If you have problems submitting, contact your tutor immediately or any of the Learning Technology Advisors on Floor 2 of the Mountbatten Library . You could also leave a comment in the 'Submission comments' stating what has happened and what action you have taken or email the Learning Technology Advisors at

How to upload your assignment/file

Check your work

  • Make sure that your file name only includes your unit code and your student ID name.
  • Make sure your file size is less than 40MB for written assignments (e.g. Office docs, Powerpoints, PDFs).      
  • Other files (e.g. photoshop, spreadsheets, etc.) can be up to 250MB if set to that limit by your tutor
  • Maximum file uploads can be up to 20 files (if set to that limit by your tutor)

If asked to upload a text-based document, note that Apple Pages (.pages) files are not accepted by Turnitin and will not generate a similarity report (for further information, see information on the Turnitin website about file types.  If a document is written using Pages it can still be saved as a Microsoft Word document through the export feature. 

Submit your work

Go to your unit and find the correct 'Solent Online Learning assignment upload' link.

upload link

Upload your assignment using the Add draft button.

Add draft

Files can be uploaded by clicking on the 'Add' button or by dragging and dropping the file into the file area (if your browser is up-to-date). It is a required field, so to save this, there must be a file present.

File submission

After uploading the file, you must Save Changes.

Save changes 

The submission status shows 'Draft uploaded' but it is 'not submitted for marking' yet.

Read the instructions on this next screen carefully so you know exactly what to do next.

Submission screen for students

If your file is a text-based document and under 40MB, it will go through to Turnitin automatically with a 'draft' status.  You will see a Turnitin icon saying 'Turnitin status: Queued' which means your assignment is being processed with Turnitin.  If successful, this will later change to a Turnitin ID (if you receive an error, see the chapter on Troubleshooting) and percentage icon for your originality report will appear underneath, which you can click on to check your work.  

Use the originality report to see where you need to correct any referencing or citations to avoid plagiarism. Click here to find out about Using the originality report in Turnitin.  Click here to find out about Referencing.


Whilst your assignment is in 'draft', i
t is possible to delete and add as many drafts as you like up until the due date, to check your originality report. The report can take anywhere between 5 mins and 24 hours to be returned however, after three attempts this report will always take a minimum of 24 hours to be returned.  To delete your assignment, you must have your next version ready to upload in its place.  Go back to Edit draft and click on your uploaded file.  In the pop-up window, click Delete, add your new version and click Save.

If your file is a non-text-based document (e.g. an image, image-based PDF or PPT, etc.) and Turnitin has been switched off by you tutor, then you will not receive a paper ID or an originality report.

The submission status is still in draft so you must click on the Submit assignment button to fully complete the process . Please be aware that once you click on the 'Submit assignment' button in the next step, you will not be able to make any more changes.  

Note: You can still submit your draft assignment even if the similarity report has not yet been returned. 

Click the
Submit assignment button to make your final submission.

Submit assignment button

You must tick the box to confirm that this is your own work and you are asked again if you are happy to made a final submission as no more changes can be made once the assignment is submitted for grading. 

Click the Continue button, or if you want to make more changes click Cancel .

Confirm work before submission

This shows the final screen that you will see once the process is complete. The submission status clearly states 'Submitted for grading'.

Submitted for grading

An email notification from SOL will be sent to you to confirm that you have submitted an assignment for the 'assessment' in question.  Keep this in a safe place for future reference.

SOL notification

Using the originality report in Turnitin

Once you have received your originality report from Turnitin, you should use the report to check your work and find ways to improve it. This page will give you suggestions on how to do the following:

  • Retrieve your originality report
  • Understand matches in the report
  • Use the filters
  • Reference any genuine matches 
To retrieve your report, click on the box that gives your percentage (you will see this percentage icon whilst your assignment is still under draft status).  

Percentage icon

You should then be shown a report on screen which looks something like this:

Originality report

Understand matches in the report

Matches in your report are places where the text that you have written appears to be the same as text that is held somewhere in the Turnitin database. This database holds enormous amounts of text, from sources such as books, journals, the internet (it has a complete historical record of everything that has been on the web going well back into the 1990s) and also any other piece of student work that has ever been submitted to Turnitin.

Notice that the report shows you your assessment, in the same format you submitted it, but with colour overlaid. These blocks of colour indicate places where matches were found. The colour overlaid on the text coincides with the colour of one of the sources listed in the right-hand column under 'Primary Source View'.

