Archive for category Apps

7 Reasons to Grade Using a Rubric

With the release of the new version of our Grade Rubric app, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about why rubrics a such good idea. Here are seven reasons to grade using rubrics..

  1. It Keeps You Consistent
    It’s very easy to let irrelevant factors influence your grading over a long grading session, or if you’re just having a bad day. Breaking an assignment down into categories in a rubric helps keep you consistent and fair.
  2. Better Feedback for Students
    I remember receiving grades from professors with comments in the margins, but then having no idea which comment factored heavily into my overall grade. A rubric makes it very clear to the student what they need to work on.
  3. Distance Margin Comments from the Grade
    It’s not uncommon for students to think that they received a poor grade because the professor disagreed with them. I teach philosophy. It’s very argumentative discipline, and I like to engage my students in the margin comments. However, I don’t want them to think that they are being downgraded because I’ve written an argument against their position in the comments. With a rubric system, I can let my students know that any comments that engage their position are irrelevant to the grade, and since I given them a graded rubric – they can see that they were not downgraded for disagreement.  

  4. Receive Better Work
    If your students know what you’re looking for (from a rubric that you give them), then they’ll have more to think about when they work on an assignment. And you are likely to get better work from them.
  5. Eliminates Apparent Subjectivity
    A lot of students think that writing papers is a very subjective thing, especially in my field (philosophy). But take a look at the rubric I use for my short philosophy paper assignment. I ask them to present an argument, present it in numbered-premise form, define technical terms, present reasons for each premise, present a possible objection, and present a response. Notice that all of these are things that you can objectively fail to do.
  6. Makes the Post-Grade Conversations Easier
    You will always have students come to complain about grades, but when I started using rubrics – I noticed two things. First, I had fewer of those complaints. The reason for this is that students most likely get better feedback from a rubric. They know exactly why you took off the points you did. The second thing I noticed is that when students do come to talk about their grade, you have more information to go on. You can look at the rubric and you quickly get a snap shot of what they need to work on, and you’ll be in a much better position to defend your decision and advise your students so that they can do better on future assignments.
  7. It’s Quick!
    You’ll like save tons of time. Especially if you use Grade Rubric app that calculates the grade for you (take the hint).

If you grade using rubrics, or would like to give it a try – you should download our free Grade Rubric app. Our app makes rubric grading, even better. You can create and store Rubrics for all of your assignments or assessments, and use them over and over again. The app will automatically crunch the numbers (or letters) for you and calculate the final grade. The app will also auto-generate and email a grade report to your students.

Download Grade Rubric today!

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Grade Rubric Overview (VIDEO)

This video gives a brief overview of Grade Rubric. It shows you just how simple it is to create and save rubrics for exams, papers, or any other kind of assessment. These can be saved on your phone and used over and over again.

You can find out more about Grade Rubric here. Download it today. It’s free!

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Grade Rubric – Major Update Released!

We have released our major update of Grade Rubric. As we noted before it has tons of cool new features.
Grade Rubric

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  1. Customize the Number of Rubric Items
    Now you’ll be able to create Rubrics and create as many rubric categories that you want
  2. Assign a different weight to each Rubric Item
    Users were asking for a way to weight certain rubric categories so that they were worth more. Now you will be able to do that.
  3. Save multiple custom rubrics
    Now you’ll be able to create as many different rubrics as you want and keep them saved. If you have different rubrics for your quizzes, exams, and papers – now you’ll be able to have them all saved at the same time.
  4. Slider bar for Numeric Rubrics
    We’re getting rid of radio buttons for numeric rubrics and introducing a sliding scale. So if you have a rubric category that has a high maximum number, you’ll be able to use it with our app.

Also the free version is now a fully functioning version. It does everything the paid version does; it’s just ad supported. Grading according to rubrics is a remarkable time saver. It is also a great grading method because it keeps you fair and consistent, and it gives students great, detailed feedback.

Also, don’t forget. With Grade Rubric you can set the app up to generate a grade report for your student and email it to them.

Here’s some eye candy!

Download Grade Rubric Today!


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Gradebook Update – Quick Grade Entry Options

We just updated Gradebook for Professors. The really exciting new feature is that you can now set a “default” grade entry method that includes a Quick Alpha option and a Quick Numeric Option.

If you have the “Quick Alpha” option selected, whenever you tap on an option that allows you to enter a grade, it will bring up a dialogue box that let’s you easily select A-F (and any plus/minus variant). Tap the grade and it submits it and brings you back.

What this means: Massively quicker grading sessions!!!


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New Instructional Video of Grade Book for Professors

We just put together a cleaner, instructional video for our new version of Grade Book for Professors. This short video will walk you through setting up the app and quickly demo some of the core (awesome) features. Check it out, and when you realize it’s awesome click here for information about how to get the app. Did we mention it’s free?

