Judy Durkin

Do you print everything that every student produces? Do you print in color?

t has always been a dilemma for me - when a student puts little effort into an assignment. This might sound cruel, but their work really is not worth the expense and environmental waste of paper. Do you print everyone's work? How do you get around it? Do you post the work online?

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5 / 5 • 6 Ratings

Comments (25)

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Aziz Soubai

Posted on 6/21/18 2:26:51 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing your work

Stephen Horvath

Posted on 9/19/17 11:22:02 AM Permalink

​My partner at school and I disagree on this subject. She wants paper proofs of everything - pics, layouts, stories - all in full color. I prefer to see things on a screen. Her BS is in Secondary English. My BS is in Video Communications, so that may have something to do with it! We have started to compromise this year and the students journals for the end of the marking period will be on Spark. She grades the stories on paper and I grade the videos and website on the screen (naturally!).

I think Lukas hits the nail on the head when he talks about background. I teach a separate class that is completely online and it works well there. You need to be comfortable as an educator and find out what works for you, your students and your budget.

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 3/13/14 6:27:18 AM Permalink

We do not print everything. But we allow students free access to our printers. We believe they learn a lot through iteration and printing their work in progress helps them reach further. We do teach them how to do thumbnails and over views if it working on book projects.

Perhaps this is from my time in print industry. Proofing can never be done enough, better print one extra proof and use a couple sheets of paper than have tonnes of magazines go from print to bin due to human errors and lack of quality control.

Now that is not from lack of effort… but giving students real assignments (not just for the teacher) can sometimes help motivate.

Skill building excursuses are sometimes screen only.

Wayne Kijanowski

Posted on 3/10/14 3:03:19 AM Permalink

At our university I do not print out students work, mostly because the time it takes (cost is a factor). It is however very important to have them see/compare what they've done as it motivates them big time. I create a facebook group page for each class I teach and post all their creations with limited comment. If what they've done warrants criticism then I email or talk with them direct. Visit the photo section of a recent Photoshop class and see how this plays out for us:";return this.s_oc?this.s_oc(e):true">

Wayne Kijanowski

Posted on 3/10/14 3:02:44 AM Permalink

At our university I do not print out students work, mostly because the time it takes (cost is a factor). It is however very important to have them see/compare what they've done as it motivates them big time. I create a facebook group page for each class I teach and post all their creations with limited comment. If what they've done warrants criticism then I email or talk with them direct. Visit the photo section of a recent Photoshop class and see how this plays out for us:

jon papworth

Posted on 3/7/14 11:45:14 AM Permalink

I have real problem in the UK with exam boards wanting to moderate sketchbook work from paper based sources this purely comes down to a lack of ICT skills as we generally use PDFs on screen with a backwards and forwards button to show sketchbooks. I totally believe final pieces should be in the format they are designed for so there is no point printing a design for a web page off but packaging and poster designs need to be printed off.

kathy chastain

Posted on 8/23/13 6:36:27 PM Permalink

I have a great lab setup but students pay no lab fees. Because printing everything is too expensive, I have all students upload their final products to a group Prezi, using a shared drive and post it on our class blog. This way, everyone gets to show their work in class and can show their folks at home. I believe this is a good type of peer pressure that motivates them to go that extra step. I often have them 'proof' things on a b/w/ laser, so they get the experience of all that involves. They also save all final files to a shared drive and create a digital portfolio of images on their own Prezi account. We also have a printed portfolio, so they print their best things for them. We also sometimes print for a critique or use their image on their screen for that same purpose,

Dena Wilson

Posted on 8/16/13 3:25:30 PM Permalink

Yes, I print almost everything. But similar to others we have lab fees which cover much of the expense. Graphic Design and Illustration is still considered a print class for us - with web/animation belonging to another course - so printing is necessary. Also, we do a print portfolio as well as a digital one.

I have a plotter/poster printer and that is where it gets competitive among the students to be able to print. It must be excellent, demonstrating much effort to get to have it printed on that badboy. I wisely do not have that networked! Only I can print on the plotter! ha!

