I actually look forward to grading essays since I went paperless. Alright, I don’t really “look forward:” to it, but it’s much less daunting to carry home a laptop rather than a stack of stapled papers. I use Google Docs to comment on the essays, and copying and pasting from comments saved on another doc has made the process both quicker and richer.
To make my comment bank, I copied comments as I graded a set of papers onto a doc. After several grading sessions, I had dozens of comments pasted. I then organized them into separate categories (mechanics, usage, grammar, style, organization, research issues) to make them easy to find. I also added links to websites and videos to allow students to get tutorials on each writing issue. So instead of students just getting “comma splice” as a comment, they also get a link to the Purdue Online Writing Lab website where the issue is explained in detail.
Many tips and tricks make the Google Doc essay grading process work, but developing a comment bank document is invaluable. Here is my comment bank. Feel free to use and adapt it.