People are becoming increasingly connected through various digital platforms worldwide in the modern era. A person living 50 years ago would not have been able to conceive of the possibility of this happening. Because of technology’s rapid advancement, it should be as little of a surprise that the educational system has also begun to embrace the digital movement. During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, e-learning has emerged as the new standard, and along with it has come the implementation of an online grade book.
Better accountability of the students, increased transparency, simple access to data, and an intuitive user interface are just some of the benefits that digital or online grade books can offer to the e-learning community and academic institutions worldwide.
The days of writing on blackboards with chalk are a thing of the past. Likewise, the days when educators had to lug heavy paper grade books to and from class are long gone.
It is common knowledge that digital teaching and learning environments are future waves. However, before the global pandemic outbreak, none of us had any idea how quickly we would be thrust into the world of online or distance learning. Learning through the internet is not a completely novel idea; historically, there have been many college-level classes that could be taken entirely or in part via the internet. In addition, an increasing number of educational institutions are turning to online platforms such as online grade books to enhance the standard of education provided to students. Students and teachers must acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully use and administer an account on one or more platforms.
What Is an Online Grade Book?
An online grade book is a platform that allows teachers to monitor, manage, and record students’ grades. As its name suggests, an online grade book is exactly what it sounds like. There are various online grade books available, and each one comes with features that can be useful not only for instructors and students but also for the students’ and teachers’ respective parents. Teachers can now post assignments, schedules, updates, and other relevant information to an online platform that students can access at any time, thanks to the use of grade books. Additional instructional resources, such as video tutorials, can also be posted by teachers on their websites to support students who are falling behind in their coursework or are having difficulty mastering the material.
One of the most helpful features of online education is the availability of digital grade books. Teachers use the grade book to record students’ grades, but it also has other potential applications, as we have seen above.
Teachers now have a way to easily and accurately keep track of their student’s grades, as well as their lessons, assignments, academic progress, extracurricular activities, and other relevant information, thanks to grade books. Online grade books make it simple for educators to enter and modify students’ grades at any time. Consequently, students and teachers are linked to one another in a discussion board that is hosted in an online environment and is simple to access. Here, both groups can share their concerns.
Benefits and Drawbacks of an Online Grade Book Versus the Hard Copy
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the benefits and drawbacks of keeping grade books digitally versus on paper.
- Greater Transparency:
Online grade books can facilitate improved communication between teachers and parents. It does away with the previous method of sending parents in-depth written reports regarding their children’s grades, school performance, and behaviors in the classroom (tardiness, proper submission of school work, engagement in class activities, and so forth.) Instead, parents only need to click a button to quickly access all of this information at their convenience.
- Increased Student Accountability:
Students can quickly view their grades and comments made by teachers regarding their schoolwork and overall performance. They are held accountable for their learning processes, encouraging them to take more initiative in their education. Hard copy grade books also share this information with students, but it is not as quick or easy for them to access, and it frequently requires teachers to set aside individual time with students to relay feedback. Although hard-copy grade books share this information with students, it is not as quick or easy for them to access as online grade books.
- Seamless Recording:
Recording in an online grade book is simpler than recording in hard copy books, and the information can be retrieved more quickly. Using the numerous features available in grade book apps, we can generate a variety of pages, tabs, and other categories for recording. Information can be easily retrieved by educators when they use keywords. Compared to the manual method of doing so when using hard copy grade books, comparing and computing data is much simpler with the use of digital grade books.
Another important benefit is the adaptability of these various applications, which enables educators to use various platforms and tools to access their content. Because of this, educators can record information at any time and in any location.
Undoubtedly, this category has the advantage of online grade books. The lack of available physical storage space is a common complaint in many educational settings; however, using online grade books eliminates this requirement.
- Technical Glitches:
Servers going down, technical glitches, and constant reminders to update and upgrade your application are possible factors discouraging teachers from using online tools. To avoid starting from scratch, educators should make it a habit to regularly save their work or check that the auto-save feature is turned “on.” Failing to do either of these things could force them to start from scratch.
- Requires a Backup:
Unlike the grade books that are kept in hard copy, our online grade books require that we make sure we have a backup file of them. If there is a problem with the technology, teachers need to ensure that a copy of the data is saved to an external device or uploaded into the “Cloud.”
- Vulnerabilities in the Security:
When selecting online tools, the availability of reliable security features should be a primary consideration. When we use these online tools, we expose ourselves to a variety of digital dangers, including the possibility of having our security compromised and being hacked.
- Technical Knowledge:
Utilizing these tools calls for a certain level of expertise in digital technology. Because not all educators have a natural affinity for technology, some may require practical instruction before effectively utilizing these tools.
Keeping grades and other information online has many benefits and potential drawbacks. However, educational institutions must keep up with the ever-evolving media forms that students and professionals prefer. Online grade books have the potential to improve the grading and communication processes. This is because even school administrations are insisting on going digital. The days of keeping track of grades using paper grade books are long gone. These days, educators have access to a wide variety of tools that allow them to record grades and monitor their students’ progress. The implementation of online grade books is unequivocally a technological advancement that is worthy of financial investment.