Grading Workflows with iPad, Google Drive, and whatever else?

Hey! Hey!

I’m trying to make the shift to a paperless workflow for the graduate school classes that I teach.

We have Google Drive from the university which could serve as the hub.

I’ve got at 12.9 iPad Pro with pencil.

GoodNotes, DEVONthink To Go, and pretty much any and every other app that has ever been discussed on MPU or here on the forum.

MAIN QUESTION: Has anyone found a good workflow for submissions, grading, and returning graded items to students without having to fiddle around too much? I’d love to get things automated.

Sometimes I mark up their PDFs, but type an overview of feedback in Ulysses. I’d love to be able to send that feedback as mail from Ulysses (as I’ve been doing for a couple years), and attach the marked up PDF using automation if possible (which is new to how I’m working now).

Thanks everyone, you are the wind beneath my wings.

I can’t help with the sub question, but I do have a pretty good workflow for the main question, especially if you like to mark essays by hand. (I’m an odd mix of high tech and old school, myself. I prefer marking by hand, but I hate actual paper.)

Here’s what I’ve done before (I’m using Blackboard this semester, so I’m using a less-elegant variant of the following, which is what I used last semester):

  • Use Google Forms for students to submit their work. It accepts file upload “questions,” and will create a folder for each question for which a file upload is the “answer.” You can restrict the file types that are acceptable — I set mine to only accept PDFs.
  • Set up PDF Expert to sync with the folder(s) created by your form. Now all of your students’ submissions are there, and you can mark them up to your heart’s content. (This really should work with any iOS PDF editor that can sync with Google Drive.)
  • Back in Google Drive, you can now do whatever you think best with the annotated submissions. You can email them back to students, or just set up a shared folder for each student and drop the graded items into the shared folder.

It worked really well for me.


I never in a million years would’ve thought to use Google Forms for this!

I’ll look into the PDF Expert idea. I’d really prefer to use Goodnotes, but it doesn’t seem to sync with google drive. Everything has to be imported. Nothing does everything I want it to.