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Creating A New Tagging Feature for MarkUs

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Since the UCOSP code sprint that occurred several weeks ago at Mozilla, our development group for this semester has been assigned projects to work on. Nathan and I have been tasked to create a new tagging feature for MarkUs. This post has been written to serve as a Q&A for this new feature and to provide an early look into what this feature may look like from a user perspective.

Tagging Feature? What’s that?

Glad you asked! Essentially, this feature will allow TAs and administrators to tag student submissions based on certain criteria. This criteria could be things such as incomplete assignments, assignments that appear to be really well done, etcetera. The purpose of these tags will allow people marking assignments to then filter the submissions based on certain tags. For instance, say a TA only wants to mark assignments that have a certain tag. To do this, the TA can simply filter assignments by that tag and then only mark those assignments. Voila! It’s that easy!

Another use for this feature could be for TAs that want to notify a course administrator about a certain issue in an assignment. The TA can simply tag the assignment as needing further attention from an administrator. Administrators can then log in to MarkUs and filter the submissions to see if any have this tag.

What has been done so far?

Now onto the technical stuff! Currently, the models and controllers for the tagging system are being created by Nathan (which will not be covered in detail in this post) and I’m working on the views for this feature.

Probably the most important view would be the “Tag Creation View”. Here, administrators are able to create, monitor, edit and delete tags. The motive behind this is that administrators can create “pre-defined” tags for the assignment before marking has commenced. As of now, this view has been created but is not connected to the tag controller.

The new "Tag Creation" view for the tagging feature. Note the React table and sidebar upload and download buttons. Currently, the tag data being displayed in the table is just dummy data that is hard-coded into the view. Don't worry! This will change soon! MarkUs Tagging Feature - Tag Creation View

The new “Tag Creation” view for the tagging feature. Note the React table and sidebar upload and download buttons. Currently, the tag data being displayed in the table is just dummy data that is hard-coded into the view. Don’t worry! This will change soon!

Essentially, the tag creation view was designed to be as consistent with the MarkUs interface as possible. Basically, other views were looked at and used as a reference to create the view. Additionally, the code for the React tables in the student and submissions views were referenced to ensure similar structure. This makes the code more readable and easier to alter and upgrade in the future.

As you can see in the pictures below, the upload and download dialog boxes are also standardized.

MarkUs Tagging Feature - Upload

The “Download Tags” dialog. Note that the tag file can be downloaded as CSV or YML.

MarkUs Tagging Feature - Upload

The “Upload CSV” dialog. This dialog is very similar to other MarkUs dialogs.

What can I expect in the future?

This is where things get exciting (relatively speaking anyway). Probably the biggest goal is to actually get the views working and to be able to pull Tag data from the ActiveRecord. This will get a working prototype that Nathan and I can begin to refine.

Something that I am beginning to work on now is incorporating the tagging feature into the submissions view. In this, the React table containing all the submissions will have a new column named “Tags”. This will keep track of what tags are assigned to assignments and will allow administrators and TAs to filter assignments by tags. Additionally, in the grading view, there will be a new pane above the rubric panel that will allow markers to add and see current tags.

Currently, Nathan is working on the database side of this project. He is working on creating a proper model and controller for this feature. In the next few weeks, we will begin the process of integrating this model and controller with the view.

Where can I see updates for this feature?

This code is currently being held in the official MarkUs GitHub repository under the “tagging” branch. You can access this code here.

Written by Bryan Muscedere

October 14th, 2014 at 11:18 am

Posted in New Feature

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