Ten years ago, I would print student papers and projects, mark them up with a pen, fill out a rubric and return both during the next class or leave them outside my office door to pick up. Five years ago, I would have my students email me digital copies of their work. I would then use the Commenting features in Microsoft Word to provide feedback, fill out a separate rubric and then return them. These days, I take advantage of the assignment submission, rubric, and inline commenting features all within our BlackBoard learning management system (LMS). While grading is still one of the least favorite parts of my job, these tools make the process much more efficient and enable me to provide substantive feedback to my students.
Rubric based assessment for efficiency
I’m so glad I’ve moved on from asking my students to submit their work to me via email. My inbox piles up quickly enough without 30-40 emails from students with their work attached. Within BlackBoard (and probably most other LMS platforms), I can create assignments that provide students the opportunity to upload their work directly to me within the LMS. I can set the parameters for when the submission window is open. The system then marks an assignment late if it’s turned after the specified deadline. Once submitted, I can begin to comment on the work.
When I set up an assignment for students to submit a paper or project, I can also create a corresponding grading rubric to assist me in assessing the work. For example, in my educational technology courses I ask students to create a technology-infused lesson plan. Here’s what the rubric looks like in BlackBoard:
Inline commenting for substantive feedback
For me, using a rubric right alongside the student work is useful. The addition of the inline grading tool enables you to also embed comments directly in the student’s paper. You can add comments, draw on the document, highlight and cross through text.
Grading student work is certainly not my favorite aspect of teaching. I must say, however, that the simplicity and flexibility of the rubric and inline grading features of BlackBoard make the process both more efficient and more effective. Now, back to grading...
What strategies do you use (with or without technology) to provide students with efficient, but substantive feedback?
Please post your comments below.