Using Rubrics to Save Time and Improve Feedback

Welcome to the first Teaching Tips post of the Spring semester! We hope everyone’s semester is off to a great start. Beginning with this post, CETL’s Teaching Tips will be updated on Mondays (a departure from our previous practice of Friday updates), so watch this space and your email to begin your week with some fresh teaching and learning conversation.


In several recent conversations I’ve had with faculty, the interrelated issues of grading and workload have come up. It’s a perennial question in the teaching profession: How do I give good feedback to my students and still have time to do…well…anything else? We know that prompt feedback is one of the integral principles of effective undergraduate teaching, and no one likes to make student wait for their grades and our comments. That’s all fine and well in the abstract, but when we’re staring at several sections’ worth of exams or a stack of essays, “prompt” becomes more like a cruel joke than a realistic goal. There are some papers that have so many issues it feels like we’re be writing more words in our comments than our students did in the original assignment. There are times we feel like we’re acting more like copyeditors than teachers. The sheer volume of grading can feel overwhelming. (It never stops!) And hanging over it all is the reality that we end up writing either the same or very similar comments on a majority of the work we’re assessing.  Is there a better way? Continue reading “Using Rubrics to Save Time and Improve Feedback”

Working with IDEA

Once again, it’s that time of the semester when we’re thinking about final student projects and evaluating their performance in our courses. And as we ponder those, we begin to think about evaluating ourselves and our courses as well. Part of being an effective teacher is being a reflective practitioner. We should take the opportunity (after the semester’s dust settles, of course) to reflect on our practice, on what worked and what didn’t, on what we did well and what we want to work on. Continue reading “Working with IDEA”