So, here we are at almost the halfway point of the semester. Hard to believe that Spring break begins next week. So far in this series, I've explored conceptualizing the course, the community of practice framework, and strategies to facilitate online discussion. Astute readers may also remember my rant about the importance of tools - particularly with the frustrations with using BlackBoard as the LMS. While I certainly stand by what I wrote about BlackBoard, I thought it was only fair to highlight one aspect of BlackBoard that is incredibly useful and powerful - the inline grading feature.
When I set up an assignment for students to submit a paper, I can also create a corresponding rubric to assist me in assessing the work. For example, I ask students to create lesson plan outlines for each of the core content areas in my course. Here's what the rubric looks like in BlackBoard:
For each dimension of the rubric, you can add comments to the student. You can also add general comments at the end. The scores that you enter on the rubric are then automatically added to the Grade Center. Students are then able to view the rubric and comments along with their grade. I must say, this works extraordinarily well. The Inline Grading feature, however, takes it to another level.
With Inline Grading, you can view the student's paper and the rubric in the same window:
Or you can display the rubric in a separate window if you prefer more room:
Using a rubric right alongside the student work is so useful. The Inline grading tool adds one last killer feature, though - you can embed comments directly in the student's paper as well. You can add text comments, draw on the document, highlight text, and cross through text.
These markups are then saved with the document and can be viewed by the student.
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.