Digital Plan for Digital Action

It turns out that several people had some great suggestions about my wish for digital exam grading. I’ve decided to attempt it for my next Calculus exam, scheduled for Tuesday, March 26th. Here’s an outline of the plan:

  1. Photocopy exams single-sided and unstapled. Place a copy of each exam into an empty file folder.
  2. Subject unsuspecting Calculus students to grueling exam on these topics: Related Rates; Linear Approximation; Mean Value Theorem; Derivatives and Graphs.
  3. Alphabetize exams as they are turned in according to course roster. For absent students, place blank exam where theirs should be.
  4. Use department copy machine to scan all ~350 pages to a single PDF file and send it to me via e-mail.
  5. Thank my husband profusely for writing pdftk bash script that will take the single PDF file and break it apart, at every ~9th page, and rename the files according to last name (keeping alphabetical order in place). If this works, I should end up with 36 PDF files where each student has a file called “Owens-Calculus-Exam3.pdf” or something similar.
  6. Create Dropbox folders for the ungraded exam PDFs and the graded exam PDFs. Use GoodNotes to grade the exams on my iPad. Export the finished product back to Dropbox.
  7. Disseminate graded exams and grades to students.

It’s likely my first attempt at this will take longer than nondigital grading. One of the things I will have to do as I go is come up with “Correction JPGs” for those errors that happen most frequently and store them somewhere on Dropbox. I think these should be easy to add to each exam using the “import JPG” feature of GoodNotes. Usually I estimate that grading will take no longer than 10 minutes per exam. For my 36 calculus students, this means regular grading should take me about six hours. Hopefully this digital grading effort won’t take too much longer than this.

For Step 7, I also need to find out about FERPA. Provided I have a “sign for consent” on my exam header page, is that enough for it to be okay for me to e-mail each student her graded exam? Alternatively, is there a way using our Desire2Learn-Dropbox (on our Learning Management System) to return the exams to the students in some easy way?

Wish me luck!