Yes, that’s right: A paper on one monitor, and rubric on the other, both displayed at ~150-200%. It’s very nice.
When I’m not grading, it’s also helpful because I can have a document up fullscreen on one monitor, and anything else (iTunes, e-mail, Twitter) on the other.]]>
The file formats thing is important, as you and squawky say. Students have to send me some flavor of Word or .rtf, since Word 2003 for Windows can’t open a .pdf or insert comments in it. I also tell them that I will always send them a confirmation message when they email me their papers; no email means I didn’t get the paper.
I just discovered autotext (http://notofgeneralinterest.blogspot.com/search?q=autotext) last year, which has shaved a lot of time from the paper-commenting process. Since you can copy and paste into autotext, I spent about an hour one day putting in all the explanations I already had written up for comma splices, etc., and can now insert them with a keystroke. The beneficial part is that I can now spend more time on substantive comments rather than typing explanations of errors. (Also, I try not to scare them by inserting an explanation for everything each time.)]]>
My rules boil down to “.doc, .txt, or.pdf” – that way I know I can open them, and that the student can send them without issue (Pages/Keynote documents aren’t really documents – they’re ‘packages’ – but non-Mac computers see them as folders… very hard to attach to an email).
My other caveat to students is always to make sure they receive some kind of notification that I’ve received their assignment. Works great if we use Blackboard for assignments, but for the “email it to me” assignments this is critical… too many assignments end up in spam folders, or arrive with missing attachments.
As for the text expander – I really wish I had one in pen format… I get tired of writing the same comments over and over. But a good point – should really consider investing in an electronic version.]]>
Get a second monitor or a widescreen monitor so that you can have the rubric/response open next to the paper to be graded.
Works is a real pain; encourage students to get OpenOffice 3.01 http://www.openoffice.org which can save as Office 2003 or 2007 and provides spreadsheet and powerpoint functionality as well. It will also open a variety of ancient formats like WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3.]]>