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Grading Update

I have now posted grades for 3 out of 4 of my courses. One more to go. I've been at it all day, and I have a headache, but will try to mark at least some blogs or some exam essays tonight before one more big push tomorrow.

In my first year composition classes, I had students formulate a short, formal argument out of the material they put together in their research paper - so, if they were doing "Aids in Africa," for example, and their thesis there was that not enough was being done about it, then for the in class exam essay, they had to write something arguing for a specific action to help. Almost without exception, these essays were better than the research papers - sharp, cogent, clearly argued. Hmmm. Interesting. I think it was a useful exercise, even if it did create a bit more marking...

Another interesting observation: the results in my online literature class were overall a lot better than those in my face-to-face literature class at the same level. Part of that may be from the quality of students who self-select, but also I think it really is a good way to learn (done well, and I flatter myself that my courses are well done).

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Dec. 17th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Why do you suppose they were better with the essays? Was it because they got to express their own opinion? Was it because they didn't have to bring together and organize lots of information? Was it because they like finding solutions?

intertext
Dec. 17th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Maybe all of those things, but also, maybe for the first time ever, they had more than enough material to develop their arguments with, so it was a case of cutting down, and only including what was relevant, rather than padding, which they usually do for their research papers. And because they had all that material to work with, they were really focussed on structure without worrying about what to say.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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