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Blackboard Help

Joule Grader

Joule Grader is an alternate grading option that enables you to view, grade, and navigate through submitted assignments in a simplified, adjustable, two-pane view. Currently, only assignments and advanced forums are supported in Joule Grader.

  • Use advanced grading methods, such as rubrics.
  • Annotate PDFs within Joule Grader.
  • Use marking workflows and delegate grading.
  • Teachers and students can discuss a particular grade or submission in the assignment's comments.
  • Students can view only their own submissions and grades in Joule Grader.

Grade Activities with Joule Grader

Navigate to the Administration block and select Course administration > Joule Grader.

If you are using the Snap theme the link is visible in the Tools area.

  1. Show Activities Requiring Grading displays only activities that need grading; to see graded activities toggle back to Show All Activities. Return to course exits the grader completely and returns you to the course front page. Exit full screen mode displays the grader within the course frame.

  2. Navigate between activities or students with the left and right arrows or the drop-down menus. The navigation pane also supports navigation between groups, if they are enabled in the course.

  3. Drag the gray bar in between the panes to adjust sizing.

  4. The submission appears in the left frame. Teachers can require online text that appears automatically in this frame, and file submissions that need to be downloaded.

  5. Type a Grade and provide optional Overall feedback. Assignment options set by the teacher, such as whether Activity Comments are available, affect what is displayed in this panel. If the assignment uses an advanced grading method such as a rubrics, checklist, or marking guide, the grader has access to them in this area. To learn more, see Give Feedback.

  6. Save grade and next to move to the next student who has submitted that assignment —OR— Save the grade and stay on the page. Grades saved here are recorded in the course gradebook.

PDF Annotation

For assignments that allow file submissions, PDF files can be annotated inline in the Joule Grader. When a teacher edits or creates the assignment, settings must be set to simple, direct grading.

Students must upload a PDF as this tool does not convert other file formats to PDF. After a teacher annotates a PDF and saves the grade, students can download and view the the file when they view their grade.

  • View Inline link enables you to view only
  • Launch PDF Editor enables you to annotate the PDF with comments and other markings. When you launch the PDF editor, all PDF file submissions display as one document.

The PDF editor provides several marking functions. The icons indicate their functions, such as creating a shape or highlighting a line of text.

Add comments and choose a color for the comment.

Move annotations by dragging them to new locations. This function also displays the delete icon when you click on an annotation.

The PDF editor requires ghostscript on the server.

Marking Workflows and Allocating Markers

If workflows are enabled, marks go through a series of workflow stages in Joule Grader before being released to students. Teachers and other users with the appropriate permissions can change the assignment's workflow status. This allows for multiple rounds of marking and allows marks to be released to all students at the same time. For example, you can release grades after they have been reviewed and moderated.

You can designate additional users as allocated markers for graded activities in Joule Grader, provided that the following conditions are met.

  • The assignment's settings are enabled: Edit Settings > Grade section > Use marking workflow and Use marking allocation are both set to Yes. It is recommended that you enable marking allocation when you use the marking workflow.
  • There is a user in the course, other than yourself, that has the appropriate permissions for being assigned as a marker. For example, you can give a user with the student role the additional non-editing teacher role. Go to Course Administration > Users > Enrolled Users > Assign Roles icon > select non-editing teacher.
  • The instructor has the permissions to allocate markers.

Depending on permissions, these are the possible workflow states that may appear in the Joule Grader panel.

  • Not marked - the marker has not yet started.
  • In marking - the marker has started but not yet finished.
  • Marking completed - the marker has finished but might need to go back for corrections.
  • In review - the marking is now with the teacher in charge for quality checking.
  • Ready for release - the teacher in charge is satisfied with the marking but waiting to give students access to the mark.
  • Released - the student can access the grades and feedback.

To release grades to multiple students or all students at the same time, use the assignment's Module Grader instead of Joule Grader. Joule Grader enables you to release a grade only one student at a time. Access the assignment's Module Grader by accessing an assignment, quiz, or other gradable activity > View/Grade All Submissions link.

Allocate Marking to Other Users

When marking allocation is enabled in the assignment settings, markers in addition to the teacher can be identified to grade assignment submissions. You can designate one marker for all student submissions, or designate several different markers across student submissions.

  1. Access the assignment and click View/Grade All Submissions.
  2. Select a set of students by checking the boxes.
  3. in the With selected drop-down list, choose Set allocated marker.
  4. Click Go.
  5. Select an Allocated Marker from the drop-down list.
    • Only users with grading permissions appear in the drop-down list. To add a user to the list go to the Administration block > Locally assigned roles > Non-editing teacher > select a Potential user > click Add > Back to the list of all roles > Back to assignment.
    • When allocating markers to several students at one time, It is possible to inadvertently allocate a marker to their own submission. Double-check the grading list to ensure this does not occur.
  6. Save changes.

Notify the Allocated Markers

Allocated markers are not automatically notified that they are assigned to student submissions. Communicate with allocated markers so that they know when to check for submissions.

Allocated markers do receive email notifications of student submissions they are assigned to if you enable notifications in the assignment settings: Notifications > Notify graders about submissions > Yes. This setting must be enabled before submissions occur so that allocated markers receive submission notifications. Again, communicate with allocated markers so they understand why they are receiving these notifications.

What Do Allocated Markers See?

The user specified as the allocated marker for the activity sees the student's submission in these locations:

  • From assignment > View/Grade All Submissions.

    Only assignments that are submitted and allocated to the marker are listed.

  • Joule Grader > select the assignment in the drop-down list > select user from the drop-down list.

    Allocated markers see only their own submissions for all gradable activities except for the activity that they were assigned to mark. For that activity, the drop-down menu shows the current user's name as well as the name of the user to mark. After a marker assigns a grade, the marker can change the workflow status.

Do Both Instructors and Allocated Markers Grade Submissions?

The student receives only one grade. Both the instructor and allocated marker can update the grade and change the Marking workflow state as many times as necessary. The workflow state is visible in the grading grid.