Reviewed by Maria Lisak, Gwangju-Jeonnam Chapter
JoeZoo Express is a Google Docs add-on to grade writing, designed to save teachers time as well as making writing-marking easier. Using the commenting ability of Google Docs, this add-on super-sizes your feedback by letting you highlight the learner's words and then choose feedback from a pre-populated list of comments.
This seems like a boon to the writing teacher. The existing list of comments can be customized to include your own feedback comments as well. There is also connectivity to a rubric builder based on the comments.
While the add-on may save you time in giving feedback to your students, get ready to invest a good lump of time learning how to use all the possible functionality that this monkey has. There are definitely lots of "how to" videos available, but no actual demo video of what it actually does; screencasts of the actual grading process would have been useful. I gave up after watching four videos about how to set things up, but still had no info on what I was actually setting up. It would have been helpful to see a list of the comment database that would save me so much time.
Writing feedback always varies a lot by level of learner. Depending on what you are teaching, it can be a big help to incorporate your rubric into an automated comment system, saving you loads of time on rote comments about writing basics. It can even be a time saver for more advanced writing classes. You can set up remedial feedback comments about mechanics (punctuation, spelling, capitalization) and L2 problems (like word order or word form) and insert them as quick automated comments. Then you can spend more time on personalized feedback comments based on the learner's content.
About the Author
Maria Lisak teaches in the Public Administration & Social Welfare Department at Chosun University in Gwangju, South Korea. She is currently working on her Ed.D. in Literacy, Culture and Language Education through Indiana University (USA).