Responding to Student Writing in WriteLab

Responding to Student Writing in WriteLab

By Ela Provost

WriteLab is all about offering thoughtful responses to writing. Our latest improvement is a note-takingfunction for instructors. Instructors can now respond to student writing directly through WriteLab.

We want to give teachers back their time — we want to take on some of the work of responding to student writing. But we don’t want to do teachers’ jobs for them. We can’t. Our aim is to supplement, not to eliminate, instructor feedback. We want to give instructors time to focus on more than stylistic aspects of students’ thinking in writing.

That’s why we’re excited about instructor notes. Using this new feature, instructors can leave notes on drafts students have shared with them.

For those of you unfamiliar with how WriteLab works, let me give you a quick overview. A student writer creates a draft in WriteLab and receives comments, questions, and suggestions. The writer revises, gets more suggestions, and revises again. Using the notes feature, the writer can highlight words, sentences, or paragraphs and write notes about them. When the writer feels the draft is ready to be read, they share it with their instructor.

The instructor receives a read-only copy of the student’s draft. The instructor can see comments the student has accepted or rejected, as well as any notes the student has left in the document. And, with the new notes feature, the instructor can now leave notes on the student’s draft. The instructor’s notes will appear on the student’s version of the draft, and the student can revise accordingly.

WriteLab offers student users comments on the clarity, cohesion, logic, concision, emphasis, elegance, and coherence of their sentences. Now, instructors can add their responses to this pool of feedback, providing student users a comprehensive review of their work conveniently located on a single page.

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