“Why I Can’t Reduce Paper”–Rethinking your paper use

Posted September 16th, 2011 by Site Administrator

Tom Haymes, Director of Technology & Instructional Computing at Northwest College, addresses the top five reasons given for not reducing paper use at the college.

“I don’t trust the podiums to work when I need them.”

Our priority right now is making sure the podiums are as close to 100% working as possible given the realities of budget. However, there are always backup plans. Laptops and projectors are available from the library. They also have a big-screen TV on a cart to which a laptop can be attached to display content. Always have a backup plan.

“What if the Internet or network goes down?”

Keep a backup of documents you wish to show online on a flash drive or a laptop so that you can display them offline, for instance.

“Paper is more permanent than online.”

Paper gets lost, torn or otherwise defaced by students all of the time. Online documents can be constantly refreshed and, in the case of the Learning Web and Eagle Online, backed up frequently.

“I like to give paper to my students so that they know they actually received it.”

For handouts as important as that, put an acknowledgement form online so that you have a record of the student having seen the handout in question. You also have no idea that if you hand a student a piece of paper that they will actually read it. This way, you have proof that they actually looked at it.

“Evaluation is best done in person.”

There are pros and cons of testing online versus in person and much of which method works best revolves around pedagogical styles and needs. Many kinds of testing such as essays and practice tests, however, can be just as effectively done online as well as in person and the progress of the student can often be tracked more effectively than traditional methods. Online evaluation opens up new vistas for testing because it creates possibilities for creativity that are not possible using traditional testing methods. For instance, how about creating a website or PowerPoint instead of an essay? What about a community forum on issues on Facebook or Google+? As with every test, you really have to ask yourself the question: “What am I really testing for here?” and then go from there.