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In some project-based classes, each student has their own topic for submitting work.

Painting instructor Claudia Rilling had a grading question:

I have my graduate thesis painting students submitting all their work into one area for the whole semester and I am unable to grade individual posts within that area. Can you suggest any solutions?

I responded:

Thanks for asking, Claudia! It's true that the new interface has raised various issues related to grading, and we are all having to adapt our practices to some degree.

Classes like yours, where each student posts their work in a topic set up specifically for them, are what I refer to as project-based classes. (I just updated the guidelines for setting up and managing these classes, so you might want to take a look.) 

Many instructors choose not to post weekly work-in-progress grades but just provide detailed feedback on the work submitted each week. Then, at certain checkpoints, students re-post their work in a group critique topic. Everyone then reviews and discusses the work, and the instructor posts a grade. (Typically, these checkpoints fall just before progress grades are due.)

If, however, you want to grade work each week, you have a challenge, because you cannot post more than one grade per student in any given topic — including students' personal project topics. Here are your options, depending on whether your class uses course topics or global topics:

      • If your class uses course topics (topics which are generated automatically by the LMS), you can post weekly grades in the assignment topics — even though students are not submitting their work in these topics.
      • If your class does not use course topics, you will need to create an assignment topic for each module (in Global Topics), in order to have somewhere to post weekly grades. Again, you can post grades in these topics, even though students are submitting their work elsewhere.
from my Inbox

I occasionally get emails from online instructors seeking advice on teaching issues. I review their class, think through the problem, and do my best to offer them a workable solution and relevant resources. When it (finally) occurred to me that other teachers might have similar concerns, I decided to post some of these questions and answers here. I hope you find them helpful! If you need help or advice or support with online teaching, please drop me a line (

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