Students can compare their reviews with those of others

posted Mar 23, 2014, 12:32 PM by Luca de Alfaro

Here are some screenshots of our new feature.  After the review period is concluded, students can compare the reviews they wrote, with the reviews written by other students for the same homework submissions.  In this way, students can see if they were accurate in their reviews, and they can see how helpful they were compared to the other reviewers. 

We are considering letting students compare reviews even before the review period is concluded -- the idea would be to let this be at the discretion of the instructor, rather than forced for all assignments.  Technically, this is an easy feature to add.  The pro is that this would allow a real discussion to take place on homework submissions.  The cons is that some lazy students could decide to enter blank reviews, and wait until their fellow students do their reviews to copy the gist from them, with a bit of cosmetic modification.  Perhaps saving both the initial review, and the final one, would be deterrent enough. 

In the meantime, here are some screenshots of the new feature.

New reviewing interface

posted Mar 22, 2014, 10:38 PM by Luca de Alfaro

We have over-hauled the interface to do reviews, to make it faster and easier to use.  We hope you like the change, and we welcome all feedback.

One of the new features we have added is to let students compare the reviews they wrote for the submissions they reviewed, with those written by others, once the review phase is concluded.  In this way, students can see if they graded and reviewed the submissions similarly to how others did.

By comparing their reviews with those of others, students can discover any reviewing errors they might have made, or any aspects of the submissions they might have overlooked.  Students also learn by seeing which advice other students gave in the same circumstances.

CrowdGrader via HTTPS: Secure Your Connection

posted Mar 16, 2014, 7:50 PM by Luca de Alfaro   [ updated Mar 16, 2014, 7:55 PM ]

In a continuing effort to make the use of CrowdGrader as secure as possible, and to better protect your data, we are now making CrowdGrader accessible over https.
We encourage everybody to access CrowdGrader over HTTPS, rather than HTTP, to protect your data and your identity.  The benefits of HTTPS are:
  • Your data is protected.  Homework solutions and reviews are transmitted encrypted to CrowdGrader, secure from prying eyes.
  • Nobody can impersonate you and steal your access credentials. When you access CrowdGrader, you authenticate to the website via a cookie.  If you connect over an insecure network (such as an open WiFi access point, not protected by password), other people over the same network can steal your cookie and impersonate you By connecting to CrowdGrader over HTTP, your communication is encrypted, and nobody can steal your cookie.
For the being, we are still allowing unencrypted connections over HTTP, but we are considering making the use of HTTPS compulsory.  
CrowdGrader prides itself in offering top security and top reliability to its users. 

CrowdGrader gets a new, simplified UI!

posted Mar 3, 2014, 11:17 PM by Luca de Alfaro

We have developed a new, simplified UI for CrowdGrader, and we are in the process of gradually rolling it out to all users.  The new UI gives you a single list of all assignments in which you are participating, right at the home page, for maximum convenience. That list acts as a global control panel: from that list, you can easily see where you have to submit, and where you have instead to review. 

We hope this new UI will make CrowdGrader simpler and faster to use!  We would love to hear any feedback.

Download all assignment data!

posted Jan 14, 2014, 12:08 PM by Luca de Alfaro

Assignment managers (both instructors, and TAs listed as observers) can now download all assignment data! 

There are two steps required.  

First, you need to download a Json file that contains a description of the assignment. 
You can do so by going to the assignment, and selecting Download Assignment Data. 

You can then run the downloader via:

./ <assignment_file.json> <destination_directory>

This will produce a directory in <destination_directory>, and it will create one sub-directory for each submission.  In the sub-directory for each submission, you will find the submission metadata, the submission text, the reviews if any, and the files that have been uploaded.  The format should be self-explanatory. 

The reason you have to go through this two-step process is that an assignment can consist of a very large amount of data (up to several GB for some assignments, depending on the files that have been uploaded).  Therefore, downloading an entire assignment can take a long time, and cannot be performed as a single download. 

The downloader code is supplied with a MIT license, so please feel free to improve it and to share back your improvements.

Powerful new editor supports math, code, and more

posted Jan 8, 2014, 3:32 PM by Luca de Alfaro

We have integrated in CrowdGrader a powerful new editor, which supports math, code, and more.  In this way, students can write complex literature, math, computer science, and other assignments directly into the editor used by CrowdGrader, without requiring the use of external programs.  As a plus, writing math in CrowdGrader is much easier than in tools such as Word or Google Documents, since CrowdGrader now supports LaTeX/TeX syntax directly! 

Here is how the editor looks like:

Editor view

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