The Genre of Teacher Comments from Hard-Copy to iPad

Jennifer Grouling
Ball State University

Published in 2018



Although scholars have advocated for new technologies for responding to student
work, there has been little study of how commenting style varies across types of
technologies. Using a combination of artifact analysis and interviews, this study
shows how the comments of five writing instructors varied between hard-copy and
iPad-collected papers. Comments were coded for focus and mode based on previous work by Straub and Lunsford (1995). The overall focus, mode, and length of
comments remained consistent across types of technology. In addition, the genre
of the end comment (Smith, 1997) remained consistent and appeared unaffected by
technology use. However, participants made more imperative marginal comments
using the iPad. Interviews showed a difference in comfort and tactile experiences
with the iPad that may account for this difference. Ultimately, the use of different
technologies may affect teachers’ emotions and embodied experiences, which may
have a more significant effect on mode of comments than the technology itself.
Future studies should further examine the connections between the material use of
technology, the emotions of the users, and changes in commenting style.