I can access my grades on my Mac . . . sort of 😦
Back in August I wrote a rant about Gradequick the grading program that our school (and tens of thousands of others) use. The rant basically stemmed from Edline (the company behind Gradequick) not having any support for Mac OSX 10.7 – more commonly known as Lion. They claimed that they did not have time (a hardly believable statement in my opinion) to develop it. They also said that they would have something in place in Decemeber. So, I placed them in my crosshairs and went to town and have been waiting ever since. You can read the rant in its entirety here.
NOTE: If you are using Snow Leopard or Leopard you should be able to use Gradequick Web. This only applies to people who have Lion.
So in early January, Gradequick rolled out some tools so that Mac users who upgraded to Lion can use it. It’s not a terrible solution but it is not good either. It is a start and I hope they develop it a lot quicker than the develop Gradequick updates. To get all the goodness click on past the break to see screen shots and analysis.
So first things first. This is not Gradequick for the Mac. This is access (sort of) to Gradequick Web which is just the program online. The Mac version . . . well it is very weak. In Gradequick you can sort students, look at student information (phone numbers, email addresses, birthdate, etc.). The Mac solution has none of that. On the regular version you can create grading symbols, weight tests and categories, create categories, but on the Mac you cannot. In the real version you can generate reports, send those reports to the server so parents and students can see them, write memos to students and the class on the reports. On the Mac version . . . you guessed it.
In fact on the Mac all you can do is the following:
- Add assignments
- Input / edit grades
This is not a gross over simplification of the power it gives you. So I waited since August for their solution and this is what I get. Let’s not forget that my school pays for the service. It is not Edmodo, Schoology or Edu 2.0 companies that offer free and powerful services for educator. This is a company that charges for its “services”.
So let’s talk about how this works and looks and then compare the real Gradequick Web to the band aid that is the Mac Lion version.
First off, it only works with Safari. If you use Firefox or Chrome, the option simply won’t be there (at least for now). Just like Gradequick web you need to log onto Edline.net in order to access it. Once that is done you will see Tools in the top menu bar. Hover over it and you will be given two choices: Enter Attendance and Enter Grades (both take you to the same place though).
If you clicked on Grades, it will take you here. The layout is nice, clean, simple. I like that-heck I like the layout even better than Gradequick Web. Take it all in everyone. This is all there is. The whole kit and caboodle-no hidden features or menus to dig through. As you can see I can add an assignment (but not a new category) and . . . change grades and . . . well I guess that’s about it.
It is clear that this is not a final product by any means – it will get better (I hope). The question is when will that happen?
Here is an example of how it is not quite finished. When I put an “I” in for an incomplete it works fine. If I type a lower case “i” the program freezes and I need to refresh the browser to get it to work. I am sure there are more problems to come, but these little things add up fast.
Now let’s take a look at a screen shot of a similar class opened in Gradequick.
Look at all them there features! Look at the functionality, the power! Look at the pleasing design . . . well now I’m just being silly. It is a big difference between the two though. While Gradequick web is not the easiest software to use, it is a full-fledged grading program. The Lion alternative is very weak in comparison.
Something very important for me as a teacher is the ability to send grades to Edline where students and parents can access them. The Lion alternative does not offer that. Heck I cannot even send my attendance!
It is hard for me to think that this is the best a company the size of Edline can do in 11 months. That’s when Lion was first seeded to developers . . . you know people who make software . . . people who work for companies like Edline.
While this is a step in the right direction it seems like they are walking to a party that is almost over. I don’t want to give this a rating because it is far too early for that and who knows, maybe in 11 more months I’ll be able to add a category to that new assignment I created and other advanced features.
On another note with their merger to Blackboard in October, who knows what the future of Gradequick will be.