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Retrospective: Covid-19’s ‘Good Enough’ Era for Online Learning

Students sitting together and smiling.

Welcome to part two of our three-part series on how online grading changed with the pandemic, where we’re at, and what’s coming next. Beginning with the first wave of lockdowns in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic changed many aspects to how the world works and learns. With a hybrid workflow and a user base across North […]

Retrospective: How Covid-19 Changed Online Grading

college student working at home

Welcome to part one of our three-part series on how online grading changed with the pandemic, where we’re at, and what’s coming next. Crowdmark was founded in 2013 long before the global pandemic upended everything about how the world works and learns. With a hybrid workflow and a user base around the world, we had […]

How Does Crowdmark Use Artificial Intelligence?

students using computer

Welcome to the fourth and final part of Crowdmark’s ‘Rise of ChatGPT’ series, which explores the impact of chatbots on education and grading in 2024. We’ve covered the rise of ChatGPT and AI-driven chatbot technology , along with the impact of this technology on grading and its implications for academic integrity . This time, we’ll […]

Is Detecting Chatbot-Generated Content Possible?

Welcome to part 3 of Crowdmark’s ‘Rise of ChatGPT’ series, which explores the impact of chatbots on the education sector. Last time, we covered the rise of ChatGPT and AI-driven chatbot technology and their impact on grading in higher education. This time, we’ll dive into some specific use cases and the million-dollar question: Whether it’s […]

What Role Can Chatbots Play in Evaluating Student Work

Welcome to part 2 of Crowdmark’s ‘Rise of ChatGPT’ series, which explores the impact of chatbots on education and grading in 2024 Last time, we covered ChatGPT’s 2023 launch and the rise of AI-driven chatbot technology, along with the general impact of this technology on the higher education space. This time, we’re diving into grading […]

Thinking of Replacing Scantron? 5 Things to Consider

Hands on keyboard and screen with multiple choice options

It’s no secret that Scantron was the preferred way to grade multiple choice bubble sheets for decades. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t remember trying to stay within the boundaries of those tiny circles on bubble cards during exams. For educators, Scantron was typically the system they inherited rather than one they […]

Streamlined Grading at University of Victoria

students in large classroom behind screens

The University of Victoria (UVic) is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities and is located in Victoria, Vancouver Island, off the coast of British Columbia. Because of its need to serve both large and small courses, UVic uses Crowdmark in multiple departments to grade faster while giving richer feedback. One instructor in the University of […]

How to Manage Stress Caused by Remote Teaching

Updated article originally published December 10, 2020. Burnout can be a dangerous mental health condition. If you feel like you’re struggling with burnout, you are not alone. This article contains strategies that may be useful, as well as links to mental health resources. Please do not hesitate to seek help. For the first time, a […]

Feature: Sean Speziale, University of Waterloo

glasses sitting on a book

Pedagogy is constantly changing, and instructors must adapt to align with the learning styles of each new generation. However, adoption of new teaching methods can seem daunting when teaching many different course levels. To respond to the ever-evolving needs of learners, Sean Speziale, a math lecturer at University of Waterloo, has developed an adaptive approach […]

Case Study: Grading Paper Exams in Large Classes

student with their hand up during class

**Northwestern University is a research university housing 12 schools and colleges, 21,000 students, and 3,000+ faculty members. They use Crowdmark for collaborative grading, standardizing feedback commenting and bulk editing of point values.** Northwestern University Ensuring that grading is efficient, consistent, and high quality is a struggle faced by many educational institutions. Northwestern University was no […]

Grading Remotely for Non-core Classes

student being graded in an online course

Updated article originally published November 18, 2020. Many teachers ask how they can grade students’ assignments for classes that require a physical presence. In this article, we’ll cover some tips for how to grade non-core classes online, as well as some success stories from teachers who have used these methods. How to Grade Physical Education and […]

Feature: Michael Evans, University of Toronto

students writing an exam

Creating a course structure and its corresponding components can be a challenge for any professor. To meet this challenge, Michael Evans relies on his decades of teaching experience for both remote and in-person courses. Though Michael is currently using this method in his Computer and Mathematical Sciences classes at the University of Toronto Scarborough, his […]

