Grading Java assignments in Batches
If you are an LA for a class where you grade many Java projects, there are ways that you can reduce the time needed to switch between students’ submissions. If you’re grading a lot of similar submissions, saving time can add up and make a difference. One possible workflow is below that you can adapt so it works for you.
This workflow assumes that submissions have known behavior that is well defined. If every submission is unique and requires its own process to grade, then this may not save time.
1) Bulk download assignment submissions
First, go to the assignment you are grading on Canvas. You should see an option to “Download Submissions” in the right-hand navigation menu below the SpeedGrader option.
2) Unpack the submissions
Canvas will gather and then pack all submissions into a ZIP file. After downloading this, unzip the ZIP file that contains each students’ submission. Since students typically submit ZIP files of their programming projects, these also need to be unpacked – be sure to unpack the ZIP files and preserve the name so it still includes the students’ names. We recommend using a program like 7-zip for this. Using 7-zip, we can unpack all ZIPs and preserve filenames at the same time by selecting them all, right clicking, and selecting the context-menu option for “7-Zip –> Extract to “*/””
The parent folder containing all submissions should look something like this once you’re done. We should have a folder for each students’ submission that includes their name and the random numbers that Canvas uses to track separate submissions.
3) Show the file path in NetBeans
In NetBeans, we can enable an option to show the full file path of the currently opened file at the top of the tab. Since downloaded submissions include the students’ name in the file path, this makes it easy to see whose assignment is currently open and being graded.
To change this option, open NetBeans and use the top menu bar to click on “Tools –> Options”.
After the options window opens, navigate to the “Appearance” tab. Near the bottom of all the possible options is a checkbox for “Show full file path”. Make sure the option is enabled.
4) Open the submissions as a group
Now that everything is configured, we can open the submissions in NetBeans. Make sure any currently open projects are closed so NetBeans has no opened projects (this can be done by right-clicking the project in the left-hand project menu and selecting “Close”).
Next, we can open all projects at the same time. Using the menu at the top of NetBeans, select “File –> Project Groups…”
Select “New Group…”. This should open a dialogue box. Change the “name” field to something that makes sense for you such as the assignment name that you’re currently grading. After naming the group, select the option for “Folder of projects” and browse to the parent directory containing the subfolders for each student submission. After selecting the proper folder, finish creating the group by clicking “Create Group”.
5) Grade the submissions
After a short delay, NetBeans should open all submissions which should show up in the left-hand project browser pane. You can now open and grade the assignments. Projects may have the same name, but since we enabled the “Show full file path” option earlier, it shows the file path which includes the student’s name at the top of the central tab.