Grading and Annotating Documents Using Blackboard's Inline Grading Tool (Blackboard Annotate)

Summary


Inline grading (or Blackboard Annotate) allows instructors to markup student assignments directly from the grade center of their Blackboard course site. This tool can save time and effort by allowing essays and many other types of assignment submissions to be annotated within Blackboard. Using the tool saves the work involved of downloading submissions from Blackboard, annotating in a different program, and then re-uploading to Blackboard for students to view.

Blackboard Annotate works with many file types, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, JPEGs and other digital image files.

Workshop Recording 08/07/2020: Blackboard Inline Grading Tool

Title screen for the video recording of Blackboard Inline Grading

Step 1: Opening the Assignment in Grade Center 

  1. Navigate to your Blackboard course and scroll down to Grade Center in the left navigation menu.
  2. Click on Full Grade Center
  3. In the gradebook, you will see yellow exclamation mark icons for students who have turned in assignments that are waiting to be graded. Hover over the assignment you would like to grade and click on the small arrow next to the exclamation icon. Select View Grade Details. 
  4. If you allowed multiple attempts for the assignment, there may be multiple files on this page. Choose the assignment you would like to grade and click View Attempt
  5. Click on the file name of the student’s submitted assignment in the right-hand Assignment Details menu. 

Step 2: Annotating the Assignment 

1. You will see several icons in the annotation toolbar just above where the assignment submission displays. Those on the left side are for navigation and adjusting your view. Those on the right are annotation tools. 

2. Click the icon that looks like a pen and a piece of paper. This will open another toolbar with more specific options.  

  • ​​​​​​​The pen icon allows you to write or draw freehand and highlight on the file submission.  
  • The icon with a “T” in a box allows you to create text boxes to type comments directly onto the file submission. 
  • The arrow icon allows you to insert arrows and shapes
  • The image tool allows you to insert images and stamps. 
  • Just above the student’s submitted file, there is a small blue bar with an arrow. Click this bar to open a comment box where you can provide more general feedback to the student. 
  • If you click on the “A” icon below the comment box, this will open a larger text editing window with many formatting options.
  • Clicking on the microphone icon on the left side of the toolbar will also allow you to record audio feedback

3. Once you have completed your annotations, give the assignment a final score in the right-hand grade box.

4. Click Submit. 

Using the Blackboard iPad App to Annotate 

  1. Open the Blackboard Instructor app. (Download from Apple's App Store if you do not already have it on your iPad)
  2. You will see a list of all of your current and past courses. Find your current courses and select the one for which you would like to grade assignment submissions. 
  3. Select Grades under Course Materials. This will display a list of all assignments that need grading. 
  4. Select the assignment you would like to grade. If you have allowed multiple attempts, choose the attempt you would like to grade. 
  5. When the assignment opens, tap the file under Uploaded Content.  
  6. You are now in the annotate view and will have all of the same annotation options as you would in the web interface only now you can write with a stylus or Apple pencil directly on the file submission. 
  7. Annotating through the app has a feature not available through the web interface: dictation. If you open the text tool, your iPad keyboard will appear. To the left of the space bar is a small microphone icon. Tap the microphone icon. If you enable dictation, you can speak, and your iPad will convert it to text. 
  8. Annotations are automatically saved in the app. if you would like to delete an annotation, simply select it and tap the trash can icon in the upper left corner. 
  9. When you have completed your annotations, click the X in the upper left corner. This will return you to the learner feedback page. 
  10. To leave general comments, click the callout icon with a plus sign in it. This will open a window where you can type or dictate comments. Tap Save. 

Strategies for Grading in Blackboard 

  • Consider having students submit files with specific naming conventions (e.g., LAST NAME_FIRST NAME_ASSIGNMENT NAME) to make it easier locate their assignment files in the Assignment Details section of Blackboard Annotate. 
  • If you would like to annotate assignments by hand, try using your iPad or other tablet with a stylus to write directly on submitted assignments via Blackboard’s mobile application. 
  • Consider recording audio feedback within Blackboard’s grading tool if you want to personalize your comments for students. This may also save you time from having to type out large amounts of overarching feedback on a submission.