Author:
Precha Thavikulwat
Subject:
Applied Science, Arts and Humanities, Business and Finance, Management, Communications & Media, Education, Engineering, English as a Second Language, English Language Arts, Health Sciences, History, Physical Science, Professional Studies, Social Science
Material Type:
Module
Level:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division, Graduate / Professional, Career / Technical, Adult Education
Tags:
Assignments, GroupMaker, Groups, Papers, Presentations
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Interactive

GroupMaker Instructor Support Application

Overview

GroupMaker is an application that eases the burden of assigning many papers and presentations to students individually and collectively.

The Application

GroupMaker is designed to ease the burden of administering papers and presentations, both for students and instructors. An Internet-based application, GroupMaker requires Microsoft Windows. For those with Macs, Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching includes Windows 10, which students may download for installation on Macs, provided they are students of an institution that subscribes to the program.

Students register individually into GroupMaker and may be optionally assigned to groups. The instructor sets assignments that are designated either for individuals, groups, or the entire class. Each assignment includes instruction, template, character-number limit, and privacy attribute.

The template helps students conform to requirements, which reduces the incentive to plagiarize and eases grading. Links may be part of the instruction, the template, and the student's submission. Space for instructor's grades and comments appears next to each assignment.

Click here to view a video showing how GroupMaker assists in managing assignments ancillary to cases and games. The original video is about 50 minutes long, but you can cut playback time down to about 33 minutes by clicking the 1x speed selection icon on the bottom right of the screen and selecting 1.5x.

Click here to download and install a demonstration version of GroupMaker. Registration for the demonstration application is optional. To enter the application without registering, on the Login dialog, enter a number from 1 through 9 into the password edit box. Then click the OK button, and the application's main window will appear.

The number you entered is your fictitious class section for which you are the fictitious instructor. To create assignments for your fictitious students, select: File >> Administration >> Assignment >> Add to Last. Enter an assignment identifier in the ID edit box, and then click the Instruct & Grade button. OK the query to execute the assignment. Then the Grade-Assignment dialog will appear.

The Grade-Assignment dialog has three tabs: Submission, Template, and Instructions. Type your assignment instructions in the edit box of the Instructions tab. Click the Template tab, and type the template, or form, that you want your students to use for their submission. The template could be a questionnaire. Click OK when done. You have now created an assignment.

Proceed to open registration, thereby enabling students to register and submit assignments. Close the Set-Assignment dialog, and then select the Options button. On the Options dialog, check and OK the allow-members-to-register box to enabled students to register.

To see how students would complete the assignment, launch another session of GroupMaker, but this time select the Register button, and register yourself under a fictitious name. After entering all edit boxes, click the OK button. The application's main window will then appear.

To work on an assignment, select: Action >> Assignment, followed by the ID of the assignment you created. With the Submission tab on top, type a few words, then click the OK button. Your fictitious student has now submitted the assignment.

To grade the assignment, return to the first session of GroupMaker and again select: Assignment >> click on the assignment in the list >> Instruct & Grade button. Click on the Comment tab to enter comments on the assignment. Enter the points that you would give the assignment in the Points edit box. The click OK. You have now graded the submission.

Close the Grade-Assignment dialog. Students will see their grade and your comments when the Graded date of the assignment has passed.

Feel free to click anywhere in GroupMaker to see what else the application can do. To relaunch GroupMaker, go to Windows Start >> GEO Global Technology >> GroupMaker Demo. When a new version of GroupMaker is available, GroupMaker automatically updates itself when it is launched.

Precha Thavikulwat, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Management

Associate Editor, Simulation & Gaming

P: 410-828-8353   | F: 410-828-8353

Skype: pthavikulwat
pthavikulwat@towson.edu

 

GroupMaker is a Microsoft Windows application. Mac computers with Windows installed are usable. Those with Mac computers without Windows should search the internet for instructions on installing Windows. Websites that may be helpful include “How to install Windows on your Mac for free,” “How to install Windows 10 on Mac for FREE: Step-By-Step Guide,“ and “Parallels.” Moreover, many educational institutions have technical staff who can advise and assist, and licensing agreements Microsoft and other software providers to facilitate the installation.

