No longer can we depend upon the in-class interactions to give feedback and help students learn from their mistakes. That was a crucial (and often under appreciated) component of the education process. Your grading and Office Hour time fills the gap.
Here are five tips for your grading and, below, two on Office Hours:
Less is more: assign only what YOU can actually grade WELL.
Compared with “in person” teaching, you’ll have to double or triple the time you spend grading assignments. So, create assignments that result in shorter submissions from your students. Your grading will get more efficient as you discover time-saving workarounds and learn the software. But until then, don’t feel frustrated about giving your students very short assignments. Instead of fewer long assignments, give frequent short assignments that require deep thought.
Feedback for every deducted point.
Since homework assignments are now the primary mechanism for teaching new content, students need clear and detailed guidance on how to fix every mistake. Ideally, this commentary should be delivered through the same portal the students use to upload their work and view their grades.
Easier than it sounds: use a simple rubric.
Consider a 5-point (or 10-point or 3-point) rubric based on quality and completeness. Example Rubric:
- 5 = complete, and high quality
- 4 = complete, and ok quality
- 3 = partially complete, and ok quality
- 2 = partially complete, poor quality
- 1 = minimal effort displayed
Grade the whole assignment on (for example) a 5-to-1 basis, and provide one quick overall comment on where the student fell short.
Consider Two-Round Assignment Cycles.
Assignment structure can take into account the new function of grading-as-teaching by creating a “round two” submission process. In “round two” the student incorporates “round one” grading feedback into his/her original work. The overall assignment grade will consist of some weighted proportion of each round. Different assignments may carry different weights.
Everything should be graded within a week.
This ensures students can learn from their mistakes – before they forget the topic. If two weekends pass before a student gets feedback, it feels like ancient history.
Office hours are the best part about these times.
They are rewarding and effective. We find students really taking advantage of them, for academic help but also simple human connection. We (teachers) enjoy them too: we actually get to teach!
The key: schedule them on a routine, weekly basis.
Students have between 6 – 8 teachers to work with (at Northridge), and it is very hard to catch them all unless office hours are scheduled.