There are different reasons why matches may be found:

  • Quotations will be identified (unless you have set the 'Exclude Quotes' filter - see below) because these are the words of another author. Be sure that you have cited the original author correctly.
  • Some or all of your bibliography or reference list will be identified because these may have been used in other students' papers.
  • Small numbers of words, perhaps 3 or 4 words together, may be identified because they are either common phrases or they are genuine coincidences of language use.

All of these examples listed above are not a plagiarism risk. Learn to identify these and it will help you to recognise that part of your percentage of similarity is acceptable. However, the following are matches that suggest a plagiarism risk:

  • There is a genuine match to another source that is not referenced within your paper.
  • You have paraphrased but not changed the words sufficiently.

These two instances, and particularly the case of genuine matches, do present a plagiarism risk. For poorly written paraphrasing, the strategy is clearly to rewrite the original author's words further (and make sure you reference the source correctly). 

Use the filters

Notice that on the bottom-right of the page, there is a toolbar that includes the funnel-shaped filter icon: 


If you click on the filter icon, you will get some options: 

Exclude quotes   

Notice that this provides you with different ways to filter the information in your report. Try ticking the boxes for 'Exclude Quotes' and 'Exclude Bibliography' and see how much your percentage will go down (if you have quoted and written your bibliography correctly):

Doing this means that Turnitin will recognise text in your paper that has been properly quoted and will not include this text in your percentage of similarity (because if it is quoted, it is not plagiarised). It's important to note that only quotes given in double quotation marks (" "), or indented quotes are recognised by Turnitin. Single quotation marks (' ') are not recognised. 

Turnitin identifies text that comes after the heading
 Bibliography (otherwise known as Reference list) as the bibliography for your paper and will also exclude this when you select that filter.

If you need to know about quotation and writing a bibliography or reference list, then you can visit Referencing and academic integrity.

You may also choose to use the filters based on number of words or % of match. For instance if you choose to filter out any matches that are 3 words or less, then you will omit lots of instances of coincidental matches.

Reference any genuine matches

If you find that you have any text matches that are more than just a few coincidental words, then you need to do something about it. If you don't use correct quotation and referencing for text matches then you are committing plagiarism, which is counted as academic misconduct and you will lose points for your paper.

What you need to do is:

  1. Use Turnitin to identify the source of the original text

  2. Write a full citation for that source in your reference list or bibliography

  3. Put the matching text into double quotation marks and quote it correctly, e.g.
    Smith (2008, p.9) tells us that, "quotation shows us the exact words of the original author"

  4. Or paraphrase the original author's words, e.g.
    Smith (2008, p.10) explains that paraphrasing is the act of reporting another person's ideas but giving them in your own words.

Make sure you leave yourself enough time to receive your report, make these changes and upload your work again before the assessment deadline and before clicking the final submit button.

Compressing files and images

For compressing files such as Word, PowerPoint and PDF, there are options within the programmes that allow you to reduce the size of the file. 

Compressing pictures in Word and PowerPoint 

This involves the same tool.  You will find the same menu on both.

Step 1: Click on any picture that you want to compress.

Step 2: In the menu, under Picture Tools, click on the Format tab and click Compress Pictures. 

Format tab

Step 3: A pop-up window will show different options for compression. Deselect the option ‘Apply only to this picture’ so that the changes will apply to all pictures within the document. The ‘E-mail’ option will produce the smallest file but try different options if you need to preserve some quality of picture.

Compress Pictures link

Compressing PDF files in Adobe programs

When you save a document as a PDF there is an option that allows you to compress the file. 

Step 1: Save your Document as a PDF. 

Step 2: Once you select save as a PDF a window will appear and you need to select the option compression. 

Step 3: Once you click on compression change the option for (Average Down sampling to) and then click Save PDF. 

Contact the Learning Technologies helpdesk (Floor 2 Library) if you any problems with compressing files.

Learning Technologies helpdesk
Ext. 5100

How to submit your myPortfolio (Mahara)

If you have been asked to submit your digital portfolio that you have created in the myPortfolio system, go to the unit in question on Solent Online Learning (SOL) and click on the assignment submission link.

Click 'Add draft'.

