Welcome to “XRay” Thackray!

A special welcome to Alex Thackray, Educational Designer for FOHS/ iLearn genius/ online marking guru and penguin aficionado.

Alex moved in to the FOHS Student Centre this week so it was a great time to get to know her a little better…

Preferred name? There are stories…..

I go by Alex, Al, Lex, LexRay, XRay(!)… Take your pick.

Favourite animal?

Penguins.  And my pet budgerigar, Birdy.

Top 5 tips for Gradebook?

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.  Take advantage of the drop in clinic to do this if you get stuck, or just want someone to look it over check that what you’ve done 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.

What’s on your To Do list now that you’ve joined FoHS?

Getting to know the Faculty. I’ve spent time in Business and Science so far and each one has its own way of working, so I’m looking forward to learning how Human Sciences ticks.  I’ll be doing this by getting to know staff through iLearn support and working on the Faculty Partnership Project this session.  I’ll also be supporting staff with Gradebook and helping everyone get up to speed with it.  After that – we’ll see!

3 most common questions/complaints you get 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.  Visit the drop in clinic or email ilearn.help@mq.edu.au to discuss.

A bit of your background? Who is Alex Thackray?

In a nutshell:  I’ve worked with the Learning and Teaching Centre since 2012 as a FITSO and then Educational Designer.  Before that, I was in the MQ International office helping to run the International Internship program.  When I’m not working, I’m usually doing the usual stuff like catching up with friends and family and traveling as often as the leave balance allows.

Biggest challenge while you were at FBE?

Probably the biggest challenge was supporting units with large cohorts (some first year units had up to 1600 students) and sometimes 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.

What is the best way to get in touch with you for help?

Please send an email directly to ilearn.help@mq.edu.au to get in touch with me.  From there, I’ll be in touch to organise a time to meet.

One thought on “Welcome to “XRay” Thackray!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.