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Demo Video of Grade Book for Professors (at Digital Day Conference)

We added some very cool features to our Grade Book for Professors app. We also released it for free. We unveiled everything at the Digital Day Conference at Canisius College.

Here we are demonstrating at that conference demonstrating the app! Check it out!

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Attendance App (Video Demo)

We just put together this quick demo of our free Attendance App. Check it out!

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Two Exciting Things Coming to Gradebook

GradebookWe just wanted to let everyone know that two very exciting things are in the works for our Gradebook application.

Major Overhaul
First we’ve been working on a major overhaul incorporating many of your helpful suggestions. Setup is going to be drastically simpler. Entering grades is going to be even faster. We’ll announce a comprehensive list of new features in the very near future.

Free Version
We LOVE free software. You’ll note three of our four apps are free. We’ve decided that Gradebook should be free too. When we release the overhaul, we’ll release a free version too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider buying the paid version now. The free version will be ad supported, and once we release it – the paid version will go up in price.

Stay tuned for more information about the major update to Gradebook. We promise it will blow you away.

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Grade Book for Professors v3.0


  • FEATURE: New grading method “Quick Grade – Alpha”. Selecting this method will bring up a grid of buttons (A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc.). Selecting a button will submit the grade.
  • FEATURE: New grading method “Quick Grade – Numeric”. Selecting this method will bring up a grid of buttons with values 1-10. Selecting one of those buttons will submit the grade. If you need a number higher than 10, select the “>10” button. This will bring up a new Dialog box, which will allow you to enter in any numeric value.
  • FEATURE: Default Grading Method. On the “Classes” screen or on the “Course List” screen,  press the physical menu key on your phone and select settings. Check the box that says “Use default grading method”, and select the method you would like to use.


Attendance Instruction Manual

NEW: Check out our demo video

Getting Started

Using the Attendance App

Setting up your attendance sheet on Google Spreadsheets

  1. Navigate to and sign in with your gmail account (or create a new account)
  2. On the main screen, in the upper left-hand corner, click the “New” button and select “Spreadsheet”
  3. Columns A and B are reserved for student names. You may use one name column, or two separate columns for first and last name.

Column C is reserved for the total number of absences for each student. Column D is reserved for the total number of tardies for each student. Every other column after D contains the dates that students were absent or late.

Here is an example spreadsheet:

Adding an attendance sheet

To add an attendance sheet, navigate to the main screen (the screen with the title, “Classes”). Press the physical menu key on your phone, and select “Add Class”. This will bring up the Add Class Wizard.

The first screen gives you a brief explanation of the wizard. The next screen asks you for three settings:

  1. The name of your Google Spreadsheet. This is case sensitive! (“Phil 101” is not the same as “PHIL 101”).
  2. Your Google username.
  3. Your Google password. (Note: all saved passwords are encrypted before saving.)

The next screen asks you for a display name for the attendance sheet. This is how the attendance sheet is displayed in the app. It can be anything you want (i.e. “PHIL 101-02 Spring ’11”, “Introduction to History”, etc.).

The final screen asks for some basic information about your spreadsheet. If you use one name column, make sure the button at the top says “Just one column”, and select which column this is under “first name column”.

If you use two name columns, click the button at the top so that it is enabled and says “Two separate columns”. Next select which column contains the first names, and which column contains the last names.

Finally, select which row contains the first student name.

The first time an attendance sheet is saved, the app will save the absent/late formulas in columns C and D. ALL DATA IN COLUMNS C AND D WILL BE ERASED.

Understanding the attendance data

Here is how data is stored in your spreadsheet:

  • Columns A and B are reserved for student names. You can use either one column, or both columns.
  • Column C contains the total number of times a student was marked absent.
  • Column D contains the total number of times a student was marked late.
  • Any column after column D contains the date that a student was marked absent/late.
    • When a student is marked absent, the app simply saves the date to the spreadsheet. (i.e. “9/25/2010”).
    • When a student is marked late, the app will save the word “LATE” followed by the date (i.e. “LATE-9/25/2010”).

Marking students absent/late and submitting results

On the main screen (the screen with “Classes” as the header), select the class you would to take attendance for. Selecting a class will first sign you in to your Google account, and will then pull in a list of student names from your spreadsheet.

Once the list loads, you will see that each student is marked as “Present” by default. Tapping a student’s name cycles through three attendance settings: “Present”, “Absent”, and “Late”.

After you have completed your roll call, press the physical menu key on your phone, and select “Submit Results”.

Marking a student late that you previously marked as absent

If you marked a student as absent, but they later come into class, all you need to do is select the class they are in, long press on the student name, and select “Mark last absence as late”.