Monday, September 14, 2009

We Had To Use More Paper In Order To Save It

I'm still liking our integrated "data management" system. I prefer taking roll online, not having to do it in both a roll book and a "bubble sheet". And I used to have to sign/date the bubble sheets on Fridays, often forgetting to do so until 2nd or 3rd period. Now there are no bubble sheets to sign...

Each Monday, though, a printout of what I entered the previous week is placed in my box. I'm supposed to sign it and return it to our attendance office. If a class has more than 32 students or so--and I have a few like this--they don't all fit on one piece of paper. So for my 5 classes I have (I think) 8 pieces of paper, instead of the previous 5 bubble sheets.

Why do we get these printouts? We have to sign them and return them to the attendance office, because "the auditor" wants them. I wonder whom this mysterious "auditor" is, and why he/she needs my signature on these papers.

Each month I spend thousands of dollars online. I pay my mortgage via online bill pay--I set it up forever ago, and haven't had to do anything to it since. It happens until I tell it to stop. I pay my credit card bill and my utility bills online, all with no signature. Heck, I even file my income taxes online.

Student attendance recording? For that I need a signature.


Ellen K said...

Wait for it Darren. I can almost guarantee that at some point you will have to do some written resolution for the state. And while it's nice in theory to just keep attendance or grades online, the first time that system loses everything, you become a believer in hard copies.

MikeAT said...


A few years ago the Army went to digital format on most of it's forms and now requires digital signatures on all evaluations. I am sending an NCOER out on my other computer later this evening to a senior rater in New Orleans...he'll sign it and forward it to the reviewer...then we forward it to G1...

But think of all the electrons we butchered in this operation.

Darren said...

EllenK, since I just sign off on whatever I typed in the previous week, why would *I* care if the system takes a dump? That would be someone else's problem.

On the other hand, losing all my *grading* information could be catastrophic! What I might should do is save a PDF file of student work on my desktop periodically, in case the big server in the sky crashes. I don't care so much about whether or not the attendance data is lost, but I owe my students their grades.

Anonymous said...

Every year for the last three years some software program has been introduced at our site. At first, it was attendance and student data online, then came a test grading program, and finally an online grade book. All three have their pros and cons.

One of the major cons is the amount of time I have to spend in front of a screen, entering or analyzing data. Another is when our intranet or internet are down, plus the general slowness of waiting for the gradebook to save data. Mostly there is an upside, although I still have to use plenty paper.

Students take exams using 8.5 by 11bubble sheets whose reading are subject to the quality of the copies made. I still have to sign attendance sheets from the clerk AND keep my own paper copies. I'm supposed to reconcile both weekly. Lastly, not every student has access to the online gradebook, so I must print out grades weekly and post them in my classroom.

Frankly, I miss the old bubble sheets for attendance for their ease and convenience - Pick them up in the morning, fill them out, students or staff pick them up, the clerk scans them, and on Friday you make a photocopy as your paper record.

Whether it was a binder gradebook, or paper attendance sheet, or the old scantron they all shared one grand benefit - NO PASSWORDS!!!