On June 19, 2012, or a day or two after, I responded to the following comments made by Ray Huang of Turnitin:
Turnitin recently added the ability to add colored highlights with comments to student papers in GradeMark. Instead of only a plain yellow highlighter, you can now choose from five colors—blue, green, yellow, pink, and purple.
After you highlight a passage, click on the highlight to add a comment bubble, or click on a QuickMark comment in the sidebar to associate the QuickMark to the highlight.
One great way to use these various highlights is to color-code your feedback—for example, blue may be constructive feedback, green can be positive reinforcement, yellow can be be comments on composition, pink may be comments on format, and purple can be comments on grammar.
My response, for whatever reason, never posted. What concerned me in Huang’s post was the last paragraph suggesting that faculty use color to convey information, which we should not do because it impedes access. When we ask our students to blog or use other DH tools we should help them understand how to build access, e.g., not use color to convey information. I invite faculty to consider how we teach access literacy when we ask our students to work with DH. I also invite administrations to consider how they create and support access literacy. I am still learning on this front. I want to ensure that not only what I create is accessible, but that what I ask my students to create is equally accessible. How are we going to create a culture of access when the very “tools” our institutions use–and promote our using–impede access? You know the story about putting a show on in the barn? Well, DH we have a barn. Let’s put on a show. Let’s build access.