This summer, I’ve been teaching an intensive 7-week online course in Public Relations and Strategic Communication. The nature of our online class has meant that my students have been engaged in an extraordinary amount of PR writing for the web. Many have learned, through practice, the values of writing for the audience and the vehicle of delivery and are well-primed for high-level internships with companies and non-profits in their community relations and social-media management offices.
In traditional grading scenarios, I sit with student papers and my triad of pen, pencil, and highlighter, bringing out the occasional Sharpie if the situation warrants. But digital grading is different. I need to be able to follow links, watch videos, and consume hyperlinks. So, my challenge in handling all this writing on the web has been establishing a method of grading that allows me to both consume their work in a digital and hyperlinked format, and to comment substantively on this writing. So, I hacked a second-screen approach to commenting and grading:
My third screen, the iPhone, is reserved for
emails, calls, and taking pictures of my other two screens.
This dual-device approach has worked so well for web content that I had to share it. Using the iPad allows me to peruse my students’ excellent web copy, clinking on links and investigating sources while living in the course’s learning management system (LMS) on my laptop. I comment in the LMS on the content and technical proficiency in their writing while watching their self-produced videos, listening to their audio recordings, and fully participating in their embedded media.
This strategy allows me to work outside (a must in the summer), to comment directly on student work as I consume it, and to be able to click through my student’s links without leaving my comments behind.
I’m interested to hear other techniques for assessing online student work. What’s your strategy?