Advocacy of robo-readers hasn’t won the debate — it still misses the main point

From RolinMoe.org; tangential to MOOCs

Rolin Moe

The Hechinger Report has a recent article out about the potential of software in the realm of robograders.  The title, Robo-readers aren’t as good as human readers — they’re better, is sensationalistic and sacrifices the tenor of the article’s argument for a round of quick clicks.  But the premise of the article is worth testing out — a research study borne of instructional technology use at the New Jersey Institute of Technology showed that robo-readers could be put to good use to help students see problems in their writing, in part because students are more willing to engage their writing over the computer rather than with a human teacher.  The researchers then make efforts to determine why this is so (you can gamify writing via the software, students look at human instructors as punitive and the computer as nonjudgmental, computer feedback can be more individualized than human labor).  Like…

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