CS 100 TWiki

CS 100 ISA Guide

Link to the guide: https://student.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~cs100/ISAManual/FileMaker.html

The guide covers topics such as:

  • Thunderbird
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Course Webpage
  • LEARN Announcements
  • LEARN Quizes
  • LEARN Dropboxes

Note: as the course has changed, not all topics listed will be necessary.

Setting Up for the Week

Every week, go through the relevant modules and assignments to check if they are published or have the correct date set for them to be published on. Also, check that everything on Learn that should be not visible to students is not published.

Date and Time Restrictions

There are 2 settings for all content:

  • Published: This content is visible to students
  • Draft: This content is only visible to staff
This setting may be adjusted for either an entire topic, or individual files in a topic, by clicking on the arrow next to a file and selecting "Edit Properties In-Place".

Before an assignment is published, create dropboxes- one for the regular due date and one for the late due date- and set the start date, due date and end date carefully. For assignment quizzes, you only need to have a start date and a due date. However, for dropboxes, you must have an end date as well. This is because the dropbox will still be accessible after the due date. Set this end date the same as the due date.

Weekly Notice

At the beginning of every week, create a new News Item that will be sent as a notification to all CS 100 students. Include any assignments that may have been posted that week, reminders of due dates and the modules that need to be covered by students. Also, address any common issues you may have noticed coming up in your communication with students. Check old news items from previous terms for examples you can follow.

Audio Visual

ITMS provides instructional technologies and multimedia services. This service can be used to record on campus lectures/review sessions for those who are unable to attend them. The group provides the recording in a variety of file formats that can then be uploaded and viewed by students. Videos are a very useful tool in delivering online course material as some students benefit from visual learning and tutorials.

  • Contact them to arrange a session using this link

  • It can take up to a week to receive your files so plan accordingly or ask in advance for the to prioritize processing your videos.

CS100 Marking

Assignment Overview

In the course modules, there are usually three parts to an assignment, all of which correspond to the modules learned. There are a Parts A, B, and in later modules, C. The first two assignements might not have a part C, let students know when part Cs start in their assignments.

Students will occasionally get feedback for their work in Part B and Part C, and the ISAs are responsible for this feedback.

  • Part A - in Submit > Quizzes; includes multiple choice questions, which the system automatically marks.
  • Part B - in Submit > Quizzes; can include fill-in-the-blank's, matching, and short answer questions. These will have to be marked manually according to a given rubric. Marking schemes are found in the weekly content, ensure they are hidden to students
  • Part C - instructions are in the weekly content and assignments will be submitted to the Dropbox. The marking schemes can be found in the weekly content (ensure they are hidden to students).

To view student submissions:

  • For quizzes: Submit > Quizzes > [go to the desired quiz and click on the dropdown arrow] click Grade
  • For dropbox submissions: Submit > Dropbox > [go to the desired dropbox and click on the dropdown arrow] click View Submissions

*Note: After marking each section, Save Draft should be clicked on to ensure all published grades are returned at the same time (see the Publishing Grades section below).

Rubric for Part C Marking (Optional)

Rubrics can be attached to Dropboxs to provide feedback.

To make them go to Resources > Rubrics > New Rubric

While editing the Rubric, make sure it is a Draft. When it is done, change the status to Published.

To link it to the Dropbox go to Submit > Dropbox > [go to the desired dropbox and click on the dropdown arrow] click Edit Folder > go to the Evaluation & Feedback section > Add Rubric

When grading:

