Easy Marking in a digital environment

Firstly I would like to apologise for my silence over the last month, but as you all know this is one of the busiest times of the year for an Australian teacher. But now that the seniors are finished I can turn my mind back to sharing my thoughts and experiences with other like minded teachers and also planning for 2017.

Recently I have been talking with some of my colleagues and there seems to be a fear out there when it comes to collecting assessment digitally. This fear seems to stem from one of two reasons: not being able to mark it how it is received (“it will take too long”) or that the assessment will be lost.

Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

These two sentiments are out weighed by the benefits of working in a digital way with submissions. Whether it be for drafts or for final submissions.


  1. Work can be checked for plagiarism.
  2. You already have a submission for those that fail to submit a final.
  3. Feedback can be provided to the student as you mark it.
  4. You are not bound by the amount of room on the submission.
  5. Students don’t have to understand your scrawl.
  6. You can provide more specific feedback.
  7. Students can interact with you.
  8. If a student doesn’t change anything you have already marked their assessment.
  9. ….. And they continue

Meme: If you didn't get the grade you wanted it's highly possible I didn't get the work I wanted. Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

So there is a short list of the benefits of marking digitally. But to alliviate one of those fears that I was talking about before the not knowing how, there are two easy ways that I use to provide digital feedback.

Example of digital marking in text. Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

Options for feedback:

  1. Use the comment and review function in word.
  2. Use the comment, insert text, insert audio function in Adobe PDF reader.

There are also a number of other options for returning digital feedback like video and straight audio however the two above are the ones that I am most comfortable with at the moment. 

Expanding on the points above


Work can be checked for plagiarism

There are a number of online plagiarism checkers and it is much more efficient than googling random sentences. You simply take the item that the student submitted and run it through the plagiarism checker. Some example of free ones are: http://www.quetext.com/ , https://www.plagiarismsoftware.net/

I personally utilise safeassign which is provided through my LMS (Blackboard/elearn). By using the one through my LMS it also compares my students submissions to ensure that they haven’t copied off each other. This piece of software also allows students to see the percentage originality of their assessment.

The key to successfully integrating new processes into your workflow is to try to utilise tools that you already have access to.

You already have a submission for those that fail to submit a final.

I’m sure you have had those pesky students in your class that just don’t bother to hand in their final piece of assessment on the due date. By collecting digital submissions during drafts or as progress you already have a partial submission on the due date. This saves the need to scan or copy all the drafts after you collect them.

Feedback can be provided to the student as you mark it.

Using digital feedback means that you can return students feedback to them as you complete them. This allows students to make adjustments before the due date and even before your next lesson.

Giving timely feedback is a key focus in most of the current pedagogical frameworks that are being adopted and being able to return feedback digitally assists in making this a reality.

Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

You are not bound by the amount of room on the submission / Students don’t have to understand your scrawl / You can provide more specific feedback / Students can interact with you.

I can recall times when I have tried to correct a students typed draft and I have desperately tried to fit as much feedback as possible into the tiny margins that the student has left or written disjointed notes on alternate parts of the page.

One of the great advantages of digital feedback is that you can give as much feedback as you like. You are not limited by the amount of the room on a page. You can cross out errors and type in corrections without it ending up looking like a unreadable mess. You can add links to resources for students to access to assist them and copy comments from one draft to another if the same errors are occurring. All of this in the end can save you time in class and shorten those one on one meetings to be simply clarification not a full summary of what you have already written.

For particularly complex explanations I also have the ability to be able to talk a student through what I would like them to do, and they can re-listen to it as often as they need.

Feedback Options

Previously I mentioned two different feedback options that you could use to complete your digital feedback. Both options once mastered are no more time consuming than the traditional paper marking and at times can actually be faster.

To find out how to:

Mark and review work using word click here.

Mark and review work using Adobe click here.

Meme of 80/20 Rule. Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

I hope you have enjoyed this post about marking digitally. If you have any feedback or would like to share how you have embraced digital marking please comment below or on my Facebook page.


About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Flipped Teaching, Technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Easy Marking in a digital environment

  1. Pingback: Keeping Accountable in the twenty teens. | Educating The Digital Learner

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