Spring plan: DDP projects

December 1st, 2009, 11:15 pm PST by Greg

As I said before, I’m not teaching CMPT 383 in the spring (but I will be doing it in the summer). The alternate plan involves the “capstone” project that our dual-degree students have to do.

I’m going to be supervising a group of students on the technical side of their project. Since I’m me, the plan is to do a web project. I thought about this for about 8 seconds before I realized what I must do… there’s an obvious set of web projects that I understand, students understand, and need to me done.

We have some very old and clunky web tools around the School that work, but aren’t pretty and don’t have much hope of improving in the future. Students will know our gradebook and assignment submission tools, but there are a bunch more that aren’t student-facing.

My plan: replace as much as possible with modern, integrated, functional tools. The plan goes (or at least start) like this:

  • Global: Unified CAS authentication. A useful “dashboard” for everybody displaying recent activity relevant to them (upcoming due dates, recently posted grades, recent assignment submissions, etc). Instructors should be able to copy an old offering to a new one (copying grading info, due dates, etc).
  • Gradebook: the basics as currently implemented, with calculated columns, released/unreleased columns, AJAX-y sorting and display of class lists, email notification of new grades (?).
  • Submission: Per-assignment configuration (e.g. assignment 1 requires submission of a text file for part 1, and a .java file for part 2; both are submitted as distinct files).
  • Marking: Instructor sets up a marking key for TAs; TAs give grades and comments; info returned to students and grades automatically put into gradebook.

Additional functionality suggestions welcome. I have some cool “maybe” features to throw in if things go well.

I’m going to be treating whatever group I have as a development team, not a class. So, I’ll be whipping them much more to get good-quality code, not a class project.

There’s certainly a possibility of catastrophic failure, but I’d say a reasonable chance of success. We’ll see what happens.

2 Responses to “Spring plan: DDP projects”

  1. Eugene Says:

    If they do end up creating bad quality code, you should force them to read the old Gradebook code as punishment.

    I think a useful utility would be the ability for an instructor or TA to post a message pertaining to a particular assignment or exam (not necessarily an e-mail, but a message on the assignment page). It could be an answer to common questions, what was particularly difficult about an assignment or just posting an answer key.

  2. Amanda W. Says:

    Will there be an exercise in QA and documentation? If yes, I love it! If no, ummm, please do not let history repeat itself!