pmccann

32 Reputation

One Badge

15 years, 246 days

MaplePrimes Activity


These are replies submitted by pmccann

Hi Bill,

thanks very much for the reply.

(1) Instructors need to be able to see and/or take the assignment as it appears to students for a number of relatively straightforward reasons(*). Unfortunately the route you describe for reauthorization does not work for us: instructors' credentials are not accepted by the exception requesting form, and in trying to add in instructors as "proctors" --assuming this is necessary-- we meet the following error:

=======================
type: Status report

message: User is not authorized to access action /ListUsersInClass

description: The request sent by the client was syntactically incorrect (User is not authorized to access action /ListUsersInClass).
======================

Just to complicate matters a little, I *have* occasionally been listed as a proctor in certain classes (as reported via "show active users" in the User Manager). This status is, however, fleeting, and is seemingly reset by logging into the class again. Is it possible that this lack of success/persistence in authentication is a result of using Maple T.A. via the Blackboard building block?

(*) Off the top of my head there's the fact that the preview display in the current version of Maple T.A. does not produce a faithful rendering of the questions (it collapses some of the spaces between words for some reason). Taking the assignment is also a convenient way to browse the questions and their allocated marks in one place (rather than have to jump between question repository and the assignment portion of the instructors menu). More straightforwardly, I think it is just good practice to complete the assignment "from a student's viewpoint" before letting 600 students loose on it!

(2) I had hoped to make it clear that we *know* this is what happens; the problem is that this new behaviour seems like a horrible step backwards, as it severs the possibility of editing the source of our questions in order to correct errors. Instead, as you point out, corrections need to be made using the question editor. This would be acceptable if it was a robust mechanism, but we've already seen GUI edits in live assignments that have produced no-longer-accessible questions, so it's fair to say that our trust in such an approach is somewhat dented (see (3) below).

Perhaps there's a vast market out there for sharing questions among classes (high school teachers?), but at my institution it seems to be of less than zero value. And even if editing in the Question Editor worked without problems we're still losing the connection between the source of the problems (one or more latex files, as per all the higher education users of Maple T.A. that I know), and the questions in the repository. That is, double handling of edits abounds, which is just poor practice.

(3) I'll isolate a question and edit cycle that produces this misbehaviour and forward it to tech support. I think we've seen at least two different causes of problems: one when long code lines were broken by re-submission of a question via the text area. This also happened with earlier versions of Maple T.A., but the question source didn't become inaccessible as it now does. Secondly, even simple edits (just editing the text of a question) in a  question have stripped out all of the algorithmic component, which completely neuters the question. And given that the question comes from a latex file, re-establishing the algorithmic portion involves uploading the whole qu file again, further polluting the question repository, extracting that portion of the question VIA the GUI, then pasting it back into the neutered question. Which is beyond painful (particularly compared with the old overwrite mechanism...)

(4) Thanks for that.

I should probably add that the reason there's a fair lump of grump in my messages is that we've been relatively happy users of Maple T.A. for almost 5 years, involving some relatively sophisticated questions for classes of up to 800 students. Unfortunately version 2.5 was no longer able to communicate effectively with more modern versions of Blackboard, and so we migrated to a new version. The primary source of angst is that it just feels like the product is targeting a different audience: everything seems to be taking significantly longer, setting assignments and managing the question repository are both veritable click-fests, and authoring in latex suddenly feels like a second class option. Hence my enquiry re moving back to version 4...

Best wishes,
Paul

 

Hi Bill,

thanks very much for the reply.

(1) Instructors need to be able to see and/or take the assignment as it appears to students for a number of relatively straightforward reasons(*). Unfortunately the route you describe for reauthorization does not work for us: instructors' credentials are not accepted by the exception requesting form, and in trying to add in instructors as "proctors" --assuming this is necessary-- we meet the following error:

=======================
type: Status report

message: User is not authorized to access action /ListUsersInClass

description: The request sent by the client was syntactically incorrect (User is not authorized to access action /ListUsersInClass).
======================

Just to complicate matters a little, I *have* occasionally been listed as a proctor in certain classes (as reported via "show active users" in the User Manager). This status is, however, fleeting, and is seemingly reset by logging into the class again. Is it possible that this lack of success/persistence in authentication is a result of using Maple T.A. via the Blackboard building block?

(*) Off the top of my head there's the fact that the preview display in the current version of Maple T.A. does not produce a faithful rendering of the questions (it collapses some of the spaces between words for some reason). Taking the assignment is also a convenient way to browse the questions and their allocated marks in one place (rather than have to jump between question repository and the assignment portion of the instructors menu). More straightforwardly, I think it is just good practice to complete the assignment "from a student's viewpoint" before letting 600 students loose on it!

(2) I had hoped to make it clear that we *know* this is what happens; the problem is that this new behaviour seems like a horrible step backwards, as it severs the possibility of editing the source of our questions in order to correct errors. Instead, as you point out, corrections need to be made using the question editor. This would be acceptable if it was a robust mechanism, but we've already seen GUI edits in live assignments that have produced no-longer-accessible questions, so it's fair to say that our trust in such an approach is somewhat dented (see (3) below).

Perhaps there's a vast market out there for sharing questions among classes (high school teachers?), but at my institution it seems to be of less than zero value. And even if editing in the Question Editor worked without problems we're still losing the connection between the source of the problems (one or more latex files, as per all the higher education users of Maple T.A. that I know), and the questions in the repository. That is, double handling of edits abounds, which is just poor practice.

(3) I'll isolate a question and edit cycle that produces this misbehaviour and forward it to tech support. I think we've seen at least two different causes of problems: one when long code lines were broken by re-submission of a question via the text area. This also happened with earlier versions of Maple T.A., but the question source didn't become inaccessible as it now does. Secondly, even simple edits (just editing the text of a question) in a  question have stripped out all of the algorithmic component, which completely neuters the question. And given that the question comes from a latex file, re-establishing the algorithmic portion involves uploading the whole qu file again, further polluting the question repository, extracting that portion of the question VIA the GUI, then pasting it back into the neutered question. Which is beyond painful (particularly compared with the old overwrite mechanism...)

(4) Thanks for that.

I should probably add that the reason there's a fair lump of grump in my messages is that we've been relatively happy users of Maple T.A. for almost 5 years, involving some relatively sophisticated questions for classes of up to 800 students. Unfortunately version 2.5 was no longer able to communicate effectively with more modern versions of Blackboard, and so we migrated to a new version. The primary source of angst is that it just feels like the product is targeting a different audience: everything seems to be taking significantly longer, setting assignments and managing the question repository are both veritable click-fests, and authoring in latex suddenly feels like a second class option. Hence my enquiry re moving back to version 4...

Best wishes,
Paul

 

Page 1 of 1