Grading Qualitatively with Tablet PCs in CS 50

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Grading Qualitatively with Tablet PCs in CS 50

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Title: Grading Qualitatively with Tablet PCs in CS 50
Author: Malan, David
Citation: Malan, David J. 2009. Grading Qualitatively with Tablet PCs in CS 50. Paper presented at the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education, Blacksburg, VA, October 12-13, 2009.
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Abstract: CS 50 is Harvard College’s introduction to Computer Science for majors and non-majors alike. Each week, our 330 students submit programming assignments comprising hundreds of lines of code that must then be graded. Although we can assess the correctness of some code automatically, some measures of quality require human attention. In Fall 2008, we equipped the course’s 27 teaching fellows (TFs) with Tablet PCs in order to grade more efficiently but no less qualitatively. By blurring the lines between files and paper, we hoped to facilitate typed and handwritten feedback alike so that grading itself would be not only evaluative but instructive as well. At term’s end, most TFs (63%) reported that grading took less time with a Tablet PC, and nearly half (48%) also reported that they provided students with more feedback because of the same. We present in this paper CS 50’s experience with Tablet PCs along with pedagogical benefits thereof.
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