Instructure, the company that builds the Canvas learning platform, has simplified the grading process with its SpeedGrader, which automatically converts student assignments into a format viewable in a browser window. Within the same window, teachers can also annotate and grade assignments without downloading documents.

“One of our primary goals in building Canvas is to make everyday tasks easier for teachers and students,” said Brian Whitmer , Instructure’s chief product officer. “The document viewer in SpeedGrader gets technology out of the way and allows teachers to focus on their students.”

In a traditional learning management system, grading documents requires teachers to follow a complex, multi-step process for every student submission. This includes locating, downloading, annotating, applying a rubric, saving and uploading revised documents. Teachers then compose and send messages to each student with questions or feedback.

Canvas’ SpeedGrader combines all of these steps, including rubrics and commenting, into a process managed within one browser window. Instructure built this functionality into Canvas by combining principles of human-computer interaction with Crocodoc, an integrated third-party document viewer provided at no additional charge to every Canvas customer.

In addition to converting PDFs and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents into a format viewable in a browser window, Crocodoc also enables text comments, highlighting, strikeout and freehand drawing. This crucial integration streamlines the grading process and gives teachers more time to evaluate student work.

“I can do in one mouse click what took at least four clicks in our other LMS,” said Hal Rice , IT director at Murray State University. “What took at least half a day to grade now can easily be done in less than an hour using SpeedGrader. Canvas has made life bearable again as an instructor.”

Instructure provides SpeedGrader and SpeedGrader for iPad at no additional charge to all Canvas customers. To keep learning, visit www.instructure.com.

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