We’re now required to provide feedback in electronic format on all assessed work. Feedback differs from the marks made on work to justify grades (think tick, cross etc) and electronic should ensure legible feedback that is easier for our students to act on. I tend to go for whole cohort feedback as soon as I can to give some help for the students completing the next assignment and will email it out a soon as I have marked or scanned through a handful of examples of work to get a general feel for what the key issues are. Generic feedback like that is useful to a point so I also like to provide individual feedback as often as possible. I’ll talk here about assignments that have been submitted electronically, usually through Turnitin. Providing individual electronic feedback on hardcopy work is a different challenge for a different post. There are an increasing range of electronic methods available to do that and I have some thoughts on the utility of some.
Largely you select between typed feedback or some kind of audio recording. You also select between downloading all the electronically submitted work, making a file of the marked work and then uploading the marked work with feedback OR using the inbuilt tools in your online courseware. I will admit right now that I am sick of downloading 60 word documents, using comments on word to add feedback and/or grade, or recording an MP3, then having to upload the whole load back to the KLE. The admin time there is frustrating (and it may, in part, be a feature of our online courseware). So I’m trying GradeMark and associated Turnitin Rubrics for the first time and so far I’m pretty happy. For a short laboratory proforma, these are working well. You have to invest the time in creating a set of comments but then it is much easier to reuse comments compared to adding them in word. I note that you can also add audio comments which would be useful for larger pieces of work. It is still not perfect.
What would the perfect electronic marking system look like?
- A simple way to upload multiple files where each file may be selectively released to a specific student. I believe this may exist but can’t seem to do it on our system. It is very frustrating to upload each file manually and selectively release it.
- The ability to create detailed and informative rubrics that are easy to apply and reuse for future assignments.
- A science relevant set of inbuilt comments (spaces between values and units; show your working etc).
- The ability to do super- and sub-scripts in comments because we look a bit daft saying that the students haven’t done it when our tools don’t let us do it!
- The ability to add images such as structures or objects such as equations or symbols into comments. Seriously, WordPress and PeerWise can do it.
- The ability to include larger comments that may include tables to contain marks (if not using an inbuilt rubric).
What else should be on the wish list?