Keeping Track of Lab Work
Posted November 24, 2009on:
Yes, more on lab reports. I don’t grade them right away, they just take a long time and I sometimes put it off for a week. As a result, I get a bit confused about who was there and who didn’t turn in work and why.
I finally figured this one out, it has been the bane of my teaching existence for far too long. Here’s the scenario: I do a lab, tell them it is due in two or three days. When I collect it, I don’t recall who was there that day, who worked, who just stood around, etc. Now I’m missing lab reports, but I can’t recall if it is because they simply didn’t hand it in, they were out when it was handed in, or they were out and missed the lab. In case you haven’t figured this out by now, paperwork is my downfall. The solution that works for me is to create forms.
Excel to the rescue. I made a form for lab day. On the form I make note of who is present and who is out. I also casually make notes on who is writing in their lab notebook or working on separate paper. Some labs I want made up, others are a pain for me, so I exempt them if they were absent.
We’ve already been through the problem that I can’t attach excel pages on this blog, so I printed a pdf of one of the pages from my spreadsheet with my students’ names removed. I have a separate page for each class so I only need to fill in the title, dates, and hit print. I used this for the first time this week and I knew immediately who didn’t hand in work and who owed me work today because they missed school the previous day. When I collect the work, I attach the form to the stack from the class. For once, I am in control of lab reports.