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 user 2007-04-23 at 11:59:00 am Views: 106
  • #17881

    But my printer is out of ink…
    may be the new black if you believe my trendier students, but this is
    the new “My dog ate my homework.”  Since most of us require assignments
    to be typed, students often show up the morning a paper is due
    lamenting their lack of ink or their broken inkjet.  I can’t usually
    fault them either, since my crappy inkjet in my home office is always
    out of ink too.  However, the number of students who still don’t think
    to email papers to an instructor is remarkably large.  More
    importantly, the number of teachers unwilling to accept papers
    electronically is remarkably small.  All this means is that schools and
    parents bear the cost of printing when electronic means exist to easily
    exchange and view files.

    Why do we make our students print out
    papers?  I know I received countless papers back in high school and
    college that my instructors had “bled all over, ” my mistakes happily
    pointed out in red ink.  While there is some satisfaction in subjecting
    my students to the same torture, this is the 21st century and there are
    countless ways to electronically explain to my students how their
    inability to write a complete sentence really does matter, even in a
    technology class.  And no, this doesn’t mean printing out the paper
    yourself and then writing comments.

    Comments and feedback can
    easily be entered through the editing tools built into all recent
    incarnations of Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.  Better yet, feedback
    can be provided through email or just embedded in the electronic
    document.  Even at pennies a page, the cost of printing documents adds
    up quickly, especially if teachers happen to be using inkjets at their
    desks.  Whether the cost is passed on to students or borne by the
    school, environmental impact as well as the bottom line can be
    controlled by leveraging the network infrastructure that you have
    worked so hard to build.  Many student information systems and
    standalone products like Edline also allow students to leave work in a
    “digital dropbox”, enabling administrators to easily log electronic
    communications (as required by recent court decisions) and providing an
    efficient means for teachers to get feedback to students.

    only does a more modern approach save time and resources (for students
    and teachers), but also means an end to excuses.  Even, “the Internet
    is broken at my house” won’t cut it anymore.  I always make sure to
    have a few extra cheap flash drives in my pockets for the
    Internet-challenged.  This is a win-win, as long as we can all leave
    some very old habits behind.