6.7 Marking digitally

Marking work digitally

Key Concept: Digital submission allows for faster workflows, meaning students can use feedback sooner.

Approaches to marking

Paper or digital, summary or annotated

For assignment tasks where students submit a file, it is possible to mark the work both digitally or in printed form. If marking in digital form, then you will need to specify the file format acceptable for submission well in advance. If marking on paper, you will need to consider how your feedback will be returned to students. You may, for example, mark on paper but provide only summary feedback using a digital template. You can still point out key parts to students by referencing page numbers and paragraphs. If you wish to provide hand-written annotations back to students digitally, you could use the scan to email functionality on campus printers, however this is very time consuming and prone to error sending the work back to students. Digital annotation may be a more practical approach if you intend to highlight or comment on work and for students to see it. Further advice is in 6.8 Forms of feedback.

Feedback templates

The Anonymous Assignment Tool supports the creation of feedback templates with exam numbers automatically populated into placeholder fields. This allows reliable creation of feedback forms that can be completed digitally, whilst the marking (viewing) of scripts could take place via a medium of your choice. Templates may just provide spaces for open comments based on set criteria, or could include a marking matrix (rubric) against which the assignment is assessed.

The use of a marking rubric can speed up feedback to students on formative assessment/non-anonymous assignment and streamline your marking. It can also be used to provide feedback on discussion forums, blogs, journals and wikis. The rubric should be aligned to the learning outcomes and assessment method. Students should be provided with the rubric at the start of the assignment and tasks designed to help them understand the criteria. See our lunchtime webinar on rubrics for guidance on this, and see our rubric statement store for descriptive adjectives. Watch our video guidance on how to set up a rubric (UoY login required) from 42 min onwards.

Marking with others

Yorkshare Assignment Tool

The Yorkshare Standard Assignment Tool can be used to allocate work based on Yorkshare groups to markers. Whilst marking must take place online in this case, this offers a quick way to distribute work to multiple markers. Yorkshare groups must be set up in the module site for this to work. Markers would then use Smart Views in the Grade Centre to filter submissions by their group. If using anonymous marking, separate submission points for each group must be created.

Another approach is to use what is called Delegated Grading. This is only for non-anonymous marking. Delegated Grading can be used with users added onto the VLE site with the ‘Marker’ role. Markers grade the submitted work which is then ‘reconciled’ by the lead marker (instructor) on the VLE site before marks are released to students. This workflow works for PGWT marking groups.


Anonymous Assignment Submission and other forms of assessment

There are no supported online systems that will assist with automatic distribution of marking to markers based on groups. Neither are there tools available to harmonise double blind marking. These processes have to operate offline, as such establishing a consistent departmental workflow for summative online assessment makes marking of multiple assessments easier to manage. Departments may use a series of folders on Google Drive or a network drive to distribute and collect back marking.

Health and safety

A common concern for digital marking relates to eye-strain or body positioning whilst marking using a monitor or mobile device. You should follow Display-Screen Equipment health and safety guidance, for example taking regular breaks and ensuring correct alignment of equipment. The University provides a self-assessment online tutorial about good DSE practice and offers DSE assessments for anyone concerned about prolonged use of computing devices:

There are also suggestions on how to focus attention when reading digital documents on the Reading on Screen site:

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