[LON-CAPA-users] Re: spreadsheets

Todd Ruskell lon-capa-users@mail.lon-capa.org
Tue, 12 Oct 2004 10:13:08 -0600


Quoting Matthew Brian Hall <hallmat3@msu.edu>:

> I'll give you what help I can on this - the spreadsheet is pretty old code 
> and I was the last person to work on it.  That said, I'd like to know why 
> you really want to use it, and what you want to do with it, but we can chat 
> about all that another time :) 

Thanks for your willingness to help me out.  My end game is to use the
spreadsheet to give students "immediate" knowledge of their entire grade in the
course, by essentially allowing them to view all the grades as they are
recorded, and to show them ou calculated estimate of their final grade.  To do
this, I need to be able to upload external grades for items like exams,
quizzes, prs responses and labs, and then glue them into some kind of formula
to calculate a "final grade."  We have, in the past, used another external
system for this, with separate authentication, etc. but since LC ostensibly has
this capability, and students didn't really like using the external system, I
figured, "Why not try LON-CAPA?"  I'm sure I'll get the answer to this soon
enough, though <grin>.

> you will be starting computations in the evening and coming back to them in 
> the morning (depending on the number of students and number of assignments).

Yup, I understand this downside, and am still willing to go for it.  I've got
360 students, but they're divided into many small sections, so I think I can
cope with long calculations reasonably well.
> The spreadsheet is set up in a hierarchy.  The class has one spreadsheet 
> which receives data from each of the student level spreadsheets.  The 
> student level spreadsheets receive data from the assessment level 
> spreadsheets.  The default student level spreadsheet is used for all 
> students.  You cannot modify the spreadsheet for just one student.  

Good.  This is what I want.

> > 1) If I generate sample spreadsheets in a "Test Course" can I 
> > then move/use that spreadsheet to/in my live course in a reasonable
> > way?  This is desirable so that I don't totally destroy the live course
> > in my experimentation.
> Unfortunately, no.  There is not, as I recall, a means of exporting 
> spreadsheets.  I can send you the source for the default spreadsheets, which
> can be uploaded and modified.  My suggestion is that you make regular 
> backups of your spreadsheets.  It is possible I could add this ability if 
> you find it very necessary. 

Yeah, I didn't find an "export" option, either, but there is the "import" option
that allows me to import spreadsheets from resource space.  If you could send
me the source of the default spreadsheets, that would give me a place to start,
so I could experiment in safety, and easily transport spreadsheets once I like
them.  It would also probably be faster to modify the spreadsheets not having
to click on every cell and edit a pop-up window.
> > 2) I have experimented some with the assessment spreadsheet to
> >  make it easier for students to read, especially for external
> >  scores that have been uploaded. 
> Good - please let me know how you've modified it so I can take a look at 
> making the default version better. 

I would be happy to.

> > Some observations/questions:
> > a) I can edit and save a spreadsheet with a different name, 
> >    eg: exam_assesscalc
> Yes.  The extension '_assesscalc' or '_studentcalc' will be appended for 
> you. 
> > b) When I look at the spreadsheet for that resource later, it has
> >  reverted to the previous version.
> As you mention below, the mapping from assessment to spreadsheet is 
> determined in the student level spreadsheet. 
> > c) When I "Save as and Make this sheet the default" at the assessment
> > level, and then try to view it at the student level, the exported
> > lines do not seem to get refreshed, even if I "generate spreadsheet."
> >  I seem to have to log out and back in again for this to happen. 
> > Is that true, or is it one of those caching things?
> Hmmm.  That really sounds like a bug.  It's unintentional behavior, even if 
> it is the result of caching.  I'm glad you have found a work-around. 

I'll try to explore this more and make sure my preliminary observations are, in
fact, correct.
> > e) When I make a sheet a default, it also seems to override the
> > selection that had been made for the spreadsheet of an individual
> > problem on the student-level sheet.
> All those assessments which have 'Default' listed for their spreadsheet in 
> the student level spreadsheet will be changed when you "save and make 
> default". 

This I would expect.  My preliminary attempts also seemed to change the
assessments that had other spreadsheets listed, back to "Default."  Again, I've
only just started my real work, so I will continue to see what happens and let
you know if this is a real bug, or simply user error on my part.
> There are a couple more interface items available if your account also has 
> domain coordinator privileges.  Look at the "Student Sheet Links" option of 
> the course level spreadsheet and you should see links which allow you to 
> expire spreadsheets for all students or for particular students. 

Hmm.  I do have DC privileges, but don't remember seeing this.  I'll go hunting
for it to see what I can find.

Thanks again, Matt.  I look forward to seeing those spreadsheet files (I


Dr. Todd G. Ruskell                         Phone: 303-384-2080
Lecturer, Department of Physics             FAX:   303-273-3919
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80004