"Instant" Feedback

At my school in Michigan, the second semester just started this week. And, since all chemistry classes (except for IB Chemistry) are semester courses, I have new students and different preps. In my previous post, I referred to utilizing Google Classroom for the main submission platform for lab reports in my Honors Chemistry 2 class. In Chemistry 1 and Honors Chemistry 1 I am still utilizing handwritten (or typed) lab reports that are collected at the end of the quarter in a separate binder and that can be used on a quarterly lab quiz. This format was adopted from my inner-school chemistry colleagues. Lab binders are typically collected and graded twice a semester for completion while the lab quiz assesses accuracy of the lab reports and answered questions.

We (I think it's okay to be collective here) live in a world that desires instant feedback on myriad of things. While I cannot provide instant feedback, I can come close and this is where Google Classroom comes into play. I am hoping this method works because I would love to use it in my other classes. In the meantime, I have set aside 2 separate days during the first unit in Chemistry 1 (non-Honors) strictly for providing feedback on my students' first 3 lab reports. Although my Honors students will not get classtime for feedback, I have still encouraged them to seek it outside of class and some students have already approached me about their reports.

In what ways do you provide lab report feedback? Do you allow for rewrites? Do you provide a day designed for going through lab reports in class? Do you collect rough drafts, make comments, and return to students? My goal with this post is to solicit discussion about how students receive feedback on lab reports in order to improve their scientific and technical writing skills.

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Comments 1

Erica Posthuma's picture
Erica Posthuma | Sun, 02/01/2015 - 09:07


Grading lab reports is one of my least favorite tasks.  Each year I try to tweak how I assess this portion of the class, but I haven't come up with a system I'm completely happy with.  Last year I started researching ELNs (electronic lab notebooks) and I discovered LabArchives.  My students use this platform to record their data and complete their lab work.  I upload all the background information digitally to reduce paper waste and have the students "sign" the lab digitally when they are done.  The platform has differnt widgets built into it including a version of ChemDraw, a periodic table, and a calculator. My students can also take pictures of their apparatus and pictorially  I like this format becuase it is more environmentally friendly and I'm not lugging around those bulky lab notebooks anymore.