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 for 21st-century students.
This post will highlight three stories of higher education instructors making innovative use of Crowdmark’s online assessment and grading platform, which are exemplary of the power Crowdmark has to change your workflow for the better.
McGill’s Department of Chemistry Gives Rich Feedback
Dr. Laura Pavelka, a Faculty lecturer at McGill’s Department of Chemistry, faced the dilemma many instructors at the post-secondary level contend with: overwhelming class sizes. She has had to teach classes with as many as 700 students enrolled and cited that having to teach and grade these students created “administrative burdens.”
That was the case until she started using Crowdmark in 2015.
Pavelka’s use of our grading tool led to quicker turnaround times and increased student engagement. She noticed that her students were reading her feedback. For the first time, the students could see their learning gaps, which allowed them to focus on the areas that need their attention most. Pavelka had this say about her overall experience:
“Crowdmark has really enabled us to do more with our exams. We were pretty tied to multiple choice and minimal writing content. Crowdmark has allowed us to expand our offerings. It’s been the number one tool that I’ve been able to go with. If I had to grade everything on paper it would not be feasible.“
University of Waterloo Integrates Crowdmark with Homegrown LMS
In 2015, the University of Waterloo decided to partner with Crowdmark through a public RFP process after a 12-month pilot project. The platform serves 1,500 teaching staff and 26,000 undergrad students throughout a wide range of academic disciplines annually.
The university uses “Waterloo LEARN,” its proprietary LMS, integrated with Crowdmark. So far, the instructors throughout the university have been able to access and evaluate scanned assessments at any time and any location through a secure web browser.
“After using Crowdmark, a number of our instructors can’t imagine going back to grading by pen and paper,” said Steve Furino, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the Faculty of Mathematics, the only stand-alone faculty of its kind in North America. “Students also really like Crowdmark because it provides them with formative feedback directly on their exams and homework—like personalized comments, images, hyperlinks to outside resources—in less time it took to receive them the traditional way.”
Five Universities Experiment with Two-Stage Exams
Throughout 2014–2015, we worked with five leading universities throughout North America to introduce them to our online grading and analytics platform. We introduced two-stage exams at these universities to incorporate collaborative learning and assessment into the traditional exam format.
In these two-stage exams, students would complete the exam by themselves. Afterwards, they would work in groups of three or four and then immediately complete the exam again. This technique would allow students to receive immediate feedback through discussions with their peers to figure out the correct response. This format enables students to give and get feedback while simultaneously increasing their engagement and comprehension of course material.
“The experiments with two-stage exams last spring were very informative and helped shape our platform to support a new and emerging assessment scenario,” says Crowdmark’s founder, James Colliander. “Also, with feedback from our customers, we made elegant improvements allowing Crowdmark to be used for other assessment types, including lab reports and group projects.”
And Sammi Wong, an Arts student at UBC, said:
“I definitely feel like I learn more, and I remember more with two stage exams.”
Making distance learning & online teaching more practical
Remote learning and distance education has existed for nearly two centuries across the United States and the world. Given the opportunity, many students and instructors have seen the benefits of distance education when the right technology is available.
Crowdmark gives institutions around the world the ability to streamline their approach to online teaching, the online classroom and grading, while also having students learn how to improve through rich, formative feedback.