Improving Grading in Large Classes with Gradescope

“I have been using Gradescope since the Fall of 2015. This program has been extremely helpful to evaluate the students in my classes. Beyond the student evaluations, I have been able to better analyze how I provide assessments and instruction in the classroom. With the ability to go back and look at the statistics of each question, I can review difficult content in class and even create multiple choice questions based on essay questions. Overall, I have been extremely happy with Gradescope and the responsiveness of the folks from Gradescope.”  Jennifer Robichaud, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

In 2015 Jennifer Robichaud and Kristen Lewis were looking for a tool that would improve how grading is done for large classes in the Department of Biological Sciences.  They discovered a product called Gradescope, which had its beginning in the Computer Science department at UC Berkeley.

Gradescope saves time grading existing paper-based assignments and exams while also making grading and feedback more consistent.  Gradescope works well for multiple question types:  paragraphs, proofs, diagrams, fill in the blank, true/false, and more.  Gradescope also enables you to grade programming assignments automatically or manually.

The OIT’s Academic Technologies group is partnering with faculty across the academy on a one year pilot evaluation of Gradescope.  If you think you might be interested in helping us evaluate Gradescope please fill out this form and we will contact you and help you get started.

How does Gradescope work?  There are five basic steps after students have completed the assignment or exam:

1. Faculty upload a blank version of the assignment or exam and indicate the locations on the form where they expect student names and answers to be located.  This creates an outline of the exam for Gradescope.

2. All student submissions are scanned and uploaded to Gradescope.  Gradescope automatically detects the first page and creates separate submissions for each student.

3. Gradescope automatically matches student names written on the exam with the class roster. 

4. Gradescope recognizes similar answers and groups them together for easier review.  The instructor and TAs then create rubrics to help streamline the grading process.

5. After grading is complete and students are provided with feedback grades can be released in Gradescope and sent directly to the Sakai gradebook if desired.

For more detailed information about how Gradescope works please visit Gradescope’s site.  For more information on the types of assessments that are best suited for Gradescope please see “Assignment Workflow.”

As with any pilot, some unusual behavior or issues should be expected. We will do our best to quickly address these issues, learn from them, and use them to help us make an informed decision about continuation of the service.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, funding and support beyond the pilot is not guaranteed. Faculty and student feedback will help us understand Gradescope’s benefits and shortcomings, and this feedback will be instrumental in determining whether Gradescope moves beyond the pilot stage at Notre Dame.

To sign up for the Gradescope pilot, please fill out this form.

Easily Record and Share Media with Panopto at Notre Dame

Panopto logoNeed to record your class lectures? Need to create brief tutorials for your courses or labs? Using laptops and mobile devices, a new OIT service–Panopto–makes it easy for faculty and students to record and share videos and screencasts. The OIT recently selected Panopto to provide campus-wide lecture recording and video content management capabilities to replace the Echo360 platform. For those curious, check out Panopto’s website

Look for more information in the coming months!

Guest Lecturers and Virtual Office Hours with Zoom

Zoom logoFor the new Silicon Valley Semester immersion program, Computer Science & Engineering needed an easy way to connect students in California synchronously with classes in South Bend. Thankfully, Zoom conferencing made it easy for students to participate in classes from three time zones away on their laptops.

Here on campus, Zoom conferencing allows instructors to bring in guest lecturers or hold virtual office hours. Zoom is easier to use than Skype, and has added features such as recording—all without forcing you to remember any new passwords!

For more information, check out these Zoom for Education tutorials.

Students Flip Over Meghan Sullivan’s Course, “God & the Good Life”

To encourage student engagement and participation during her “God & the Good Life” philosophy course, professor Meghan Sullivan reused media content created for her online course. Instead of lectures, Sullivan flipped the classroom—having students read essays, watch interviews and thought experiments, and complete assignments before coming to each session. During class-time, students interact with the material through community debates as well as in-class polling and voluntary responses.

Sakai “Turns it up to 11”

Sakai logoAt Notre Dame, a recent OIT survey of incoming first-year students confirmed that at least a third of them carry and use tablets, and almost all of them carry smartphones. This May, Notre Dame will launch Sakai 11 with a more contemporary look and the responsive design to meet the growing need for interaction on mobile devices. Not only will Sakai 11 offer a fresher, more modern interface, but will work equally well no matter what device students and faculty use. This version promises some dynamic improvements to commonly used tools such as the Lessons module.

Visit the Sakai home page for additional information.