Gradiance Instructor Guide
Gradiance On-Line Accelerated Learning (GOAL)
is a system for creating and automatically
grading homeworks, programming laboratories, and tests.
Through the concept of "root questions," Gradiance encourages students
to solve complete problems, even though the homework appears to be in a
The instructor has the option to offer a hint or advice
every time the student gets a wrong answer, and the student may be
allowed to try each question until getting it right.
This manual covers how one uses the Gradiance system
to create root problems, how one
assembles questions into homeworks, and how one issues assignments to a
A root question is a multiple-choice question that has several
right answers and many wrong answers.
In this section, we first explain the motivation for using root
questions and then go through the process of creating root questions
using the Gradiance system.
Root questions automate the process of assigning and grading
"analytic" questions. In conventional
Math, Science, or Engineering homework, a student
is asked to solve a problem and hand in the solution to a TA, who grades
it and hands it back a week or so later.
With root questions, the student is asked to solve the same
problem, but their knowledge of the answer is sampled by a
multiple-choice question. If they get the question wrong, they are
given a hint, called a choice explanation, and invited to try
again. As a
result, homework is no longer a little test, but rather an opportunity
for students to learn how to solve problems in the subject matter of the
While the instructor has options, we believe that the most
effective use of root questions is in groups of 4-6 questions, called
a homework. Students should be allowed to take the homework
until they get all the questions right. By grouping several questions
together, and expecting the student to work out all the questions, it is
unlikely that one could get a perfect score by guessing. Yet as they
solve the individual problems, and keep the answers in front of them for
reference, it doesn't take long for students to pick right answers if
they have to repeat a homework to get a perfect score.
Instructors and TA's are spared the effort of grading many nearly
identical homeworks, while students appreciate the immediate feedback in
the case of errors. In addition, because you can randomize both the order of
questions and the selection of right and wrong choices, there is some
inhibition to cheating, as students cannot easily pass information like
"the answer to question 3 is b"; there is no notion of "question 3"
or a particular "choice b."
To see how root questions work, let us consider a typical long-answer
question from database systems:
If relation R has set of tuples <some set of tuples>
and relation S has set of tuples <some other set of tuples>,
what is the natural join of R and S?
A root question about joins of relations would be phrased as follows.
The stem (portion before the
choices) of the question would give particular, small sets of tuples that
constitute the relations R and S and then say: "compute
the natural join of R and S, and indicate which of the tuples
below is in the natural join."
The student sees several choices (typically four
choices), one of which is a randomly
chosen tuple of the answer, while the other choices are chosen from a
list of incorrect answers provided by the question designer.
As a result, the student has to compute the join, just as in the
conventional form of question, but they get their answer sampled for
correctness, rather than graded in its entirety. If they make a wrong
choice, they get a hint, such as an explanation of why their choice is
The question designer gives a list of possible correct answers.
For this question, the list would naturally consist of all the
tuples in the natural join of these relations.
The designer also gives a supply of incorrect answers, which in this
case could be any other tuples.
To make the distractors (incorrect
answers) look plausible, it would be wise to give
them the right number of components and to use values that appear in R
Finally, the designer should provide choice explanations, at least for
the incorrect answers; these are normally shown to the student if they
make the corresponding incorrect choice. In general, a choice
explanation could be a reason why the choice is incorrect, or perhaps an
outline of how to approach the problem. For instance, in the case of
the question about joins, we could explain to the student which tuples
would have to be in R and/or S for the incorrect choice to have
been correct. That explanation not only should convince the student that
their answer is wrong, but give them the reasoning needed to figure out
how to work the problem if they are unsure of how to compute joins.
In "premium editions" of the questions, associated with a particular
textbook, the choice explanation might also include a reference into the
text for relevant passages.
