Category: Grading Online Written Work

Abandon the Red Pen

This post was originally published as a column in MAA Focus (Oct/Nov 2011). The columns are no longer available online so I’m republishing here. Even though I’ve had a tablet PC for a while now, it’s been hard to get used to grading student exams and problem sets (like exams and problem sets) in the digital world.  The primary reason for the roadblock was that I usually grade one or two problems at a time, and this always seemed well-suited to grading papers in a stack, all on the same page.  In past semesters I often printed the papers...

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Custom Stamps for Grading in Adobe Acrobat

Many people have asked me to give a tutorial on creating custom stamps in Adobe Acrobat for paper grading.  There’s no reason why you couldn’t do something similar in other programs by pasting images into files, but there’s no doubt that the ease of one-click access to custom stamps is a nice feature of Adobe Acrobat. Step One:  Create the content of the Custom Stamp You can use any program on your computer to create the content: MathType, LaTeX, Wolfram Alpha, Mathematica, Maple, Sage, Word, Journal, etc.  Write the content and try to make it somewhat compact in width...

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Trick out your Copier!

Did you know that most “modern” copiers have the ability to send “copies” as a pdf attachment to your email account?   Once you get it set up, you can run a stack of papers through using the “scan” feature, and email it as one pdf file to yourself.   Why would you want to? Well, maybe you need to return graded tests to online students or you need to get some handwritten notes to a sick student – this will do the trick!   My online students must go to a testing center to take exams for online calculus. When I get the stack of exams, I can run them through the copier (ungraded) and email the pdf files to myself and then do the grading (using a tablet) in Adobe Acrobat using the red pencil. Then, I can email the graded exam to each student for immediate feedback (i.e. no more old-fashioned mailing back graded tests).   One technical note: Our copier will not do this nicely for 2-sided paper, so if you’re going to use this for tests for online classes, you might want to make the tests single sided for ease of feeding through the copier. Otherwise, you will have to copy every side of every page separately, and each page will come as a separate file (yuck – I learned this one the hard...

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