In this post (reproduced from our Summer 2011 “E-learning Innovations” staff newsletter), Ben Halkon (Wolfson School) talks about his use of the GradeMark online marking tool in Turnitin.
I didn’t want the hassle of having to manage a pile of paper marking, and the integration with the Originality Reporting from TurnItIn was useful, so I opted for online marking using GradeMark. The opportunity to give more feedback in the same time was a particular bonus.
I heard about GradeMark on the New Lecturer’s Course, and decided to use it for the second year of my Sports Technology modules. These are evolving modules, and the content is updated every year, but I expect my core comments to remain valid for 5 years or so. Some of them, like Citations and Apostrophes are timeless; other more specific ones will evolve over time.
What’s interesting is that with paper marking, the first time you write a comment you write all the details. The second time it gets a bit shorter … and by the time you’re writing it on the sixth script it’s pretty terse. But with GradeMark, it’s the opposite. The second time I find myself writing a comment, I save it for re-use. Then each time I drag-and-drop it onto a script after that, it gets refined and added to. You still need to read all the scripts, of course, but online marking enables me to give much more detailed feedback in the same amount of time as before. And that has to be a better use of my time.
I’m still waiting for the formal student feedback, but from what they have told me already, the response has been 100% positive. Here’s just one example:
“This is a just a quick email as a query from your FEA feedback. Firstly I would like to thank you for this feedback, it was brilliant to have such detailed, individual feedback on an assignment, this is something which we don’t often get, so I found it nice to be able to go back and look over the work. After all its only by seeing our wrong doings that we learn from these mistakes in the future.”
They feel I have properly explained the grades they are awarded, and they like the fact that errors are highlighted in context, which makes it easier for them to avoid making the same mistake(s) next time.
I have recommended online marking to my colleagues on a teaching “Away Day” we had recently, and I expect to continue using it next year. It would be possible to share banks of comments between tutors, but there’s a limit to how many comments you can readily access, so I think individual comment banks are best, and anyway they reflect the tutor’s and the coursework’s individuality.The only improvement I’d like to see is the ability to mark offline and re-sync. when I get back to the office. That would add value to my commuting time every day.
Watch a screen recording of GradeMark in use at: http://turnitin.com/static/videos/instructor_usinggm.html