Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 6, 1996

Classnet takes the hassle out of Web assignments

by Diana Pounds
Computation Center staff have developed a new tool that makes it easier for Iowa State teachers to put class assignments or tests on the World Wide Web.

Classnet, developed by systems analyst Pete Boysen and graduate student Mark van Gorp, is an online tool that automates many of the administrative tasks involved in Internet class activities. It provides an easy way for instructors to give and grade assignments and tests, manage class lists, create online newsgroups for their classes and communicate with students, Boysen said.

Last semester, professor Doug Yarger used an early version of Classnet to manage daily weather forecasting assignments for 250 students enrolled in a meterology class. Classnet accepted students' assignments; scored them, based on the accuracy of their forecasts; provided a grade summary for the professor; and showed individual students their scores and correct answers.

Classnet also can be used to distribute surveys to participants and collect the raw data via the Web, Boysen said. Although Classnet won't yet analyze the data, Boysen said he hopes that service may be added some day.

Classnet will be ready for use Sept. 1. "Those who wish to use the service should go to the Web site ("

Instructors can do everything -- apply for Classnet privileges, develop assignments or surveys and set up class lists -- on line, Boysen said.

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