Moodle, Word, GoogleDocs

As I got to the office today, a colleague was on her way out, and we had a brief chat about marking student work electronically. We commiserated about the multiple steps that accompany having students submit their work online.

My colleague has students submit papers as attachments via e-mail; I tried electronic submission using our campus’s iteration of Moodle this semester. Both methods impressed us as clunky, including far too many steps that were about downloading and organizing before one ever got to the point of actually marking the work, much less returning it to the students. We both seek something more seamless.

In the fall, students in one of my courses will be writing peer-reviewed episodes for the History Engine. I will be conferring with our Technology Liaison for Humanities to discuss the possibilities offered by GoogleDocs. I would dearly love to find a way to keep all of the review process online.


Filed under digital humanities

4 Responses to Moodle, Word, GoogleDocs

  1. lisahistory

    I never download to mark anything. Most LMSs, including Moodle, can use the Quiz Essay or Activity or Assignment feature to have students paste their paper into the system. In Moodle, they can be read easily, even several at a time with Manual Grading, without downloading.

    However, “marking” in the classic sense is more like annotating, and in-line commenting is more difficult, certainly. Moodle does let you do a form of this with an Assignment.

    • Yes, I’m more interested in marking. Our current version of Moodle allows students to upload assignments, basically operating as an alternative to email for transferring files.

      What I’m really looking forward to with Google Docs or perhaps Google Groups is giving students opportunities to do the kind of reading and marking too often reserved to the instructor…. I’m looking for an online way to facilitate collaborations and peer review.

  2. bboessen

    The key to this is surely some kind of markup, ie, that which you can do so easily and seamlessly with pen and paper.

    Google Docs has pretty recently implemented this, but I haven’t tried it myself. Word has this, and I’ve used it in the past with some success (especially once you get used to the keyboard shortcuts).

    Another possibly interesting option, if you can either accept or find a more secure way around the default public-ness, is Commentpress for WordPress blogs or Diigo for most other html pages (like other blogs). Both allow you to add a comment layer to any site (with Commentpress you add comments to each paragraph; Diigo let’s you highlight and add comments to any string of text longer than 4 letters). I’m pretty sure Diigo would let you keep these notes private and only share them with certain people (such as individual students), and you can even sortof “screencap a page with your highlights and send someone that.

    I think the short answer is, “it’s possible now, though perhaps not necessarily as easy as it could be.”

    • Yes, I’ve been using the “reviewing” features in Word, and I think this is the case with my colleagues as well. I’m looking forward to having a chance to discuss use of Google Docs with @RyanCordell in a couple of weeks.

      I’m definitely interested in preserving students’ anonymity during the drafting process since the publication tool we’ll be using in the fall–the History Engine–does the same with final product.

      I think I’m unhappiest about the clunkiness of the upload-download-comment-email process at the moment, and I’m determined to find a way around it.