Online grading platform: A mixed methods approach to measuring impact on grading experience

Jason Bazylak, Kionne Aleman


Nearly a decade ago a large first year engineering design course moved the collaboratively written
design report assignments to an online platform. The switch was made using an existing online word
processing tool, Google Drive, that allow for simple sharing and commenting. The students use the
online tool to write their assignments, and members of the teaching team use the same tool to coach and
grade the assignments. Anecdotally there was initially significant evaluator resistance to the
implementation of the online grading platform. This initial resistance has been overcome and the online
tool continues to be used today. Anecdotal feedback from the teaching team now praises the online
grading platform as increasing quality of feedback, but at the expense of increased marking time. Until
recently the exams in the same course are still written and marked on paper in the traditional style. For
the first time the teaching team has adopted another online grading platform, Crowdmark. This tool
allows for the digitization, online grading, and digital distribution of paper exams. In anticipation of
evaluator resistance, this study will explore how use of this system impacts the quality of the grading
experience for evaluators, including time on task and satisfaction with the process. This study will use a
multiphase mixed methods design with an initial phase of convergent parallel design focusing on
quantitative analysis. Time study data measuring time on task for evaluators will be converged with both
quantitative and qualitative survey data collected from the evaluators. In the second phase, individual
evaluators who struggled with the online grading platform, indicated either by low marking speed or
direct feedback, will be interviewed. These interviews will be analysed using a qualitative, thematic
analysis to determine the cause and severity of the issues.

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