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Giving students timely, useful feedback can greatly enhance learning and improve student achievement. ICYMI, read my Give Students Feedback That Helps Them Learn blog post for information on providing better feedback.

Are you looking for ways to simplify grading and for providing feedback on assignment submissions? These Brightspace tools can help:

Annotations Tool
The Annotations tool allows instructors to provide feedback directly in submitted assignments. Feedback can be provided as text highlighting, freehand drawing, text annotation, and note annotation.

The use of a stylus is not required when using the Annotations tool. However, it could help to speed up the process of marking up the assignment submissions.

For more information, refer to this how to use the Annotations tool blog post.

NOTE: The Assignment Grader app allows instructors to make annotations on assignments. The Assignment Grader app is no longer available for download to new users. Existing users may continue to use the app if they have it installed on their device, but no further updates or support will be made available by D2L and the app is scheduled to be removed from app stores. As an alternative mobile grading option, D2L recommends using the Quick Eval tool.

Rubrics allow instructors to establish set criteria for grading assignments. Using the rubrics click-and-score simplicity saves time when grading. With a rubric you can provide consistent evaluation and contextual feedback to students. You can add additional personal feedback to each criterion, expanding on why you chose that level and what additional work would be required to improve on it.

For more information, refer to this using interactive rubrics in Brightspace blog post.

Video Notes
Audio and video feedback can provide richer and more detailed feedback than may be possible through written comments. Visual or audio feedback also provides a more personal way of giving feedback. You have the option to provide audio and/or video feedback in Brightspace. Use Video Notes to provide short, video-based feedback, comments, or instructions.

Here are a few blog posts with more information:

Quick Eval
Quick Eval allows evaluators to see a list of unevaluated learner submissions from all their courses. Submissions from Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes are displayed in one location to improve efficiency when locating work that requires evaluation and providing feedback to learners.

For more information, refer to this blog post on using Quick Eval.

The Orange Room

Have you visited The Orange Room (Brightspace Educator Share Showcase)? The Orange Room is a community where educators can learn from each other about efficient and innovative ways to use Brightspace. Several of your colleagues shared tips and suggestions already. Here are two contributions that may be of interest to you:

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #142: Simplify Assignment Collection
Brightspace Tip #143: Annotate Assignment Submissions
Brightspace Tip #167: Interactive Rubrics
Brightspace Tip #102: Video Notes
Brightspace Tip #157: Video Notes – Closed Captions
Brightspace Tip #169: Video Notes – Recording Limit
Brightspace Tip #120: Quick Eval

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or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Photo credit: photo by #WOCinTech Chat is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Providing students with meaningful feedback can greatly enhance learning and improve student achievement. In an Edutopia blog post, Marianne Stenger, provided five research-based tips for providing students with the kind of feedback that will increase their motivation, build on their existing knowledge, and help them reflect on what they've learned. Marianne’s tips are:

Be as specific as possible. Hearing that you did a great job is wonderful. However, the problem with “great job” or “this needs work” is that it is not specific. Provide students with information on what exactly they did well, and what may still need improvement.

The sooner the better. Feedback is most effective when it is given immediately, rather than a few days, weeks, or months down the line.

Address the learner's advancement toward a goal. When giving feedback, it should be clear to students how the information they are receiving will help them progress toward their final goal.

Present feedback carefully. The way feedback is presented can have an impact on how it is received, which means that sometimes even the most well-meaning feedback can come across the wrong way and reduce a student's motivation.

Involve learners in the process. When students have access to information about their performance, they develop an awareness of their learning, and are more easily able to recognize mistakes and eventually develop strategies for tackling weak points themselves.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in this 5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful Feedback blog post.


African American female looking at laptop computer screen

In a recent Teach Thought blog post, Justin Chando writes,

To tell a student “great job” or “this needs work” is a missed opportunity.

Hearing that you did a great job is wonderful. However, the problem with “great job” or “this needs work” is that it is not specific. There is no indication of what was done that was successful, and no information about how to replicate this success in future assignments.

In the blog post, Justin goes on to explain Grant Wiggins’ key characteristics of better feedback. Helpful feedback is:

Goal oriented: Goal referenced feedback creates a roadmap for students; it shows them how far they can go in the mastery of a subject or skill by outlining specific places for improvement or highlighting successful behaviors/techniques.

Transparent: A useful feedback system involves not only a clear goal, but transparent and tangible results related to the goal. The feedback needs to be concrete and obvious.

Actionable: Great feedback begs an obvious action/response from a student. It provides a clear course of action for the next time around or outlines a new plan for moving forward.

User-friendly: Feedback is not of much value if the student cannot understand it or is overwhelmed by it. Quality feedback should be accessible to the student, clear and concise, using familiar language from the lesson/course.

Timely: Vital feedback often comes days, weeks, or even months after. Give students timely feedback and opportunities to use it in the course while the attempt and effects are still fresh in their minds.

Ongoing: One of the best ways to give great feedback is to give it often. Ongoing formative feedback helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work.

Consistent: Keeping guidance as consistent as possible allows students to hone in what needs to improve in their work and focus on making it better.

For more information on these key characteristics of better feedback including strategies to give better feedback, read Justin's Teach Thought blog post, How To Give Students Specific Feedback That Actually Helps Them Learn.

Photo credit: photo by #WOCinTech Chat is licensed under CC BY 2.0