An internet connection is required.
How do I get my students' papers into the system?
Teacher batch uploads:The most basic method is to have teachers upload the essays themselves. This places the burden on the teacher, but makes sense for those teachers who have a "hand-in" folder on the school network or who receive their assignments via email.
Students upload to an assignment link: No logins are required. Each assignment is given a unique five-character upload code (e.g. "WE4T2"). Give this code to your students and the site will guide them from there. This has the added advantage of building your class roster for you (see this video for details).
We have a number of other possibilities for getting essays into the system that have not yet been implemented. We will listen to our users to help us prioritize which ones to work on first. Those options are:
Students have their own logins: This is how all of the online learning environments work (e.g. Blackboard, moodle, Sakai). Students log in and then submit their assignment. We're able to identify the essay by student and by section. The downside is, of course, that the students will have yet another login to remember. Perhaps if the usernames and passwords are very simple (e.g. first.lastname and studentID) this will be a little less frustrating.
Moodle integration: Link your EssayTagger.com account to your school's moodle server so that we can copy the submitted essays from moodle and import them for you. This is one of our preferred methods, but obviously only works for the teachers that have access to and use moodle.
Sakai integration: Same as moodle integration, but a lower priority.
Dropbox integration: You are using Dropbox, right?! If not, read why you should! With Dropbox integration you'd be able to place all of your students essays in a particular Dropbox subdirectory and then link your EssayTagger.com account so that we can copy the files for you.
Google Docs integration: You would have your students share their documents with you and then once you link your account to EssayTagger.com we would copy the documents and import them for you. The downside of this is that Google Docs is not very good at document organization. It quickly becomes messy and confusing if you have multiple sections and multiple preps sharing documents with you.
How do students view their graded papers?When you hit "Mark essay as Graded" in the grading app we generate a marked-up version of the graded essay with all of the comments incorporated into the text.
This is really just the beginning. One of the more powerful possibilities within EssayTagger is that the graded essays don't have to be the end of the process, but rather the launching off point for the next phase in the student's education.
- Student interaction with comments: have the kids view their graded essays in our system and have them click on each comment and then select "I agree" or "I disagree or don't understand". That could then trigger a discussion (in person or through the system) about a specific comment you made on the paper. Note: We would love to go forward with this feature, but we need to know that our users will find it useful before doing so. It would take a fair amount of work to implement, but we think it would be well-worth it.
We've gone through great efforts to make EssayTagger an impressive, intuitive, and gorgeous tool. We hope that we look and perform like a million dollars, but we are not a mega-corporation.
The reality is that we are a tiny startup that was created by a high school English teacher.
After becoming a teacher it became pretty clear that no one outside of education can understand just how brutal and time-consuming it is to be a teacher — especially when it comes to grading essays.
But on the flip-side most teachers don't know how or where technology can help them. Or worse, they're surrounded by all this awful technology that's been forced upon them. My district's attendance system required three separate logins! Three! Argghh!
Last year I had four sections of the same Senior English prep. That meant 96 papers would come in all at once. I was super-passionate about getting these regular-level students ready for the rigors of college so I would find myself spending 15, 20, 30 minutes per paper. That multiplied by 96 is insane.
That's where EssayTagger.com came from — as a teacher I felt the same pain you're feeling but my programming background allowed me to see where a little bit of technology could go a long way.
And the beauty of good uses of technology is that they don't just solve the problem at hand, they open new doors that weren't previously possible. It's a bold claim that we provide "revolutionary student data" but I really think we do.
I know that you will view us with great skepticism — and you should be skeptical. But when you boil it all down our approach is pretty dang simple: it's just rubrics, quality levels, and comments. It's what you normally do when you're grading papers but without most of the redundancy and inefficiency.
I think it's a helluva solution and I hope you agree.
Keith Mukai, M.Ed.
High School English Teacher
EssayTagger.com Founder and CEO