I have used the Thinkwave academic site for years as my online “base of operations” for Writing to Learn classes. It improves all the time! Thinkwave calls their product an “online gradebook,” but it is so much more. Here are some features that I love about Thinkwave:

privacy

All Writing to Learn students have their own Thinkwave page, which is password protected, so that only they and their Editors can view their grades, comments, and assignments. Homework resources and class messages can be viewed by the whole class, but the individual student records and online students’ uploaded homework are only visible to each student and his or her Editor.

easy access to Homework resources

Each assignment for the school year has an entry on Thinkwave. Here I post all of the documents students need for each assignment, such as the Composition Checklist and other forms that are printed in the handbook. They can print the forms directly from Thinkwave instead of having to tear them out of the handbook or make copies.

I can easily update a form or even create a new one if I have a great new idea midway through the year. 🙂 Then I use the Message Dashboard to send an announcement to students so they can access the new resource.

Grades and comments

Another great thing about Thinkwave is the grade recording feature. It offers a variety of grading options, such as percentage, pass/fail, letter grades, and even custom grading scales. Some grade sites limit options by requiring the same grade scale on each assignment. With Thinkwave, I can switch between the different options on different types of assignments.

I post each student’s grade on each assignment. Thinkwave displays to each student the individual grades for each graded assignment, as well as the cumulative grade for the semester. Again, only the student and Editor can see an individual student’s grades.

I also post comments so the student and Editor can understand what needs to be corrected on the next assignment.

Homework uploads for Online Students

ALL Writing to Learn students use Thinkwave, including local students. However, only online students turn their homework in on Thinkwave via their personal assignment page. When I finish grading the assignment, I post the graded copy on the same assignment page. Everything stays very neat and organized, and I don’t have to worry about a paper getting lost on email.

end-of-semester and end-of-year reports

At the end of each semester, I use Thinkwave’s wonderful report feature to easily send a formal semester report card and end-of-year summary PDF for each student. After I configure the reports, Thinkwave emails the individual reports to each Editor! These can be saved and filed as part of the student’s transcript.

affordable for freelance teachers

Thinkwave certainly benefits my writing families and me! Many school systems use it, but it is also available in solo version for freelance teachers. And the cost is very reasonable: only $49.95/year for a solo teacher! It is worth much more than that to me, so I’m thrilled with the price.

always improving

Recently Thinkwave added some features, which changed the appearance and the location of some items. I now know that these kinds of changes result in mass confusion, so I quickly put together the little video below, explaining how to use the “new” Thinkwave. It is really fantastic that we have such technology available nowadays!

For a peek at how my students use my Thinkwave academic site, watch my video!

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