Friday, 27 January 2012

Red Pen Tool - 66% say Yes

I am having a first look at this on-line marking tool for Moodle (
Showing a small group of Initial Teacher Trainee students the Red Pen Tool (RPT) interface resulted in 66%* of them saying they liked the approach and would want to use it in their teaching.

At the moment, I use Moodle Assignments to collect student work and the 'Insert Comment' facility in Word for my on-line feedback and marking. The Moodle grading tools allow me to provide overall feedback and marks (whatever the type of file uploaded).

That seemed fine for me even after seeing the RPT approach.
However, the interest shown by the trainee teachers has pushed me more into the 'pro' camp.
The benefits of the RPT over my current method are:
  • you can annotate any format of file uploaded.
  • specific marking criteria can be included in the Moodle Assignment.
  • clear signposting of where assessment criteria have been achieved within the upload.
  • different layers and colours show clearly the feedback and marks added by student, teacher, internal verifier, etc.
  • feedback tools include audio recording and playback.

As at the time of posting, the cost of the assignment module (available for most leading VLEs) is around £1.00/£1.35 (ex VAT) per student per year with a minimum of 300 students. Discounts are available for longer subscription periods and for subscriptions covering 2,000+ students.

I have some reservations about how this approach might be received by University external examiners and how large FE colleges might view the annual costs when the current assignment module is 'good enough'.
However, the Red Pen Tool is worth a look - contact the company for a free trial.


Note: * Those trainee teachers who said they wouldn't use the Red Pen Tool seemed to be actually voting against on-line assessment rather than the interface per se.

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