Grading One Question vs. the Entire Assessment

teachers in front of one computer

Assessment is an important part of the teaching and learning process. Not only is detailed feedback an essential part of assessment but the speed at which students receive that feedback can affect the absorption of concepts. To decrease grading times and return assessments faster, some grading teams assign one question per grader and have that […]

Complete Guide to Grading Efficiently

person behind a stack of papers on a desk

Exam time can be stressful, especially if you have large classes or if you are dedicated to giving formative feedback to every student. While it may feel as though there are not enough hours in the day, we have learned some tips over the years. To help you grade faster while supporting student learning, we have compiled some […]

Evolving In-Person Learning Environments

In-person education is the traditional form of teaching, and it continues to be a mainstay in education today because it gives students the opportunity to form friendships, make connections, get involved in the school, and enjoy unique experiences (i.e. university campus life). Moreover, many prefer the in-person connections that can form between educators and their […]

Adapting Grading Strategies for Remote Learning

Woman working on a laptop at a desk

Updated article originally published November 18, 2020. For years, experts debated whether the traditional grading system works the way it should. Many even argued that the system feels fundamentally broken. This system is put into perspective because many students and instructors opt for online learning and teaching. This changes the dynamics of the classroom because traditionally, […]

Pop Quiz! Are They Necessary for Remote Classes?

Student working on a laptop

Updated article originally published April 12, 2021. Pop quizzes may be a stereotype of high school television shows, but many educators love using them as an assessment tool for their students. Their main purpose is to identify which students understand the subject matter and where others may be falling behind. Despite this assessment’s utility, some […]

Grading vs. Assessing: Is it a Meaningful Difference?

Clipboard and laptop showing grading and assessing activities

Updated article originally published June 4, 2014. Editor’s Note: As we head into each new school year, it is important to revisit the tenets of education. Among those is the process by which learning is measured. We take this moment to resurface this post that discusses methods of student assessment in teaching and learning. From […]

Strengthen Student Understanding with Feedback

Woman with headset talking to a student via their laptop

Updated article originally published April 17, 2018. Written feedback is a mainstay of educational practice, especially in liberal arts disciplines. Though popular, there is evidence that students can often misunderstand or misinterpret written feedback. Additionally, written feedback is commonly placed in the margins of a paper, which can lead to students focusing on the letter grade rather […]

Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Education

robot working on math problems at a chalkboard

Artificial intelligence (AI) has infiltrated just about every domain in our everyday lives. It is a rapidly growing industry that is currently valued globally at over $300 billion dollars and is expected to more than triple by the end of this decade. There is constant talk about how AI has made waves in many sectors, such as […]

The Case for Two-Stage Exams

Students at table discussing exam

Updated article originally published September 22, 2015. The University of British Columbia (UBC) introduced a two-stage exam format in its Faculty of Science in 2011. Today, the science department uses this format in-person and online for higher stakes examinations. Both instructors and students laud the two-stage exam format, with studies finding that collaborative exams increase […]

Micro-assessments: In-person and Online

Person pointing at an assessment on a phone screen.

Updated article originally posted July 18, 2017 While classic assessments are an important part of higher education, their specific timing—typically at the middle and end of courses—may represent an oversight. The traditional timing of exams makes it difficult to judge learning at various junctures during the term; these junctures provide opportunities to assess and address students’ understandings of […]

Strategies for EdTech Integration

hand with a circle showing different icons integrated

Updated article originally published March 28, 2017. For educators new to the world of EdTech, the concept alone may be daunting. The basic premise is “creating and using technology for education”, but beyond this, there is an entire industry and an assortment of complex pedagogical theories involved in fully understanding educational technology. Nonetheless, educators are consistently told of […]

Education Through Inquiry

teacher at chalkboard writing

Updated article originally published October 3, 2017. Inquiry-based learning is a reversal of typical teaching and learning models. Instead of the instructor teaching the class, knowledge construction occurs through a set of questions posed by students. Engagement is shaped through this process, which creates heightened interaction between all members of the class. In essence, inquiry-based […]

Blended Learning: Lessons and Models

Empty Classroom

Blended learning is a simple concept: education based on a mix of in-person and online education, thus blending technology and classroom learning. The two are integrated components working together to cover different aspects of the learning process. Here lies the central benefit of blended learning, as the accessibility and flexibility of online learning exists harmoniously alongside the presence of […]