Add draft

Select/check the circle next to the page/collection that you wish to submit (click on the name of the portfolio if you wish to check you are submitting the correct item).

Upload pages or collection

ntil the 'Submit assignment' button has been clicked, the submission status will be 'draft' meaning you can edit your submission. 

Submit your work

As soon as you press 'Submit assignment' your submitted portfolio page/collection will be locked and you can no longer edit it! 

Submit assignment

You will receive an email when you have submitted your work and an email when your tutor has released grading /feedback.

How to upload your video/audio assignment

Prepare your work:

  • Make sure your file name only includes your unit code and your student ID
  • Make sure your file type/format is one of the following: mp4, m4v, avi, mov, mpeg, wmv (for video) mp3, wma, wav (for audio)
  • Make sure your file size is under the maximum of 1 Gb

Submit your work:

Firstly find the relevant Video/Audio assignment upload link on your SOL unit and click on it (example below). This link is set up by your course team.  If you have any problems with this link set up, you should speak with your course team.

Submit your video/audio assignment using the Add draft button. The submission status of your assignment shows whether you have submitted, whether it has been graded, the due date and the time remaining before it is due. Don't forget to read any instructions that your tutor has given you regarding your assignment. If you are unsure what is required of you, contact your tutor direct.

On the next screen you will be able to start the process of attaching your video or audio assignment file. Click on the green Add Media button to upload your video or audio assignment. Remember the maximum size for your video/audio file is 1Gb.


The 'File' tab is where you browse for and upload your video/audio file. Click on the BROWSE button and navigate to where you have saved your video/audio file. Then click Open.

A green progress bar will appear indicating the percentage upload progress for your file together with its size in MB. 


When it is finished uploading the progress bar will disappear and the file name will appear next to 'Uploaded File'. Click on NEXT

The 'Details' tab is requires you to add your assignment details. 

  • For the title use your student ID followed by the Unit Code. Remember not to put your name. 
  • You can leave the Category as 'Personal'. 
  • You must add a short description to your assignment submission. 
  • Finally, click on NEXT

On the 'Thumbnails' tab you can add a thumbnail to your video submission. Click on one of the suggested thumbnails and it will be highlighted in green (you can aslo add a custom thumbnail if you wish). Click NEXT.

On the 'Assoc Files' tab you can add any relevant files to your video/audio submission. This could be a script or a document that is required by your tutor. 

  • It could also be a closed Captions File (in '.srt' format) which you can add using the BROWSE button in the top half of the window. 
  • To add other files such as a script document, add them in the 'Add Associated Files' area. Click in the Title box first and add a title.  Then click the BROWSE button to add the file which will then appear below. 
  • When you are done - or if you don't have any associated files to add - click NEXT

The final 'Confirm' tab shows a summary of the video/audio file you have uploaded. Click NEXT to continue. 

A message will briefly appear stating that your video/audio file has been uploaded. 

This message should disappear and you will be taken back to the Add Media window, this time with a thumbnail of your uploaded video/audio which will be processing. Click on Save Changes

Please note you haven't submitted your assignment yet - there are a few more steps to go. 

You will be taken to the 'Submission Status' window. Note that the status will show as 'Draft uploaded (not submitted for marking)'. You must click on the Submit assignment button to formally complete the process.  


You are prompted again to ensure a final submission should be made. Tick the box to indicate the assignment is your own work then click on Continue. No more changes can be made once the assignment has been submitted for grading. 

Below is the final screen you will see when the submission process is complete. The Submission status clearly states Submitted for grading.

An automated email will be sent to you to confirm that you have successfully submitted your video/audio assignment.

Upload times

Please be advised that large multimedia files may take a significant amount of time to be uploaded depending on your upload speed.

You are strongly advised to upload and submit large assignment files from the University's networked computers or wi-fi. It is your responsibility to allow for sufficient time when uploading large assignment files.

If you chose to upload your assignment file(s) from home please be aware that they are likely to take considerably longer than if you were to upload from the University's network. The table below shows a range of estimated upload times based on upload speed and location:

If you want to test your network speed try but please remember it is the upload speed that you are monitoring.

Please note: The current maximum file size for assignments uploaded via Solent Online Learning is 1GB.
If you are uploading assignments from home please ensure that you keep other traffic on your home network to a minimum.

Compressing a video file using Apple iMovie (MAC)

This guide will walk you through exporting your video from Apple's iMovie which is easy to use video editing software that comes free with all new Macs.

