Because the feedback was several steps away, I fear that some students most in need of it never got it.Some of the same concerns applied to my use of Blackboard.My first foray toward digital grading was to receive electronic copies of student work and then use the "Review" functions in Microsoft Word to correct and comment on them before returning the "marked-up" electronic copies to the students, often using Word's "track changes" feature.
By 2010, its data centers were running over 34,000 searches per second, making it arguably the nexus of this extraordinary historical moment in which we find ourselves.
From my point of view, one of the great things about Google (and I'm not a stockholder) is that many of its services are both free and powerful.
All of these services are available via any Internet connection.
While I began my experiments somewhat wary of a "cloud" system, my experience has been that the downtime — periods when I could not access the Internet and do my work — is minimal.
Unhappily, my experience showed little difference because a surprisingly large number of my students, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, were hardly adept at using this particular technology.
All were familiar with the basic uses of Word, but a much smaller number were comfortable with the extended functions of Review.
I first fell in love with GMail for its message threading, which allows a simple, sensible view of my electronic communications with students, and for the speed and thoroughness of its search functions.
These features, however, are quickly becoming ubiquitous in e-mail programs.
One of my biggest worries going into my "grading-with-Word" experiment was that it might inadvertently make coursework more difficult for my students who came from low-income and/or urban backgrounds and thus might not be as familiar with the technology.
Happily, my experience agreed with recent studies showing that differences in digital literacy are not strongly tied to socioeconomics.