  • On the top right area, there is an icon with a box and an arrow coming out of it, clicking this can bring the rubric open in a new window.
    • Each section can be clicked on to assign the amount of points
    • There is a button under each section titled "Add Feedback" which would be useful for leaving feedback in specific areas
  • There is also a separate Overall Feedback category.
  • When the rubric is closed, the point total from the sections clicked on should also appear in the Overall Grade box.
  • Click on Save Draft to ensure all markings will be published at the same time.
Make sure:
  • The number of points of each section match the Grades section on LEARN
  • The Grades sections are linked to wherever the assessment is (for example: if Assignment 4 Part A is a Quiz, it should be linked to the Quiz, if Assignment 4 Part C is a Dropbox submission, it should be linked to the Dropbox)
    • This will be shown in the Association column in the Grades section
    • Quiz Associations: Submit > Quizzes > [go to the desired quiz and click on the dropdown arrow] click Edit > go to Assessment tab > Under grade Item, select the area in the Grades section > Save
    • Dropbox Associations: Submit > Dropbox > [go to the desired dropbox and click on the dropdown arrow] click Edit Folder > click on In Grade Book > Select Link to an existing grade item > select the area in the Grades section > click OK
  • "Auto-publish attempt results immediately upon completion" is not checked (since marks will be published at the same time once marking is complete)
  • "Automatically update evaluations in grade book when published" is checked (this links the grades to the Grades section on LEARN)
  • These buttons can be found at Submit > Quizzes > [go to the desired quiz and click on the dropdown arrow] click Edit > go the Assessment tab

Delegating Grading
  • Part A does not require any delegating for it is automatically marked.
  • Part B requires splitting up work, there are two options:
    • The submissions can be split up by questions, this is easily done through Assessments > Quizzes > Select down arrow on the quiz you'd like > Grade > Questions. This is the recommended fashion to mark.
    • Splitting up by students in your class group is also an option, where you would mark each of the students attempts, and moving on to the next student. However, this will consume much more time than the former, but it does offer consistency in grading.
    • Dropbox marking is more straightforward when dividing up the work. Go to Assessments > Dropbox to view all the dropbox submissions and evaluations. The student marking is delegated by class groups, since marking a particular section of the submisson is inefficient, and every ISA is responsible for keeping a record of their own students and all their marks.

Approaching Short Answers

Grading short answer questions is fairly straightforward and flexible when it comes to marking schemes. ISAs usually mark certain questions on the assignment, so as long as the ISA is consistent in their marking, the overall mark shouldn't fluctuate given the other ISAs do their marking correctly as well.

When marking certain questions with "View Graded Submissions" unchecked, remember to completely finish marking a page before hitting the "Save" button. The reason why this is important is because Learn automatically assigns every mark on a particular page regardless if the marks were inputted. The ungraded questions would result in a zero, and would not appear in the next unmarked pages, because they are technically "marked".

A good practice is, after completion, to go over the questions once more entirely to check for zeros that may be undeserved. This saves a lot of trouble with confused students.

Grading the submission part of the assignment is confusing on some level, you might find following this procedure helpful.

  1. Before Marking
    • When marking students, make sure that a hard copy exists for all of the marks, in case of a glitch. This will prevent the loss of marks, and will ensure that all marks assigned are correct. This 'hard copy' can be on a computer file, or a physical sheet of paper. (The latter is often preferred by our lovely ISC, but if it works, it works!)
    • Make sure the marking scheme is agreed upon by the ISAs before marking even begins, there might be some future changes depending on the students, but an outline is necessary.
    • Make sure you're using FileMaker for all hard copies on the computer. Don't use Excel!
  2. How to Mark
    • When marking dropbox submission, an ISA has a lot of options, but the most effective comes down to two:
      1. Marking Offline - Downloading files in bulks, and then marking.
      2. Marking Online - Viewing submissions and grading on the Learn platform individually.
    • Here are the pros and cons of each:
      • No internet connection required when marking
      • Faster; since you download a giant load of assignments
      • The original format is maintained through the file
      • Giving feedback is easier
      • Website updates new submissions
      • Student comments are accessible
      • Text/doc files can be viewed in browser
      • Students may submit late files without you knowing
      • Not in convenient order (Ordered by last five digits of their ID)
      • Difficult to give feedback
      • Late days are difficult to keep track of.
      • Uncompatible file types take longer to view/not even open
      • Formatting might be lost through the browser
      • Loading time might be time-consuming
    • The rule of thumb is mostly following the marking scheme, and make sure you're communicating with your team about certain common errors you might observe before marking. This might change your rubric a little bit.
    • If troubled, using your own judgment comes after you've consulted the other ISAs.
  3. Inputting Marks
    • When inputting marks, make small comments why certain marks were deducted for a question, so that when the students ask for feedback (and they will), the comments are readily available, and the ISAs don't have to scramble to remark it again.
    • After every ISA has completed marking, it's important to input it on FileMaker so that the grades on the record. Everyone should be responsible for their own students. After inputting the marks on FileMaker, inform the ISC to release and import the marks onto Learn as well, and they should be released to the students in a few days.
  4. Troubleshooting/Fixing Marks
    • When marks change, the ISAs will need to input the new marks on FileMaker and Learn, since the update only happens once.
  5. Changing grace days do not need to be altered on Learn, just FileMaker is sufficient, since they will be totalled at the end of the term.

