For the first time EVER in his many years of teaching, LIU Post Geography Professor Mark Pires graded papers electronically. Opting not to print out the 22 papers submitted by his graduate students in his Topics in Applied Conservation class, Professor Pires traded in his red pen for a keyboard and instead typed out his comments rather than writing them down on printed-out versions.
Noting that this was at first somewhat foreign to him, Professor Pires did admit that grading papers this way was a much more sustainable option as it saves energy, resources, and money.
“I have been teaching sustainability for some time now and I’ve decided to practice what I preach by grading all of my papers electronically from here on out,” said Professor Pires.
He continued by saying, “I teach almost 100 students. That’s a lot of paper to print.” Indeed it is.
In a day and age where ink costs more than human blood, it has never been more important to conserve these valuable resources. Between the cost of paper, ink, and even the labor time spent on printing, there is a pretty substantial cost savings opportunity to go paperless.
Could you imagine just how much time, energy, and resources could be saved if every professor at LIU Post graded papers this way?
Well, we can come up with a ballpark figure based on some simple assumptions.
For example, LIU Post employs about 300 full-time professors. Let’s say conservatively, that half of them require each one of their students to submit at least one 5-page term paper over the course of a semester. With an overall student/faculty ratio of 12:1, we’re looking at a minimum of 1,800 students writing at least 9,000 pages worth of papers. That’s 18,000 pieces of paper that could potentially be saved over the course of an academic year if every professor were to emulate Professor Pires’ new style of grading papers.
According to some estimates by Conservatree, this would save approximately 2 trees. And certainly the impact would be much larger considering that this is an extremely conservative estimate, which doesn’t even account for other printing needs like class notes, memos, flyers, etc.
Not to mention, the student population in Fall 2012 included 4,429 undergraduate students and 2,697 graduate students. Assuming that half of those students wrote at least 10 pages over the course of the academic year, we are looking at a figure of 35,630 pieces of paper.
And with the actual cost of printing between 6 cents and 13 cents per page, it simply makes sense to grade papers electronically as this would represent a savings of anywhere between $2,137 to $4,632.
As Professor Pires said, “We must practice what we preach.”
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