~ C T E N E W S L E T T R ~
February 2021

This month we are focusing on assessment practices: How you can reduce grading workload, use rubrics for effective and efficient feedback, and how educational technology can enhance these processes for faculty.  

Laura MacKay
Director, Centre for Teaching Excellence 

5 Tips to Reduce Your Grading Workload 

When instructors talk about workload, inevitably the topic of grading 
comes up. So, how can we reduce the amount of time spent on marking and grading yet still provide valuable feedback? 
  1. Provide Audio Feedback: Record yourself in eLearn giving feedback while grading, rather than writing up comments later.  
  2. Focus your Feedback: Provide specific, focused feedback by telling students only what they did well, what could have been better, and what they need to do for next time.  
  3. Use Rubrics: Creating and adding a rubric to eLearn will save a lot of time grading.
  4. Scaffold Assignments: Break down large assignments into smaller components. Give feedback on the smaller components. 
  5. Grade Simultaneously: Have students present their work during class time and use the rubric to grade during the presentation, rather than afterwards. 

Interested in more ways to reduce your grading? Check out this workshop

Save Time Marking! 
Rubrics & Video Feedback in eLearn 
In this video, CTE Faculty Associate Derek Murray walks you through the process of creating and using a rubric in eLearn and adding video feedback with Kaltura. The video provides instructions on how to: 
  • Create and use rubrics to save time in your marking!  
  • Use rubrics to provide consistent, quality, useful feedback to improve learning.  
  • Use video feedback to help build an inviting, supportive instructor presence in your course. 


Read more about the Ungrading movement in the CTE blog and discover how grading less can increase student motivation and learning. Join the CTE Spring Book club to discuss the Ungrading book. The next meeting is February 9th and the group will be discussing Part 1. 

Using Audio Feedback Effectively 

Audio feedback is a built-in feature in eLearn that allows up to 3 minutes and 20 seconds of audio recording as a way to respond to assignments. Brian Ganter, ePortfolio Faculty Associate and Faculty member in English and MOPA, shares his thoughts here about using audio feedback including tips for doing it effectively.

Sparkshops Relaunch:
New Ed Tech Topics with Mary and Frank  
We are pleased to relaunch our Sparkshops series with several new ed tech related topics with our ed tech team: 

  • Helping Your Students Get Organized and Stay on Track (elearn): Use scheduler, checklist and completion progress to give students ongoing feedback.
  • Building a Glossary in Your Course (elearn): Build a resource or create a collaborative assignment for your course. 
  • Sharing in Zoom – Whiteboard/Virtual Backgrounds/PPTs: Engage your students with a variety of visual tools. 
  • Setting Up Your Gradebook (elearn): Avoid common pitfalls and communicate clearly with your students about grading. 
  • Annotating Feedback in Assignments (elearn): Add audio, video and annotation to your assignment feedback. 
Sparkshops are on demand 15- or 30-minute workshops facilitated by CTE. The intent is to spark conversation on ed tech and on teaching and learning. They typically take place during department meetings, faculty meetings, or other teaching-related gatherings. 

Click here to see all topics and to book your next Sparkshop. 

New in eLearn & Zoom
  • Whole forum grading: Add the forum to your gradebook, use a rubric or marking guide, see all forum posts made by each student at a glance. 
  • Summary forum report: See the number of posts, characters and views for each student in a report. 
  • Activity picker: Create your own quick access menu by starring the Activities and Resources you use the most in eLearn. 
  • Accessibility: Adjust the font size or site colour, or choose a dyslexic font to improve readability.
  • Interactive content: Create your own or upload already available interactive content.

Request a demonstration of the new features here. 


  • Host can admit participants from the Waiting Room while in a Breakout. 
  • Nonverbal feedback options are moved to the Reactions button. 
  • Meeting hosts and co-hosts can remove inappropriate chat messages.

Get these updates and more by downloading the latest updates for Zoom here
Library Corner: Curated Suggestions from the CapU Library
Check out these library picks with focus on assessment practices: 
Congratulations & News 

Congratulations to Christy Dodds (Tourism) on the publication of a new journal article on risk management practices as reported by Canadian WIL practitioners.  

Dodds, C., Cameron, C., & Maclean, C. (2021). Ethical Risk Management in Co-Operative Education Programs. Canadian Journal of Career Development. Vol 20(1), 4-16.  

Congratulations to Brit Paris (CTE) on the publication of new journal article on feedback for teaching development.  
Jeffs, C., Nelson, N., Grant, K.A., Nowell, L., Paris, B, &  Viceer, N. (2021). Feedback for teaching development: Moving from a fixed to growth mindset. Professional Development in Education, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2021.1876149 

Congratulations to Barry Magrill (CTE) and the Student Digital Ambassadors (CTE) on their acceptance to the 2021 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference.
Magrill, B., Cove, A, and Rutkowski, E. (2021). Transforming Learner-to-Learner Remote Student Support.

Spring Workshops & Programs  

We have a variety of workshops, support sessions, and consultations to help you build a solid foundation for your course. Check the CTE website for registration and times.
Other Conferences/Events 

The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) fosters excellence, innovation, and collaboration in teaching and learning by supporting faculty and staff through programming, mentoring, professional development opportunities, and research on effective teaching.