Publishing Grades

The process is the same for both the quizzes and dropbox. Go to the page showing all student submissions (ensure all student names are selected by going to the bottom and selecting 200 per page, if there are more than 200 students in the class, repeat this process for every page) there is an empty box near the top-left, beside the Last Name, First Name column. Clicking on that empty box highlights all the student names, then click on Publish Feedback.

Contact with Students


Email will probably be the primary contact for students, so ensure the ISA email address is available and easy to find from the home page. Students may also use the phone to contact tutors, though this is far more rare. Remember to only answer emails through the official course email, and not from your personal email or social media.

The following communication tools are available on the course website through Desire to Learn

  • Online live chat, set and follow chat hours, and post them on the course home page
  • Discussion boards *Spring 2022 term has used MS Teams and Discord for additional communications

Emailing Ettiquette

Before even starting an email, if the student is asking for sensitive information concerning their grades or standings, review their email and ensure the uWaterloo email. If from any other email hosting sites (hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc.), inform the students that they have to contact the course through their uWaterloo email. Remember that no other form of identification is sufficient. If they can't access their uWaterloo email, inform them to contact technical help.

When starting off an email, always address the student by the way that they signed their email. If you're starting an email, use the name displayed on Learn. Be polite and professional, and type as if your supervisor was also going to read this email. When finished, end off with a "Cheers" or "Regards" or "Best of luck", and sign:

(Your Name)


Divide up chat duty between the ISAs to ensure that there is always someone present to assist students. One way is to simply assign a day to each ISA. Post your chat timings (they are typically from 10:00am to 4:00pm) as well as lunch hours, when the chatroom will not have any ISAs present. Also, set weekly evening chat hours for a few hours, another duty that will be rotated amongst yourselves. The evening chat is important since it caters to students who work during the day or are in different time zones.

Office Hours
  • assume all students are off campus
  • hold on campus office hours by appointment only unless students are struggling with a particularly difficult assignment
  • all office hours should be held in the CS Consulting Centre (MC 4065) or one of the computer labs

Constructing Modules for a DE course

Students may find it more difficult to learn when they are in a DE course and do not have that face-to-face contact with the instructor. The modules have generally already been made, but if one needs to be made, the following are some ideas on how to make the course modules and/or content easier for students to understand:

  • Be clear and straight to the point
  • Include visuals
  • Include videos with explanations and examples
  • Include podcasts
  • Keep modules rather short and/or break up the modules into sections
  • Include practice exercises and many examples


Desire2Learn is now used to administer CS100.

To archive material from your course go to Edit Course in the top right corner, select Import/Export/Copy Components under the tools menu, then Export Components and Next. From here you can select which portions of the course you would like to export, click Next. Confirm that these are the components you want to export and again click Next. You are then able to save a .zip file to your computer. This .zip file can be re-uploaded to any course on D2L and it will display the material that you exported.

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Topic revision: r23 - 2022-08-05 - JenniferPhovixay
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