Daveena's Keen Idea:
Here is what I'm doing to give less written feedback. For the first drafts of their research papers, I am having paper conferences (15 min each). I bought a digital voice recorder and I'm recording specific feedback as I read the papers. This has a bunch of advantages: very little writing for me, and I can give a "real time" experience as a reader instead of having to translate that experience through marginalia, which they don't seem to absorb. I can re-read their sentences out loud, showing which parts I don't understand. Also, in the conference, it spares me the problem of confronting a paper that I have commented on but don't remember (out of the 60 that I've read). My comments are right there, out loud, for both of us to hear and respond to. I can pause the playback and ask if my feedback is clear. Often I see them nodding as I am playing back the recording.