Using VBA to provide fast, personalized feedback to assignments submitted electronically.
Michael Smith Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract Providing frequent fast personalized feedback is desired to enable students to improve.
Over several terms teaching undergraduate business classes of 60-80 students, I have developed a VBA-based system to automate grading of some assignments and to gather and present others to make them easier to grade consistently "by hand".
Students submit answers through Excel workbooks but assignments need not be Excel. SQL and R assignments have also been submitted.
Once the submission deadline has passed, workbooks are downloaded using the LMS's own feature to a specifically named folder. From there the system copies answers into a grading worksheet prepared for the specific assignment.
The system is not AI-based but relies on judgements by a knowledgeable grader. However, once points and comments are entered for a given answer, all instances of that answer will receive the same feedback.
Unlike commercially-available products, this system allows the grader to label answers as (in)correct and key helpful feedback as answers are encountered. This allows the grader to react easily to "I never thought of doing it that way" situations. If an error in grading is discovered later, the correction can be entered once and all submissions regraded quickly.
The completed grading workbook makes it easy to quantify the kinds of errors students are making which suggests topics to cover differently in the future.
When all assignments have been graded, the system generates individualized feedback for each student and appends it as a worksheet in the submitted workbook. This is returned to the student through the LMS with little action required by the grader.
The modularized code was developed to work with a Sakai fork but has since been adapted to work with Canvas. Work in progress includes adapting the code to parse clauses from SQL instructions to make grading those assignments easier still.
Recommended Citation: Smith, M., (2018). Using VBA to provide fast, personalized feedback to assignments submitted electronically. . Proceedings of the EDSIG Conference, (2018) n.4792, Norfolk, Virginia