Finding hidden pockets of time in your grading: when more is less and less is more

This is the third article in this series on finding hidden and unexpected pockets of time to write within your tried-and-true teaching practices. By paying more attention to what we do when we teach, we can spend less time teaching and more time writing without sacrificing quality feedback. Last edition, I wrote about how to streamline student feedback; in this article I will focus on streamlining how you grade student work. In the next and final article of this series, I will explore several ways to enlist student help in meeting your own writing goals while providing a role model as a scholar.

Feedback on student work: a sinkhole or an opportunity – Finding time to write

Students expect and need feedback on their work. The basic goal of feedback is to enhance student learning. An anomaly of feedback is that more is not necessarily better. Research tells us that students may not even read your copious feedback (sigh) and may not understand what to do with statements like, “cite more references” or “this is confusing”. However, giving a judicious amount of feedback in a timely manner will make a difference in student learning. The purpose of this article is to describe how to refine, clarify, streamline, and improve your feedback practices with an eye toward spending less time on the task.

Finding time to write: Important, yes! Impossible, no! Reviewing your student assignment practices

The best insurance policy for success in academe is to write (and publish) your work. Yet, you say, where or where do I find the time to write, especially with all the feedback and grading I have to do?

This article is the first in a four-part series focused on finding hidden pockets of time for your own writing. This article will reflect on one aspect of your teaching practice: the assignments you have students complete.

What happens when you hand out your syllabus in that first face-to-face class? The students breeze past your well-crafted course description, clearly written objectives, and inspiring teaching philosophy to one place in the syllabus—the assignments.

UPS, FedEx, and You: Goal setting by deliverables

The beginning of a new academic year is a great time to set intentions and think about goals. Goal setting can seem arbitrary or ambiguous, particularly for large projects that take months or years to complete. What if you thought about your goals in terms of the final product of a semester? Deliverables. Deliverables are the concrete items you will deliver to yourself or others at the end of a period.

Project management: Two free tools to increase efficiency in your writing projects

Project management was originally developed for civil engineering, but even if you are writing a book instead of building a bridge, there are useful approaches to borrow that will improve your work flow. In a previous article, I described that within project management, tools can be roughly divided into “project definition tools” and “implementation tools.” Project definition tools are those that help you determine the scope, the tasks, and the budget (i.e., time), whereas implementation tools are those that help you conduct the work. Here, I focus on the latter, and present two tools from the lens of project management for writing.