Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Correcting Student Papers.

Correcting Student Papers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 29, 2021)

1

If you are an instructor and have a need to correct papers submitted to you electronically via Word, there are a wide range of approaches you can use when adding your corrections. These include the following:

  • Using the Comment feature.
  • Using the Track Changes feature.
  • Inserting text boxes or callouts.
  • Use TC fields to create and then generate a table of comments.
  • Create special comment styles that call out your comments in a different font, color, or format. Use the styles to format your comments entered directly in the document.
  • Using footnotes or endnotes.
  • Using hidden text.

As you can imagine, discussing each of these in depth is a bit much for a simple tip. However, the techniques for each of these methods have been covered in other WordTips.

So what is the key to deciding which method is best for you? You need to find which one is the most comfortable and then adapt it to your needs. You can even mix and match methods, if desired. In all instances, however, you should keep a copy of the original submitted by the student, and they should be instructed to keep a copy of whatever they sent you in the first place.

When all is said and done, many people still consider a good old hand-written commentary on a hard-copy essay using arrows and marginal notes to be the most effective.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4357) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Correcting Student Papers.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is three less than 9?

2021-03-29 15:13:34

Malcolm

Teachers who "still consider a good old hand-written commentary on a hard-copy" to be most effective are correct--if the only time those markups will be used is when the student reads them. In a classroom setting, this is often the case. The "blue pencil" markup can be executed quickly. The edits will stand out clearly and will identify what needs correction. The objective is that the student learns, and that's achieved.

In business, this is rarely the case. If the objective is a better document, the original file must be revised. The choice to use a blue pencil or pen will save the editor's time at the expense of the author's. The author must still spend time to understand why the change was suggested. Then whatever is marked in pen must still be entered as a correction on the computer. Another cost is tracking which changes (on paper) have been addressed (in the file). If comments were in the file already, Microsoft Word can keep track of this automatically.

Hardcopy marking may still be a valid decision, for example, if the editor's time is far more valuable than the author's, or if the editor is not at a computer but making the best use of time between meetings.

However, whether marking up correspondence or material for publication, the editor's time must be balanced against the time of the others who collaborate in the final product. Electronic collaboration is almost always more efficient and effective.


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