“Green” Grading

Final grades for my undergraduates were due today, concluding the first semester for which I ventured into “green” grading practices.  Despite a few hiccups, it is a practice I plan to continue.  Previous semesters brought reams of paper into my office; this approach utilizes digital submission via the school’s Blackboard/Angel online learning management system.  Beyond paper submission, I can offer feedback and evaluation using Turnitin’s “Grademark.”

Among the advantages, as I see them:

  • Immense savings and conservation in paper and printing.
  • I have a track record of which students have submitted their assignment (and which students haven’t), marked by the exact day and time.
  • The system I use does an automatic check for plagiarism, a problem which is (unfortunately) becoming more and more common.
  • No more searching for students to hand back papers after semester’s end.  They can access my comments online, in a secure location.
  • I can grade in the exact order in which papers are received (an incentive for early submission, perhaps?).
  • No more having to decipher my handwriting.
  • I save time by creating a list of common comments to paste, rather than rewriting the same suggestion a dozen times.
  • I can grade anywhere I have my laptop; no more lugging around heavy bags filled with student assignments.
  • No class time needed to hand back stacks of papers (when you may mistake “Johnni” for “Ricky”).
  • Reading reactions can be shared and read by the entire class to generate discussion.
  • Submission through Blackboard/Angel is far easier to manage than papers accepted via email.

A few disadvantages:

  • The Blackboard/Angel grading system does not work on my iPad.
  • In my transition this semester, I still allowed some paper submissions. Simultanously tracking multiple submission types caused confusion.
  • This means even more “screen time” for me.
  • No grading when internet service goes down.
  • Students often received “error” messages even when their assignments uploaded successfully.

Next goal: Green Teaching = going paperless in the classroom.


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