Carol Pearsall

Posted on 8/16/13 2:44:29 PM Permalink

Most of the work I do in my classes is online and students upload their work to either an internal server, or my class website that has a dropbox. With Photoshop, Fireworks and Dreamweaver, I need to be able to see layers, files, folder structure, etc. I can't do that with a printed copy. I totally agree that the paper is a waste. Select assignments are printed, and sometimes I only have the exceptional work printed. For the most part, it's all online! I have both a b/w and a very good color printer in my room, but since I can't see what's behind the work, I rarely use them.

Mark DuBois

Posted on 8/8/13 7:12:58 PM Permalink

Hi Judy:

As you know, I teach web technology. As a general rule, I print nothing. I do provide a custom subdomain for each student in my program (yes, that means well over 100 custom subdomains). Each students gets 300 MB of online storage so they can provide a portfolio of their work. Yes, I pay for this out of personal funds. School used to host, but they decided it was not worth the effort so I had to pick up the ball on my own.

I do use Adobe Form Central and SendNow as mechanisms to communicate with students. However, it is very rare if I actually print anything to distribute or provide feedback in writing. It is just so much easier to do this all electronically these days.

Best always,

Jules Peck

Posted on 8/2/13 2:25:41 PM Permalink

Our students have access to an excellent colour photocopier and they are all given a set amount of $ credit each semester, which is indicated on a counter on their desktops each time they log-on to a school computer. If they want to print to something, they can ... and 10 cents comes off their total each time - when it's gone, it's gone, so they are encouraged to be selective in what they print for themselves to be included in, for example, their paper-based A3 folder (which is the required format for senior years project submissions to the education board in South Australia). In general, because they don't want to be 'cashless', they become more wary of what they print, and spend more time perfecting work before hitting 'print'. If their credit is spent too quickly then too bad - they have to wait (sometimes weeks) for more ... or alternatively buy more credit with their own money. It has certainly reduced the overall costs in our school due to needless printing.

Either way, our students' work is showcased at arts performances/shows digitally on the 'big screen', so all completed work is handed up to me via USB and stored on an external hard drive for that purpose. Work to be graded is also submitted that way - never on paper, unless required for external moderation.

My view is that high standards should always be encouraged and, as our students have become more proficient in the use of Adobe products in recent years, we as teachers have become more selective about what we show - whether digitally, or printed out (by ourselves) and framed. That way, students realise that they have to be at a certain standard for their work to be shown to the wider community, and they aim to get there. Showing student work and having it reviewed by their peers in the classroom first is another motivation to 'raise the bar' before printing etc. ... they all want to get glowing reports from their friends!

Dan Armstrong

Posted on 7/30/13 6:14:44 AM Permalink

I have a pretty nice printer and the students understand only the best is coming off the printer. This has helped increase my students drive and desire to go beyond what is expected. When I do print a poster, the student gets it when we are done. I need to have a digital location as well. One thing I do is that all their work is E-mailed in to a g-mail account. I have a 5 year database that google stores for me in the g-mail account. I can search by student E-mail address for any student that has ever been in my class.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/30/13 12:10:42 PM Permalink


What a great idea, Dan. If only I were as organized with student data and files. *sigh* Oh well, there's always next year. :)

Aaron Roberts

Posted on 8/3/13 12:47:25 AM Permalink

I have a nice printer too. Everything gets printed, because my students pay student fees for the paper and ink. I'm lucky like that.

As for digital storage, I actually have about 11 years worth of files. I used to store them on CD's and DVD's. They now go into the cloud (currently using SkyDrive as my IT department plays nice with them and I was able to get 25GB before they dropped it down to 7GB). I have always had them name their files using a Lastname_Firstname_Title type format. It's awesome - I've had students from a number of years ago contact me to find out if I still have their artwork. Sure enough, I do! If I run into a student out in the community, I can pull out my phone and find their artwork on the spot.

Students turn in their artwork either through a shared network drive at school or they can cloud it in through which is attached to my Dropbox account.

