An addition to the more substantial report already posted (bit.ly/HNZH0i) about marking student work using the iPad, iAnnotate and Dropbox combo'...
Having now marked different assessments using these tools, I have to say I'm 100% supportive of developing the use of this method of assessment. Yes there are going to be a few teething problems, but on the whole I think it's a huge step forward in modernising the way we assess student work.
In terms of the teething issues, the first version of iAnnotate we used wasn't quite so easy to use as the latest version. And, there were a few issues surrounding batch file conversion into PDF documents (missing images/figures after conversion). But, this latter issue can be solved (relatively easily I believe) moving forward.
From a markers' point of view, I found the use of technology made the process of marking more enjoyable! The ability to neatly make use of different annotation tools gave great flexibility in how you present information back to the student. I think everyone wins really. The students don't need to get to the Assessment Office in person, the Assessment Office staff don't need to worry about collecting the work (and storing it), and teaching staff don't have to worry about huge piles of paperwork either. Just think of the amount of work, paper and space that it takes to get the paper copy to the marker, from the point when a student finally finishes a piece of coursework and hits save on a computer. Why not use that electronic document as it is? It's a bit like sending a telegram in the early 20th century isn't it - or at least I presume it is :-).
FYI - we've had different formats of documents submitted during this trial; it's definitely not limited to Word processed documents.
A huge thanks to the Elevate team and our course administration team in helping us start this process!