Can iPads be used to grade assignments submitted via Blackboard?
November 25, 2016 3:55 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to use iPads for grading? We want our TAs to download the assignments from Blackboard, mark them up using a pdf annotation app and a stylus, and then upload the corrected assignments back to BB. (I think the main issue is getting the assignment files into the iPads where they can be accessed by an annotation app.)

My school is currently installing the Blackboard course management system, which I’ve never used before. Students will submit their assignments electronically, mostly as Word or .pdf files. We want to acquire tablets for teaching assistants to grade assignments; would prefer iPads but could get a Windows alternative if this would be better.

It’s not clear whether the Blackboard Mobile or Bb Grader iPad apps support this. User reviews for both apps are pretty bad.

Suggestions please!
posted by Wet Spot to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Blackboard's help is pretty good on this.
posted by idb at 5:58 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can actually mark up pdfs and Word docs from directly inside Blackboard, no downloading required. This can be done using the BBGrader app on an iPad.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:22 AM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes, it can be done online using BBGrader, without needing to download the documents. No, BBGrader is not very good--I have yet to find a CMS that has a decent app for grading purposes. But it can be done.

Frankly, if I were your TA, I would probably give up on the iPad pretty fast and switch to grading on a computer, which most of your TAs probably already have. I find commenting on papers by typing on a keyboard much faster and nicer than handwriting with a stylus, which usually does not look very good. Definitely try it out before purchasing iPads.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:57 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use Moodle, not Blackboard, but my workflow is as follows:

- Download the student's PDF from Moodle onto my iPad using Safari, which allows me to select "More..." and "Open in: Goodnotes." (Chrome fails mysteriously and silently on Open in... Goodnotes.)

- Mark up the paper in Goodnotes using my Adonit stylus.

- Export the paper as a PDF from Goodnotes to my Dropbox account.

- In Moodle, upload the exported PDF from Dropbox. (I usually have my laptop with Moodle open off to the side, because dragging and dropping from my Dropbox folder on the computer is slightly quicker than using the "Choose file" on Moodle on iOS.)

I hope this helps!
posted by BrashTech at 11:33 AM on November 25, 2016

It's possible, but it such a buggy, slow pain in the ass.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:56 AM on November 25, 2016

It's not what you asked, but Google Classroom does this beautifully without downloading or uploading anything. I use my iPad Pro for this all the time...
posted by guster4lovers at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2016

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