Online Grading Of Essays

One of my biggest worries going into my "grading-with-Word" experiment was that it might inadvertently make coursework more difficult for my students who came from low-income and/or urban backgrounds and thus might not be as familiar with the technology.Happily, my experience agreed with recent studies showing that differences in digital literacy are not strongly tied to socioeconomics.We'll package all this up in a simple email and send it to you as soon as we're done.

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I talk often about basic writing skills, and I grade stacks upon stacks of essays.

So I knew that my new digital teaching life would be built around the efficient processing of student papers.

My first foray toward digital grading was to receive electronic copies of student work and then use the "Review" functions in Microsoft Word to correct and comment on them before returning the "marked-up" electronic copies to the students, often using Word's "track changes" feature.

This approach is certainly not unique, and I found positives to this system, including that students no longer had to decipher my handwriting.

We must find ways to enable our students, as Spencer Dunford put it, to be "better able to succeed in a world where the presence of technology is ever increasing."It is one thing to know this — and I think we all do — but it is quite another to know what to do about it.

A brave new world is upon us — whether we like it or not, whether we understand it or not — and if we are to reach our students, to make our teaching relevant to them, we have to embrace that world, however stumbling and awkward it might feel.

In fact, I've never been unable to access my materials.

During my experimenting, meanwhile, our campus Blackboard servers were inaccessible several times for maintenance of one kind or another.

While surprising to me, this discovery matches recent investigations into how tech-savvy college students really are.

I thus ended up spending class time showing students how to access my comments.


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