Showing posts with label Engrade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Engrade. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Tricky Thing About Free Gradebooks - And Two Alternatives to Engrade

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who was looking for an alternative to Engrade. Engrade is a gradebook tool that has been free to teachers for a long time, but starting in September Engrade will no longer have a free option. I do have a couple of suggestions for free alternatives to Engrade. Those are Otus and EasyClass. Google Classroom also has a simple gradebook available to teachers.

My recommendation of Otus and EasyClass come with the caveat that you should make a gradebook selection in conjunction with your school's IT director so that you're both on the same page in terms of tech support and compliance with local student data security regulations. And if your school has an LMS that they want you to use, you should use that instead of venturing out to use a different system on your own.

Otus is designed to be a complete LMS (learning management system) for teachers. In addition to the gradebook you have options for sharing assignments and delivering quizzes directly to your students' inboxes. Otus provides teachers with a library of instructional resources (videos, texts, interactive review activities) that they can share with their students. Third-party resource providers are integrated into the Otus LMS. A couple of notable third party applications are Khan Academy and OpenEd. OpenEd offers thousands of math and language arts practice assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Otus is free for individual teachers to use. Otus can also be purchased for district-wide implementation which includes additional reporting tools for administrators.

EasyClass is also intended to be a complete LMS for teachers. On Easyclass you can host classroom discussions, post assignments, post resources for students, and deliver online quizzes to your students. Easyclass discussions and assignments allow you to post notes to the whole class. Assignment notes include due dates. Discussion notes don't include due dates. Both types of notes can include file attachments and links. Through the quizzes option in Easyclass, you can create multiple choice, true/ false, or essay quizzes. Pictures can be included with your quiz questions. You can make instant feedback available to students at the end of the quiz (except for essay questions). Quiz scores can be sent directly to your Easyclass gradebook.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Engrade Disappears at a Crucial Time for Teachers

Throughout the week I have been receiving emails and blog comments about problems with Engrade. Earlier this week there were times when Engrade was exceptionally slow and some users reported not being able to access their accounts at all. As of Thursday at 11am EST I was still able to access my account. This morning I awoke to blog comments and emails asking me if I knew what happened to Engrade. The entire Engrade website is down, there is not even a "fail" message or a status page from Engrade. As of 12:10pm EST I have not heard anything from Engrade regarding the problems they are experiencing.

For teachers who have their grades on Engrade and no where else the failure of Engrade is a huge problem. In many school districts around the country today is the end of the first marking period. I feel awful for those of you that use Engrade. If you started using Engrade after I wrote my review of it August I feel partly responsible for your situation. I do try to avoid reviewing services that I think are not going to be viable in the long-run. I never suspected Engrade of being a service that would disappear almost overnight.

This problem with Engrade is an example of why some school districts prefer to host their own student management systems rather than rely on others. That said, two years ago my school district's servers crashed and took grades with them. The grades were recovered eventually, but it was iffy for a few days. Since then I have printed my grade reports every time I update my grade book.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Free Student Management Tool - Engrade

Many schools are moving to student management systems that allow parents and students to view their grades and upcoming assignments online. These systems are generally expensive and time consuming to install and maintain, therefore there are still a lot of schools that don't have student management systems allowing parent and student access. For teachers working in school districts that don't have a student management system that parents and students can view online there are some free web-based options available to you. One of these options is Engrade.

Engrade is a very streamlined, easy-to-use, student management system. A teacher can establish a grade book and an attendance register in a matter of minutes on Engrade. The user interface is very intuitive, perhaps the most intuitive grade book interface that I've seen on any student management system. Students and their parents can view current grades, future due dates, and student attendance records. The only shortcoming of the Engrade service is that teachers have to manually input an identification number for each student. Students need a unique identification number in order to login to their accounts.

Click here to view the Engrade demonstration video.