Digital commenting and grading

Over the last several years, I’ve tried to go as paperless as possible. For the most part I’ve been fairly successful. One area that has always been a challenge for me though is in devising an effective and efficient workflow for providing student comments on their work. There are certainly a number of options – comments and track changes in Microsoft Word, converting to PDF and inking up either on a desktop computer or via a stylus on a tablet. Even with one of these solutions, though, there’s still the extra effort in passing files back and forth, entering grades somewhere, etc. Essentially, no matter what I’ve tried, I feel like I have about 5 steps too many to be really productive.

Screenshot of BlackBoard Inline Grading via Gene Roche

Enter BlackBoard’s Inline Grading tool. While I still haven’t used it in my courses yet, it seems really promising – kind of a one-stop shop for file exchange, commenting, and grading all in one. My good friend Gene Roche, the Director of Academic Information Services at William & Mary did a great post where he outlines the features. I’ll follow up with some screencasts once I get my hands dirty. In the meantime, read through Gene’s great post to see how it might work for you.