[plt-scheme] Commenting code for teaching

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Jan 17 14:29:56 EST 2008

Eli and Matthew and a bunch of others have evolved the hand-in server  
to the point where my graders add some annotations to the grading  
file, say,

  <score: +1>
  <template>Use your index card, Luke</template>

and then they return it electronically to students. Style files and  
some other background magic turn the comments and scoring edits "red"  
and the code shows up in blue or black.

I like Matt's suggestion for svn. I have used it in upper-level  
courses. I'd really love to see a combination of the two.

-- Matthias

On Jan 17, 2008, at 1:18 PM, Matt Jadud wrote:

> On Jan 17, 2008 1:06 PM, Ivanyi Peter <pivanyi at freemail.hu> wrote:
>>  on their written code. I am looking for a tool or a way to do  
>> this. I could use normal comments,
>>  but I imagine something more sophisticated, something like a  
>> transparent layer on top of
>>  the code.
>>  Does anybody know a tool like this?
>>  Any idea?
> Hi Peter,
> I once experimented with converting code to PDF, and then using some
> kind of PDF editing tool to mark up the code that way. I even
> experimented with hand-written comments using a tablet. Ultimately, I
> found the tools to be awkward at best.
> This last semester, I had required all of my students to use
> Subversion for their work as a part of the course. This actually had
> many benefits that I hadn't anticipated; ease of grading/comments was
> one of them. My process typically looked like:
> 1. Do an 'svn up' in every repository. This was accomplished by a
> one-liner on the bash prompt.
> 2. In each directory, open all the files from a given assignment.
> 3. Because the students were required to write tests for every
> function they wrote (an extension of the "Examples" part of HtDP), I
> generally just executed each file.
> 4. I read their tests, and where I felt the tests were light, I  
> read the code.
> 5. I used standard block comments with a standard header (highly
> visible) to add notes to their programs.
> 6. I did an 'svn st' to get a list of files I changed.
> 7. Wrote each student with a list of the files that changed.
> Upon hindsight, I could have scripted steps 6 and 7, since their
> repositories were named for the first half of email addresses.
> Anything I didn't like, students were welcome to revise. As a result,
> I graded homeworks harshly, and they had to engage in a revision
> process to improve their tests and code. As this was the first time I
> had run a course this way, I think there are a number of things that
> need revision---but that will come with time.
> I don't know if that helps you much. But that's how I've handled this
> question, at least most recently.
> Cheers,
> Matt
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