General Frequently Asked Questions

This page shows general questions. For questions relating to using eSubs, please see the Student and Staff FAQ pages.

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What types of course will eSubs work with?



eSubs will work for most academic courses. It can be used to track submission of assignments that are not related to specific qualifications, but its real power is in the tracking of criteria based qualifications. eSubs is currently being used for BTEC, CLAIT, LASER and OCR courses.


How does eSubs help students keep on top of deadlines?


Students have a view of all their current assignments sorted in date order. This view also shows how they have done so far if their first hand-in has already been marked.

Also, when setting assignments, lecturers see all the deadlines for all the subjects a group is studying. If deadlines for other assignments are close to the proposed deadline for a new assignment, these are highlighted in pink (same week) or red (same day). This helps lecturers space deadlines appropriately.

Can eSubs calculate an overall grade for students?


YES, students can set a target grade for each unit and eSubs can calculate an overall grade. eSubs can also allow students to choose different levels of their qualification (e.g. Extended diploma, subsidiary diploma or certificate).

However, while we make every effort to calculate target grades accurately:

  • There are some grading calculations that are not fully documented in some qualification specifications. This is most apparent where students are doing more units than necessary, with a mixture of credits from various a mixture of levels.
  • There may also be prohibited unit combinations that eSubs does not know about.
  • A college may not have spotted a mistake in the setup of a qualification or its units.

Also, when looking at actual results, it is possible that criteria may have been incorrectly judged.

Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the grades calculated are correct until examination boards have confirmed the results.


How does eSubs help lecturers?


eSubs makes it very easy for lecturers to set assignments and once this has been done, it is up to students to hand them in, no need for staff to be involved in this. Work is either handed in or not, there won’t be any more “but I gave it to you” discussions.

Action lists ensure staff know exactly what they need to do each day (eSubs tracks marking, internal verification and other deadlines).

Staff can do their marking and internal verification online, adding comments to student submissions using Office 365 (optional) and recording achievement inside eSubs.  There is no need to transcribe results into forms, spreadsheets or other systems.


How does eSubs help tutors and those giving additional support?


eSubs Student can be used by support staff to see the same views as the students they are supporting. This means they can see actual work handed in, all the deadlines for active assignments, feedback and achievement for these students when preparing for support sessions.


What happens if a student misses a deadline?


When setting up your classes, you can decide whether to allow one or two deadlines (formative / main or main / re-submission). You also decide the cut off time for submitting work.

If students miss a deadline, staff can set an extra hand-in for them. Depending on how the class has been set up, they may have to choose a valid reason for the extra hand-in and it might need to be authorised by the lead internal verifier.


Why do you say eSubs can generate huge savings on printing?


Where eSubs is introduced, students stop printing their work and staff can mark it online

Say your average student currently prints 50 pages per week for 30 weeks at 3p per page and this stops once eSubs is introduced. That’s a saving of £45 per student per year.

On top of this, there is no need for you to print cover sheets to record marking decisions, internal verification sheets (these can be created as PDFs),  or keep photocopied version of student assignments (formative or final).

Try our Excel Savings Calculator to see how much paper you could save.


Why do you say eSubs will save huge amounts of time?


A survey of staff showed that staff save approximately 30% of the time needed for marking, internal verification and other administration related to assessment.

This is because:

  • Setting assignments is easy (eSubs knows all about the class doing each assignment and the units being assessed.).
  • eSubs provides everything staff need to mark and internally verify (IV) work from one page.
  • Markers can add comments to student work if required using Office 365 (no download / upload of documents required).
  • Markers then award criteria associated with the assignment and explain their reasoning, again without changing page or any upload.
  • Internal verifiers can see achievement, reasons for achievement and marked student online and easily record their IV comments.
  • eSubs also provides many useful shortcuts on the marking and IV page, such as the ability to update feedback and achievement for all students in a class at once, open the previous version of a student’s work or open the unit specification.
  • eSubs handles IV referrals online, again no paper required.
  • eSubs produces a range of reports (as PDFs) such as student achievement, class achievement, assessment schedule and IV matrix. These require nothing more than setting, marking and IVing assignments, no spreadsheets or other tracking documents to maintain.

Try out our Excel Savings Calculator to see how much time eSubs could save your staff.


Will eSubs improve grades?


Anecdotal evidence says YES, though we can’t guarantee it. We can say that:

  1. Students have a clear view of all assignments for all subjects on one screen, helping them to plan their workload.
  2. Tracking staff actions and reminding staff of their upcoming marking and internal verification deadlines promotes timely turnaround of assessments, motivating students.
  3. Grades and feedback are clearly shown after first hand-in. These are always available and cannot be lost, helping students to address any problems before a second hand-in.
  4. Learning support staff can access student work and assessment results, enabling them to work efficiently.
  5. The graphic view of results across all units and ability to use predictions and target grades encourages students to maximise their performance.


Who sets up the qualifications in eSubs


We do:

You tell us which units in which qualifications you want and we:

  • Setup the basic qualification.
  • Setup the units.
  • Setup the internal verification questions.
  • Setup the criteria types and possible achievement results.
  • Setup the grading calculations (where appropriate).

We send you a PDF report (you will also be able to create this yourself) showing the qualification so that you can check and (if you want) get us to make changes.


Who sets up the student groups in eSubs


We do:

You send us CSV files or Excel spreadsheets containing details of each group:

  • General Settings.
  • Subjects: Units; lecturers;  internal verifiers.
  • Students: Name; Email address; Guardian email.

While this might come from individual teams, it will probably come from your student records department or IT department.

We send you a PDF report (you will also be able to create this yourself) showing the group setup so that you can check and (if you want) get us to make changes.


What software does eSubs use and where is it based?


eSubs is mainly written using C# and JavaScript. The database is Microsoft SQL Server.

eSubs runs from Microsoft’s Azure data centres in the UK. One data centre is used for live use, another holds a replica of the database and file storage for disaster recovery purposes.


I don't see my question answered, can you help me?

If you are using eSubs and have a specific question or need help, please contact contact your team leader or the college’s help desk.

Otherwise, please email or use our contact form to send us a message.