Designing Root Questions
We'll go through the mechanics of entering root questions into the
Gradiance system momentarily,
but to start, you need to think of an idea for the question. While
there is no sure way to invent a good root question, start by thinking
of an ordinary, long-answer question, just as you would for an ordinary
homework assignment. Visualize the answer. Unless the answer is
something like "6," it probably has distinct components, just as the
answer to the example question about joins, above, did. Phrase your
question so that it asks not for the whole answer, but for an identification
of a part of the answer. The correct choices may turn out to be pairs,
where the first component of the pair is a description of which part of
the answer is requested, and the second component is a proposed value
for that part. If you are interested in creating root questions, you
should examine the Author's
As an example, you will find in our question bank a question about
computing PageRank --- the Google technique for estimating the
importance of Web pages. The stem shows a simple example of a graph
representing links among three Web pages, and the student is asked to
compute the PageRank of each of the pages. The correct choices are
pairs consisting of one of the nodes, and the correct PageRank for that
node; the incorrect choices are similar, but with the wrong PageRank
value for a node.
Entering a Question into the Question Bank
After logging on to the Gradiance system
as an instructor, (the "outermost" details --- logging into an
instructor's home page and going to the page to manage a particular
class --- are deferred to Here)
go to the menu on the left
and select Question Bank. You should see five options appear
Find Questions: Used to search for questions. We'll need
this choice if we ever need to edit one of our questions, or just for browsing
to see what other instructors have created.
Create Question: Used to enter new questions into the question
Upload File: Needed to embed diagrams
in our questions.
Export Questions: Used to turn questions into tagged text (see
can be edited by a conventional text editor, rather than by the
Gradiance Create-Question interface.
Import Questions: Used to bring questions that are in the form
of tagged text into the Gradiance question bank.
Click on Create Question.
You should see a form to fill, with four fields:
Question Type: Normally leave this field at Root
The other choices are:
- Basic Multiple-Choice Question: a conventional
- Parameterized Root Question: a root question in which some
of the text may be parameters. These parameters are replaced from a list
of options before each use, so there is additional variety in the
questions that students see (discussed Here).
- Parameterized Multiple-Choice Question: As its name
suggests, it is a conventional multiple-choice question, with some text
replaced by parameters. Often, parameterized questions are of this
type, since when you have the variation introduced by parameters, you
may not need the additional variety of the root question.
Question Category: Select the closest category.
Difficulty Level: The choices are 1-5, with 1 the easiest.
You can leave this value at the default 3, but if your question is intended to
be noticeably hard or easy, it would be a good idea to indicate that
Search Words: These can be any list of words,
separated by blanks.
The purpose of these words is to make it easier to find questions on a
topic later. They are especially useful if your question does not fit
the predefined categories for your subject.
Having completed the form, click Create Question, and you will see
another screen into which the question is typed.
There are two large boxes, and smaller lines for entering correct and
incorrect answer choices.
The big boxes are:
The question text, i.e., the stem of the question, which the student
A question explanation, which can, at the option of the instructor, be
shown to the student after they have answered the question, or after the
deadline for their homework.
The language used in this form is HTML, so you can format the question
as you like, e.g.,
Let <I>R</I> be the relation with tuples (1,2),...
Below the question stem are four boxes for entering correct answers and
twelve boxes for incorrect answers.
Again HTML is used in these boxes.
You need not fill in all the boxes, and if you want more choices, there
will be a way to add more on the next screen.
After entering choices, click Create Question.
The next screen shows what you entered on the previous screen, and has
place for you to add choice explanations for any of the choices.
There are also five options on the bottom:
Add New Choices in case you want to use more than four correct
and/or twelve incorrect answers.
Delete Choices to eliminate some of the choices you already have
Edit Question to change the stem or question explanation (not
Delete Question, with the obvious effect. But note that the
deletion needs to be confirmed.
Print Question, with the obvious effect.
To include choice explanations, click Add Explanation next to the
choice you wish to explain.
We advise that a choice explanation
be given for each incorrect answer.
For example, you may wish to explain why a particular choice is wrong,
or give some general hints about how to solve the problem.
However, we would not use the entire question-explanation as the
explanation for an individual answer; the latter is best shown only
after the homework's deadline has passed.
If you want to say "congratulations" for a correct answer, that is fine,
but we generally leave the choice explanations for correct answers
blank. Hint: Since choice explanations are frequently similar,
be sure to use copy-and-paste.
