Introducing Jessica Kaufman:
“I teach introductory programming to 8th and 9th graders (ages 13-15) and have been a teacher at Harvard-Westlake for more than twenty-five years. When I first began in ‘93, I taught Pascal, starting ‘98 I switched to C++, and starting ‘02 I switched to Java, which is what I still teach now. These days, I teach about a 100 students each semester, many of whom will continue studying computer science at the upper school and beyond.”
What did your course look like before CodeGrade?
“Before CodeGrade, I posted course materials on Canvas and used their Speedgrader to manually grade students’ programs based on completion. With each student completing one to six programs each lesson, grading was time consuming.”
What were challenges and/or frustrations?
“Some challenges were that I could only eyeball students’ code in a cursory manner while circulating around the classroom or using Speedgrader. I had wanted to use an autograder but was concerned it would be difficult to set up. In the midst of the pandemic, I decided to search for an autograder. I wanted to improve my students’ learning and make sure misconceptions are brought to the surface early on. As I browsed through Canvas’ External Apps, I came upon CodeGrade.”
What was your experience with CodeGrade?
“My experience with CodeGrade has been fantastic. It was a winner from the start and among a dozen autograders I tried out. I like that their software is continually evolving and able to meet the needs of an ever changing curriculum. CodeGrade assists me in grading all types of programs in real time. It’s as if I have a team of graders working for me. The quick feedback on correctness and style encourages my students to turn in well-written programs.”
“I’m also able to identify students who need support sooner. Java, which is what I currently teach, is just one of many programming languages supported by CodeGrade. Learning to use CodeGrade has also helped me grow professionally. I have learned regex and unit testing, for instance. When I email questions to CodeGrade in the evening, they will typically have already replied back by the time I wake up the next morning.”