InstructAssist is a Course Management System that I have created
for WPI course instruction. The system includes traditional
components, such as tools for posting grades, submitting projects,
obtaining slides, scheduling project demonstrations, and posting
partner evaluations. It also provides the instructor with in-class
components to help make courses more interactive.
Some features make InstructAssist stand out as a powerful course
- In-Class Participation Features: InstructAssist helps
instructors engage students by allowing automated, random selection
for small group activities or "quiz show" styled question
and answer by students.
- Electronic In-Class Quizzes: InstructAssist creates an
easily proctored quiz interface for closed-note, closed-book
quizzes. The system includes auditing software to help instructors
ensure academic integrity.
- Integrated Forum and Bug Tracker: The course forum combines
the traditional discussion board with bug tracker software that
allows the teaching staff to easily identify whether a student's
need has been met. The integrated email notification and response
system allows staff to interact with the forum by email, if they
prefer, rather than a Web page.
- Easy-to-Use Grade Book: In addition to standard grade book
features, InstructAssist provides support for bulk feedback. To
return scanned quizzes to all the students in a class, an instructor
need only upload a single .zip file containing the scanned quiz for
each student. The system takes care of the rest.
- Straightforward Assignment Submission: Students have an
easy-to-use assignment submission system which keeps track of
student revisions. If a student accidentally submits after a deadline, they can
choose to revert to an earlier version without requiring staff support.
- Peer Review System: Instructors can let students submit files, such as
design documents, for anonymous peer review. The system
automatically handles distribution to reviewers and aggregation of
reviewer feedback. As the "journal editor," the teaching staff
can review the original submission and reviewer feedback and provide
feedback and assign grades for both the original author and the
- VM Management Console: InstructAssist integrates with the
hypervisor running on the isolated network in the Fuller Zoo
Laboratory, allowing instructors to give students access to their
own virtual machines for arbitrary projects, such as Operating
Systems or Networking projects.
- Support for Custom Modules: Because the source code for
InstructAssist is available to WPI Faculty, the system can be
tailored to your needs.
- Automated Course Roster Import Tool: The system interacts
with WPI Registrar systems to allow automated downloading of student
rosters. In doing so, the system will alert instructors to
registration changes (such as student adds or drops), allowing them
to make any appropriate adjustments.
Other features are less glamorous, but are important when relying
on a system for a class:
- Disaster Recovery Planning: InstructAssist runs on a server
maintained by the WPI Computer Science Department. All active
courses are backed up nightly to CS backup media.
- Secure Connection: InstructAssist uses TLS secured
connections to protect student records.
- WPI Authentication: InstructAssist integrates with WPI's
Single Sign-On (SSO) system, allowing students and staff to interact
with the system without creating new usernames or passwords.