Alex Thackray’s Top 5 Tips for Gradebook and (nearly) everything you need to know about online marking

Alex Thackray is the Faculty’s Educational Designer and our inhouse iLearn genius. She’s an online marking ninja and gives us some of her top tips just in time for assessment season. (And did I mention she just LOVES penguins?).

Alex’s Top 5 Grademark Tips

1. Go to Gradebook training.  It’s worth taking the time to understand basic navigation and Gradebook’s terminology.

2. Set your Gradebook up fully at start of session.  Make an appointment with your Educational Designer (email ilearn.help@mq.edu.au), or take advantage of the drop in clinics when they run if you want someone to check everything is set up correctly and is working well.  Plus, we have a bunch of useful quickguides that cover setting up a range of Gradebook scenarios.

3.  If you have a large cohort, you can apply groups to the Gradebook to make it easier to sort students.  For example, you can create tutorial groups and use them to filter the Gradebook.

4.  The Gradebook is a central space in each unit that stores grades.  Where possible, I’d encourage staff to use it as the one source of truth for grades  rather than relying on multiple versions of spreadsheets, which can lead to errors.

5.  As always, if you need help, or need to report a problem with Gradebook or iLearn in general, send an email to ilearn.help@mq.edu.au.

Here are the 3 most common questions and complaints Alex gets about online marking…..and how to fix them.

  • “There are too many options, where do I start?” 

For Turnitin/Grademark, start by putting your assignment online and using basic comments and quickmarks.  See how that goes.  After that, consider developing and marking with a rubric.  There’s no need to do everything all at once.  Start with the basics and build from there.

  • “The system is slow” 

This is a tough one.  iLearn and Turnitin do experience issues from time to time.  Check out this Teche post and bookmark the relevant sites like the iLearn status page to help you check whether iLearn is having problems.  You can also sign up to Turnitin directly to receive system alerts about outages and such.  There are also ways to set up assignments to promote faster page loading times, etc – e.g. by setting up multiple Turnitin links for large cohorts.  You can email ilearn.help@mq.edu.au to report any issues as well.

  • “My students don’t know how to submit Turnitin assignments and/or can’t find their feedback.” 

Not to worry – there’s a guide to help students submit online, and one on how to view grades and feedback in Grademark. You can include these links in your unit as permanent URLs or them out via an Announcement.

  • What about big units with huge enrolments? 

Probably the biggest challenge I had in another Faculty was supporting units with large cohorts (some first year units had up to 1600 students) and helping  large numbers of teaching staff to use Gradebook and Turnitin/Grademark.  There were a number of strategies we used to make the grading process smooth, including creating multiple assignment links for submission, using tutorial groups with these tools, and training tutors in how to use them.

Need help?  Please send Alex an email via ilearn.help@mq.edu.au.  From there, she will be in touch to organise a time to meet with you.

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