Media Review: Grade Reader created by Jeremy Petranka, Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Reviewed by Kelly A. Hogan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Are you almost done with the semester, but still need to submit grades? Maybe your institution has you submit them electronically, directly from a spreadsheet? If so, kudos to your university! If this isn’t your situation, keep reading, as you may find this website really useful. Grade Reader reads grades from your Excel file aloud, so you can enter them electronically or write them on the official grade roll documents. I have been using my spouse for years to enter grades for over 600 students per semester. Now Grade Reader can replace my husband!

At the site below, the creator of the program, Jeremy Petranka, has a tutorial explaining the program and why it’s better than simply using Excel’s cell reading function. While he details the reasons UNC faculty will find utility in it for our specific grading management system, the function translates to any institution where instructors have to enter grades manually in some way. The program (Windows only) can be downloaded here too. It is easily edited to grades that fit your institution, and Jeremy shows this in the tutorial.

Do you have any ways that make you more efficient at the beginning or end of the semester? Please share in the comments!

Media Review: “Learn.Genetics” Genetic Science Learning Center from the University of Utah

Reviewed by Kelly A. Hogan, University of North Carolina

One of the best websites I have seen recently is the Learn.Genetics site from the University of Utah ( I am impressed with the high quality interactive lessons. There are modules including heredity, cell basics, DNA to proteins, natural selection, etc. Some of my favorites are short interactive animation depicting the size of cells. The user controls the ability to zoom in and out starting at the coffee bean/12 pt font size through various cells then macromolecules right down to the carbon atom. My students are really impressed by this when I use it in class. I have also been really impressed with their “virtual labs.” Users get to extract DNA from a cheek cell, including centrifuging and pouring buffers. I have found these virtual labs, like the other modules I have examined, to be much more than entertainment. For example, students learn why they use the chemicals they use to purify DNA. I am impressed with the educational components built into each module. In fact, the companion Teach.Genetics website is in beta preview and there are numerous high quality lesson plans with activities at various grade levels fitting various science standards. Check it out, but beware, you will lose a lot of time losing yourself in this impressive resource!

Have you used this resource at all? What module?