You remember the old grade books.
Alternating rows of green and white. Spiral bound. Tiny boxes. Numbers. Here and there, a red check.
On the one hand, it was efficient and elegant. You could grab it from the shelf, flip to a page, scan for a name and quickly enter a grade.
On the other hand, it lacked the functionality of today’s online grade books. You could not enter in-depth notes. After a correction or two, the little box was illegible (remember white-out?). It certainly did not average scores, link directly to assignments, or communicate with students.
I’d say, we’ve made some serious progress.
That said, as I grade papers online, I find that a lot of time is spent not evaluating papers, but in clicking back and forth between the grade books for various classes. Each click requires a few seconds of internet-patience and a visual reorientation, since nothing online stays where you left it.
This clicking, scanning and scrolling ads up. It’s inefficient and fatiguing. What’s the fix?
Solution 1: in your shortcuts bar, make a tiny folder, labelled with a % sign. In that folder, save the webpage of all of your classes.
Before grading anything more than a single assignment, open all three as tabs. Now, you can click back and forth between your gradebook “pages” (like in the good old days) with no need to load a new page.
Solution 2: invest in a secondary monitor. This way, you can drag your grade book to one page, and your student projects (or a second grade book page) open on the other. I’m AMAZED that I’m the only person in my office with a second monitor. Best $100 investment you can make.
Solution 3: Purchase DUET on your iPad and have a THIRD monitor! YES! Now, you have one screen for your papers, one for your grade book, and a third for a grade calculator, your students’ portfolio, whatever.
YOU’RE A TANK FROM THE MATRIX.
But, like, all pedagogical.