integration performance user experience

Focus on speed, user experience, and new LMS configuration options

Oct. 14, 2019, 11:55 a.m. by Wojtek Cichon

Optimizing for speed

In Sphere Engine Problems Widget, Compilers Widget and Sphere Engine for Education we have optimized synchronizing the information about the currently processed submissions and sending the grades to our clients' systems (e.g. Learning Management Systems in the case of Sphere Engine for Education).

Up to now, heavier workloads could cause delays in sending the grades back to our customers' systems. After introducing some efficiency-related improvements, we can deliver the grades in real-time despite heavy workloads. 

This change has also been reflected in the messages visible to the end-users - now they see the status of their submissions in real-time without any delays.

Improving the user experience

In Sphere Engine Problems Widget and Sphere Engine for Education, we focused on improving the UX when choosing which submission to grade.

Students will now see a "spinner" icon signaling that the process of grading is in progress. The icon disappears when the LMS confirms that it was able to receive a proper grade for the submission.

We have also added new messages letting the LMS users know that it is impossible to send the grade to the gradebook when the user role forbids this scenario (e.g. when teachers or admins try to send a submission to be graded).

We have extended the duration time of every end-user session so that even the most complicated pieces of code and time-demanding tasks will not suddenly expire after a longer period of inactivity on the side of the end-user.

Last but not least, we have enabled displaying detailed information about the data generated by submissions sent in Problems Widget and Sphere Engine for Education. There are two new configuration options that you can use:

  • presenting details about particular test cases’ results (enabled by default)
  • showing generated output data and run-time errors (disabled by default)

Sphere Engine for Education LTI configuration improvement

We have introduced a new option when configuring the integration of Sphere Engine for Education with your LMS of choice. It is now possible to keep your widget settings untouched when cloning entire courses inside the LMS – no need to configure the widgets from scratch!

Other improvements

In the Sphere Engine Problems Editor we have raised the upload limit which enabled creating complex test cases with large input/output files and completely refreshed the Problem setter's handbook.

At Sphere Engine we combine years of experience in recruiting developers and assessing coding skills with the latest technologies. Our APIs and software components enable creating programming challenges, online compilers, IDEs, and teaching coding to millions of end-users across the globe. We work with companies like Infosys, Amazon, Edhesive, support thousands of educational institutions around the world, and run our own community-focused platforms - Spoj and ideone.