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AI Marking


In collaboration with her students and a data scientist, Dr Isabel Fischer has introduced AI marking across her modules. With this AI marking tool, students are able to receive machine-generated formative essay feedback in advance of their final deadlines so that they have time to make any necessary revisions before submitting. Dr Fischer’s AI marking project is still developing, but in its current iteration it gives students feedback on referencing and sentence structure, which means Dr Fischer can better engage with the content of student assignments when marking the final essays. Participation is voluntary and students are co-collaborators in the tool’s development. They have the opportunity to feedback on the process and whether it fulfil their needs. Additionally, because the AI tool is being developed with transparency in mind, students are made aware of exactly what the AI marking tool is looking for before submitting.

In response to finding that students arrive at university with differing levels of writing ability due to different schooling and academic support, Dr Fischer has introduced AI marking in order to democratise assessments. The AI marking tool ensures all students are given the same opportunity to improve their writing and it can track improvement over time. This is also a response to concerns expressed by students in student satisfaction studies around receiving sufficient, fair and timely feedback.

Lesson plan

  1. This is an ethics-approved project and students were initially invited to feedback on the ethics requirements and whether this project fulfilled them.
  2. Working with a data scientist, Dr Fischer tested the readiness of the tool by submitting past essays and reviewing the feedback.
  3. Students were invited to submit their assignments to the AI marking tool in advance of final submission.
  4. Students received machine-generated feedback.
  5. Students were invited to give feedback on the feedback they had received.
  6. Dr Fischer also reviewed the AI marking tool with colleagues during two focus-group sessions.

Tutor's observations

The AI marking tool provides feedback before students receive a grade. Not only does this allow them time to make edits before it’s too late, but they are able to better engage with the feedback when it’s not linked to a mark.

Machine-generated feedback needs to be communicated in a particular way. If it is too opaque and numeric, students will doubt its validity.

Student testimonies

Dr Fischer notes that some students found that the AI marking tool’s suggestions were things they were already aware of but that it encouraged students to improve them.

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IB263: Design Thinking for Digital Innovation