If we create a question with one of the two parameterized forms, then we
can use parameters in any of the question components: the stem,
choices, explanation, and choice explanations. A parameter has
the form %%$n$, where $n$ is any integer.
For example, the question could be:
The concatenation of the strings "%%1" and "%%2" is which of the
The correct choice is
while there could be three incorrect choices, with values
"%%2%%1", "%%1""%%2", and "%%3". The first of these
could have a choice explanation "Remember that strings are concatenated in
order, from the left," and the second might use the choice explanation
"Remember that the quotes are not part of the string."
the last could be an arbitary wrong answer
and could have an associated generic choice explanation that
reminds the student what concatenation means.
When you enter the stem, explanation, and choices for a parameterized
question, you get a screen that allows you to add the choice
expanations, as for conventional root questions. However, you will also
find, at the bottom, a link Parameter Values. Clicking on this
link takes you to a screen with a table of parameter values. There is
one column for each parameter and three additional
columns that let us View (see the question with this selection of
values for the parameters), Delete, or
Edit any row. There is one row for each assignment of values
to the parameters; initially, the table is empty.
If you choose Add New Parameter Value Set, you are given a screen
in which you can enter new values, one value for each parameter. For
instance, following our example about concatenation, we might enter the
values for parameters %%1, %%2, and %%3
dog, and mouse, respectively. We should add, in
turn, a number of parameter-value sets.
Each time the question is given
to a student, one row of the table (i.e., a parameter-value set) will be
chosen, and the parameters replaced by their values. For instance, if
the first parameter-value set is chosen for the question above, then the
student would see:
The concatenation of the strings "cat" and "dog" is which of the
The choices would be, in some order, "catdog", "dogcat",
Note that in this case, the choices are completely determined by the
parameters, but in a parameterized root question, the system will choose
one right and three wrong answers, after instantiating all the choices
using a single parameter-value set.
Using Diagrams in Questions
If you need a figure as part of your question, select Question
Bank -> Upload File
from the menu on the left.
You are given a screen in which you can name, or browse for, the file that
holds the figure you need for your question; its operation should be
You may address the uploaded file f by the path
However, the system forms f from your user ID, an underscore, and the
name of the file in the source from which it was uploaded.
For instance, suppose user sally has on her computer a file
diagram1.GIF, which she uploads to Gradiance.
She can use this file in a question such as:
Consider the following diagram:
<IMG SRC = "../pictures/sally_diagram1.GIF">
You may discover later that you need to change a question.
The wording may be poor, or it may even be that some answers were
misclassified as correct or incorrect.
If so, do the following:
From the left menu, select Question Bank ->
Fill out the search form that is presented to you. As a default, you
search for only your own questions, which are the only ones you can
You should be given a list of the questions that match your search.
Locate the question you want to edit.
Click on Details at the right.
The question, with all its answer choices, should appear.
Click on Edit at the bottom.
Now, the original form on which the question was created should appear.
Make whatever changes you wish; your options are the same as for the
screen you get when you created the question (see
Click Submit Changes, and the edited question replaces its old version.
Note that if this question is currently being used in a homework,
then the new version appears in the homework, and every student who
later opens the homework gets an instance of the new version.
Using a Local Editor to Create or Edit Questions
You can create a question using the text editor of your choice. To tell
Gradiance what the various components of your question are, you use an
XML tag set.
Here is the template for a root
question, but with only one example of a correct choice and one example
of an incorrect choice.
We also show parameter-value sets, which are present only for
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
Below is the DTD that gives the
general structure of questions that can be imported; it is also the
format in which questions are exported, if you want to edit an existing
<!ELEMENT questionList (question+)>
<!ELEMENT question (questionID?, questionType, category,
keywords, difficulty, stem, explanation, correctChoiceList,
<!ELEMENT correctChoiceList (correctChoice+)>
<!ELEMENT incorrectChoiceList (incorrectChoice+)>
<!ELEMENT correctChoice (text explanation?)>
<!ELEMENT incorrectChoice (text explanation?)>
<!ELEMENT parameterValueSets (parameterValueSet+)>
<!ELEMENT parameterValueSet (parameterValue+)>
<!ELEMENT parameterValue (name value)>
The meanings of the tags, and constraints on values, are as
A questionList is a list of one or more questions.