Predictive Analytics for Online Education

person looking at predictive analytics on computer

Updated article originally published June 15, 2016. A number of students balance their online education alongside work and family commitments. These factors, along with the lack of in-person interaction that defines online courses, often contribute to a loss of motivation in continuing with studies. Fortunately, an increasing number of institutions are using predictive analytics to […]

Big Data, Assessments, and Adaptive Teaching

people looking at computers with big data

Updated article originally published September 27, 2016. For over a decade, higher education has looked to big data for supporting teaching and learning practices. While institutions have access to enormous unprecedented amounts of information, they have struggled with how to meaningfully use the massive amount of data collected about every student. Educators find themselves wondering What does the […]

The Higher Education Puzzle

picture of people putting a puzzle together

Updated article originally published March 6, 2018. Understanding a complex field of study is often like assembling a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. At first, students may be able to identify the foundational corners and build a border of theoretical knowledge. However, comprehending the minutiae of the subject may feel like staring into a jumble of jigsaw […]

Feature: Alan Ableson, Queen’s University

teacher at chalkboard writing

Alan Ableson is quite familiar with managing and delivering large classes. In fact, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s University, Alan specializes in teaching courses with over 200 students. Typically, these are required first-year math courses, which may may not be central to students’ specific academic and […]

How Instructors can Prepare Students for Exams

student at desk studying for exams

Updated article originally published February 1, 2021. Exams can be stressful for both students and instructors. To maintain a sense of calm, it is important for instructors and students to feel ready for exam day. Whether you are teaching online or giving in-person instruction, this article will help you visually and verbally communicate exam protocol and structure […]

Exams: Creation through Grading with Crowdmark

Educator typing on a laptop

Updated article originally published March 11, 2021. Being an educator means spending a lot of time on administrative maintenance. These tasks included everything from setting up your classroom to grading papers and marking incorrect answers—sometimes by hand. Although our day-to-day habits and responsibilities have changed, the reality is that educational institutions still rely on tried-and-true testing methods […]

Rethinking the Purpose of Exams

students at desks taking exams

Higher education is full of innovative approaches, with a myriad of new developments in pedagogy, EdTech, and course design—all in the name of enhancing teaching and learning. Yet, at the end of term, most courses still turn to the classic proctored exam as the method of evaluation. Even in courses where there are definitive moves towards developing skills and more authentic assessments, the exam […]

Mid-Term and End-of-Term Grading

teacher at chalkboard writing

Updated article originally published November 13, 2018. Assessments for students means grading for instructors, which is why mid-term and end of term can be stressful in higher education. These periods have become seasons unto themselves—with people becoming routinely overwhelmed and overworked at these junctures annually. But, due to the gift of foresight, this time of […]

Perspectives on TA Management

Instructor making notes whilst talking to graders on a zoom call

The complexities of large university course management include TA management. There is an array of technical and organizational challenges, and there is a set of more holistic considerations around the role of the TA. In order to properly identify and rectify issues that arise, it is important to consider a range of perspectives from the […]

Inside the Outcomes: Data-driven Instruction

Paper with a graph showing a trend over time and a magnifying glass

Updated article originally published September 13, 2021. Evaluation of student learning has always been at the core of educational practice. As educators continue to re-evaluate why and how to assess students, there is a growing movement that is using hard data to drive assessment goals and student learning outcomes. But what is data-driven learning, really? […]

What Makes a Quality Assessment?

Student completing an assessment on a computer

Updated article originally posted Aug 9, 2016 In many ways, successful higher education hinges on assessment, whether it is assessment of overall student learning or of teaching effectiveness. Valuable assessment measures the comprehension of concepts and the development of skills, which depends, in part, on effective teaching. To properly evaluate teaching and learning, though, quality […]

Navigating Learning Management Systems (LMSs)

Instructor using a computer

Updated article originally published May 3, 2016. In university course management, the learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environment (VLE) has become a centralized hub for all matters pertaining to the class, whether for in-person or remote learning. The syllabus, assessment instructions, submission portals, evaluations, grades, and course announcements all exist primarily on the LMS. […]

Is the Instructor an Endangered Species?

