Alternative Feedback for Student Writing

In a post called “Why I stopped Writing on My Students’ Papers” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Michael Millner, Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, discusses his decision to provide students’ feedback on their writing in a new way: through conferencing. In the post, Millner notes his shift in thinking over time beginning in his early days as an instructor where he commented on everything, and a student accused him of having “made his paper bleed,” to more recent patterns, where he tried a number of alternative strategies including “rubrics, audio files, apps.” Having begun his conferencing-only approach last fall, Millner says that this has turned out to be a productive pedagogical strategy since “students were able to see their papers as part of an interesting and continuing collaboration with me and ultimately with themselves.”