Welcome to the spring 2013 newsletter

This newsletter contains details of changes that have been made to the icthomework site over the past term.

New report: Reset 3rd marks for an exercise for a year group

This report enables teachers to reset the 3rd mark for an exercise for an entire year group. In Fig. 1 below, 201/237 students have attempted this exercise.

In the example, the teacher concerned would like to give any student who has already had three attempts - but not yet achieved a mark of at least 70 (a grade B) - another attempt at this exercise.

There are twelve students who have already had three 'official' attempts at this exercise. When this report is run, these twelve students will be enabled to have another 'official' attempt at this exercise.

Reset Mark 3 Report

Reset M3 Marks

Fig. 1
Key for Fig 1:

1. Total number of students in this year group.
2. Number of students who have attempted this exercise.
3. Minimum mark that this teacher has decided to accept for this exercise.
4. These twelve students have achieved a mark of less than 70 for this exercise. When this report is run, their third attempt, which is normally the last attempt that is recorded, will be removed and these students will then be able to attempt this exercise again.

New report: View year summary report

This report enables teachers to get an overview of how students are doing for each exercise by year group. For Curriculum Managers, this means the whole of a year's cohort; for teachers this means all the students that they happen to teach in a year group. See Fig 2:

All summary data by exercise

Year Report

Fig. 2

New report: View browser and PDF log file

This report enables teachers to view some information about the browsers and PDF readers that students are using to access the icthomework site.

The report is designed to aid in diagnosing problems that students may experience when accessing the site from home.

In the diagram below, four users are identified who may experience problems on their home computers.

Student browser and PDF log data

Sample data from the browser and PDF data log file

Fig. 3

1. The first indicated user is using the default Chrome PDF viewer. The Chrome PDF viewer does not support the submission of exercises for marking and should be replaced by the Adobe PDF plug-in.

2. The second indicated user has disabled JavaScript within his or her browser: JavaScript is required for this site.

3. The third indicated user is using the Safari browser without an Adobe Reader plug-in: Adobe Reader is required for this site.

4. The fourth indicated user is using a very old version of Adobe Reader: users should upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Advisory Alerts for site users

A number of advisory alerts are now being displayed if a user is deemed likely to encounter problems in using the site. These alerts are shown on the left hand side of the screen. The alerts provide some diagnostic information and advice for users.

Four alerts are currently being used. These relate to the diagnostic information shown in Fig 3 above.

Advisory alerts

Advisory alert

Advisory alert

Advisory alert

Advisory alert

FAQ Updates

The FAQs page has been revised to provide more information about the site requirements. An animation has also been added to this page, which shows how to disable Chrome's embedded PDF viewer and replace it with Acrobat Reader.

For the sake of convenience, some of this information is also reproduced on the student's home page.

New Developments

We are continuing to develop an additional set of exercises to support programming using Python. We hope to release these at the beginning of May, 2013.

We would welcome your suggestions on further developments. To do this, you can either use the suggestions page on the site or you can email directly to: