Introducing Grading for Blackboard Instructor

We listened
The team at Blackboard is pleased to debut grading functionality of the Blackboard Instructor app. This update reflects both ongoing requests from instructors and our emphasis on building products that fulfill the needs of our users. We know that to truly develop great products, we need to ask the right questions, listen intently, and be willing to change course when our intuition does not align with what we heard. Learning is a continuous process and so is our research. During every step of the design process we listened—through field research, usability tests, and feedback sessions. This is what we learned.

We learned
We know instructors are busy. Having dedicated time to sit behind a desk and grade is a luxury to many. Sometimes, that 30-minute lunch break is the best and only opportunity to get grading done, which is why grading from a mobile device is so valuable and why the ability to grade quickly is crucial. We made interactions within grading simple and quick. Assigning grades are a single tap away; cycling through submissions can be done with a simple swipe, and everything can be accessed on a single page. While we can’t change the workload, we can certainly make grading faster and easier.

Giving instructors the freedom to grade outside the confines of an office introduces additional distractions of the outside world. That’s why throughout the app there are moments highlighting what needs attention, allowing instructors to make quicker, more informed decisions about what is critical and what can wait. We also provide an easy to read grade curve for each assessment, providing an at-a-glance insight into how students are performing. We know instructors rarely have time to grade all of their submissions in a single sitting so we allow instructors to grade submissions without posting grades to the student, so that instructors can grade in short bursts and post when they are ready.

When we spoke with instructors, we heard time and again that rubrics are core to grading workflows and we considered them a core feature when designing mobile grading. We made sure that rubrics are easy to reference. For larger screen formats, they can be seen in line with the submission, because nothing is more frustrating than having to shuffle back and forth between the criteria and the submission to grade.

We want to know more
The design team at Blackboard is a curious bunch. We are always eager to learn more. Want give us your feedback on the instructor app or thoughts on what we should focus on next? Drop us a line at

Grading on Blackboard Instructor