A question consists of an (optional) ID, a type (e.g., root
question), a category, a list of keywords, a difficulty level, a stem,
an explanation, lists of correct and incorrect choices, and
(optionally) a list of parameter-value sets. The constraints on these
components, not otherwise described below, are:
- The question-ID is optional, but must be an integer if present.
If the question is inserted this value is ignored, and a new, unique ID
is assigned instead. If the question is updated, then this ID must
match the ID of an existing question; presumably that ID was obtained
when you exported the question.
- The questionType is ROOTMC for a conventional root question,
and PROOTMC for a parameterized root question. Delete ROOT
if the question is of one of the two basic multiple-choice types.
- The category should match one of the existing categories for the
system you are using.
- The difficulty is an integer between 1 and 5.
A correctChoiceList consists of one or more correctChoice
elements; the latter is text plus an optional (choice)
The incorrectChoiceList is analogous.
If needed, the parameterValueSets element consists of one or more
parameterValueSet elements. The latter consists of one
parameterValue element for each parameter used by the question, and a
parameterValue consists of:
- A name, which is an integer. For example, if the name is
14, then the uses of this parameter appear as %%14.
- A value, which is the arbitrary text substituted for the
parameter whenever it appears.
When you choose Question Bank -> Export Questions from
the left menu, you are given a screen that lets you search for and
select a question or questions to be exported as a single text file.
The file will conform to the DTD described above.
If you choose Question Bank -> Import Questions, then
you get a screen that asks you to indicate whether you want to
Insert or Update questions. You also get to browse for the file
containing the questions you wish to import into the Gradiance system.
Note that, as mentioned above, the difference between inserting and
updating questions is that when you insert, your questions are given new
ID's, regardless of the value of the questionID's in your file.
If you update, then the questionID(s) must be present, and it tells
Gradiance which question(s) to replace.
There are two different approaches to creating a homework for a
Locate an existing homework, and assign it as is.
You may adjust certain parameters (see
Create a new homework from questions.
You may use either questions you have created or others that appear in
the question bank.
Creating a homework is different from assigning to your class.
Whichever approach you follow, you will have to assign to the class, as
Creating a New Homework
Go to Homeworks in the menu on the left, and click it to open
two choices: finding and creating homeworks.
Choose Create Homework, which opens up a screen in which you
place the following information:
Give your homework a Title, for example CS145
The words in this title field may be used later to search for homeworks,
so it is a good idea to make this title descriptive.
The Difficulty Level is in the range 1-5; set it to something
other than the default
3 if you feel another level is warranted. The level can be
used when searching for homeworks, incidentally.
Enter a Description for your homework.
If you know the question ID's of the questions you want (e.g., because you
have seen them in a prepared homework), then you can list them in the
box Question List.
When you click Create Homework, the homework is created, but for
the moment has no questions, unless you listed their ID's on the first screen.
You will see at
the bottom, four choices of action, with obvious meanings. We want to
choose Add Questions.
In response, you get a question-search form like the one discussed
Here. Fill out the form to focus on the kinds
of questions you want. Be sure at least to select a category.
Click Search, and you will get a page with all the matching
You may examine a question, including its answer choices, by clicking
Details next to that question.
Use the check boxes in the column Select Questions to pick zero or
more questions to add to your homework.
Click Add Questions.
You are taken back to the screen that lets you add more questions.
Repeat the process of adding questions until you have a complete
homework; e.g., you may wish to add questions from a different category
At this screen, you also have the option of selecting certain previously
added questions and deleting them from the homework. The questions
remain in the question bank.
You now have a new homework in the bank of assignments, and you are
ready to assign it to a class, either now or later.
Assigning a Homework to Your Class
You can assign students any assignment (homework or
lab), either a publicly available assignment
or an assignment that you yourself have
The steps are as follows:
In the menu at the left, choose Homeworks -> Find
Homeworks, and search for unassigned homeworks.
From the list of available homeworks, choose the one you want to assign
and click Assign. If you are not sure whether or not to assign a
homework, you can click Details first, to see its questions.