pencils and books and an apple sitting on a desk

Updated article originally published August 12, 2014. Effective teaching and learning are a regular topic of pedagogical discourse, so it is reasonable that the role of the teacher is occasionally thrown into question. These discussions are fueled by developments in edtech, questions about student learning, and other advancements in the sphere of higher education. But […]

What Philosophy Tells us About Online Learning

Student sitting looking at an assessment on a laptop

Philosophy is often thought of as a purely abstract field, with distillations like “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” “I think, therefore I am,” or “liberty consists in doing what one desires” often dominating common perceptions. However, works from the philosophy of education have been gaining traction recently in application to […]

Multiple Choice vs. Written Assessments

Hands on keyboard and screen with multiple choice options

Updated article originally published August 9, 2016. One of the most noticeable differences between higher education STEM and Humanities courses is their approach to assessment design. Commonly, STEM use multiple choice questions (MCQs) and Humanities use writing. These strategies are generally thought to be completely opposed, with little to no symmetry between them. However, despite […]

Virtual Reality in STEM Education

Student in a VR headset with a chalk board behind

At one point, virtual reality (VR) appeared to be the future of popular technology, offering a revolutionary new device and system that could be used in a variety of ways. This massive shift towards VR was seemingly never fully realized, and in 2022, VR is most visibly used in gaming. However, it is gaining a […]

Peer Communication in Online Learning

Instructor talking to fellow team members on zoom (on a computer screen)

While online learning has an assortment of pros and cons, one element of particular concern is the sense of community amongst students. Especially in higher education contexts, building relationships between students is an essential component not only of students’ learning but also of their social and professional lives. For these reasons, many instructors may become worried […]

The Detriments of Multitasking in Online Learning

student multitasking on phone and computer

Updated article originally published August 14, 2018. Many pedagogical approaches are premised on envisioning and counteracting certain educational roadblocks. One potential roadblock that is seemingly unavoidable is the presence of personal electronics in the classroom. A quick look into any higher education lecture hall would reveal almost as many laptops as students. Ostensibly, the laptop […]

Complete Guide to Online Teaching and Learning

Looking at the pros and cons of remote learning often leads to rumination on the pitfalls of not being in a classroom. A more useful activity would be to assess the various innovative online teaching methods that have proven effective and to review an assortment of pertinent considerations that have come out of educators’ learning […]

Metacognition and Self-Assessments in Higher Education

Person pondering with hand on chin

Updated article originally published January 21, 2016. Metacognition is the practice of “thinking about thinking.” In this process an individual analyzes, monitors, and regulates their thinking and learning processes in order to develop them more effectively. It sounds complicated, but it is actually something we do all the time. Consider this premise from John Dunlosky […]

Understanding Faculty Well-Being

image of a large empty classroom

As supports for instructor burnout, stress, and burdensome workloads are becoming more widely discussed in higher education, institutions are beginning to recognize the importance of maintaining overall faculty well-being as a means of preventing these issues from emerging. The focus on wellness is not surprising considering that faculty well-being not only relates to the individual, but the health of the institution as […]

Complete Guide to Online Grading and Assessment

woman behind laptop grading papers and happy

We have learned a lot about online education in the past two years. As we continue to offer online and in-person education, we can build on our knowledge of effective teaching and grading methods. To help you succeed with online teaching and learning, we have compiled some of our most popular and informative content on […]

How Remote Educators can Build Self-Care Habits

Student sitting in a computer chair stretching

Updated article originally published March 5, 2021. Remote education during COVID-19 has significantly impacted educators. Educators at all levels have had a heavy load to carry from an abrupt pivot in teaching methodologies to provide additional support for students who may be struggling academically, socially, and mentally. Many educators and teaching staff try to push […]

Finding Success with Online Grading and Teaching

Student talking to their teacher on a laptop

Updated article originally published November 18, 2020. Distance learning has been a common practice for years, but mandatory online education is entirely new. Students using distance learning in the past did so as a choice. Unfortunately, because of recent health concerns, many students do not have a choice, and online learning has become essential to […]

How to Accept Remote Assignments – without Email

person in front of computer frustrated

For many students, submitting assignments as email attachments is considered standard practice. However, for instructors, email assignment submissions pose their own set of challenges. Some are minor, like incorrect file types or poorly-written emails, while some are major, such as lost assessments or grades. On the students’ end, email can be unreliable, and there is […]

