Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects

Winter 2010 Project #9: MarkUs

Posted by Greg Wilson on 2009/11/19

MarkUs is an open-source tool which recreates the ease and flexibility of grading assignments with pen on paper, within a web application. It also allows students and instructors to form groups, and collaborate on assignments. MarkUs is implemented in Ruby on Rails, and every line of code has been written by undergraduate students. It is currently used in 3 classes at the University of Toronto. There are plans to use it for one course in Waterloo starting in January with the hopes of expanding our user base in the Fall of 2010.

We had great fall term! UCOSP students from Laval, Waterloo and Toronto worked on integrating spiffy testing tools into MarkUs, a new flexible marking scheme, a grade entry form, logging, and a notes system. The team worked very well together and we are fortunate to have a great TA, Mike Conley (who knows MarkUs inside and out), and two industry advisors who were available to answer questions and point us in the right direction.

A major goal for the winter term is extensive work on the user interface. I would like to do some user studies to find out where the UI would benefit most from attention. We need to implement a system to allow instructors to present test results to the students, and we need to rethink some aspects of how groups are formed. Another major goal is to add summarization information in the form of grade histograms and usage statistics for both the instructors and students.

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