The red pen has long been a symbol of correction and instruction. Professors use it to highlight items that need to be changed, striking fear into the hearts of their students. You might miss the feeling of that pen in your hand, not to mention its ability to clearly mark portions of an assignment, when students submit assignments electronically through Blackboard. Thankfully, Blackboard’s inline grading process is a red pen for the electronic age.
Using Inline Grading
Access the Inline Grading tool by clicking ‘comment’ when grading an assignment. This toolbar will appear on the top left of the assignment window. Here’s what it looks like in Firefox (it looks slightly different depending on your browser):
The Three Types of Comments
The first option for marking up a student’s paper, Comment, allows you to add comments in three different ways, Point Comment, Area Comment, and Text Comment.
- Point Comment puts a red ‘flag’ in the text to direct the students to a specific point. After selecting Point Comment, click to insert the point flag.
- Area Comment works the same way, but lets you draw a box around an area.
- Text Comment allows you to highlight text by clicking and dragging. When you release the mouse button a comment box will appear on the right-hand side for you to type your comments.
When you select Text Comment, the Highlight tool color options appear to the right of the toolbar. Change the highlight tool color by clicking on the yellow, orange, green, or blue box.
The Draw Tool
The draw tool lets you ‘draw’ on the paper in four colors. Again, color boxes appear to the right of the toolbar.
When your drawing is finished, Blackboard will give you an opportunity to cancel and try again or accept the image.
The Highlight, Text, and Strikeout Tools
The next three options are highlight, text, and strikeout. The highlight tool allows you to highlight text without making a comment. The Text button lets you add text anywhere on the page. The strikeout button changes the font style strike out.
Deleting Editing Marks
Right click on a drawing, highlight, or section of strikeout to delete it.
For comments, a delete option appears in the lower right .
Inline Grading, a Helpful Addition to the Blackboard Toolbox
Using the inline grading tool won’t stop you from using the ‘Grader Feedback’ box on the right hand side of the screen or providing a number grade. If you’re missing your red pen or your students want more precise feedback, give the inline grading tool a try. I think you’ll find it feels familiar.