3 Distance Learning Successes from the Pandemic

image of student looking in the distance

Distance learning on its own is not a challenge. However, with students going completely remote, a global pandemic, and no precedence for this fully remote teaching and learning style to guide instructors, it is normal to experience frustration or anxiety. However, some teachers and students manage to stay afloat and do quite well despite distance […]

3 Remote Learning Successes Using Crowdmark

teacher at chalkboard writing

Updated article originally published January 25, 2021. Some of the most prestigious higher education institutions worldwide use Crowdmark to streamline their remote assessment and grading processes. There have been success stories along the way which validate not only the capabilities of our grading platform but also the possibilities that remote learning and online education have […]

Remote Teaching – Pivots, Pitfalls, Productivity

Hands typing on a laptop with blurring--simulating fast motion

Updated article originally published August 17, 2020. Crowdmark founder, James Colliander, moderated a discussion featuring an elite panel of educators. Panelists shared how they managed abruptly shifting to online assessment during the pandemic, and how Crowdmark helped in the transition. Excellent insights were shared on topics including security and cheating, grading participation, time management and […]

5 Strategies for Easy Online Assessment Grading

Clipboard and laptop showing grading and assessing activities

Updated article originally published January 25, 2021. Feelings of burnout, general apathy, or a lack of motivation by the thought of grading another stack of papers is a natural feeling. Nevertheless, there are ways to make it feel like less of an overwhelming burden. This post will examine some strategies that will help both new […]

Syllabus Design: Ideas and New Approaches

Professor pointing at student with question

The syllabus is a longstanding formality of higher education, and it is perhaps the only specific piece of genre writing that every instructor in every discipline works within. But, despite its significant role in the articulation of course design and delivery, it receives little attention as a source of possible change and innovation in the […]

Collaboration in Curriculum Design

Student and instructor reviewing educational materials

Updated article originally published January 21, 2016. When thinking about ways to enhance learning, we often turn to theories and practices in pedagogy or Edtech, but what if students were given a bigger say in their education? At an increasing number of higher education institutions, curriculum design and delivery are a product of collaboration between […]

The Appeal and Fear of High Stakes Testing

women at desk with books and coffee looking frustrated

We live in a world where standardized tests—MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS—achieve two outcomes. First, they provide admissions officers with a seemingly objective evaluation of the knowledge and competencies possessed by the individual, in relation to a specific program or institution. Second, and much more troublingly, the mere mention of them strikes a […]

Feature: Kylie Luska, McMaster University

Chemistry symbols overlaying person typing on laptop

Kylie Luska is making waves in the chemistry laboratories as well as in the classroom. Kylie’s main role at McMaster University is the instructional assistant of the second-year organic chemistry courses; however, with a PhD in Green Chemistry from McGill University, he was also a key member on the team led by Prof. Mike Brook […]

Degrees and Skills in Higher Education

person in half a business suit and half a graduation gown

Updated article originally published April 7, 2015. In recent years, there have been a growing number of discussions surrounding the value of university degrees—especially in a world where employers now place such a high emphasis on skills. Often, the argument against degrees is first evidenced at the K-12 levels with problems of disengaged students who […]

Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Connecting AI and Education

Person on laptop holding bright lightbulb

Discussions of artificial intelligence (AI) in education (AIED) are often dominated by a futurist approach. Discourse tends to focus on the endless possibilities that the technology will one day offer, instead of highlighting the performance of contemporary applications. While the current use of AI is assuredly just scratching the surface of its potential, there exists […]

Academic Support for Underserved Students

Student with tablet and headphones.

