Ideas to support grading of student work on

This is primarily addressed to Mel Gregory and Robbie Shaver. is already very well set up for instructors to set up projects for students and to keep track of what is in each student's project. But, as you probably know well, it's awkward for looking into a class's worth of student projects.

Two major problems here:

  1. You can't tell anything about the state of completion of a student's project without opening it up and working in it as a project. This takes time, and leaves no breadcrumbs so that an instructor knows that they have already visited this project.
  2. You can't see an individual file in a project and rapidly scroll through many students projects quickly.

There is a relatively simple (I think) way of addressing these problems. It focusses on the page that lists the "Derived projects" one after another.

a. Next to each project, add a short instructor-editable field for the instructor to record whether or not he or she has already visited the project. I think most instructors would simply record a grade (e.g. "95", "B+", "C??? check back") Where to store these data. Perhaps a data frame associated with the shared space, but that only the instructor (and cloud) has access to.

b. On the "Derived projects" page, provide a text-entry field for the instructor to type in the name of a file. This would trigger, next to each student's project listing, a link to that file so that it can be opened in a browser, be it an .R or .Rmd source file or an html project of such files. (Another way to examine the file you might provide is a tab in the instructor's master for the project that displays the derived projects and allows the instructor to load the indicated file into a dedicated copy of the project. This lets the instructor view or run student files without having to open the student's project itself, which is slow.

I think (b) will work because, when an instructor creates a project as an assignment, he or she can dictate the name of the file to contain the student's work. (e.g. "In this assignment, you'll edit Assignment_3.Rmd so that ...")

Such a system would let instructors plow through a large mass of projects. That's a tedious process for instructors and anything that increases the friction involved (like having to wait while a student's project is opened, and then discovering that you've already graded that one).

Of course the existing feature where an instructor can open up a student's project, examine and run files one-by-one, and edit the files themselves is extremely valuable, but most assignments can be graded just by looking at a student's file. It would also be great is Yihui would add a simple directive in knitr so that instructors could add a short comment to the source of a file that doesn't appear in the html output except maybe as a popup. I know that this can be done already with appropriate html, but being able to write, e.g. @This was good. Think about more efficient ways of filtering the data.@


Thanks Danny - you've laid out the problem well and these are interesting ideas - we'll add this to our backlog.

  • Robby

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