The Essays feature enables learners to create and submit long-form responses to a question. Based on the essay’s configuration, learners can submit an essay to a grader for Feedback or a Grade (score), or self-grade their essays.
Submitting an essay for self-grading gives the user access to the essay rubric/grading criteria for them to judge their own work.
Submitting an essay to a grader sends the essay to a human grader (designated by either an admin or B2B admin) who uses the grading tools in the Boost Dashboard to evaluate the essay. Submitting the essay for feedback is similar to sending a first draft to an editor. If a user submits an essay for feedback, the grader does not need to provide scores, but should provide commentary to help the user flesh out their essay. After the grader provides their feedback, the user has the option to submit the essay again, either for feedback or for a grade. Submitting an essay for a grade means that the grader must provide a score, and the user will not be able to resubmit the essay afterwards - this is their final draft.
To set up Essays in a Course, follow these steps:
1. In BluePrint, find the appropriate course and click on the Course ID field.
2. Select Essay Topics on the left hand side.
3. Select the New Essay Topic button.
4. On the New Essay Topic screen, fill out the following:
- Name - Title of the Essay
- Introduction - Instructions for the user on how to use the platform to write and submit their essay
- Essay Prompt - The question or topic the user’s response should address
- Essay Instructions - A shorter version of the essay prompt for the user to reference while writing. When a user minimizes the essay prompt, they will see only the essay instructions.
- Solution - The essay rubric/grading criteria.
5. Select one of the options below to designate Essay Time.
- Unlimited - no time limit to complete the essay. Users will see a Time Elapsed indicator to show time spent within the Essay module.
- Timed - specify a max essay time to allow learners to complete the essay (in minutes). If set, learners will see Time Elapsed as well as Total Time remaining.
6. Select the essay’s Grading Type.
- Manual (Submitted to a Grader) through BenchPrep
- Self-Graded (Graded by the User).
- Custom Grading - select only if your platform is integrated with an external grading system
7. Choose Yes or No to indicate whether the essay is eligible for feedback prior to submitting for scoring (only visible for Manual grading type).
8. Choose Percentage or Numerical Range to designate the Scoring value for the Default Overall trait as well as any additional traits you want to create. A trait is a set of gradable criteria for feedback or score, such as “punctuation” or “clarity of argument.” Score Range is not displayed for Percentage scoring. NOTE: At least one additional essay topic trait is required for Self-Graded essays.
9. To add additional essay topic traits, select the Add another essay topic trait link.
- Fill out Trait Name.
- Set Score Range (if scoring is set to Numerical Range).
10. Fill out Essay Grading Category to define the essay and ensure it is reviewed by appropriate Graders (optional field visible for Manual grading type only). Using Essay Grading Categories enables essays to be grouped by defined criteria and ensures only graders authorized to grade that category can claim and review the essay.
11. Select Create Essay Topic on the bottom of the page.
12. Publish Changes to the Course.
The essay is now available for learners!