Initial evaluation points to benefits of inline marking for formative submissions

Comparison of feedback types

Comparison of feedback types – click to enlarge

Initial evaluation with staff and students has indicated some of the potential benefits of providing feedback online as well as helping improve our guidance for students accessing their feedback online.

The VLE’s ‘inline marking‘ functionality allows academics to mark and provide and return feedback on work submitted through the VLE without needing to download or re-upload any student submissions. The ‘inline’ aspect refers to the fact that academic can comment on and annotate student work using simple tools, directly association their feedback with specific parts of submitted work that they are referring to.

Small-scale pilots at a range of levels in the departments of Politics, History and History of Art have highlighted some common themes:

Students (n=62)

  • 78% of students found it easy or very easy to access their feedback online
  • Inline comments provided through the VLE were perceived to be the most useful form of feedback when compared with overview comments on paper, handwritten annotations and overview comments through the VLE
  • There were numerous positive comments about the utility of seeing feedback embedded in the context of submitted
  • The majority of negative comments from students centred around the need for clearer guidance on how to access feedback online and download / print off annotated work. We have since responded to these comments with enhanced student facing guidance.

“It is easily accessed anywhere and instantaneous once they have finished marking it. It is clear which aspects need improvement.”

“It is good to see what comments are relating to in your work”


  • The end to end workflow is faster, simpler and avoids human error when returning feedback
  • Targeted comments embedded in specific points of student work have more utility for students to improve subsequent performance than overview comments alone
  • Delivering and storing feedback in the VLE simplifies management, access and retrieval for staff and students and reinforces its utility as a learning resource.

“Online feedback forces you to be more specific about your comments.”

“I think the whole system is very intuitive.”

it is much easier/faster to provide feedback through the VLE as you do not need to email each student separately.”

Other trials of this approach to providing feedback online are ongoing and we are hoping to report more fully in the summer when more evaluation has taken place. In the meantime, please get in touch with if you would like to find out more about providing feedback online or would like support in evaluating your own practice in this area.

The glossy video below gives an overview of inline grading and the Rubric tool which can also be used to provide feedback online.

2 responses to “Initial evaluation points to benefits of inline marking for formative submissions

  1. Pingback: Yorkshare VLE feature: enhanced inline marking | E-Learning Development Team·

  2. Pingback: e-assessment: an attempt at a glossary | The learning conversation·

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