Monday, February 26, 2007

le focus group numero un: le gradebook

6 people walk into a room: 2 welsh, 1 irish, 1 dutch, 1 slovakian, and 1 english...

no, it's not the start of a bad joke, but a description of the focus group i went to this morning. here's a brief overview of the main points that were discussed:

  • don't disappear any existing functionality from the gradebook! but if new features are introduced, let individual users choose their own default views/features to use rather than having a cluttered gradebook for all
  • there's a need for users to be able to access different views of the gradebook (eg, formative vs. summative results) and for individuals to be able to select their default view
  • a couple of the institutions present mentioned the need on their campuses (campi?) for anonymous views of the gradebook - i'm not sure whether that's something we'd need/want or not?
  • their should be a 'basic' version of the gradebook for those instructors who just want to add and view grades - with the option to switch on advanced features at the site level (the example used here was weighting, which scares the bejesus out of people who don't want to use it...i'm paraphrasing here, obviously)
  • it would be really good if students could have the option to export their grades and feedback, either to the content system or in another format that would enable them to integrate it with their portfolios, etc
  • students should also be able to distinguish between formative and summative grades in the gradebook
  • finally, their should be a robust audit history/tracking of changes - so that it would be possible to view the gradebook at different points in time in case changes were made accidentally, or if grades were changed for a legitimate reason

ok, clearly that's a shorthand version of what was discussed - comments, questions, or punchlines for the joke welcome...

3 comments:

Brian said...

"let individual users choose their own default views/features to use rather than having a cluttered gradebook for all" - I whole heartily agree. Remembering user preferences for views would be great.


"there's a need for users to be able to access different views of the gradebook (eg, formative vs. summative results) and for individuals to be able to select their default view" - can't do the individual view thing, but you can do this in the gradebook already. Just make one gradebook type "formative" and one "summative" and you can select to see only those columns.

"anonymity" - you can do this now sort of by turning off the names and only allowing student id number as the first column. However, anyone can turn names back on if they want.

"scared of weighting people" (not overweight people that is) - uhh... just ignore it and you have the basic gradebook, oui?

"student exports and views" - fine, whatever is good

"history/tracking" - would be good


What about filtering by groups? This is the most sought after thing by staff with lots of small tutorial groups to mark. Instead of seeing all 300 students, you could just see your group. Perhaps is related to the different views for different staff bit though.

End of the joke:
The English person says, "Why is it called the *&#! gradebook anyway? Bloody Americans!"

stu said...

Ah ah, it's just the regurgitated list from a webinar a few weeks ago. But as Brian points out they've omitted the sorting by groups.

gs said...

ummm, a couple of things:

the sorting by groups thing - yes, that was covered in the different views bit, i just really didn't want to write up every little thing that was said - like you said, Brian, bored of the sound of my own writing :)

and in support of "them" - it's not really fair to say "they've ommitted this" or "they've regurgitated that" - the whole point of a focus group is that it's the people in the room who come up with the ideas to contribute, not "them"...