Click here to download and install a demo version of GroupMaker. Your instructor will give you the link to the real version. The installation procedure of both versions is the same, so any difficulty you encounter with the demo version will also be present with the real version. Select Run or OK at all prompts. These options may be hidden behind an Option item or a More information item. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer have a Run option, but Firefox and Chrome may not. If your browser does not have a Run option, select Save to save the setup file (setup.exe). Then launch the file from where it was saved on your computer.

The setup file is usually saved in the Downloads folder, which may be accessible from the browser. After the download, your browser may display a Download item or downward-pointing arrow icon that you can click to launch the setup file. If not, use File Explorer to find the setup file. Then point at the file with the mouse and double-click the left mouse button to launch it.

Some computers have multiple security prompts that you must negotiate to install and run the application. The default choice of these prompts is to abort the installation, so choose carefully. Always choose the option to install/run/add the application, sometimes hidden behind a “more information” link.

Immediately after installation, the application launches itself and presents a panel entitled “Login to GroupMaker.” Clicking the Register button brings up the Register panel. An access code is not needed for the demo version, but the real version requires a code that your instructor will give to you. On the real version select the class in which you are enrolled and enter access code. On the demo version, select any class. Click the Help button for hints on other items. When all required items are entered, the OK button will be activated. Click it to complete registration. Registration completed, the application’s main frame will appear.

The installed application can be re-launched it from the Start menu (Start >> All Programs >> GEO Global Technology >> GroupMaker), and removed when no longer needed with Windows Uninstall utility, accessible through Settings >> Apps and the Control Panel. You cannot access the Uninstall utility on classroom, lab, and library computers. This is not a problem as these computers are digitally cleaned periodically.

Rationale

GroupMaker is especially useful for courses that that require students to write many papers, make many presentations, or both. While students gain enormously from working on these skill-building assignments, the burden of grading the assignments can be onerous. GroupMaker lightens the burden in the following ways:

  1. GroupMaker is fast, because GroupMaker is a Microsoft Windows internet application rather than a web application. Whereas commands from a web application must be processed by the browser before it reaches the computer’s operating system, commands from a Windows application reaches the operation systems directly.
     
  2. GroupMaker automates the process of organizing students into groups. The instructor decides the range of sizes allowed, such as 3 to 5. When the students register, they are asked the size they prefer. GroupMaker then assigns the students to the size they prefer. Generally, a perfect assignment of students to groups will not be possible, so GroupMaker enables students resolve imperfect assignments by themselves through its group-switching feature.
     
  3. On writing assignments:
     
    1. Students must write within the constrains of a template defined by the instructor. Templates help students avoid superfluous writing that does not get to the point, saves students from time-wasting unproductive efforts, and saves the instructor from expending on time reading superfluous materials.
       
    2. Students and instructors enter and read text directly, or through cutting and pasting. Time is not expended downloading and uploading files.
       
    3. The instructor can send comments to GroupMaker’s digital libraries and draw comments from the libraries, thereby avoiding repeatedly typing the same comments for different submissions.
       
    4. The instructor can limit the number of assignments each student can submit, thereby limiting the number that the instructor must read for each assignment while giving students flexibility in the selection of assignments to submit.
       
    5. The instructor can blind and shuffle submissions before grading them, to avoid systemic bias in grading.
       
    6. The instructor can allow students to see what their peers submitted after assignments are graded, to facilitate peer-to-peer learning.
       
  4. On group assignments, such as reports of meetings:
     
    1. The instructor can choose either to allow all members of the group to edit the group’s submission or only to allow members to append to the submission.
       
    2. The instructor can either designate each group’s leader or allow GroupMaker to designate as group leader the first group member who submits work on a group assignment.
       
    3. The instructor can either allow or prohibit the group leader from limiting the freedom of other group members to edit or append to the submitted work.
       
    4. The group leader can recognize by check mark group members who qualified as present/participated in the assignment.
       
    5. When the assignment is graded, GroupMaker distributes the same points towards grades to all check-marked present/participated members, but also allows the instructor to override the check marks and adjust the distribution of points.
       
  5. On whole-class assignments, such as discussion boards, GroupMaker distributes the same points towards grades to all engaged members, but also allows the instructor to adjust the distribution of points.
     
  6. On presentation assignments, the instructor can own the cloud-resident presentation files that the instructor requires the students to use. Owning the files enables the instructor to keep a copy of the files for safekeeping, and to assure that the files will be viewable when needed for presentations and grading.
     
  7. If the GEO business management game (see module) is used in the class, both applications can be integrated so that only a single log in is needed to activate both applications.