Outsourced Grading, With Supporters and Critics, Comes to College

The graders working for EduMetry, based in a Virginia suburb of
Washington, are concentrated in India, Singapore, and Malaysia, along
with some in the United States and elsewhere. They do their work online
and communicate with professors via e-mail. The company advertises that
its graders hold advanced degrees and can quickly turn around
assignments with sophisticated commentary, because they are not juggling
their own course work, too.

The company argues that professors freed from grading papers can
spend more time teaching and doing research. —Chronicle

This reminds me of the urban legend of the professor who tape-recorded
his lectures while he went away on a conference, and asked an assistant
to play the tape for his students during class time. According to the
story, he returned early, and decided to go to class to deliver the
lecture in person, when he found the room empty — except for his tape
playing in the front of the room, and the tape recorders that the
students had left on their seats.

5 thoughts on “Outsourced Grading, With Supporters and Critics, Comes to College

  1. Hi Jenneifer,
    Good for you! It is refreshing to see this attitude in this day and age. I am an older student who has returned to school to get my Master’s. I am pleased to find many younger students and professors with a genuine heart to learn/teach and a good work ethic. But sadly I see a lot of students and teachers who are looking for the easiest path available to them. I love your comment that by doing your best, you better the community! Wonderful! If more people would take that view and follow through on it, the world would be a better place.
    I am so gratful for people like you and I hope many young people see you for the model and example we should all be following!
    Thank you,
    Rose Ohr

  2. I teach creative writing classes, both online and “live.” In the online classes, I require that learners participate in online discussion boards, learning journals and peer feedback. And I have to show up every day to participate in that, and to provide feedback on their writing. It’s the only thing that keeps the class alive. Nevertheless, learners drop out of the course every single semester.
    I much prefer teaching “live” because the real life interaction is beneficial to all concerned. The class, as it should, grows and evolves and changes to become something different each time I deliver it.
    I, too, get bogged down and tired of the mounds of stories I have to read and provide careful feedback to. BUT IT’S MY JOB – IT’S WHY THEY TAKE MY CLASS.
    Once, as a student, I took several literature classes with one of my country’s best writers. His lectures were terrific, but if he wasn’t the one putting feedback on my work and writing, I would have been disappointed and jaded. I probably wouldn’t have taken more than one class with him.
    I believe in accessibility in education – it gives us the opportunity to better our communities and society by furthering lifelong learning for everyone. And I’m all about teachers wanting to TEACH more effectively. But the movie scene described above is a great image symbolising what can happen when we strive for convenience.

  3. The tape recorder scene is from the movie “Real Genius” from 1985. At the start of the semester, the lecture hall is full, but as the semester continues, there are fewer and fewer real students in the classroom. One day the protagonist enters the hall to find the lecturer replaced by a reel-to-reel machine and all of the student desks covered in cassette recorders.

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