Alternative Ways to Assess in a 1 to 1 World

This is part of my series in using alternative ways to assess student work in a 1 to 1 environment. I have started with a traditional assignment where the teacher assigns a research paper, the student types the paper, prints it out, and the teacher then marks it up with a pen. The original document can be viewed here. Next we moved on to a electronic submissions with examples in both Microsoft Word, and through Google Classroom. These both have benefits beyond saving paper and toner. It is possible to look back on the history of both the changes made to the paper, and the comments provided by the teacher. Additionally, the student can have a conversation with the teacher through the comments, enabling the student the ability to ask questions or clarification on a comment.

The Next Step

But now we need to ask; can we take this to the next level without adding time to the project, student, or teacher? There are several ways to provide the feedback the student needs that will not only take the same time as the traditional way, but may even be faster to assess for the teacher.

Adding Audio and Video

One way to this to provide audio and/or video feedback to the student. This allows the teacher to provide feedback and include not only words, but emphasis and emotion to their comments. I have taken the original paper and presented feedback in two ways. The first one is simply an audio track using Audacity that can be sent to the student’s email, or shared back through Microsoft OneDrive or Google Classroom. Next, I used Snagit to bring up a copy of the paper, and make a video of the teacher’s assessment. This not only allows for verbal comments, but also to markup the image of the paper. Both Snagit and Audacity are available on the computers provided by the County. Actually, Audacity is a free program you can download to your personal computer.


From here, the possibilities expand exponentially. Image the students using these programs, or ones similar to them, to produce their own video research paper, or even an “Audio Book” version of their paper. The possibilities are endless once you add audio and video to the mix.


What if you didn’t have to do all the work. Often, you assign a research paper, then the student writes a draft. You then look at the draft, mark it up, then send it back to the student to correct. Finally after having read the paper two or more times, you do a final mark up and give it a grade. What if you only read the paper once and marked it up with very few marks, then put a grade on it. No I’m not talking about that dream class where every student is a Longfellow or a Lincoln, but your average academic class. Student’s have the ability to objectively read and correct a peer’s paper. That is where a Blog comes in. Using CampusPress at you can create classes and students so they can have their own blog space. Once their paper is posted to a blog, students can read other student’s papers then post reply’s, making constructive comments about changes they should consider. The teacher has full control to approve posts and/or comments or not require approval. There are many other option you can explore form privacy settings to templates. Here is an example of the original paper posted to a blog with a couple of comments added.

Final Thoughts

These are by no means an exhaustive list of ways to assess a research paper. There are others options that include or Loudoun Vision. However, this is a good start that does not require a great deal of training on your part or time to complete the assessment. In fact, one you become comfortable with some of these methods, you may find it saves you class time and personal time.

Example Student Paper Blog


Block 3


What is the right thing to do?

In general, there is no way to know what the right thing to do is. You can only make decisions with the willingness to accept the consequences of that decision. Each and every individual has a different thought process and different morals. There are ways you deal with certain situations that may switch up depending on the circumstances. Here is the best way to go about things.

Let’s say there were two people fighting on the street, you are passing and it seems to be getting pretty bad. Would you intervene, or mind your business? Most people would mind their business. Why? Because it can get really violent really quick. If it has nothing to do with you why would you feel the need to insert yourself. Now let’s say you decide that you’re going to try to break it up and as you are trying to cool down the situation, one of the two people fighting decides to pull a knife and they stab you instead of the person they are actually aiming for. You can potentially lose your life for not minding your business.

Blogs are not for me

After procrastinating for several weeks, I have decided that blogs are not for me at this time. I may decide later to pick it up, but not right now. Besides, I do not believe I have enough information for anyone to follow. I would love to see teachers pick this up with their classes, but so far I have not been able to get teachers interested.