Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The Catholic Theology research papers have been in for a while, and I am finally starting with grading. They take a while, because I check out sources and such, and make a fair number of comments.

But at least all this is fairly painless with Google Docs. The pairs have worked together on their 5-page plus paper, and I can check the revisions to see what form the collaboration has taken. I have editing privileges, so I can insert my comments while reading online. Right now I am using a template in Word for the actual grading, and I mail it to them when I am finished. But it is occurring to me now that perhaps that could be a Doc, too, shared for viewing but not editing.

I required a proper Works Cited section ("page" doesn't seem to work for this), because students still need practice with such things. URL's were not needed (supposedly MLA doesn't  require them anymore), but I did make hyperlinks a requirement for each citation. I love the way I have immediate access to the sites if needed. Of course, this only works for electronic sources, but our subscription to a database of published articles provided some good sources outside the Web.

There are probably tutorials online for some of the things I want students to know, such as making hyperlinks, but I have enjoyed doing a couple of quick and very specific-to-my-needs videos with Jing to reinforce what I show the girls in class, and those are always available to them on Moodle.

Here is another advantage to Docs. The teacher who used to assign this project would offer students the opportunity to revise their work after the first grading. After one try I decided against that policy. But at the same time, I was able to allow for a learning curve. When the papers were first in I didn't read them for content but I did look over them for things like format and following directions of the assignment. I wrote an e-mail to the class suggesting specific areas they might need to pay attention to.With the papers on Docs, students could easily go and revise before I actually got to the grading. For some of them, I will need to take off fewer points in the end, and they also had to go back and pay attention to (and learn) things like how the Works Cited is formatted. Win-win.

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