I am starting to use Tinderbox to support my grading process and was curious about what approaches others may have taken to this.
A few notes about my approach so far:
My students submit many assignments electronically. For those assignments, I am able to drag the assignment files into TB. Key attributes include file location and grade.
One immediate benefit is that I can use a map with adornments to track which assignments still need grading. In some cases I do a first pass on assignments and identify ones that might be easier or harder to grade. I can cluster these and decide which group I want to tackle. I can use display expression on adornment to count assignments in a given category.
Another thing I do is tag assignments to categorize them. For example, in a database assignment (not a paper, really, but a file that I need to grade), I tagged assignments with general issues. That makes it possible to develop a common set of comments or set of deductions and identify assignments where these apply.
Finally (so far), I am setting up a system to re-use comments. While student deductions and feedback are to some extent student-specific, there are certainly recurring themes . Previously I would use Typinator (text expander app) expansions to re-use comments, but I find a few issues with this:
- It is difficult to come up with a reasonable set of shortcuts for these comments as they proliferate across questions and assignments.
- It is hard to locate specific comments from a lengthy list.
- The system does not lend itself to inductively arriving at general purpose comments. The specific student response is usually too specific for re-use, but yet I find myself composing variations on some theme and sense I could develop at least part of the answer for re-use.
In my new approach, I have a container for comments for a given assignment. A comment prototype has attributes to identify the assignment, the particular question, a point deduction (if applicable, as well as a “label” for the comment.
- The “label” plays the role of the shortcut in Typinator: a very brief code for the comment.
- The name of the comment note is meant to be a concise description of the comment. It is these names that I use when searching for relevant comments. Less cryptic than the label.
- The actual comment is stored in the text of the comment.
I can apply comments to an assignment by either manually entering a list of comment codes into a $CommentCodeList attribute or by selecting the comments (via $Checked attribute) and using a stamp to automatically build the list.
I have an agent that updates the text of an assignment note by finding all the comments listed in $CommentCodeList. The agent uses regular expressions to replace just part of the body text so that I can also include my own custom notes in the assignment text.
Grading then involves reviewing the assignment and selecting appropriate comments. In some cases, I create a new comment for future use. Then use stamp to add the collection of comments to the assignment. Then I make any custom edits and paste into comment form on our course website (or potentially in an email or as a note on a pdf) to give student feedback.
As I describe this it sounds pretty cumbersome, but I find it worth the effort on assignments where I need to provide this kind of detailed feedback. I also find the structure helpful in maintaining focus and energy as I grade many assignments.
Very interested to hear about other approaches. I am not entirely sure this approach will turn out to be sustainable and a much simpler approach may turn out to be more useful, but so far finding this to be worthwhile.