1) Teacher makes up a blank chart in Microsoft Word.
2) Students download the chart and fill it in with quotes, citations and examples of the American Dream as stated by the characters in the novel.
3) Students upload individual assignments to Turnitin.com.
4) Assignments are automatically cross-checked for plagiarism against tens of thousands of books, hundreds of millions of other papers and billions of websites.
5) Teacher viewes individual papers and reads the plagiarism reports. Teacher adds comments with one click, anywhere in the document, and can even choose from a list of common comments, like “fragment” and “incorrect citation” — which each come with multiple paragraphs of explanation and reference.
6) Students log on, read comments and print a copy if desired. (It’s usually not.)
Less waste, less headache, less drudgery. I actually found myself commenting more because it’s so much faster to type in a box than to write on a piece of paper!
It doesn’t approach the cushiness of, say, an architecture professor, who assigns letter grades for entire projects DURING the students’ presentations. Nevertheless, these advances have certainly made life easier for English teachers everywhere.