Melodee Beals, Cliopatria Award Winner

8 01 2012

The 2011 Cliopatria Awards for history blogs have been announced a few days ago at the meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago. A full list of the winners in the various categories is available here.

I was pleased to see that someone from my neck of the woods has won the award for best new history blog. Melodee Beals teaches at the University of Warwick, which is just a few miles from my employer, Coventry University.  She recently completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow, which was on the effects of nineteenth century emigration on those left behind. At Warwick,  she teaches North American Themes and Problems and Reform, Revolt and Reaction in the US. She is currently working on a project called “Demography and the Imperial Public Sphere Before Victoria“, which is the subject of the blog that won the award. Melodee also has a blog related to her teaching. In fact, it was one of Melodee’s recent posts that inspired me to give up (at long last) the practice of marking hard copies of student essays. Melodee’s post extolled the benefits of using GradeMark, which is part of the Turnitin family of software, and it convinced me that all-electronic is the way to go. The key paragraph in her post was this:

Time spent marking: It took me roughly 2 hours to mark 5 essays last week. This means an average of 24 minutes each. As my goal was 15 minutes per essay, this was rather depressing. However, once I used RescueTime to track my computer usage, I found I was actually spending just 18 minutes per essay. The other 7 minutes was spent getting coffee, checking my email, answering the phone and so on. Moreover, because I didn’t have to clear my desk, re-read the first half of the essay to remember where I was, print out comment sheets, alphabetize the essays or enter the marks into a spreadsheet, I actually saved several hours worth of administrative work.










One response

9 01 2012
Melodee Beals (@mhbeals)

Very kind of you to write this. I am glad you’ve found electronic marking (or at least my assessment of it) useful. I was a little shocked when TurnItIn posted a link to my post on the subject. I hadn’t intended it to be an advertisement for the product, but that is what come from being a perpetually up-beat person I suppose!

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