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Feature: Janelle Mann, University of Manitoba

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 exams in 2020, and has continued to evolve her teaching and assessment methods as her experience with hybrid learning has stretched beyond Year One. We had the chance to catch up with Janelle earlier this Summer and learn how she has managed to keep her students engaged and excelling.

Creative Teaching Methods and Evidence-Driven Instruction

Drawn to economics because of econometrics, which she defines as the application of statistics to economics, Janelle focuses on the learning and application of skills. While teaching a qualitative class means that some memorization and retention is necessary, Janelle likes to vary content from class to class using resources like case studies and videos to deliver learning opportunities. She also takes advantage of students working from their home computers, which allows them to run code using software that would not necessarily be available in class.

Ever the evidence-driven instructor, Janelle employs apps like Slido (a polling app available on students’ smartphones) and uses the incoming student data to create visualizations such as word clouds that show how the class answered and spark debate. She also uses Crowdmark to anonymously share exemplary submissions by showing students work that’s been uploaded in the grading interface, giving the class an opportunity to analyze and discuss contrasting solutions. Teaching remotely using Zoom, Janelle has found that students are less afraid to speak up than they would be in person, and more able to engage in this type of community learning.

Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning

Discussing why students answered the way they did helps Janelle’s class to build the type of analytical skills they need to be successful. “Communicating results is important with empirical analysis,” Janelle told us, “or else it’s not possible to do what needs to be done”. She also consistently uses these student responses and feedback to guide her own innovative practices in teaching; evaluating if students are answering the way she predicted or expected enables her to tweak her delivery to suit their needs.

When it comes to assessment and grading, Janelle spends significant time setting her students and her graders up for success. She shows her students her own workstation as an example of how to set up for remote test-taking, and gives them multiple low stakes participation assignments that require signing in and submitting to Crowdmark before testing in the same environment. Janelle also views and reviews feedback in real time with her team to make sure their grading is thoughtful and applicable. To this end, the Crowdmark comment library has proved invaluable; the filters and analytics on where and how often comments have been used help Janelle to easily quality-check and evaluate graders’ effectiveness.

How Can You Use Crowdmark for Grading with Effective Feedback?

There is many years’ worth of research showing that students who receive detailed and thoughtful commentary on their work not only perform better on the next assessment, but actually retain more information. Crowdmark was built to empower instructors to spend less time flipping through papers so that they can spend more time evaluating students’ learning.

As you are learning more about using Crowdmark for greater feedback, explore how the Crowdmark comment library not only allows comments to be reused within an assessment, but is exportable and importable into any subsequent assessment. That means when lead instructors see feedback that will be beneficial to future students, they can save it to be used again. If a comment is not the type of feedback the instructor wants to share, the comment library’s bulk editing functionality enables the instructor to remove or edit the comment across every instance where it was used—without having to search through individual student booklets.

Comments are also fully markdown and LaTeX friendly, and graders can place images, equations or even links to additional resources right on a student’s assessment.

Perhaps most importantly, with Crowdmark, student assessments can be returned easily and in a timely manner, with one click. Students are able to access their work, including the feedback and annotations, at any time by logging in to their Crowdmark account.

The student progress report also links students to their highest- and lowest-scoring questions, which makes it easy for them to access the formative feedback they need to focus their studies. When an instructor meets with a student to discuss work, it is easily accessible and highly visible, even in a remote setting.

As part of the Crowdmark community, you have access to the above, as well as a wealth of other help documents, to keep you going throughout your educational journey. If you cannot find the answers you need, our Customer Success team is happy to help.

Learn more about enhancing student learning through effective formative feedback with some of our other posts, including: