Thursday, April 10, 2014

Online Grading via D2L (mostly)

Grading online offers many benefits: students like seeing their grades in D2L and it helps you so they don't continually bug you for updates, you're being environmentally friendly by saving paper, and it can save time once  you get your workflow down. Recently a professor told me her biggest reason for grading electronically is that she can look back at her feedback to students and see how they've grown, versus when she gave them paper feedback, only one of them got to keep it.  Personally, I prefer reading electronically because I can sit in a more ergonomic position looking forward at a screen rather than down, but I know not everyone is sold on reading digitally.

If you're new to grading in D2L, be aware that there are an amazing amount of functionality in the grade book and a few unexpected twists. UWEC educators can contact our D2L admin or me for help (I mention myself second since I am not as knowledgeable - yet). There is also D2L documentation for instructors here.

I have spoken with some instructors who grade via email rather than D2L. I don't know about you, but email organization is not my strong suit, so I'd like to keep everything I can in the D2L site for that course. Some universities actually restrict grading information from email due to FERPA because the email of state employees (which UW instructors are) is considered public. As far as I know, UWEC does not have a restriction on what grading information can go in email.

Anyway, let's get to it! I've categorized some tips under a few main categories below.

D2L Grades in General: 

  • Weighted categories can do work for you if you are currently backing into a 100 point course. Categories are great, because you can still pick any arbitrary point value within a category, but it's still only worth whatever percentage of the grade you choose. So rather than something being worth 20 points to equal 20% of the grade, you could still make it worth 100 points. 
  • "Switch to spreadsheet view" allows you to type right in the Enter Grades page, but text feedback must be left under "Grade all" (the drop down next to assignment name)
  • A tricky little thing that not everyone realizes is that students can't see their final grades unless you set D2L to calculate and release them. More info here
  • You can verify exactly what a student sees! Here's a video. Text is on this page
  • If most students will receive the same grade, you can set them all to that grade and just change the few that are different. That's under Grade All - then choose the drop down next to the assignment title and then Grade All again. Make sure to change the different ones right away! 
  • You can grade over time and release the grades at the end via the dropbox and discussions. 
  • It is probably a good idea to export your grade book here and there in case something odd should happen. (There's a Export button on the Enter Grades page)

Grading Papers in the D2L Dropbox:

  • The Dropbox is an efficient place to grade because you can see the paper on the left and type in the feedback box on the right. You can also record up to 5 minutes of audio. 
  • Downloading files, typing your feedback in them, and reuploading can be very time consuming. An alternative would be to have students number their paragraphs so you can easily refer to them in the feedback box. 
  • If you want to provide feedback via iPad, I wrote a blog post on that here

D2L Rubrics Tool: 

  • The dropbox is probably the most advantageous place to use D2L rubrics because this is the only place students can see them before and after use. They are also available in grades, discussions, and quizzes but students only see their final score through these tools. They may save you time in grading, however.
  • It's important to get them just the way you want them before associating with a tool and starting to grade. 
  • The "custom points" option allows you to choose a number within a range rather than having to identify the exact points per option ahead of time. 
  • The documentation on rubrics can be helpful, but feel free to ask for help. 
  • One tip a participant offered was to have your rubric created in Word or elsewhere before putting it into D2L. 

Grading Short/Long Answer Quiz Questions: 

  • This is the only place in D2L you can grade all responses to one question without seeing student names (called "blind marking") recommended here
  • Go into "Grade" in the drop down next to the exam/quiz and then click on the Questions tab (below). Check the "blind marking" box and then click on a question to begin grading that question. 

Grading Discussions: 

  • You can associate a discussion topic with the grade book under the Assessment tab when editing the discussion topic. 
  • However, this does not work if you are using group-restricted discussions, because they are all separate topics. 
  • It can be helpful because you can click on a student and see all of their posts in the discussion at once to grade them on their initial post and replies. 

D2L News: 

  • It might seem odd to include the News in grading, but the News is a good place to provide general feedback to an online class about assignments, much like you might do at the beginning of a face-to-face class. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank for the D2L News Tip. I never thought of that and I think it will be helpful.