Lesson 12: Grading, Feedback, and Time Management


feedback icon

This lesson will explore the challenges of grading and providing feedback to students in a timely manner.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this lesson's material, Faculty will be able to:

  • Identify best practice related to timely feedback and grading of student performance.
  • Explore specific tools within Blackboard related to feedback and grading within Blackboard.
  • Create tools for providing feedback and grades within a sample course.
  • Based upon the expectations of your course, develop a time management plan related to timely feedback, grading, and submission of mid-term and final grades.


If you have ever taken a long trip in a car, you are probably aware of how nice it is to have road signs along the way that inform you as to how many miles to the next city or to your destination. With today's GPS devices it can tell you how much time and distance before you arrive. As you are driving, this feedback keeps you informed as to where you are. We do similar things in an online classroom.

Students want to know how they are doing. It is one of the ways that we, as Faculty, connect with our students. One might even say that while the studying and completing of assignments is important to learning, getting feedback on performance is vital for learning to occur.

College Policies

KVCC holds that we should provide "timely feedback" on all graded assignments in our courses.

  • Graded discussions should be graded within 72 hours of the discussion board closing
  • Quiz grades (essays, multiple choice, etc.) should be graded within a week of the due date
  • Papers should be graded within two weeks or a time frame for grade completion should be included, and adhered to, in the syllabus or assignment description
  • Projects should be graded within two weeks of the due date
  • Mid term grades and final grades have strict dates associated with them each semester, make sure you get these grades in
  • "Attendance" (see below) must be reported in the Portal each week

Attendance in an Online Class

Considering providing feedback, let alone grades, in an online class is tricky. In a face-to-face class we can clearly see when someone "shows up". We might even grade attendance based on how well they participate in class discussion (not a very good method, but many people do it).

In an online class someone can "show up" look around and not leave any "footprints". We call these people "Lurkers"...they lurk around the course but have not done anything yet. Remember, we don't really know what lurkers learn, if anything, but we can't assume they don't. Consider the quiet, non-participating student in your face-to-face classes who just sits and absorbs information. You don't always have to be ACTIVE to learn.

Regardless...you have to come up with some way of reporting what "Attendance" means in your particular online class. You might report that someone has "attended" your class for any one of the following reasons:

  • The reporting mechanism in Bb reports that they logged in during the given week
  • The student participated in at least one activity that was required that week
  • The student participated in ALL activities that were required that week
  • Students are required to email me once per week stating they are "in the class"

Regardless of how YOU decide to view "attendance" you need to establish the policy and then report on student performance each week.

The interface for reporting attendance is in the KVCC Portal and it requires that you select a day of the week in which you are reporting. Select a consistent day (I report as of Monday of the new week when I'm reporting attendance for the previous week).

This should be outlined in your syllabus so students will know under what circumstances they might get an attendance warning.

Grading Assessments

When you create any assessments (tests, discussions, assignments, etc.) there are tools within Bb that allow you to provide all sorts of feedback. You can, for instance, provide detailed feedback on every question in a quiz (test). You can also create elaborate grading rubrics that allow not only for accurate and consistent feedback, but much quicker grading time!

Grading Rubrics

For all of my written assignments (research papers, reflection papers, lesson assignments, etc.) I create a grading rubric. I use this as the primary means of feedback on these assignments.

Below I will be asking you to create a grading rubric for an assignment in your class. To do so, follow the steps below (keep in mind that when you create an assessment there are options for creating a rubric right there...you can create rubrics while you are creating the assessments):

  1. Within your Bb class select Course Tools in the Control Panels...if you see Rubrics, click on it and go to step 3, if not, go to step 2.
  2. Select Customization > Tool Availability > Rubrics (make available)
  3. Select Create Rubric
  4. Name the rubric (likely the name of the Assignment, such as "Lesson 4 Assignment Rubric" or "Research Paper Rubric"
  5. Edit the columns and rows in the rubric itself. Explore the options for reporting by points or percent. Change the titled of the columns, criteria, etc. etc.
  6. Edit descriptions of what each level of accomplishment looks like (try to be very clear so that just about anyone would be able to use the rubric)
  7. Save the rubric

When you have created an assignment and you want to add a rubric, you can create a new one or select from a menu of existing rubrics that you have already created.

This allows you to use ONE rubric for many different assignments. So, if you have 5 article reviews for your class and you grade them all the same...you can create ONE rubric and assign that same rubric to all 5 assignments! How cool is that!!??

Other Forms of Feedback

Other ways that we provide ongoing feedback is through email or messages. We can also be active in the Discussions. I post announcements when I see certain things going on (good or bad) in the class.

We can comment on questions that they answer in tests...students want to know why they got a question wrong. We need to tell them.

We can also meet with them using the synchronous tools of the chat room or Collaborate.

Grade Book Structure

While a full discussion of the grade book is beyond the scope of this course, let it be known that there are ways to create calculation columns that inform students how they are doing in all the assignments they have completed to date.

You can also create "Grading Periods" (such as one for Mid Term and one for the Final)

These take some time to figure out so if you are interested in looking into advanced grade book management, see about taking some special training or refer to the Bb Basics orientation in the Faculty Senate's online Faculty Orientation course.

smiley face feedback

Time Management

As Faculty we can be our own worst enemy! We only work as much as we determine we want to grade (most of the time). Since we can control the assignments and expectations in our classes, we are able to make decisions about how be efficient with our grading.

We have to balance our time management (to get grading done in a timely fashion) with the need for quality and authentic assessments! We will discuss this notion a bit in the Lesson discussion below.


Lesson 12 Discussion

Use this discussion to ask questions about this lesson and to discuss the content. Include your thoughts about how you intend to manage your grading and feedback needs in your online class.

Lesson 12 Assignment

For this assignment I would like you to create a grading rubric for your class. Post the grading rubric in the Rubric tool and/or attach it to an actual assessment.

Email me when this is complete.