After a successful initial Fall 2017 pilot in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, the Crowdmark online grading platform is being made available campus-wide for further testing in Spring 2018.
We are currently using Crowdmark in several mathematics courses, including Math 1410 and Math 1560, our two large enrolment first year courses. The instructors involved with the pilot so far have all reported significant time savings for themselves, as well as a reduction in the number of hours submitted by student graders. We are inviting other departments to participate in the pilot next semester in the hope that we generate enough interest in the platform to merit its continued use once the pilot is complete.
Anyone who is interested in trying Crowdmark can access it using a preconfigured external tool in Moodle. Some basic details regarding the Crowdmark system are given below. If you would like more information or a demonstration, please contact Sean Fitzpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
Crowdmark (https://crowdmark.com/) is a Canadian company that provides an online grading platform used at many Canadian universities, including U of C and U of A. The basic premise is that student work is scanned and uploaded to their website, and grading is done on the computer. The benefit of doing this is that their software assists with all the administrative tasks that faculty usually have to handle, such as sorting tests, assigning work to graders, entering grades, and returning work to students.
The Crowdmark platform is potentially useful in any course that uses pencil-and-paper testing as part of its assessment. Using Crowdmark, tests are still written on paper as usual. However, the Crowdmark software marks each copy of the test with a QR code that uniquely identifies that copy. Completed work is then scanned and uploaded, and their software uses the QR codes to organize everything.
With help from the Teaching Centre, we ensured that their system complies with our privacy regulations, and configured everything to integrate with Moodle. With the click of a button, Crowdmark can import your class list from Moodle, export grades to the Moodle gradebook, and email students their graded work. Since everything is hosted online, when there are multiple graders working on an assessment, there is no need to "trade piles" among graders.
The integration with Moodle also allows students to access any of their graded work at any time: each item in their grade report in Moodle links back to the electronic copy of their work on Crowdmark. (These links can also be used by instructors to access student work in case of a grade dispute.) Our experience with Crowdmark so far is that grading is faster, and more effective. The online grading tools include features such as a comment library: typed comments are saved and can be re-used, meaning that graders can provide substantial feedback on common mistakes while remaining efficient.
Sean Fitzpatrick | email@example.com