Monday, March 7, 2011

Using Google Docs To Grade Essays

I rarely touch paper when I grade anymore. I typically will hand grade the first assignment (even scanning in papers if needed) because I think there's something special about seeing handwriting on an essay. However, most other assessments are handled electronically.

I've used all types of learning management systems and they all require you to download documents (word, PPT, Excel) and then edit them on your machine. Well, I don't trust students and their often virus-laced files and I've been looking for a workaround for a while.

Screen shot 2010-04-28 at 6.43.21 PM.png
Google Docs to the rescue! [View video on Google docs]. Google Docs allows you to manipulate Microsoft Office files on the web, making your grading portable.

More than that, you can even share the document with the student to continue the conversation on a paper in a collaborative manner.

2010-04-28_18.47.01.jpgSo here's my process:
    Download the papers from the LMS. Every LMS I've encountered provides an option to download files and will typically give you a ZIP file with all of the documents.
  1. Go to Google Docs and import the files [not sure how?] into a FOLDER. It's important to keep the assignments grouped. Here's what it looks like for me: google.png
  2. Then using Google's Comment and Footnote features to edit the document.
  3. Once complete, you have two options (I typically do the latter):

    • Share the document with the student by providing a URL which they can use to access it
    • Screen shot 2010-04-28 at 7.03.08 PM.png
    • Download the files, en masse, as individual PDF's, and then upload each student's graded essay back to the LMS. [this is also a good way to backup your Google Docs]
    • Screen shot 2010-04-27 at 7.58.09 AM.png  
    • I know I probably left out a few steps, but I covered the BIGGIES. Make grading work for you. Google Docs to the rescue!

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