Instructional Design Spotlight – 2019

HMC CS 70 Data Structures and Program Development – Julie Medero & Lucas Bang

Gradescope Integration with other tools

The ARCS team helped faculty from the Department of Computer Science create a seamless learning experience for students in CS70. Most assignments in this course required coding and the autograder in Gradescope turned out to be very useful for grading those coding assignments.

Gradescope was integrated with Sakai, the learning management system (LMS) used for this course. We integrated Gradescope with our authentication system so that faculty and students didn’t have to create separate accounts on Gradescope and simply used their Harvey Mudd accounts for logging in. Gradescope automatically syncs the roster and gradebook with the LMS. Faculty and students could also easily access Gradescope from within the LMS.

This course used C++ which has many compilers and it often happens that the code that works on one computer might not work on another. For this purpose, we used the Docker tool to provide a pre-configured computing environment that is the same for all students. Gradescope itself uses Docker for running its autograder so it is easier to match the two Docker images.

Github was used to keep track of the changes made by each student in the team and to share the code files within the team. Gradescope lets students submit their coding assignments directly from Github so that the professors could also check the revision history to see the changes made by each student in the team during the course of the project.

CS70 Student Workflow

Students first got their assignments from the Github classroom. They worked on it by running their code on Docker, saving it on Github. Then again pulled it from Github to make changes by running on Docker and saving it back on Github. This cycle took place several times by the students in the team as each one of them worked on different parts of the code and saved and shared it with the teammates. Finally, students submitted their assignments on Gradescope using their Github account. They could check their final grades on Sakai.

The course design was presented by the ARCS team at the Educause ELI 2020 Conference titled, “Innovate Grading with Gradescope: Faculty Attitudes and Implementation”.

If you have any questions or comments about this course project, please contact Yi Luo at