Online Marking

I am certain that there are many users of online marking systems who interact with those systems contentedly and effectively. Thqt certainty, though, is an inference from the size of the sample (millions of users) and general probability (lots of people like user experiences that I detest, so presumably some of them are working with online marking systems). I am even more certain, though, if we admit of degrees of certainty, that a great many users of online marking abominate them as intensely as do I.

Sadly, many of us detest online marking in ways different from one another, so it can be difficult to resist the phenomenon with a united front. Moreover, in our noble if futile efforts to resist, to evaluate and comment on student work within the kludgey framework online marking provides, we respond to elegances and errors, typos and terrible misapprehensions in ways that differ from one another as well — with the result that if one has to look over a section of marking (here in the UK we double-mark most student work) part of the job involves figuring out how another person has marked the exercise, and sometimes even where to find the comments and mark. I’m sympathetic to my peers in this; I have a way of doing things that I’ve arrived at after protracted frustration and discomfort with the online system, and I object to doing things in a way that’s much slower and more counterintuitive to me so as to accommodate someone else. I’m someone else’s someone else, so I understand how frustrating the whole experience is.

Some clever developer should devise an efficient, appealing alternative that works from the assessor’s point of view, not necessarily from a programmer’s point of view and certainly not from an administrator’s point of view. It would be rapturous if the experience of online marking were oriented toward helping me, as opposed to shoehorning me into a conveyor belt processing line designed to satisfy… I don’t know, probably someone who doesn’t spend much time marking.

Oh, and running streak now at twenty.

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