Dena Wilson

Posted on 8/16/13 3:29:43 PM Permalink

I am so curious about this idea of a gmail account you have students email to it. We have size restrictions for sending anything through email here at our school and I would have to work around that. Do you have them send native files, or pdfs, or what? But I love, love, love this idea.


Posted on 7/26/13 11:21:28 PM Permalink

No, I don't print everything students create in my classes. I do have a color laserjet, and a b/w printer.

Sometimes I grade on their computer, sometimes I have them turn it in on a memory stick; or sometimes I have them print it out.

Donna Dolan

Posted on 7/22/13 5:20:20 PM Permalink

No, I do not print everything my students do. As you noted, not all work is worth printing. I only print their work occasionally. Often, I just have the students turn their finished work into a folder, then display their work to the class where it is critiqued by the class. I only put the best of the best on a web page.

Kim Mihaly

Posted on 7/21/13 2:08:44 AM Permalink

I print everything - even the substandard - because it goes on that class's noticeboard in my lab/classroom, with their name on it, and it stays there a week. Everybody who uses the room sees it (whilst it is nominally my room, many other classes use it 1 period a week, and a few community night classes use it as well ).

For some reason I receive fewer substandard pieces of work as time goes on :-)

Timothy Axley

Posted on 7/18/13 12:22:25 AM Permalink

I have my students create a folder the first day of class on a 1TB external Hard drive where they save their work everyday. This past year I had the students print only assignments that would be displayed in the hallways. I did manage to buy a new color printer at the end of the school year so students will have the option of printing superior work. I've not really worked out the details of how I'm going to decide who prints and who doesn't. One thing I may do is have the students critique their peers with the understanding that only 98% or better work gets printed. I really feel I need to show the school what the students can do.

marcia blanco

Posted on 5/26/13 11:53:52 PM Permalink

We all have iMacs with Mountain Lion. I now use airdrop because it's so easy. I was using Drop box and before that, I was using an extra iMac as a file server that everyone could drop their files into. (The biggest problem with that was band width. Our internet speed is routinely dusted by a gerbil and wheel.) It's important that I see the student files anyway because the work is assessed not only on the final product but also on process: labeling layers, organization, nondestructive techniques when possible, etc. I've found that I use less and less paper. The only time they print is for stuff to be mounted and shown or put into their portfolios and even that is going online once I figure out all the ins and outs of Behance. Oddly enough, the only other time that I have them print is when they have to submit a paper. It's just easier for me to do the old fashioned red pen routine when I edit and grade it.

Judy Durkin

Posted on 5/14/13 6:51:39 AM Permalink

I have my students submit their work through Adobe Forms Central in .pdf format, then I combine the files into a big slide show for comment and review with the class. Great examples are posted on my class website:


Posted on 7/26/13 11:23:37 PM Permalink

We do have a arts assembly. This year I'm going to create a slideshow of our photoshop projects. Some are hybrid animals, move our school, move teacher's head to another body.

Jules Peck

Posted on 8/2/13 2:34:44 PM Permalink

Nice website! Off topic ... as the yearbook editor at my school, I'd be interested in finding out how successful the yearbook function is on your site.

Jennifer Campbell

Posted on 5/3/13 12:15:15 AM Permalink

One option would be to have students submit work through Edmodo. It's free and the teacher and students can all have their own account. You control what is visible and to whom. This would be a great way for student work to be showcased without spending money on an excessive amount of supplies. Plus, students could access their work from home to show off to their parents. In fact, parents can have a special account, too, where they can only see their student's work and grades. It is at

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/17/13 3:45:24 PM Permalink

You're too kind, Judy. (Or you have a huge ink and paper budget. ;)

I print the best work and mount it to our Wall of Fame (WoF). Other work that meets Mac Lab standards is featured on our website. The rest, the students post to their own class blogs. If a student's work makes the WoF, they get a free print.

Then there's the problem of students with sub-standard work who want prints. Since I don't require students to print, I feel no obligation to print—and certainly not for free. First I try persuade the student to improve the existing work. When it's a good as it's going to get, the student is allowed to purchase a print with Gold (our virtual currency earned within our gamified classroom). I used to charge cash for paper and ink but that always felt wrong.