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Durham University

Department of Physics

Electronic submission of coursework assignments

The deadlines for submission of assessed work are displayed on the undergraduate notice boards and are also available from You will be required to submit most summatively-assessed assignments electronically, via duo, and not in paper format. Detailed instructions regarding how to submit the electronic files are given below. (These instructions do not apply to the Level 1 Introduction to Programming assignments or the Level 2 Computational Physics assignments, for which there are separate arrangements.)

    In the special case of the Level 3 summative poster, you will be required to produce a paper copy, as well as submitting electronically. Note that the deadline for submitting the electronic version is the same as for the paper version. You must, of course, take responsibility for ensuring that the two versions are identical, although in this particular case the paper version is the one that will be assessed and graded.

So, for the vast majority of assignments the electronic file that you upload via duo is the only version that you will submit and is therefore the version that will be assessed. You are allowed to submit multiple versions before the deadline, then the last one submitted before the deadline counts as the assignment to be assessed. (This is how things work for academic journal articles.) Our strong advice is to submit drafts of your report as you are writing it, so that, in the worst case scenario, e.g., if your file gets corrupted on the day of the deadline, you will still have submitted something. We can't help with "the dog ate my laptop" or similar excuses – see .

The electronic files that you submit will be checked by the Turnitin plagiarism detection system, to which the University is subscribed. To help you avoid plagiarism (whether deliberate or accidental), advice on "Avoiding plagiarism in physics assignments" is available at and you are very strongly advised to read it. The document can also be reached by following the "Plagiarism" link on the Department's Assessment and feedback web page.

Your attention is also drawn to the Department's guidelines on preparing reports for laboratory and computer projects at Levels 1 to 3, available via "Assignments" in the relevant duo courses, or directly from .

Instructions for submission via duo

Although the system accepts files in various formats, for Physics assignments you must submit in portable document format (pdf). Instructions for conversion to pdf are given below.

The file that you submit will normally be printed by the Department before being marked. You are responsible for the appearance of your assignment, so check the pdf carefully before submitting it. Unless you are told otherwise, you may assume that your submission will be printed in colour, but you are advised not to rely solely on colour when producing figures, etc. If you ignore the above instruction and submit in another format (such as Word) then your file will be converted to pdf before printing and the Department will not be responsible for the appearance of the output.

We advise you to be especially careful if using OpenOffice to produce your assignment, as there can be problems (e.g. with equations) when converting such files. Check the pdf very carefully.

Please ensure that the filename does not exceed 100 characters and contains alphanumeric characters only. Use underscores (_) instead of spaces.

The file size must be less than 40 MB. This should be easily sufficient, but if your pdf file is too large then you must take action to reduce it, so that you are able to submit successfully before the deadline - seek help from the CIS Helpdesk if necessary. (You are advised not simply to copy and paste your text directly into the Turnitin window, despite what it might suggest, as this will render your work almost illegible to the marker.) Large files are normally due to the presence of large embedded images, so try reducing the resolution of the image files within your report, before converting it to pdf. Sometimes, printing the pdf file itself to the PDFWriter (i.e., producing a new pdf file) can do the trick.

How to submit:

  1. Go to the relevant duo course (e.g. Discovery Skills in Physics).
  2. Click on the "Assignments" button.
  3. Locate the required assignment and click on the "View/Complete" link.
  4. Click the "Submit" button.
  5. Fill in the details in the upload form (your name should be automatically entered). Choose the file that you want to upload by clicking on the appropriate "Choose" button and selecting the appropriate file from your filespace in the standard fashion. (If you have saved multiple versions of your assignment then make sure to select the correct one.)
  6. Click on the "Upload" button. IMPORTANT: Your assignment has NOT been submitted to Turnitin yet.
  7. After a short pause you will see a small preview window. Check that this is really the file you want to submit, then click on the "Confirm" button. (Note that, although the preview may simplify or ignore some of the formatting, the file that actually gets uploaded (and which the Department will be able to view) will include its original formatting.)
  8. There will be a short pause whilst the system processes your submission; do not navigate away from the page during this time. You will then see a confirmation page, which acts as your digital receipt - you are advised to save/print a copy of this for your records, as proof of your submission. Make a note of the unique Submission ID and keep it in a safe place.

You must make sure that you click on the final "confirm" button (after previewing your uploaded file), otherwise your file will not be submitted. Successful submission will result in a digital receipt with a unique Submission ID - if you don't receive this then your file has not been submitted! Successful submission will also result in an email receipt sent to your Durham email address - save this email carefully to an email folder in case there is a problem later and you need evidence of your submission.

If you have difficulties with the electronic submission system then further guidance may be found in the CIS Turnitin submission guide, available from the duo help facility.

Occasionally slight variations on these instructions may apply for a particular assignment, in which case details will be shown on the relevant "Assignments" page.

[For students who have been granted deadline extensions: You should be able to submit your work via duo in the normal way, even after the normal deadline, but only if you have not already submitted a file at any time. If you need to replace your submission before the extended deadline then you will need to contact us to request that the existing submission be removed before the new version can be submitted. Please email in good time if you need to request this. Note that the deadline stated on duo is generic – not specific to you – so it doesn’t change if you receive an extension.]

Instructions for converting a file to pdf:

On a CIS networked PC: Go to File > Print, and in the Print dialog box change the printer to "Microsoft Print to PDF". This is a "virtual printer" and anything that is sent to it will be converted into a pdf (you get prompted for what to call the resulting pdf, and where to save it).

If you are using your own computer: You can install various free utilities that work in a similar way to create pdfs - the one suggested by CIS is PDF995: If you use your own pdf conversion software then you must convert to a text format rather than an image.