Non-traditional students who have family and work commitments often have sporadic schedules and take advantage of off-hours for study. Consequently, higher education continues to expand options for hybrid courses, blended classes, and flexible classroom models to increase accessibility for students of all backgrounds. Some enterprising institutions have even gone beyond updated course offerings to ensure that educational options […]

Academic Support for Underserved Students

student looking at tablet

Updated article originally published February 18, 2016. Non-traditional students who have family and work commitments often have sporadic schedules and take advantage of off-hours for study. Consequently, higher education continues to expand options for hybrid courses, blended classes, and flexible classroom models to increase accessibility for students of all backgrounds. Some enterprising institutions have even gone beyond updated […]

Disengaged Students? Encourage Effective Reading

Stressed student holding a book over their head

Updated article originally published July 17, 2014. Completion of course readings is one of the basic building blocks for achieving student learning outcomes. Unfortunately, instructors often find that students have skimmed or skipped the texts rather than given them a comprehensive review. This behaviour results in a limited ability for students to engage in class […]

Disengaged Students? Encourage Effective Reading

Frustrated student holding open book over head

Updated article originally published July 17, 2014. Completion of course readings is one of the basic building blocks for achieving student learning outcomes. Unfortunately, instructors often find that students have skimmed or skipped the texts rather than given them a comprehensive review. This behaviour results in a limited ability for students to engage in class […]

Having Productive Discussion in Online Learning

Woman looking at a computer screen - the computer screen is displaying people's faces

Updated article originally published November 13, 2018. Instructors and students build effective classrooms on a foundation of two-way communication. Teachers should work to facilitate an environment where students feel comfortable enough to freely discuss theories and concepts. This in turn will improve comprehension and retention morale. However, engaging students in the virtual classroom is not […]

Feature: Janelle Mann, University of Manitoba

woman at computer

Janelle Mann is an award-winning Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Manitoba. She has a PhD in Business Economics from Queen’s University. She typically works with time series data and her scholarly publications include quantitative analysis on a broad range of subjects, from commodity prices to healthcare technology. Janelle began using Crowdmark to remotely administer […]

Teaching Hybrid and Blended Models Flexibly

Women drawing on a whiteboard

Updated article originally published February 6, 2018. Routine and unexpected circumstances impact the ability of both students and instructors to attend scheduled on-campus classes. To provide everyone an equal opportunity to study in a class, several schools, including Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) and the University of St. Thomas have begun exploring blendflex (flexible blended) and hyflex […]

Feature: Sean Maw, University of Saskatchewan

Hands typing on laptop

This month we are honoured to feature Sean Maw, PhD, PEn. Sean is the Innovative Teaching chair, an associate professor in the School of Professional Development, and an engineering instructor at the University of Saskatchewan (USask). Additionally, Sean is a sports scientist and a Crowdmark enthusiast. Passionate about using engineering and science to improve winter sports, Sean is […]

How to Create Mobile-Friendly Online Instruction

Woman holding a phone

Recently, students have begun using mobile devices to complete online courses. In some cases, this trend has emerged as an alternate means of remote learning for students without internet. In other cases, though, students prefer using mobile devices, rather than laptops or desktop computers, for online learning. In fact, a 2019 study found that 56% of online […]

Change the Game: Innovative Teaching and Gaming


Innovation in 21st century education has seen huge advancements in recent years. Prior to 2020, only one-third of American college students had taken an online course, but the proportion of students with some online coursework experience has grown rapidly. With this shift, instructors have had an incredible opportunity to reflect on the meaning of enhancing learning […]

Remote Learning for Students without Internet

minimal workstation with keyboard

Our experiences with remote teaching and learning over the past year and a half have shown that not all students are on an even playing field when it comes to accessing technology. While online courses present a great opportunity for innovation in the classroom, this model has also proven to create a barrier for some […]

Feature: Xinli Wang, University of Manitoba

students working and studying

For Xinli Wang, Math is a universal language. With almost a decade of teaching experience in Singapore and Canada, Xinli currently passes on her appreciation for this ‘ancient discipline’ to her students at the University of Manitoba. Here we have the pleasure of sharing Xinli’s thoughts on Crowdmark, learning outcomes, and the best strategies for […]

Teaching for Success Panel – Beyond 2021

Books and a pencil case on a teacher's desk

The pandemic presented unexpected challenges and opportunities in teaching. This historic period found many educators developing online teaching skills and thinking about pedagogy differently. As we transition into a new era of education, instructors are pondering how this online-only experience can contribute to a strategy for enhancing teaching and learning in the post-pandemic world. In […]

Innovation in 21st Century Education

Students have hands raised in class

Moving learning online has come with countless challenges, but there have also been many positive impacts. As COVID-19 restrictions ease around the world, institutions are negotiating their back-to-class requirements for the Fall. With a potential return to classroom learning looming, this article will highlight some of the latest conversations around course design for online, in-person […]

