Gary Solomon is a busy full-time professional and part-time professor at the University of Phoenix. Part of the curriculum for his online courses requires students to submit assignments electronically as MS Word documents, which Gary must grade and return electronically on a weekly basis. As a professor, Gary is required not only to mark assignments with a grade, but also to provide constructive feedback to students for each assignment. Initially, Gary reviewed and graded all papers using MS Office, typing in all comments for every paper he graded – a time-consuming process given Word’s inability to store commonly-used markups. It took him 20 minutes to review, grade and markup each student’s assignment. Given his full schedule, Gary was looking to save time while still providing valuable feedback to his students. In 2007, Gary started using Bluebeam Revu to grade papers faster and more efficiently. One of the main reasons Gary switched to Bluebeam was Revu’s exclusive Tool Chest, which enabled him to store customized markups for repeated use. Over the years, Gary’s process has become even quicker and clearer as new features have been added to Revu.
Every week, Gary receives a zip file containing Word documents of completed assignments from each of his students. He extracts the files, turns on Word’s Track Changes feature and does a basic spelling and grammar
check. He then converts all of the files at once to PDF — a process known as batch convert — using Revu’s batch plugin for MS Office. Gary then reviews the PDF copies of the papers more thoroughly, using annotations he
has stored in Revu’s Tool Chest to comment on different areas of the paper. One such tool set is his pre-created “Grading” tool set with comments of common spelling and grammatical errors. Another is his “Class” tool set with overview comments that summarize a student’s performance on a particular assignment, which is also
color-coded by course week to make it easier to review through graded assignments at course completion. He also uses Bluebeam’s Proofreading tool set to mark up common mistakes.
In the latest versions of Revu, Gary has found even more useful features. For example, he uses Review Text so he can strike-through incorrect text and insert the corrected text. When needed, he uses the mutli-leader callout, to point the same text comment to multiple places on a PDF.
Lastly, Gary inserts a blank page at the end of every PDF and inserts a JPEG of his grading rubric, which he has saved in his Tool Chest. He uses the checkmark symbol from his tool set to check off completed items in the rubric, then uses the Typewriter tool to type in the actual points earned out of the amount possible. Finally, he emails the graded assignments to his students in PDF format.
Making the Grade with Bluebeam
Since Gary started using Revu, his workflow has been transformed into a quick, electronic process that has become even more efficient with the latest Revu features. Prior to Bluebeam, it took him 20 minutes to review, grade and markup each student’s assignment. That time has now been reduced to 8 minutes per assignment – a 60% time savings that he has enjoyed since he first incorporated Bluebeam into his workflow. Additionally, students have reported in professor reviews that Gary provides great, constructive feedback on all assignments, making it easier for them to learn from each exercise and improve throughout the course. In fact, Gary says that since he started using Bluebeam, he has not had one student argue about his or her grade.