how much time should it take to read and comment on a student draft?
I have a master’s student who’s almost done, so I’m reading the last draft of her thesis to give her the last batch of feedback tomorrow. It’s always wonderful seeing the progress from the first drafts to the final stages of a thesis – and I love seeing how students always end up managing to connect all those scrambled ideas from the start of a project. It’s very rewarding to be able to follow that journey.
But it takes so long for me to read these drafts and comment them in the way I feel that I should. I always imagine I’ll do about twenty pages in an hour, and I always end up managing no more than about ten pages an hour, and at times even less. This thesis isn’t double-spaced, it’s only using 1.5 spacing, so I suppose I’d be doing fifteen double-spaced pages an hour, but even that seems quite slow.
For a 90-100 page thesis, that means ten hours reading and commenting on the thesis before I’ve even met with her.
Should I be aiming to improve my speed? Am I putting too much effort into it, commenting too profusely? Are there other ways to increase my speed, apart from lowering my expectations of what I should be doing? Or is this simply the way it is and what I need to change is making sure that I schedule enough time for reading drafts during the work week that I don’t have to spend my Sunday mornings doing it?
If you respond to student drafts, how long does it take you?