This page gives a brief explanation of how the program works. For a more comprehensive hands-on tutorial, you can see the Markin tutorial videos. You can even test out the program by downloading and installing the trial version from the download page.
The process of marking a piece of work using Markin has three stages:
- Importing the student's text
- Marking the text using annotations, comments, and grades;
- Saving the marked work and returning it to the student.
When you have marked several pieces of work, you can use the program's comprehensive Statistics analyser to collate and compare marks from different students, or from different pieces of work by the same student.
Importing Student Text
There are two ways to import text into Markin: by importing the student's file directly, or by Pasting the student's text from the clipboard.
Markin allows you to import files in HTML, RTF or plain TXT formats. If you have any Microsoft Office programs installed on your computer (eg Word, Excel etc), Markin can also use the import filters associated with those programs. So if you have Word 2007, Markin will allow you to import any type of Word document, and if you have Excel, you can even import a spreadsheet into Markin.
You can also import work from any other application (eg text embedded in an email message) by Copying the text from the original program, and Pasting it into Markin.
Adding Marks and Comments
Markin provides four different ways of adding marks to an essay text:
- Annotations are pre-defined ways of marking specific errors, or giving specific kinds of praise. Annotations are inserted using a set of buttons on a movable button bar, which is displayed next to the main marking screen. For example, if you see a spelling mistake in the text, you could mark it by clicking a pre-defined "Spelling Error" annotation button, rather than having to type "This is a spelling error". Annotations can be positive as well as negative, and they can be divided into categories, and given "values" to indicate their relative importance.
- Comments are used when you have something more specific or detailed to say. They are used when no pre-defined annotation can explain a problem in enough detail to be helpful. Comments are like footnotes: you insert a comment (which appears as a number in the text), and then type the message to the student.
- Feedback is what comes at the end of the marked essay. This is where you express your general responses to the whole text.
- The Grade can be anything you like - a letter grade, a percentage, a mark out of ten, or any other form of assessment.
Here is a sample Markin screen showing how the different kinds of marks appear to the teacher:
Exporting Marked Work
Markin4 uses XHTML as its "native" file format. XHTML is a type of web page which can be viewed by the student in a web browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. So once you have finished marking, just save the document, and return it to the student. They will be able to open it in their web browser, and see your comments and annotations.
Markin XHTML documents can also be posted on a web server and accessed by the student via a college network, or via the internet.
Markin also provides the option to Export the marked document as an RTF file - this option is normally used only when the student needs to view the marked work as a paper printout.
Click here to see how the document illustrated in the screenshot above might look when viewed by the student in a browser. Click on the various links to see the annotations and comments.
Customising your Markin Pages
Markin uses HTML templates to create the marked pages, and you can change the appearance of the marked work by editing the template. For example, in this example the same example document is displayed with a customised header, footer and background to make it match the rest of our website.
Advanced features in the Markin program include:
- Statistics - analysis of marks in any number of marked files, formatted for easy pasting into a spreadsheet.
- XML support - all Markin files are stored as XML data for easy integration into database environments.
- Snippets - you can compile lists of web page addresses and pieces of text which you use frequently when marking, and save them as Snippets. You can insert these Snippets into your comments and annotations with just a couple of mouse-clicks.
- Translation - you can use features in the latest version of Markin to translate the "User Interface", the technical name for the words shown in the program's menus and windows. Translated User Interfaces can be shared with other users - see non-English Versions for details.