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EssayTagger is a web-based tool to help teachers grade essays faster.
But it is not an auto-grader.

This blog will cover EssayTagger's latest feature updates as well as musings on
education, policy, innovation, and preserving teachers' sanity.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Latest Update: New and improved free trial!

Let's jump straight to the good stuff:

The new free trial will allow instructors to grade up to 99 essays in one assignment!

Our original free trial allowed for only a single class set of essays (~25). The original idea was to encourage teachers to start small. As a classroom teacher I advocated for the small trial approach to minimize any possible classroom disasters.

Don't get me wrong, I think EssayTagger is a remarkably robust system, but anytime a new workflow or new technology is involved, there's always the risk of things going wrong. And as a frazzled teacher I'd rather see only one section crash and burn than all three!

But then came the feedback
That's all nice in theory, but in reality teachers were more unhappy about creating inconsistencies between their sections by singling out just one of them to try EssayTagger. It's too much hassle to have different sections in different places or systems; second period is over here, but fourth and sixth periods are over there.

So we changed it
Our new approach now lets the instructors decide if they want to have all of their sections switch to EssayTagger or just experiment with one or two sections.

The only new limitation is that free trial users can only have one assignment in the system at a time. And even if you delete and start over with a new assignment, the 99 essay limit continues to count down. I think that's a reasonable compromise.

Existing free trial users
Your free trial accounts have been automatically upgraded to the 99 essay limit. If you have more than one assignment in the system, don't worry, you get to keep them; they've been "grandfathered" in so you don't lose your existing data. You just won't be able to create any new assignments as a free trial user.

Your thoughts?
Being a classroom teacher myself, I try to bias all company decisions toward what's best for teachers and their students. I hope this improvement is further proof of that commitment. As always, I'm eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions.