Getting started with CodeGrade in Blackboard

Introduction

CodeGrade is a blended learning application designed especially for programming education. It makes grading and handing in programming exercises more insightful and effective for students and grading more efficient and intuitive for teachers. This is achieved by providing an online environment carefully designed to suit the needs of modern programming education.

CodeGrade offers the solution for the complete grading workflow, by increasing efficiency for teachers and enhancing feedback for students. Programming education made intuitive.

What can CodeGrade do?

CodeGrade improves programming education by providing numerous tools to enhance grading and reviewing code. The most important tool are:

  • A comprehensive Code Viewer with:

    • Inline feedback, making it possible to write feedback on specific parts or lines of code.
    • Rubrics, easy to use and fully integrated in the Code Viewer. Rubrics aid consistency between teachers and help students understand their grade.
    • Automatic linter feedback, feedback of linters is automatically parsed and displayed within the Code Viewer.
  • One click code plagiarism detection using JPlag.

  • CodeGrade Filesystem, enabling teachers to access and assess all submissions locally and do all grading from within your favourite editor without any overhead.

  • Customizability, making it easy to taylor CodeGrade to your course and way of teaching.

  • State of the art automatic grading “CodeGrade AutoTest”, easily create and run autograding scripts within CodeGrade that seamlessly work together with inline feedback and rubrics.

Integration with Blackboard

All functionalities are bundled in one complete environment for programming education, that integrates with Blackboard. We use the LTI protocol to securely communicate and synchronise CodeGrade with Blackboard. Most likely, CodeGrade has already been correctly integrated with Blackboard by your system administrator, please contact us if not.

CodeGrade accounts are automatically created and linked to current Blackboard accounts. CodeGrade can be accessed both from within Blackboard, showing a more narrow version of CodeGrade in a container on Blackboard, or from the CodeGrade standalone website: <your-institution>.codegra.de. There is no difference between these two, and opening the standalone website via Blackboard using the “New tab” button allows you to be automatically logged in.

CodeGrade accounts that are automatically created and linked from within Blackboard will not have a password, and are only accessible by the shared session with Blackboard.

To use the CodeGrade Filesystem, you need to set up a password for your CodeGrade account.

Warning

Always use a different password than the password you use to log into Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle or Brightspace.

  1. Navigate to the profile () page.
  2. Make sure the email is correct under User info. If this is not the case, change your email address in Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle or Brightspace.
  3. Next to Current Password press the icon.
  4. A dialog will appear. If you changed your email press the here button. Otherwise press the reset password link.
  5. On the reset password page type in your username. If you do not know what that is, this is visible on the profile page.
  6. An email will now be sent to your email address, with a link to set up a new password.

Note

Check your spam filter if an email does not appear after a few minutes.

Blackboard synchronisation

The following data is shared between CodeGrade and Blackboard:

  • Usernames
  • Full names
  • Email addresses
  • Course names
  • Assignment names
  • Assignment state
  • Grades (only passed back from CodeGrade to Blackboard)

Create a CodeGrade assignment in Blackboard

Note

The guide below assumes CodeGrade has been successfully integrated into your Blackboard environment as external LTI app.

Creating a new CodeGrade assignment in Blackboard will correctly add this assignment to the corresponding course in CodeGrade, a new course will automatically be created in CodeGrade if it doesn’t exist. Follow the steps below to create a new CodeGrade assignment in Blackboard:

  1. Hover over “Build Content”.
  2. Under “Create”, select “CodeGrade”.
  3. Add a name and optionally a description for your assignment.
  4. Set “Points Possible” to something greater than 0, e.g. 10.
  5. Do not set a due date.
  6. Click “Submit” to create the assignment.
  7. Click on the newly created assignment and CodeGrade will open.
  8. Click the link in the CodeGrade container to set a deadline/due date within CodeGrade.

Warning

Always set “Points Possible” to a value greater than 0. Never set a Due Date in Blackboard, instead manage the due date inside CodeGrade.

Note

Grades are automatically sent back to Blackboard after setting the assignment state to () Done in CodeGrade. While the assignment is in the () Done state, all grades and changes to grades are immediately sent back to Blackboard.

Note

Students can hand in and review their feedback from within the CodeGrade container in Blackboard.

Setting up your course

After creating your first CodeGrade assignment from within Blackboard, a course will be automatically created in CodeGrade. To manage the course options press “Courses” (), select your course and press the icon. Below is a brief overview of the tabs in course management.

Members

After a user (student, TA or teacher) opens a CodeGrade assignment in Blackboard for the first time in your course, they will automatically be added as a member of the course, CodeGrade will use the role this user has in Blackboard. On this tab, you can change the role of a member if it’s not correct, for example, from Student to TA.

Warning

CodeGrade will automatically use the role the user has in Blackboard. In general, it is not necessary to change roles, only do this if necessary.

Permissions

On this page, you can change the permissions of the roles in the course. For example, you could give your TAs more permissions. Every permission is explained by the icon.

Warning

The default permissions will probably suit your course.

Groups

If you want to use groups, you can create group sets here. A group set can be used by multiple assignments in the same course. CodeGrade does not synchronise groups with Blackboard, so make sure your assignments in Blackboard are individual assignments (no group submission) and manage your groups in CodeGrade. CodeGrade will automatically send back all grades and feedback to all individual group members to Blackboard correctly. Depending on permissions you can allow students to join a group themselves or only allow Teachers or TAs to add students to a group. If you want to change these permissions, you can do so on the permissions page explained above. Click here to learn more about setting up your groups.

