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This page generated at Fri Jun 4 07:53:18 PDT 1999. This page is on the Computer Science Department's WWW Server at CalState, San Bernardino, California, USA. It was generated by Doc Dick Botting from mkfbfaq.mth . For information on how this was done see Dr. Botting's MATHS project.


    FEEDBACK99 Frequently Asked Questions

    Why should I ask my students for feedback

    It is better for you to find out during a course what they think than to wait until you get a bad student evaluation (SETE) or a complaints are passed to you department.

    An anonymous tip that you are doing a good job and "deserve a raise" is an excellent morale booster.

    Metaphorically, it is like driving with your eyes open rather than closed.

    Why must I use

    An anonymous mailer is easy to abuse. People use them to send unsolicited (and so illegal) commercial EMail. They can be used for sexual harassment. It is essential that the anonymous EMail can only be sent to people who want it. It needs to be controlled. Therefore each form can only be used to send one message to one person each time it is filled in. This must be the person who requested it (nobody else) and with a reconisable "Subject".

    It is easier to restrict the service to people with an address like this '' or eqivalently First there is less to input and second I don't have to program a list of acceptable mail servers/addresses. In essence it means that I don't have to write code to validate the identities of people setting up the feedback pages. This would require either human intervention or access to central held records.

    There is also something to be said for using the computer power and data storage that is made available on campus for handling EMail rather than spraying the data out into the Internet and using your own resources.

    If you absolutely need this feature email me (rbotting) at CSUSB... and give me a reason...

    How can I turn off the feedback

    You can remove the generated form from your web site. If you send me Email I can remove the record of your form. Then even a copy of the form can not be used to send anonymous EMail to you.

    Can I use this method for SETEs

    Absolutely not! There is no validation of who is using the form. I will be proposing that the campus needs a special computer designed to allow only targeted students to record their responses. I'm not sure that a SETEd faculty member should be permitted to write this code:-)

    Can you do the same thing for tests

    No! There is no way to validate the identity of the person who submits the answers.

    Can you use this for exercises and drills

    Yes. A variation of this technique takes an answer and evaluates it. The evaluation is sent to the student. A summary evaluation can be sent to the faculty to track how the class is progressing.

    There a several examples of the technology in classes at CSUSB and on other campusses. I and the TRC have both developed examples of this technique.

    The FEEDBACK form works because it is simple. Developing drill and practice tutorials is a more complex task that must involve the teacher as well as a technical expert.

    How do I analyse the responses

    This depends on what you want to learn and what you asked.

    If you need a statistical summary you should prepare your questionaire so it has a series of multiple choice questions with one question per line. It is then fairly easy to save all the messages, sort them, and count the different responses. The machine can do this in response to the correct incantation... Send me EMail if you need to know more.

    If you have asked open ended questions you might be able to do a concordance on them. Simply saving and reading them can be very useful!

    Is it Y2K Compliant

    Yes. It may fail in 2038 however.

    Can you explain your design choices

    I'm writing this up as part of my report to the TRC for end of the spring quarter 1999. It will be published on the web "Real Soon Now". A paper will be presented at a teaching colloqium in the Fall of 1999.

    Can I see the code that drives the forms

    Yes. The two CGI scripts are at [ mkfb ] (Make a feedback form) and [ fb ] (accept student feedback).

    Can I take this code and modify it for my own use/system

    Yes. But I'm not responsible for what it does on your system, and I would like two know (1) if you took it, (2) how it works out, and (3) tell other people where you got it.

    If you invent a significant improvement, please Email it back to me.

    Why didn't you use...

    (perl): Perl forces you stand on your head and juggle the data to avoid horrific security holes.
    (java): Not all browsers run the same Java. More importantly, Java applets run within a secure "sandbox" which reduces their power to communicate to (in essence) calling a CGI script. They would be useful if you wantd students to provide graphic feedback, perhaps!
    (javascript): Does not provide secure and anonymous EMail. It is not standardized. Howevr it could be used with more complex forms of input that are checked before transmitting them.
    (C/C++): I wanted to get the job done quickly and reliably. With C/C++ you can have one or the other.
    (anyMSproduct): I don't have a Windows server available.
    (radio buttons etc): This means I would have to write a complete HTML editor.

    Can I edit a created form

    Yes. As long as the "<form method=post action=....>" and "<input type=hidden name=key value=....>" lines are not changed the form will still work. You can replace the <textarea name=comment>...</textarea> by any inputs and captions you wish. The first input after the hidden input must be called "name=comment".

    . . . . . . . . . ( end of section FEEDBACK99 Frequently Asked Questions) <<Contents | Index>>

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