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 way!).
What if a student is taking tests at an off-campus site? Certainly you don’t want to run a faxed test through the copier (the quality of most faxes of penciled work is barely readable already). Convince your testing center or department to get a subscription to eFax (starting at $16.95 per month) or Comodo (starting at $29.95 per year). Then the off-campus testing center email the completed exam to the online service, where it can be picked up electronically.
BONUS: This faxing option will save a little bit of paper, so that will relieve some of the eco-guilt for the single-sided copying (or you can donate to the Arbor Day foundation).