You are given a screen with the essential decisions to be made about the
Change the homework title
if you like.
Fill out the Open Date and Close Date.
For a homework, you might choose a week between opening and closing, but
for a one-hour exam, you might choose 70 minutes, with 5 minutes leeway
on either side of the intended exam time.
Note the format of date/times, which follows the pattern in the
defaults on the form.
The day precedes the month, which is always a 3-letter abbreviation,
followed by the year and the time on a 24-hour clock.
Also, unfortunately, all times are in Pacific Standard Time, which is
eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. We hope to provide an option to
adjust time zones shortly.
You may now click Assign Homework and accept the Gradiance
defaults for homework management. These involve giving students an
unlimited number of chances to do the homework, but impose a 10-minute
interval between openings of the same assignment (to avoid rapid-fire
guessing). Students get to see choice explanations and right/wrong
information whenever they submit their work, and after the assignment
closes, they get to see the complete problem explanation.
If you want to control these options, see below.
The Advanced Assignment Screen
Instead of clicking Assign Homework, choose Advanced settings
for homework assignment.
You are then given a screen with the following options in addition to
the basic options described Above. All choices
are initially set to their defaults.
Points per Question (default: 3)
and Negative Points per Question (default: 1),
These allow you to score homeworks as you wish. For example, you may
not wish to deduct for wrong answers; if so set Negative Points to
0. Or, you may wish to award 10 points per correct answer, by setting
Positive Points to 10.
Question Randomization Type: The choices are:
- No Randomization: Every student gets an identical
homework. If root questions are used, the selection of right and
wrong answers occurs once (and the selection of the
choices is random, so there really is some randomization going on, even
though the specification is "No Randomization").
and the order of the choices is fixed.
- Display Randomization: The homework is fixed, but
different students get the set of questions in different orders, and the
same choices will appear in different orders for different
- Choice Randomization: The questions appear in fixed
order. However, the order of choices is random, and if the question is
a root question, the choices themselves are selected at random.
- Full Randomization: (default) We recommend this choice for taking
advantage of root questions in homeworks.
Here, each time a student accesses
the homework, root questions are presented with one random correct
answer and randomly chosen distractors.
The questions and their choices of
answer are presented in random order.
Randomization Seed: Pick an integer to start whatever
randomization process you have chosen. The default, 1234, is usually fine.
Number of Attempts Allowed: Choose how many times a student may
try the homework. The choices are Unlimited (default), 1, 2, 3,
5, and 10.
We recommend Unlimited for
homework and 1 for exams.
Time Between Attempts:
One of the first things we noticed was that some students treated the
a challenge to get the correct answers without understanding the
If you think about it, a statistical analysis will almost surely allow
you to identify correct answers, if you see random presentations of the
homework enough times. To discourage such behavior, we allow them
to open a homework only once per 10 minutes. You have the option to
block the reopening of a homework for any number of minutes that you
Student Feedback after Submission:
There are six options, which control what the student sees when they
submit a homework. Each option includes all the information from the
options above it on this list.
No Feedback: Students are not even told their score.
Score: Students are told their score, but not which questions were
right and which were wrong.
Individual Question Grades: Students see which questions they got
right and wrong, but not the correct answer for those they got wrong.
Choice Explanation (default):
the choice explanation associated with their
answer, if there is one. Otherwise, they are just told whether their answer is
Question Explanation: In addition, to choice explanations,
students see the complete solution to the problem. It is important that
they not see this solution if they are allowed to resubmit work. It may
even be risky to reveal the solution to one student if others are
allowed to submit work later.
Answer Key: Students see not only the choice and question
explanations, but the correct answer.
Student Feedback after Due Date: You have the same six options as for
Submission. This selection determines what students will see after the
due date and time for the homework. We recommend going all the way with
Answer Key, which is the default.
Include in Score Reports:
When you examine grades for this homework, you can arrange to see only
the most recent, the average, or the maximum of scores obtained by a
After making your selections in all the above categories, click
Assign Homework, and you are done.
Possibly, as a homework is being done by your class, a bug will be
If the problem is that a question needs to be reworded or its answer
choices changed, use the question-editing procedure that was described
Note that the change will appear in your homework immediately; you do
not have to manage the homework in any way.
