Leicester School of Biological Sciences

21 January 2010

Grademark: still not what we want

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to, turnitin — Tags: , , , — jobadge @ 11:54 am

Whilst looking at the new features on Turnitin that were added this January, I took another look at Grademark. On the face of it, this online marking system within Turnitin is an ideal candidate for us to use for electronic marking. It does many of the things we would want:

  • easy online mark up as text, highlights or symbols (tick/ cross/ speech bubble)
  • pop up or sticky comments
  • clipboard to keep comments for re-use
  • sharable library of comments and quickmark grammar listing/ common errors
  • rubric card, available in grade, criteria or percentage marks for marking to learning outcomes
  • general overall comments
  • timed release for return of the reports to students
  • integration with the Blackboard gradebook

However, the main issue I still have with grademark is the lack of ability to download the grademark reports. Students can print off a copy, which is laid out in a useful format (general comments, a numbered comment list and highlights marked up on their text), but they cannot save the electronic version (as far as I can see). From the staff view, there is no bulk download facility of the marked reports for offline storage. This poses two problems for us, first, we do not work on a cohort system, so our students have access to their blackboard modules for the current year only. This means that they will not have access in the third year to work they did in the second year. Second, we cannot keep offline copies for quality assurance, back up or any other purpose. External examiners would not be able to view the reports without a dedicated blackboard account created for them.

So, whilst this may be used by some of our taught postgraduate courses, that last for 12 months only, I cannot see many of our staff making us of it on the undergraduate courses. It’s a shame, as it is a nice tool and I have a feeling that the students would like it and it would improve our feedback systems substantially.

19 January 2010

PeerMark in Turnitin

Filed under: Blackboard, how_to, news, turnitin — Tags: , — jobadge @ 2:59 pm

Peermark is a system within Turnitin that enables you to distribute student submitted work back amongst the cohort for peer review. The students review work already submitted to an existing (or newly created) Turnitin assignment.


1. Allows anonymous peermarking using a set of questions set by the instructor. The questions can be rating (is this paper good/poor) on scale of 1-5, open text answers.

2. Good control over the distribution of the work amongst students. You can set how many scripts each student reviews. These can be randomly assigned by the system, chosen by the student. You can pre-assign students in pairs or exclude students from the process altogether.

3. Instructors can write a review of the student work themselves and comment on the reviews the students have undertaken.

4. Students can see reviews written by others on their work easily

5. Students can download reviews of their work.


1. As we re-use our courses year on year in the Biological Sciences undergraduate courses, the links to the peermark assignments will be lost at the end of each year

2. I can see no way to keep any of this work ‘offline’ after the fact (easily) for staff/ QA/ External examiners

If you would like to use Peermark please feel free to get in touch with me.

Demonstration of setting up peermark by Turnitin

18 January 2010

Working with Groups in Turning Point

Filed under: how_to, voting — Tags: , , — jobadge @ 1:21 pm

The electronic voting system Turning Point, can be used to collate information from various groups in one audience.

There are two methods to do this:

1. Team assignment

Insert a ‘team assignment’ slide and change the teams to represent the ggroups you are working with (e.g. Medical genetics students/ Biol Sci students or school 1/ school 2 etc)

Have the participants register with their team using this slide as the opening voting slide. use the ‘team scoring reports’ to provide analysis on overal comparative data between teams on each question.


2. Create a participant list split into groups

More comlicated, but ensures that particular handsets are allocated to particular groups.

Use a barcode scanner to read the device IDs on the handsets into an excel spreadsheet. Allocate the device IDs to groups by typing/ pasting a group name next each entry. Save as /csv format (comma separated file).

Go to Turning point and create a participant list: ‘participants>participant list wizard’. Use the default settings to create a very simple template with only one field in which the group name can be entered. Create the number of groups required. Import the .csv file with the devide IDs and then manually add to the groups (check box). Save the participant list and re-use when voting with the groups.

Tip for session management: you can merge two sessions (i.e. voting on the same questions before and after an event) if they were saved separately.

If you can rely on your audience (!) you can se the first slide of your questions to be a Team Assignment slide.

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