It is possible to use Track Changes but tell it not to track formatting….(again, this is where scribbling wins—much easier to scribble about formatting). I don’t think you need to, myself—formatting *is* where I have several AutoTexts set up to explain the rules in the overall comments.
I do a lot of underlining the important arguments and topic sentences, largely an easy way of saying “hey, look, I read and understand”.
I also do a handout with shared issues and specific student examples (good and bad). So then I might extensively rewrite a paragraph or a few sentences from various paragraphs, but I don’t feel I have to do it for every paper. In fact, students probably see the lesson better on someone else’s work—I know I do.
Mike, I also have honors students—I wonder, if you first have them do individual peer review seconded by your review, you can establish that their peers are right (because when I do that, my comments often consist of “I agree with everything your peer said. I’m adding this small thing”.) Doing that on the first assignment might set up your groups more strongly?]]>
Here’s how I tried to cut down on comments from me: last semester I put students in groups (in honors comp, but i’ll try it in standard comp, too)and in 30 minute or so workshops we talked about each paper and the shared issues (which were many). I thought this worked. The honors students, just as full disclosure, appeared to think this was a scam, like I wasn’t really working in doing that… (they are *so* about authority, I think, that they don’t see how they might be getting something from each other and from their own experiences of reading student writing).
Thanks, too, to JWW for the Gopen suggestion: just ordered it through state-wide inter-library loan system (which is threatened by state budget cuts, but that’s a different story).]]>
The real key to Gopen’s grading is to set the students up to expect (and to learn from) papers with minimal mark-up. I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll implement that in my own teaching, but there’s something in that.]]>
What’s even harder is when I notice that I’ve graded a certain swath of papers lower than another. I start to think: was I in a bad mood that day? Was it because I was in the beginning/middle/end of the grading for this assignment? Do I need to go back and re-examine the scores that I’ve given to make sure I’m fair? It’s a zero-sum game, most of the time.]]>