Bond(age) and Submission? No thanks.
While I have made some larger mistakes in life (allowing myself to be stranded on this planet is one of them), I also made one or two minor ones. Such as asking Bond University students to submit URLs to their assignments via email.
Trust me, this is a mistake you only make once:
- From 90 students, only about 80% could actually send you an email. The rest was sending something to a wrong address, or were not mailing at all.
- From those who managed, about 40% forgot to include the URL itself. 20% forgot to provide either a name or a student ID. And using email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org does not dramatically help to track down a student. Especially, if the email address does not work.
- From those who managed to provide a URL, 20% had one which led to a non-existing server (no DNS entry at all!).
- From those who managed to point to an existing server, 30% of the requests gave you a 404 for the entry page.
- And for those few who got all correct, one managed to point you to an assignment, albeit one for a different course.
- Another one with a correct URL would direct you to a website which was evenly spread across three different web hosters. No way to decide where the web site started and where it ended.
- One was password-protected.
- And one started with file:///C:
This was the moment of heavy machinery and so the first task at Bond University was to build a small teaching site, including a submission facility. That would check as much as possible at submission time and would protect me from grief and harm.
Or so I thought. We could not really get it idiot-proof as the following email exchange between some lecturer and a student shows:
"Robert, we submitted yesterday our assignment but I think we used the wrong URL for our site. Our group is .... <wrong url here>"
Lecturer: So your correct URL must have been: <correct url>
"Yes, that must be it, so please consider our assignment, our URL again is <another wrong url here>"
Lecturer: I guess you mean <correct url>
"Oh, yes, thanks, so it is <yet another wrong url here>"
You have know when to stop.