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Written Work

Students want to see your responses to their written work, tests, and exams as soon as possible.  They are anxious about grades, yes, but in the case of essays and papers, they genuinely want to know what you think of their work.  The sooner they see your comments and grades, the more likely they are to learn from them. 

Managing the workload and their expectations takes some skill and experience.  A few tips will help:

  • Try to get essays, quizzes, tests and papers back to students within two weeks and certainly before you expect another written assignment from them.
  • Let them know how you are progressing; indicate that you care about being prompt even if it is not possible to be as prompt as they wish you to be.
  • If you request that papers be submitted electronically and you comment on them using Word's "Track Changes" tool and then save and return them as PDFs, you will have a record of your comments.  This is useful when a student requests a conference.  If you return final papers this way, students will get them back while they still care about your comments rather than a term or two later.
  • Return graded work in a confidential manner. The traditional practice of leaving graded papers and exams in a pile outside your office door is no longer acceptable practice. The best way to return work confidentially is to do so electronically, but hard-copy material should be returned in class in person or put in sealed envelopes and returned through campus mail (HB) or some other secure system.
  • DCAL often runs workshops and seminars on responding to student papers. We are also happy to help you one-on-one; make an appointment.

Last Updated: 9/17/08