Crowdmark is an online platform that helps instructors manage and grade assignments and tests quickly and efficiently. Paper assignments and tests can be scanned and input into Crowdmark, while online assignments can be submitted to Crowdmark directly by students. Markers see a grid of anonymous pages they can navigate and grade concurrently using markup tools that include shareable and reusable comments and a tagging facility for easy searching. Instructors can monitor their grading progress at any time and grades are calculated automatically when grading has finished.

Crowdmark integrates with the University of Waterloo's learning management system and is free for UWaterloo instructors. For midterms and final exams, Crowdmark can be used in conjunction with a companion UWaterloo system named Odyssey that provides examination seat assignment and printing/scanning services.  Step-by-step guides, a FAQ, and help related to using Crowdmark or Odyssey are available at UWaterloo Crowdmark.


As outlined by Simon Fraser UniversityGord Boyer and John Bate and Jason Harlow, Crowdmark has the following benefits:

  • Time spent grading is substantially reduced. (Crowdmark suggests a 50% reduction.)
  • Assessments can be either electronic or paper-based.
  • The platform facilitates collaborative grading from varied locations.
  • Grades are automatically totalled and analytics generated.
  • New and pre-defined grading comments can be shared and reused by markers.  
  • Reduced grading time facilitates the prompt return of assessments, grades, and feedback to students.
  • Submissions are anonymous to markers.
  • Marking quality and consistency is easier to monitor.
  • Original marked papers are available online for instructor-student meetings.            

Evidence of Efficacy

Crowdmark can substantially reduce time spent grading, facilitating faster feedback. Numerous studies indicate that faster feedback improves learning (Chickering & Gamson, 1989Opitz, Ferdinand & Mecklinger, 2011; Samuels & Wu, 2003).

Best Practices

  • Instructors planning to use paper-based assessments will need to take into consideration the resources needed to scan the assessments before they can be marked.
  • Instructors working with teaching assistants should plan time to train them prior to utilizing Crowdmark in order to maximize the benefits of the tool. Crowdmark has a number of keyboard shortcuts that can save markers time.
  • Expectations about feedback for students should be clearly communicated in order to ensure consistency (how much, how often, what kind of content), as students may expect more detailed feedback using this digital medium.
  • Instructors with teaching assistants can also monitor the quality of feedback being given in order to ensure that  expectations set in the beginning are being met as marking progresses.
  • Crowdmark can also be used for online exams. Consult this PDF to find out more. 


It is important to consider accessibility when determining whether a technology fits the needs of your class. Crowdmark has provided information about accessibility considerations when using this technology.


If you would like support applying these tips to your own teaching, CTE staff members are here to help.  View the CTE Support page to find the most relevant staff member to contact.


  • Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1989). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. Biochemical Education, 17(3), 140-141. doi:10.1016/0307-4412(89)90094-0
  • Crowdmark. (n.d.). Learning Technology Hub, University of British Columbia. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  • Bate, J., & Boyer, G. (2018). Crowdmark Collaborative Exam Marking (PDF). Retrieved April 3, 2019. 
  • Opitz, B., Ferdinand, N. K., & Mecklinger, A. (2011). Timing matters: the impact of immediate and delayed feedback on artificial language learning. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 5, 8. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2011.00008
  • Crowdmark. Learning and Teaching Centre. Simon Fraser University. Retrieved April 4, 2019, from


teaching tips

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