May 27 2010

Summer Change: New Features in the Gradebook

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:37 AM Course Tools | Online Courses

When we were making all of the behind-the-scenes changes to the online course system this summer, we found that we had to do quite a bit of work to the Gradebook to bring it up to our current software development standards and make it work well with the new architecture. This gave us a great opportunity to not only make the Gradebook a bit faster, but to also add in some long-requested features. Here's what's new in the Gradebook:

  • Custom grading systems can be set up via a simple value-matching tool, where, for example, 0=rewrite, 1=satisfactory, 2=good. The student only sees the custom grading value ("rewrite," "satisfactory" or "good") as their grade. Note that these custom grade systems only use point values for calculations by the Gradebook.
  • You can add items to the Gradebook which do not count towards the final grade in the course.
  • The total points assigned to a student on point-based items can exceed the maximum possible points for that item. This allows faculty/TAs to add extra credit points to a points-based item.
  • Feedback is entered in a new overlay window, allowing more room for the file, text, and audio feedback tools.
  • Text feedback is now composed via a rich text editor.
  • Changes made to the final grade letter grade ranges are automatically saved and will appear the next time the final grade setup page is accessed.
  • A new report has been added which shows just the student, their final numeric grade in the course, and their final letter grade in the course.
The custom grading systems are pretty nifty, and will hopefully meet the needs of a number of courses where letter grades don't need to be given for a written assignment or review quiz, but students should still get feedback on how they did on the assignment.

As always, if you have additional suggestions for how the Gradebook should work, we'd love to hear them!

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