The Winter 2013 MarkUs team had a fun and productive 3 day weekend at Facebook HQ for our educational hackathon. I just wanted to let everyone else on the MarkUs team know what we accomplished, what our future goals are and what each of us plan to be working on for this term.
What did we accomplish while we were there?
The team was mostly setting up for the day. There were some issues happening with the svn-ruby bindings on Mac OS X and Linux, but they were resolved by the end of the day.
The team eagerly started looking at issues and making trivial commits to get a hang of Git and Github. A bunch of issues were created, older issues were cleaned up, and we got a feel for how MarkUs worked from the demo Karen gave. The team also got a nice amount of pull requests in fixing previous issues.
The last little bit of coding was mostly looking at the pull requests from saturday and fixing any issues that occurred. The team continued to work until the presentations where all the hackathon teams gave an overview of their project.
Winter 2013 Term Goals for MarkUs
What are some of the goals we would like to see get accomplished this term?
Testing Framework – Feature
One of the more important features of MarkUs. This testing framework will allow graders to upload their testing suite to MarkUs that can be used to run student’s code to determine any faults in their programs. The goal here is to fix up remaining bugs as well as code syntax issues.
Remark Requests – Feature
Another nice feature that would be beneficial to MarkUs. This is where students have the ability to submit a remark requests for assignments. A nice feature we can add here is to add a side by side comparison window (original assignment vs remark assignment).
Grade Entry Sheets
Grade entry sheets already exist within MarkUs, but more functionality can be added to them. A couple features we discussed are:
- Multiple Sections for Students
- Give the ability to assign students to multiple sections
- TA Grading
- Allow TA’s to enter marks
Switch Prototype to jQuery
- The difference between communities is huge
- Because of the popularity of jQuery, there has been an enormous increase of Stackoverflow questions (jQuery’s 265932 tagged questions vs Prototype’s 2114 questions) and plugins for it. Along with popularity, if students know jQuery coming into MarkUs, that is one less framework they have to learn.
- jQuery allows chaining and if used properly, allows for more readable and understandable code.
Upgrade Ruby & Rails versions
Make the upgrade to Ruby 1.9.x and upgrade Rails to 3.2. We also discussed whether or not this should be left for the summer team to complete, as we did not know how complex this would be.
Replace SVN for Git
This is one of the lower priority goals for the term. Git is another version control that has seen an immense popularity gain in the last few years. Few key reasons for this:
- Git repo size much smaller compared to SVN size
- Git is faster than SVN
- Git is a distributed system
svn-ruby bindings are a bit of a pain to set up on some operating systems. Not sure if Git will be any easier, but more research on this topic will definitely have to be done.
What will the team be focusing on for the time being?
Daniel St. Jules – Database issues, schema and performance optimization
Alysha Kwok – Remark requests
Nick Lee – Testing framework
Mike Wu – Remark requests
Mike Stewart – Grade entry
Ian Smith – Testing framework
Marc Bodmer – Prototype to jQuery and replacing SVN for Git