10 December 2012

Worst Gradebook Software Ever

The gradebook. Clunky, slow, finicky, pain in the rear.
About 95% of the menu options lead nowhere. 
Yes, it does look like Windows 95. Who knows what half these options are for.
Our grading system might actually be worse than doing it by hand. Occasionally I go back to doing it by hand. The only thing that stops me is that I still have to transfer from that book to the online version, which is just doubling the work I already have to do.

Let's talk about the first picture: the gradebook. For one thing, if I enter a score higher than the points possible, a little window pops up telling me to enter a valid score. It pops up three separate times. If I try to click above to change the assignment's possible points, the same thing pops up three times more. When I scroll up or down, another window pops up telling me I've scrolled to the limit. Thank you. I didn't realize it from the fact that the window stopped scrolling. I can't scroll left-right. I have to click a button like they're separate pages.

Now for picture #2. This is the home screen. Inviting, isn't it? Do you know how to get to the gradebook? Where to go to take attendance? How to check your school budget? Of course not, because it's all hidden behind a bunch of menus. As mentioned in the caption, I'm not allowed to click on nearly all of the options. It simply does nothing when I click them. If I look closely, it displays a message at the bottom saying I don't have clearance or something like that. I had no idea I worked for a top secret spy organization.

And for the third picture. Most of these buttons actually work. But no one really knows what they do. You have to click on it. Then it brings you to another window where you click on a button to 'print' which actually just generates a PDF to view. But there's no knowing what you're actually going to see until you generate that PDF, which takes maybe 30 seconds.

Someone who knows nothing about user interface or experience might say, "Big deal. 30 seconds isn't that much. Plus, all you need to do is get trained on which buttons do what. Then it does everything you need." But 30 seconds is a long time for interaction. Old websites didn't even take that long to load.

Worst of all, it's all Java-based. Not that I have anything against Java, it's just that it's some sort of Java emulator of Windows 95. An ugly one, too. And if you have an updated version of Java, it won't work at all.

I don't know how much a new system would cost our district, but I would take a pay cut to get one. It's just that bad. But there's nothing I can do about it. That's why I blog.

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain. This software should be avoided at all costs. Another cover-your-eyes awful program is Sycamore. IF (and that's a big if) it is better than your program, it's not for lack of trying on the Sycamore programmers' part.
    Your district can afford a better program. I checked on how much top-of-the-line software would cost us, and it was the approximately the same as the transportation cost of 4 days of busses. Ridiculous.