Successful Hybrid Learning – Beyond 2021

taking notes and working on laptop

The post-pandemic education landscape is still uncertain, but it will likely include a mix of online and face-to-face learning. While these more traditional methods will be common, a third course delivery type continues to emerge. Hybrid courses combine in-person and remote learning and are becoming increasingly popular because they aim to make education more accessible and engaging. […]

Successful In-Person Learning – Beyond 2021

Woman leading small lecture

The Fall of 2021 marks the first time in over a year that many college and university students will be attending face-to-face classes. As educators prepare anew for in-person instruction, they may benefit from reflecting on the past year’s experiences with remote teaching and learning. While in-person and remote learning are unique, there are many […]

Successful Online Learning – Beyond 2021

Hands typing on a laptop

As in-person instruction returns around the world, there are continuing questions about what normal will look like in the Fall of 2021. In Canada, the US and the UK most certainly, the university experience will include more face-to-face interaction, but many educators and students are left waiting to hear the extent to which in-person and hybrid options […]

Emergency Remote Instruction: Adapting Education

frustrated man on a computer

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact the education system, teachers, parents and students feel like this school year has been longer than ever. As the 2020-2021 academic calendar comes to a close across many educational spaces, how are educators feeling about their experiences over the past year, and what are they planning for […]

Feature: Andrew Eberhard, University of Auckland

Student writing a pen and paper response to a test viewed on a laptop

We love connecting with our incredible Crowdmark community, and this month we are highlighting one of our long-time champions at the University of Auckland, Andrew Eberhard. As instructors around the world prepare for a potential return to in-person learning in the Fall, Andrew’s experiences offer valuable perspective on creating a rich feedback environment. Feedback as […]

The “distance” in learning: Are we seeing a rise in disengaged students?

Teacher talking on a computer screen

Many students struggle to remain engaged even when in the classroom. With the necessity of remote learning, there are even more disengaged students struggling to finish assignments and submit homework. Trying to get students engaged is difficult enough in person, and when it’s online, it can be highly frustrating. Thankfully, there are a lot of […]

Distance Learning on a Smartphone: How can we make it Easier?

Smartphone lying on a stack of books

The lack of equitable access to technology is a challenge that many educators around the world are facing. A recent UNICEF report found that 1 in 3 students worldwide misses out on their remote education classes for reasons including lack of time, a poor learning environment, and limited technical support for their distance learning curriculum. This article […]

Tips for transitioning students back to classroom learning

Child with school bag and face mask on.

Many schools are starting to bring students back into classrooms after an extended period of remote education. For some parents, this is a victory, as distance learning with their children was frustrating for both parties. For others, this is a concern, as they worry about the dangers of COVID-19 and the transition’s difficulty. We’ll provide some quick […]

Standardized testing: What will it look like in the pandemic?

Lecture hall with empty seating.

In the US, it was recently announced that schools would soon be resuming standardized testing requirements after they had been paused for about a year. Holding standardized tests within the middle of a pandemic is not without controversy. It demonstrates the amount of trust being put into new remote teaching methods and remote education in […]

Cooperative learning: Are smaller groups better?

students in a classroom learning cooperatively

Cooperative learning is the process of breaking a classroom of students into small groups so they can discover a new concept together and help each other learn. Some teachers have always used this teaching concept, while some have started to use it while remote teaching, using tools like Zoom. We explore the benefits further and […]

Should first year university students defer school amid distance learning concerns?

Student with a laptop sitting outside the philosophy building

In a recent survey, the University of Toronto recorded 539 deferrals in 2020, up from 314 in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic is, unsurprisingly, making deferrals an appealing choice for many students who may feel fear, anxiety and uncertainty starting college or university in such an unfamiliar environment. There is evidence which speaks to the variety […]

How instructors can prepare students for online assessments

student getting ready to take an online exam

Remote learning has been full of challenges, but preparing for an exam or online quiz shouldn’t be one of them. Students will naturally be apprehensive when they approach their first online assessment. Still, as the educator, your goal should be to help them develop a full understanding of the technology so that you can guide […]