Please note: These instructions are for the latest version of iMovie on a Mac (version 10). To check which version you have installed go to iMovie - About iMovie.

Step 1: Edit your movie as usual

Edit your movie in iMovie as usual - when you are happy with the finished movie and ready to export move on to step 2. For help with editing your video in iMovie see

Edit movie

Step 2. Share your movie using the 'File' option

Click on the 'Share' icon (1) and you will see a window with a number of export pre-set options. Choose the one that says 'File'. (2)


Step 3. Look at the options for changing the Resolution and Quality of your movie

In iMovie 10 Apple removed the capability to alter the video compression settings using Quicktime but you can still reduce the file size to ensure it is under 500 MB. The screenshot below shows the original file size of the video which is 3.38 GB (1) - far too big to upload as your assignment. In order to reduce this to under 500 MB you need to adjust the Resolution and Quality (2).


Step 4. Tweak the Resolution and Quality until the file size is less than 500 MB

In this example I have set the Resolution to 960 x 540 via the drop-down arrows and the Quality to High (1). This has brought the file size down to 198 MB which is below the 500 MB limit. Click on 'Next' to proceed (3).

Tweak the resolution

Step 5. Save the exported file to an appropriate place

In this example I have named the file 'Test Movie' and set the save location to the desktop. Click on 'Save'.

Save exported file

Step 6. Wait for the export process to complete

There is a little progress icon towards the top right of the window - when your video is finished exporting you should get a message saying 'Share successful.' If you click on 'Show' you will be taken to your exported video ready for uploading to Solent Online Learning.

Wait for the export process

Step 7. Finally - Check the file size

One last step - just make sure the file size of your exported video is under 500 MB. Select the file in the finder and in column view (1) you can see the exact size of the file (2).

Check the file size

Compressing a video using Adobe Media Encoder

Compressing a video using Adobe Media Encoder

All university computers will have Adobe Media Encoder CC installed which is part of their creative suite package. It is used for big video files that need to be uploaded to SOL and may need to be compressed. Any kind of compression is going to take some time so make sure you come to compress your video well before your deadline.

To use Media Encoder to compress a video file for online submission please follow these simple steps.

1. First of all open up Media Encoder. It has 4 panels and you will mostly be using the Queue panel to compress the video file.  Click FILE then ADD SOURCE

2. Select the file you want to compress for online submission (alternatively you can drag and drop the file into the left hand window).

3. On the right hand side of the window, scroll down and select from the PRESETS menu, H.264 HD 720p 25. Drag and drop this preset on top of the file name over in the left hand side of the window.

4. Click on the file, below where it says OUTPUT FILE to rename the file if needed and also chose where to save the file to. Once thats done click SAVE.

5. Right click on the file name and click on the option, EXPORT SETTINGS.

6. To check that the compressed file will be under the 500MB look down at the bottom of the pop up window where it says ESTIMATED FILE SIZE. If it is larger than 500MB, move the slider under where it says TARGET BITRATE until the estimated file says it is under 500MB, then click OK.

7. Click the green triangle at the top of the main window and your video will start compressing

8. Media Encoder will show you its progress and will also give an estimated time for compression to complete by


If you are having problems uploading your assignment:

Before the due date:
  Go to the 'Learning Technologies Helpdesk' in the Library (Floor 2), to see if they can help you with any technical difficulties.  Do this in good time of your deadline.

They can advise on how to compress images in a document, convert word to a text-based PDF to further compress a file and give advice on known PC/MAC issues. Or contact your tutor who can also advise.

After the due date:
If you have any issues after the due date, you need to contact your tutor immediately to find out what course of action is open to you if any.  They will need to speak with the Student Registry team on your behalf.

If you leave your submission in draft mode and do not click the final submit button, this may not considered a final submission as you have not followed the formal process to declare the work as your own.

If the University systems are offline or there is a technical fault and if the deadline is close, you may be granted an extension to the deadline, subject to an agreement with the Assessments team.  If this happens, you will be alerted via SOL and email.  Your tutors will also be made aware. 

Further support

If you require any further technical support with submitting online, you can come to the Learning Technologies helpdesk (Floor 2 Library) and see us or call on 023 8201 3340, email on  

For other enquiries, please contact your lecturer or course team.