Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Here's a web startup with a fatal flaw:

This free service allows teachers to manage their classes and students can also see assignments, attendance records, and grades. It’s much more than just a gradebook, in fact. Some of the features it offers: gradebook, attendance book, homework calendar, student reports, and useful things like grading scales and weighted assignment options.

The site does not require downloads or installations; everything is web-based. The only questions might be whether it is entirely secure and private, and this will only be known with time, and also there is the possibility that information could be lost. Also it will be a test of the service to see whether it can handle years’ worth of classes as it gets used more and more.

Security is the big issue here. I can't imagine my university being sanguine about student grades ending up on someone else's servers, no matter how secure and private, unless the university has approved it. – Free online gradebook for teachers -

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Bri said...

Clay, I think you need to do a little more research on this one. Engrade has been in business for 4 years, so it's hardly a start up. Plus, it manages grades for more than 200,000 users and has NEVER had a security problem in its history.

Clay Spinuzzi said...

Thanks for the follow-up, Bri. I overrelied on when writing the post, and I apologize for characterizing Engrade as a startup.

However, the issue of security is still a fatal flaw in terms of university policy. This issue was recently reemphasized to me by our VP of Information Technology. According to university policy, sensitive student information such as grades is not stored on non-university servers, period. Perhaps Engrade has a spotless security record, but from UT's perspective, storing grades there is the security issue. I assume that's not the case with some K-12 schools, but I don't have any background in that system.

Bri said...

Hello Clay, that's an interesting policy. The education industry is rightfully cautious when adopting new technology practices, and for now, I your university policy works. But I also think that overtime as Engrade continues to prove it's reliability, security, and indispensability; as it adds more features that appeal to the university market; and as it build relationships with universities, those policies can change and universities can capitalize on Engrade's usefulness as well (not to mention that they'll save tons of time and money in the process).

rwhite5279 said...

While it's not entirely related to this discussion of university privacy policies, you might be interested to learn that Engrade's 4-year history of reliability has come to an end. For over a week now, the service has been delivering incorrect grade reports to students. The company acknowledges on their website that they've recently had server issues, but as of yet, the company has been completely incommunicado regarding the apparent data losses experienced by myself and others ( ).