I was really looking forward to many of the promised and discussed features of the new gradebook. I used the 1.6 Gradebook all last year and, though it had some serious limitations from my perspective, it was intuitive enough to set up and use that I learned to live with its limitations for the convenience of automatic entry of grades after assignment evaluation.
I am speaking from the perspective of a K-12 teacher who regularly needs to print out notices for students of late work, attendence records, and student centered summaries of all grades for a semester organized by category for the purpose of sharing with parents at conferences or using as a reference for twice yearly narrative comments.
None of these features are offered--so far as I can tell--on 1.9.
But I could have lived without them if only I could have found a single page to set up the parameters and preferences for the overall gradebook at the course level. Instead of offering me a centralized interface, 1.9 has dispersed all these features over several pages and has not offered a clear, coherent, intuitive interface that "amateur" Moodle users could use easily and without repeated explanations and troubleshooting.
I know that if I find a Moodle feature confusing, then there is NO WAY my technophobic colleagues will persevere.
So--to those of you who are involved with designing the Gradebook for Moodle, I suggest you take a serious look at engrade or Gradekeeper to see how a teacher-friendly interface is constructed and how a spreadsheet can be made easy for ordinary users to grasp and work with.
I encourage you to persist. The advantages of having a dedicated, integrated gradebook with Moodle are great.
I just wish this one really worked.
Shaker Hts OH
Thanks for the links to engrade and gradekeeper. They look like they could be useful (providing they don't have any software patents!)
I think pretty much everyone agrees we can improve the interfaces in the gradebook.
What 1.9 brought was a really good structural foundation (all the modules report their grades consistently, and all the interfaces are now plugins so any developer can create new interfaces) plus some initial interfaces that make all the requested features *possible* for almost any educational sector.
Creating intuitive user interfaces is really hard work, much harder than it looks.
The job of the user community now is to help the developers improve the default user interfaces by coming up with some consensus on the changes that are required. Helen and Nicolas are already engaged with collecting and studying feedback about the Gradebook for Moodle 2.0 (see this discussion) to try and formulate a Gradebook roadmap, so please help with specific suggestions and voting on your favourite issues in the tracker.
Currently popular Gradebook issues
From one David to another...
Interestingly enough, I switched in the opposite direction back in April of this year . I tried engrade on the recommendation of a couple of my colleagues. It had lots of good points and they upgrade their service quickly, but ironically enough, the difficulties with printing out reliably and easily (back then) combined with the inability to customise and the ubiquitous advertising were my reasons for switching to Moodle.
I'm still a Moodle novice and probably too inexperienced to make valid comparisons between the gradebook in Moodle 1.8.4 and 1.9.2 (I've just recently upgraded). I am also finding the learning curve for the new gradebook pretty steep and I haven't even gotten around to reading about gradebook publishing in Moodle. However, some of the gradebook tutorials I've seen and recent postings from the forums I subscribe to have been really helpful. I'm hopeful the growing pains are only short term and the gains will ultimately be considerable.
Despite all the shared temporary pain, I'm still optimistic and betting that Moodle will ultimately prove itself the superior choice.
Dave (an ex-engrade user).
I've taken the time to figure out the aggregation methods and other new features, but full-time professors who are not so tech-savy just don't have the time to figure it out. As someone who provides tech-support to them, because they now have so many controls, drop downs, and radio buttons, it really ends up, instead of providing options, provides more ways to mess up there grading process. It would be nice to bury these somewhere in an advanced settings and revert to a simpler interface.