However, if the homework itself needs to be changed, say by adding or
deleting entire questions, a different procedure, outlined below, must
In the menu at the left, select Homeworks -> Find/Assign
Set the Search Scope to Homeworks Already Assigned and fill
out any other search criteria you wish. Then click Search.
Next to the homework you wish to change, click either Homework Details,
Update Assignment, or Unassign.
If you choose Homework Details, you get the same screen that was discussed
Here; this screen lets you edit your
assignment in the usual way. Students will see the altered assignment
whenever they open it henceforth. Students who have a downloaded copy
of the homework (i.e., they opened the homework but have not yet
submitted it) will still see the old version, however.
If you choose Update Assignment, then you get the advanced
assignment screen that was discussed Here.
Unassign has the obvious effect.
Currently, there are labs based on SQL and XQuery; Java labs are being deployed
SQL labs give the student a database schema, against which some SQL
queries must be written; XQuery labs do the analogous thing in that
language. Java labs give students some description of a problem and ask
them to write several methods needed to solve the problem.
In a properly designed lab, when the student
makes a mistake that is semantic (rather than a syntax error), they are
given an example database and shown both what their query did, and what
it should have done. In unusual cases, the sample database will fail to
exhibit their error. But if the lab designer is careful, that situation
will occur rarely, unless the student is trying purposely to fool the
system. Rather, in the normal situation, the student gets
valuable help from the Gradiance system when they make a semantic error.
We assign a lab
to a class as we did homeworks
Begin from the left menu with Lab Projects
-> Find/Assign Lab Projects.
Fill out the search form as for a homework, and click
Find Lab Projects. You are presented with the available labs, and you
may click Assign for the one you want. As with homeworks, it is
possible to click Details first to check out what it is you are
When you assign, you are given a screen with parameters, analogous to
the basic screen for assigning homeworks. Labs do not require us to
manage root questions, so the choices are simple, and there is no
"advanced assignment screen."
The only things you need to concern
yourself with are:
The group being assigned.
The title, if you wish the students to see another title.
The open and close dates for the assignment.
The number of points per question.
Whether the instructor gets to see the most recent, maximum, or average
Note that students always get to take a lab as many times as they wish.
Managing Your Class
There are several tasks you will want to perform occasionally, as you
teach your class. In this section, we shall cover getting grade
reports, forcing an adjustment in the score a student gets for an
assignment, and sharing your instructor responsibilities with TA's.
Start at the left menu, Reports. You will see three choices,
so you can choose whether you want a report for the entire course (all
students, all assignments), just the report for one assignment (all
students), or just the report for one student (all assignments).
If you pick Class Score Report, you get a two-dimensional table
with columns for assignments and rows for students. You can download
this table as an Excel spreadsheet, by choosing Save as .csv File
for Excel below the table.
If you choose Assignment Score Reports, then you get a screen that
lets you choose the assignment, and you get a table of students, with
the same option to save that table as an Excel file. Similarly, if you
choose Student Score Reports, you are enabled to select one
student from your class and get a list of their grades in all
Appointing a TA
From the left menu, pick Class Administration ->
Setup TA. Enter the Gradiance ID (login name)
of your TA (who must therefore have a
Gradiance account, even if they are not taking any classes that use
Gradiance or teaching any). Clicking Add TA will give them powers
equivalent to your own in managing your class.
Note: If you are using
you should ask your TA's to create accounts, and then ask firstname.lastname@example.org
to make them instructors, so they do not have to pay.
If you are using
you will need to get additional instructor codes from the Prentice-Hall or
Addision-Wesley sales representative. An alternative that works for either site
is to share an account with your TA's.
Also note: We do not allow a person who is enrolled in your class
to be a TA for that class. The reason is to protect against a situation
where a person can edit their own grades. Remember that one of the
powers of an instructor is to change grades, as described below.
Occasionally, you may want to override the Gradiance stored grade for a
student. You can make the grade be anything you wish by the following
sequence of steps. From the left menu, do Class Administration
-> Adjust Student Score. On the screen that results,
The student's Gradiance ID,
The number of the submission whose grade you want to change. This
information can be found by the student on the submission itself.
