June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Computers in Education
14.127.1 - 14.127.29
Tablet-PC Based Electronic Grading System in a Large First Year Engineering Course Abstract
In Spring 2008, an electronic homework submission, grading, and return system was piloted at Virginia Tech in a freshman engineering course using Tablet PC technology and the Blackboard course management system. This course previously required students to turn in hardcopies of homework assignments once a week, which ranged from a single page to upwards of 10 pages per week per student. Following the successful pilot, a completely electronic grading system was deployed on a large scale in the Fall 2008 semester offering of the same course with over 1,400 students turning in and receiving grades and feedback on all of their assignments electronically. All freshmen in the Virginia Tech engineering program are required to own a Tablet PC and DyKnow technology is used to enhance classroom interactions. This electronic grading system is expected to further justify the use of Tablet-PC technology in instruction.
This paper explores the logistics of the grading implementation including the necessary technological and personnel infrastructure. The roles played by faculty members, graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), and undergraduate graders in the electronic grading paradigm are clearly described and compared with the roles played by these groups under the former paper- based system. In order to showcase the environmental benefits of such a system, an estimate of the reduction in paper usage under the fully electronic system when compared with the traditional pen and paper grading system is included. Several foreseen and unforeseen benefits and drawbacks of electronic grading are discussed and compared with traditional paper-based grading including the time graders spend marking assignments, the availability of assignment documentation, some technological challenges, and the training necessary to become a successful grader. Data is presented from student surveys to showcase student opinions on electronic grading. Feedback from graduate teaching assistants, faculty members, and undergraduate graders is also included to showcase the positive and negative aspects of the current grading system.
Engineering freshmen at Virginia Tech are required to own a Tablet PC. This initiative began in Fall 2006. Since then a number of Tablet PC-based instruction activities have been implemented in a variety of engineering courses. Tablet PC technology makes it possible to do many tasks using a PC that were once much easier to do with pen and paper. Using Tablet PCs anything that can be drawn or written on paper can be representeddigitally in the same amount of time as it would take to draw on paper. This includes the preparation of engineering drawings and equations alongside text in a freer format than is possible using most software packages without digital ink. Throughout this paper an electronic grading initiative in a large first-semester engineering course will be discussed. In the following sections the course using this initiative will be described along with the roles each of the course personnel played in implementing electronic grading. Student, faculty, graduate teaching assistant, and undergraduate grader opinions will be introduced to showcase how the initiative was received. Data comparing electronic grading with pen and paper based grading will be discussed to illustrate the differences
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