3 Myths of Remote Learning Debunked

Student studying using a laptop outdoors

Online education puts a spin on what might come to mind when you think about your traditional classroom. Remote learning has become pervasive due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and with it comes a few misconceptions. Opinions from both educators and students are mixed as to the effectiveness of online education; not all teachers are […]

No thesis? No problem. How to provide better, formative feedback on essays

Someone typing on a laptop

Providing formative feedback for students often begins with an evaluation of their thesis. If there isn’t one there, or if it’s weak and lacks structure, educators must provide helpful guidance to help students get back on track. Providing formative, digestible guidance when grading papers is one of the most critical skills an educator can learn. […]

Holistic Evaluations vs. Traditional Grading

Grader working on a tablet

In North America, what we typically think of when we talk about grading is the letter or percentage given to every assignment based on the student’s demonstrated knowledge. This is the traditional grading approach. However, many studies have been conducted on new approaches to grading for both secondary and post-secondary students over the last several […]

Exploring Students’ Progress with Authentic Assessments

Notebook with student’s diagrams

The work that goes into a complete assignment means that most students spend weeks perfecting the final essay or project, taking it from the initial draft to their polished final version. After putting in hours of work, students submit the assignment and wait to see what grade they receive. When instructors hand back the students’ […]

New types of presentations to explore with digital grading software

instructo sitting on a couch with their laptop reviewing a presentation

Presentations don’t have to be a thing of the past. Even with teachers and students working and learning remotely, there are many ways to keep presentations viable for assignment submission. With so many educators suffering from Zoom fatigue and struggling to keep their energy levels up when faced with muted empty screens, it’s hard to imagine that […]

How to regain control of a distance learning class when technology fails

online grading and coursework

Most educators faced a disruption or interruption at least once during a distance learning class as COVID-19 has kept students out of the classroom. Even if you’re dealing with college students, it can still be a challenge to regain control of the classroom and get yourself back into the headspace of teaching when you’ve had […]

What are guidance counsellors saying about student mental health during COVID-19?


With COVID-19 impacting both students and instructors alike, educators in mentoring or counselling roles across academic institutions are beginning to feel the brutal force of rising mental health issues. This year has been a challenge for many educators, staff, and students working in our schools. In the United States alone, almost 51 million students have been affected by school […]

How can Instructors Handle a Request for a Regrade?

A laptop, notebook and glasses lying on a table

Whether we see it as a bold move or just a student asking for a better understanding of their grade, requests for regrades happen. Over their careers, educators will see a wide variety of behaviours in response to constructive feedback. Some students will double down and work harder on their next assignment, but others will […]

Text response and pedagogy: How to make Crowdmark’s newest feature work for you

Screenshot of a text response on Crowdmark

Crowdmark’s new Text Response question type has opened the door for a wide range of responses that were previously limited to PDF uploads. The ability to type text formatted with Markdown and LaTeX directly into the Crowdmark interface is an incredible time saver for students. It also allows instructors to grade directly in the text as you […]

How Crowdmark can help Improve Distance Learning’s Effects on Mental Health

Student concentrating while working on a laptop

Students and instructors are using the Crowdmark platform to improve their learning and grading in all kinds of interesting ways. Many students are eschewing paper, instead using Crowdmark to create digital portfolios of their work. Why waste paper writing up an assignment when you can work out your solutions on a whiteboard, take a photo […]

The remote education lessons we learned from 2020

student wearing headphones and completing an assessment on a laptop

In 2020, we all watched with trepidation as, one by one, school districts across the world sent their students home and began to transition to distance learning. Some schools have risen well to this challenge, while others, hampered by outdated ideas and even more obsolete technology, struggled to deliver the remote education that their students deserve. […]

How Crowdmark helps parents engage with distance learning

Close up of a student handwriting and answer on a piece of paper

When so many of our classrooms went remote in early 2020, it was difficult to see the bright side during a time of such intense worry and stress. In the United States alone, 93% of households with school-aged children reported that they were engaged in some form of remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 80% of […]

How to strengthen the teacher–student relationship in remote education

Teacher talking to a student at the whiteboard

When students are doing distance learning, it can seem like their only contact with their teacher is through a tiny box on their computer screen. Although distance learning is in many cases safer than in-person instruction, there’s a lot that’s missing from this relationship. Students and instructors alike suffer from missing connections and pandemic-induced stress. When […]