Wow, where to begin. This is my first semester teaching fully online (City College); the transition from traditional to hybrid was fairly painless, however, the jump to fully online has been a challenge. I often miss the relationship with my students, and I have become hyper aware of how I may come across with only text and video and how my comments if presented in a conference or in a casual remark on a paper paired with a “you’ve got this!” can seem more like I am cheering for success, rather than judging.
Traditionally, I use rubrics more for a guide than to evaluate. I attach the rubric to each prompt, and we use it as we scaffold the assignment both in groups, on discussion boards, and face to face. I created an outline template that identifies where the elements of the rubric might appear. (Kind of like the game Operation) 😊 This visual with color seems to connect well. I make minimal marks in the margins and on the text, and then write (hopefully legibly) a personal comment reflecting struggles, but also success since the last version.
Another element I use to prior to comments is the color coding. I ask students, during the first draft to final draft process, to highlight certain elements of the paper using colors. For instance, highlight all topic sentences blue, textual evidence green, analysis/discussion yellow and so on. The colors connect to a rubric, and this allows me to use colors if a portion of the paper needs more attention.
Google Docs have served me well for both online and traditional paper conferences. We can both log in (or groups can share for peer discussions) and we can look at the paper in real time. I make suggestions and ask my student to re work a sentence or offer more clarity with an assertion.
For some reason, I feel like online is so much more formal, and my traditional classes are less formal’ they are more of a safe space for ideas, challenges, and even celebrations. The perceived formality of the online class seems to amplify the Teacher/Student line. I am experimenting with ways to change my feedback or feedback philosophies in order to comment, connect, and celebrate my online students in more of a learning community. I want them to feel we are in this together
Finally, Zoom seems to be a path I will continue down. I love the options of desk top, or white board. Also, I hold my office hours using meetings. I am playing with changing the way I comment by using more of these types of response, and I loved the section titled, Audiovisual Response. This might be what I am looking for to create a less formal, personal way to respond. My goal is to make my online classroom more inviting and collaborative, and providing personal, not canned responses seems the only way. But. . . it is so time consuming.