Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Going paperless

Everybody else is blogging about the election today, I'm sure. I'm not. The kids came home a few days ago with a bug and I got it last night. I've been pretty wiped since just after midnight. Don't pity me-- that's how life is-- but that's why I'm posting to my blog instead of teaching today. I hope I can get some papers graded from the bedroom here, too. With luck, I'll get to that in just a bit. But first...

One of my colleagues at the college came to my office yesterday to talk about the CoRev project Kim and Shelley and I have been using to evaluate student papers for a year plus. Because it is entirely web-based, she was interested in it for sustainability reasons. She'd like to develop an entirely paperless class. In talking about what CoRev can do, what she'd like to do, and what we imagined that others might like to be able to do, we can up with a few ideas about how the whole thing might work. 

Just last week I talked to one of the web guys on campus about working with CoRev at CSI. The current install resides at ISU, which is okay, but it would be better overall if we had our own install and had the ability to tweak the rubric and improve the functionality. Even though it isn't exactly what Keith, Steve, and the rest may have intended, I would really like to be able to use CoRev to mark up papers for my individual students (rather than having to recruit three other instructors to be readers). I can score a paper in CoRev about twice as fast (if not faster) than in Word (which I do using track changes and the elaborate macros I inherited from Keith and have been tweaking and adding to since). Our web guy agreed that it looks doable to get an install going here and to tweak CoRev in the ways I'd like to. Good news.

The upshot of my conversation with my colleague yesterday is that it may be feasible to develop a suite of tools for paperless evals of and feedback on student work. Going paperless is a laudable goal, of course, but there are other reasons to be doing the kinds of things CoRev and the other proposed tools will allow us to do.

More on this soon, I hope.

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