I spent a lot of time this summer thinking about how to streamline my grading process. I spoke with colleagues, read many Profhacker articles (just search Profhacker by “assessment” and you’ll get 101 hits), and looked at my past approaches to embracing a syllabus that expects students to experiment with multimodal forms of composition without having what I consider to be the proper tools for assessing those forms (how the hell DO you properly assess a Google Map?) Sometimes it feels as though I’m marking up a play-text to evaluate a live performance. Not sure if that metaphor works for anyone else, but I’ll stick with it for now.
Rebecca Burnett and I had a conversation about the nature of commenting on student blog posts. As instructors, should we have the option of making a private comment – viewable only to the student author, or should all comments be viewable to all students? There is an argument to be made for complete transparency in a course blog. I believe there are situations, however, where dialogue between an instructor and a student might benefit from a degree of privacy. The example that comes immediately to mind relates to marking a post. In the past, I have returned what I believe to be confidential communication regarding assignment feedback and grading to students through an external medium (email, rubrics uploaded to T-Square’s dropbox, emma, etc.). And yet I have thought it would be preferable for students to be able to read my feedback inline with their posts. I just wasn’t sure how to accomplish such a thing without making this confidential feedback publicly available. (more…)