The new score desired.
Click Update Score, and you are done.
Becoming a Gradiance Instructor or Author
The process is different, depending on whether you are purchasing services
from Pearson (Prentice-Hall or Addison-Wesley). or you are using services
supported directly by Gradiance. If you are in North America and want to
use services that Pearson sells (currently databases and compilers, with
automata and Java expected by May and operating systems shortly after that,
then you can only buy the service from them.
Obtaining Pearson Services
For database services, you should contact your
Prentice-Hall sales representative or go to
for more information and a guide to locating your representative.
For compiler services, you should contact your Addison-Wesley representative
or go to www.aw-bc.com/dragonbook.
You can also email email@example.com, and we can get you started
on this process.
All these services are associated with PH or AW books, and students can
either buy the service only, or get a discounted book/service package.
Obtaining Other Gradiance Services
If you would like to use the Gradiance service for any other purpose,
including beta-testing our new products, or using
services from outside North America, you should do the following:
Create your account, which initially will only have
student privileges, at
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and introduce yourself.
We need to know your school and what subject you are teaching.
We'll discuss what, if any, payment is appropriate, and if there is a payment,
whether it will be a lump sum, or charged to students as they register for
We will then upgrade your account and send you email confirming that you have
instructor access to the site.
Create a class associated with a book in the area of your choice. You need not
use the book in your class.
If we have agreed on a fee lower than $20/student, or on a lump-sum payment,
email us again to tell us your class has been created. We'll set the fee as
agreed and confirm by email.
The Instructor Home Page
When an instructor logs in, they get a screen with a left menu that covers
basic account-management functions, and a body that allows the
instructor to access their class or classes. In the left menu you will
Home Page: You can always get back to this screen by clicking
Update Password: An option handled in a standard way.
Update Account: we should have your first and last names, and a
current email address. Please enter them here if they are not already
Log Out: The effect should be obvious.
In the body of the page you will see a "class portfolio." You should
find listed there all classes you have created. Clicking on one of them
will send you to the home page for that class, with all the features for
managing questions, assignments, and students that are described in this
You also will see at the bottom of the page a way to register for
classes. Registering for a class is what students do; instructors need
to create classes as described in the next section. All Gradiance
users, including instructors, have the ability to register for classes,
since it is possible that a person will be an instructor in one class
and a student in another.
Creating a New Class
You also have the power to create a new class. Click Set up a new
class. You get a screen that allows you to describe the class. The
things we need are:
A Class Code, typically your university's designation, e.g.,
A Class Name, typically the title of the course, e.g.,
"Introduction to Database Systems."
Open and Close Dates for the class. Presumably you will use the
current date to open the class. Please do not keep classes open much
beyond the time they will be needed, perhaps a month after the grades
for the class will be submitted to your registrar. Since we may need to
delete records after the close date, you should preserve copies of any
grade sheets you might need in cases of dispute regarding grades that
could arise after your class closes. Incidentally, questions you create
will still be available to you if you teach another class later.
Click Set Up Class Site, and the new class will be entered into
our system. The response screen includes a Class Token. This
token is very important; it is what students in your class need to give
when they log into Gradiance and ask to be placed in your class. The
purpose of this token is to protect you against a situation where random
people try to get into a class without your permission. You should not,
e.g., post it on the Internet, where random people can obtain it. Best
is to announce it in class, or put it on a passworded site, if you have
How Students Sign Up for Your Class
Tell your students to go to the same URL that you used to create your
However, for the /pearson classes, they will first need to register
or purchase the service at the PH or AW site mentioned
Then they register for your class, using the
Class Token mentioned above.
There is a Student Guide that explains the
process for students.
When a student logs in, they are given a screen that looks very much
like the instructor's screen. The left menu contains the same options
described Above. At the bottom is a place
where they can sign up for your class by entering the Class Token
they get from you. There is no limit on the number of students who can
use this token.
At the top of the student's page is a list of classes for which they have
enrolled (provided the Class Token). Students can enter any of
these classes, just as instructors can, although the student is given a
student screen with appropriate options.