SCS Undergraduate Thesis Topics

2003-2004
Student Advisor(s) Thesis Topic
Mike Maxim Bill Scherlis FrontDesk: An Enterprise Class Web-based Software System for Programming Assignment Submission, Feedback Dissemination, and Grading Automation

The process of receiving a student submission and coordinating a course-wide assessment of user submissions is not a difficult conceptual problem. Many ad hoc solutions are implemented in a variety of courses which attempt to implement the process through various, disparate techniques. However, the process becomes much more difficult to manage when the goals of providing a common interface, rich user feedback, multiple submissions methods, section and submission group management, and distributed objective testing are considered worthwhile. In order to implement a system that meets these requirements, enterprise development practices and tools must be employed. FrontDesk is a Microsoft ASP.NET based Web application that attempts to improve communication and understanding between students and course staff through a rich submission and grading common environment.

The focus of this paper is a more detailed, case-study style description of the problem domain and what we believe to be the best ways to solve each facet of the larger problem. In addition, we provide justification for each feature in FrontDesk and its benefit to both course staff and students. We will explore how Microsoft .NET distributed application technology applies to our specific area of development. Specifically, we will describe the enterprise architecture of the system and how certain attributes of the problem domain influence specific design decisions. Lastly, we will explore how the final solution solves the basic requirements of the robust submission and grading environment discussed in the beginning of the paper through analysis and user feedback.


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