Tools To Go Paperless: Blackboard’s Inline Grading

Continuing with the mission started by the GreenUp NIU initiative, many faculty and instructors are exploring different ways to leverage technology to support a more paperless teaching and learning environment. This also helps to reduce costs for students, as they no longer have a printing allotment in the computer labs or using the Anywhere Printers.

One tool of particular note has been Blackboard’s inline grading feature. Instead of requiring student work to be downloaded to view or edit submissions, faculty and instructors can take advantage of inline grading to review student-submitted files ‘inline’ – directly in the web browser without requiring any special plugins. With this tool users can preview, comment, and grade these assignments without ever leaving the grading page.

inline grading example
Many faculty have already transitioned to using technologies like Blackboard to accept and grade assignments and other work electronically.

 

The inline grading feature also hosts several annotation tools which make it easy to markup digital documents with comments, highlights, and drawings directly online, without needing to download and open the document in a separate program. Currently, the following document types are supported: Word (.doc, .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx), photos (.jpeg, .png) and PDFs. Any formatting and embedded images in the original document are preserved when viewed inline.

Note that students will not be able to add/edit annotations on their work, but they will see their work in an inline viewer after submitting them. Additionally, if students upload files in unsupported formats, faculty will be prompted to download and view the file.

If you are interested in learning more about the inline grading feature, you can view our Blackboard support page, download a PDF quick guide, or view a recorded workshop highlighting the tool’s features.

Faculty Development will also be hosting a workshop on the inline grading feature next month (November 9, 2016). You can register for the event here.

 

Adapted from a previous post.

Celebrate Earth Day with Greener Teaching Practices

posted in: Resources, Teaching | 0
Davis Hall viewed through spring tulips at NIU
Photo Credit: NIU Creative Services

As educators, we strive each day to teach our students to be global citizens and good stewards of the world around them. One of the ways we can model this is to incorporate greener teaching techniques into our courses. Here are some easy steps to improve your teaching green footprint, which are good for the environment and good for your students’ success.

Provide your students with more than printed materials

An overall push to reduce printing is a good first step in reducing your environmental impact. Moreover, reducing printed materials is also good for your students’ learning. Providing your students with a variety of materials through multiple modalities can help offer choice and preference in how they learn content best. You can now find materials in many forms such as e-books, online tutorials, videos, infographics, and written materials. Your students can access museum archives, listen to a symphony on a train, or review your lecture notes from their phones at their convenience beyond the regular class period. Simply by providing your students with electronic materials in a variety of formats reduces your carbon footprint and is often more accessible to a diverse student body.

Assess your students and grade their work online

Consider changing up your assessments and putting more of them online. By using Blackboard assessment tools, students can submit their work electronically and grading can be easier.  Some of Blackboard’s most commonly used assessment tools include Assignments, Tests, and Discussions forums. One of the real benefits of online assessments is the ability to provide your students with valuable feedback on how they are doing with no printing necessary.  Find out more about Blackboard’s Inline Grading. Other benefits to putting your assessments online, include using SafeAssign for plagiarism detection and managing due dates.

Attending Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center’s Teaching with Technology Institute on June 2, 2016

Beginning this summer, the Division of IT is planning to migrate NIU student email into the Microsoft Exchange system, so that NIU faculty and students will be on the same email system for the first time ever. This adds even more functionality to Microsoft Office 365, which students have had access to for over a year. Students will have the ability to easily share files, work collaboratively, and share media-rich notes. During the morning session of the 2016 Teaching with Technology Institute, participants will discover how to use these tools in new ways to communicate and collaborate with their students.

Resources

Greener Teaching Techniques – This article is a compilation of techniques for environmentally-friendly teaching from a variety of sources, including other academic institutions and environmental agencies.

NIU Green Team – All students, faculty, and staff are invited to join and help shape the future of NIU.

 

 

Greener Teaching Techniques

Happy Earth Day!

Greener living has increasingly become a central issue in American life. In our personal lives, we recycle, use reusable bags at the grocery store, and light our homes with CFL bulbs. However, what can we do to make our teaching practices environmentally friendly? There are many simple changes faculty and instructors can make to decrease the impact their classroom has on the environment.

For example, use less paper by posting class documents online (in Blackboard, for those at NIU). Accept assignment submissions electronically rather than  on paper, and return grades and feedback the same way. Even something as simple as turning off classroom lights can save electricity and help make teaching more environmentally friendly.

For even more techniques, go to the new Greener Teaching Techniques resource page compiled by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center:  http://www.facdev.niu.edu/facdev/resources/greenerteaching/index.shtml.

If you have any additional suggestions, post them in the comments or send them to facdev@niu.edu!