Project Description

Interactive Rubrics

Interactive rubrics allow teachers to communicate academic expectations & student performance. They give students a better understanding of their performance and progress. This project takes what is happening today in classrooms with pen and paper, and brings it into the Blackbaud Learning Management System (LMS).

  • New Feature

  • User Research

  • Interactive Prototype

Project Overview

– Previewing a rubric (production build)

– Rubric data (prototype)


Blackbaud LMS has traditionally only allowed teachers to evaluate student performance through a grade and a comment. While this evaluation method covers the basics, it does not help with students’ understanding of expectations, or for communicating performance at a granular level. As such, teachers oftentimes use rubrics, calling out the skills to be evaluated on an assignment.

With no way to handle rubrics in Blackbaud LMS, teachers have used paper rubrics or PDFs. This creates an extra level of work, as teachers have to translate the rubric evaluation to the LMS gradebook. And for students, it creates a separation between the final grade they see online and the more detailed rubric feedback.


The high-level goals of this project were to make rubric usage easier and more meaningful for teachers and students, and to better connect rubrics with other LMS functionalities.

Research & Design Process

Learning from the Users

Initial research included surveys, contextual inquiry, and interviews with teachers & students. This allowed us to better understand the users’ goals, challenges, and requirements.

See User Flow (pdf)

Research & Iteration

We continued talking with users as moved from sketches to low-fidelity prototypes, allowing us to iterate and refine the design in an informed manner.

See Low-Fi Mockups (pdf)

Usability & Final Design

To help ensure the design was not just useful, but also usable, I conducted a series of scenario & task-based usability tests, and then iterated based on our findings.

See Prototype (pdf)


Creating a Rubric

Teachers can create interactive rubrics in Blackbaud LMS using a variety of evaluation methods. Our research showed that for different scenarios teachers might want to evaluate with points, point ranges, or comment only. Teachers can also control the visibility of rubrics for students and parents.

The rubric bank allows teachers to find rubrics others have created, and to share their rubrics with their colleagues.

See Video (YouTube)

Evaluating with a Rubric

While creating an assignment, teachers will choose which rubric they will use. This association ties a copy of that rubric to the gradebook entry for that assignment. Teachers can then evaluate students on the individual skills detailed in the rubric, and leave comments specific to each skill. The resulting grade from this evaluation is automatically entered into the gradebook for the assignment, eliminating the need for teachers to enter a separate grade.

See Video (YouTube)

The Student Experience

Students can see any rubrics associated with their assignments before beginning the assignments, allowing them to know ahead of time which skills will be evaluated, and the description of various performance levels. After a teacher has used the rubric to evaluate an assignment, the student can see the completed rubric in the Blackbaud LMS assignment center.

See Video (YouTube)