For hand-graded activities, we recommend the Online essay option because it is easier to use than either of the file upload options. Online essays allow students to type an essay directly into Sapling, to which you can assign a grade. Special characters (such as Greek letters) and formatting options (such as subscripts) are available for students to use in their submission.
- Click Add an activity... then choose Online essay.
The file upload options are also available to you, but aren't recommended in most cases.
- Give the essay a Name. This is what will appear to students on your main course page.
- In the Description, indicate what you want the students to write about.
- Set the available from date and due date (if applicable).
- You can also set whether or not you want to prevent late submissions (if not, students will be able to submit their result late, and you can see when they submitted to adjust their score). We recommend setting the Prevent late submissions option to Yes.
- If you would like your students to keep trying (after you give them feedback), turn on Allow resubmitting.
- If you would like to be alerted when students submit answers, turn on Email alert to instructors.
- If you would like be able to comment directly within a student's essay, turn on Comments inline. Otherwise, you will be given a separate comment area for your feedback.
- Most likely, the only other settings you need is to make sure Visible is set to Show (to make sure your students can see the essay assignment when its "Available from" date arrives). You may also want to set the Grade category.
- Click Save and return to course to save your essay assignment. The essay will appear at the bottom of the unit where you added it.
Grade an Online Essay
- Click the name of the essay you wish to update from your main course page.
- Click the link that says No attempts have been made on this activity, or View X submitted activities (where X is the number of students who have submitted a response).
Once you are on the submissions page, there are several options for how to navigate and score the submissions.
- To Allow quick grading, check the box at the bottom of the page, then click Save preferences.
- If quick grading is enabled, you can set grades and leave comments without leaving this page. Be sure to click the Save all my feedback button when finished.
- To see a student's submission, click the link in the Last modified (Student) column.
- Alternatively, click the Grade or Update link in the Status column to see the student's submission, the grading options, and a comment box all together in one window. Be sure to Save changes or Save and show next when finished.
- Comments are always optional, but their purpose is to give the student feedback on their essay and/or justify the grade you are giving them.
- In-line comments (i.e., annotations from the grader within the student's essay) can be enabled for an online essay at any time. When creating a new essay, choose Comment inline = Yes. To find and edit this option for an existing essay, click the three dots on the main course page next to the essay, then click Edit. Note that in-line comments are only available for online essays, not for file upload.
- If enabled, you can make an inline comment by clicking Grade or Update within the table of student submissions, then begin typing in the top-most box. Be sure to Save changes when finished.
- Instructor comments will show up to the student on the Grades page next to their score for that activity.
- If after leaving comments, you'd like to see how it looks to a particular student, click Grades > User Report, then select the student's name from the drop-down menu at the top right.
- To get back to your normal view of the gradebook, click Grader report.
- When comments are made in-line, the comment/feedback box will show the student's entire essay plus your comments. When comments are made directly in the comments box (i.e., not in-line) the comments/feedback box will contain only the instructor's comments without the student's full essay.