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The Time Sucker

I’ve been spending a lot of time the last two months on a little non-public website.  It’s no secret – it’s just that by design it has about 35 users and is not open to the public.  It started off simple – a place some kids could access online some photos Spinner uses as writing prompts for his class.

Then it expanded into a way for them to submit their related writing assignments online.

In the current iteration the class can get an assignment with text and related media online, and complete and return their assignments online.  Students get teacher feedback as soon as it’s entered.  True/False, multiple choice, fill in the blank, open-ended essays – it’s all there for the teacher to use, including some automated scoring.  Cross-indexing lets the teacher look at a student’s entire semester work at once to get a feel for progress or issues, and share that with the parents.  It even sends the parents e-mail copies of their kid’s work if they want.

Why?  It saves trees. Teaches kids computer skills for the real world, while incorporating content not able to be shown in text-based ditto copies. Lets a certain school district off the hook with their draconian photocopy restrictions. My husband spends less time carting stacks of paper around, and so has more time for Diego (and possibly me-me-me-me-me).

And it did keep me busy while other business was slow this summer and pumped up my php and mySql skills a notch or two.

But this week a silly little plugin and a developer’s gratuitous use of javascript(s) are pushing me to get out a chainsaw and pulp an entire forest into xerox paper for him just so the headache will go away.  I’m sure the feeling will go away after a short nap and some puppy licks, and I will get this update done and published, but I just needed to share.

Chuck posted this on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at  1:18 pm.   4 comments have been made. Join them. 

4 Responses to “The Time Sucker”

  1. Chuck says:

    Nap and puppy licks resulted in a decision for baby-stepping around the issue. Going forward with what’s working, and putting the other elements aside for the moment. It’s still a big step forward and I’m very proud of what I’ve done on this thing since June, even if it’s not yet just the way I want it to be.

  2. spinnerdude says:

    I appreciate it very much!

  3. Joe Crawford says:

    Chuck, your struggle with JavaScript UI components sounds up my alley. Let me know and I’d be glad to help out.

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