Setting up your assignment

By clicking the icon on an assignment you enter the assignment management page. This page allows you to set up groups, run linters, start plagiarism runs, and add or edit the rubric.

General

On the “General” page you can edit several general options. You can also select a group set to use, if you decide to make an assignment a group assignment. Furthermore you can set bonus points.

Warning

Manage the deadline of the assignment in CodeGrade and NOT in Blackboard.

Warning

The name and points possible of the assignment are configured within Blackboard.

Graders

To divide submissions between your teachers and/or TAs, graders can be assigned to individual submissions. This can be done either manually, using the dropdown menus on the submission list page, or randomly using the “Divide Submissions” tool on the “Graders” page on the assignment management page.

Submission divisions can be shared between different assignments of the same course. Connect the submission division with another assignment to use the previously created division. Click here to learn more about dividing submissions

Note

Connecting divisions can be very helpful if you want the same TAs to grade the same students for each assignment.

Linters

On the “Linters” page you can run a linter on all submissions. A linter checks code style. After a run, all errors found by the linter are automatically shown in the Code Viewer on the corresponding line.

Note

If you want to use a linter that is not yet integrated in CodeGrade, let us know at support@codegrade.com, and we’ll make sure to add it to CodeGrade in our next release.

Plagiarism

On the “Plagiarism” page it is possible to start plagiarism runs to detect fraud. Click here to find out more about starting plagiarism runs

Rubric

Rubrics are a scoring guide used by graders, they make grading more consistent and efficient for teachers, and help students understand their grade. Rubrics can be created within CodeGrade and consist of multiple categories. Each category has multiple levels, with a corresponding amount of points. Examples of categories are functionality, code style, documentation, code structure and version control. Examples of levels are unacceptable (0), needs improvement (1), good (2) and excellent (3). CodeGrade will automatically calculate the grade after filling in the rubric, by taking the sum of the points and dividing this by the maximum amount of points. This grade can be overridden. Click here to learn more about setting up rubrics

Note

Rubrics can also be imported from previous assignments.

The Code Viewer

The heart of CodeGrade is the Code Viewer. This enables you to grade and review submissions from within our website and allows students to intuitively see their feedback displayed in their code.

Submissions handed in as archives are automatically extracted and displayed in the file-tree next to the Code Viewer. Of course, multiple individual files can also be uploaded in CodeGrade. The Code Viewer supports over 175 programming languages, Jupyter Notebooks, PDF-files and images.

Inline feedback

The most intuitive way to give feedback on programming assignments is to be able to write comments on specific lines or blocks of code. This is made possible by the inline feedback in the Code Viewer.

Press on any line and start typing your feedback, click the button to save the feedback or press the button to delete.

Note

Pro tip: press Ctrl+Enter to save feedback efficiently.

Snippets

Experience tells us that the same lines of feedback are oftentimes given multiple times to multiple students. We introduced snippets to make grading with inline feedback more efficient. Click the icon when entering line feedback to save the comment as a snippet. This snippet can now be re-used in the future by typing its short name and pressing Tab to autocomplete.

Full management of snippets can be done in the “Profile Page” (), snippets are personal and can be used over multiple assignments and courses.

Note

Course wide snippets are available in CodeGrade too, these can be set up by the teacher of the course on the Course Management page and can be used by all graders of the course.

Rubrics

If an assignment has a rubric (click here to learn more about setting up rubrics), the rubric can be used and filled in from within the Code Viewer. Press the button to display the rubric and select the levels for the submission to generate a grade using the rubric.

Warning

Do not forget to save the filled in rubric after grading! Rubric grades can be manually overwritten.

General feedback

In addition to the new ways of giving feedback in CodeGrade, conventional general feedback can be given too. Press the button to give and save general feedback.

Overview mode

The overview mode can be accessed by clicking or is automatically shown after an assignment’s state is set to “Done” (). The overview mode provides an overview of all line feedback, the general feedback and the teacher revision (see “Filesystem” for more information on the teacher revision). This is especially useful for students.

Code Viewer settings

Like your favourite editor, the Code Viewer provides numerous settings to fit your preferences. Click to change:

  • Whitespace visibility
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code font size
  • Dark/light theme
  • Code context size

Student Experience

Students hand in an assignment on Blackboard via the CodeGrade container after opening the assignment. After handing in, students can browse through their code to check if it is correctly handed in. Before handing in they can click on the “rubric” () button to show the rubric for this assignment. This means students know what is expected of them.

After an assignment is set to “Done” () grades are automatically sent back to Blackboard. Students can then view their feedback inside the CodeGrade container in Blackboard after clicking on their grade or navigating to the assignment.

Note

If an assignment is in the “Done” () state, all new grades or edits are passed back to Blackboard immediately.

After uploading, a student will find an overview of their Code (where they can browse through their handed in files), an overview of their Feedback and optionally an overview of the AutoTest results which can be filled in preliminarily with Continuous Feedback.

Note

We recommend graders to make use of the standalone CodeGrade website, but the CodeGrade container within Blackboard is sufficient for students. It is not possible for students to hand in assignments in the standalone environment.

Contact us and support

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can email us at support@codegrade.com. In addition to questions and bug reports, we always love to get feedback and suggestions on how we can improve CodeGrade to better fit your education.