Autolab is a course management service, initially developed by a team of students at Carnegie Mellon University, that enables instructors to offer autograded programming assignments to their students over the Web. The two key ideas in Autolab are autograding, that is, programs evaluating other programs, and scoreboards.
Autolab also provides other services that instructors expect in a course management system, including gradebooks, rosters, handins/handouts, lab writeups, code annotation, manual grading, late penalties, grace days, cheat checking, meetings, partners, and bulk emails.
Autograding. Each time a student submits their work, the system autogrades it and stores the results in a gradebook. Autograders and the programs they evaluate can be written in any language and use any software packages. The model for a traditional programming class is that students work on their code, hand it in once, and then get feedback a week or two later, at which point they've already moved on to the next assignment. Autograding, on the other hand, allows students to get immediate feedback on their performance.
Scoreboard. The latest autograded scores for each student are displayed, rank ordered, on a real-time scoreboard. The scoreboard is a fun and powerful motivation for students. When coupled with autograding, it creates a sense of community and a healthy competition that seems to benefit everyone. Students anonymize themselves on the scoreboard by giving themselves nicknames. A mix of curiosity and competitiveness drives the stronger students to be at the top of the scoreboard, and all students have a clear idea of what they need for full credit. In our experience, everyone wins.
Since 2010, Autolab has had a transformative impact on education at CMU. Each semester, it is used by about 3,000 CMU students in courses in Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, Qatar, and Rwanda. In Fall, 2014, we are releasing Autolab as an open-source system, where it will be available to schools all over the world, and hopefully have the same impact it's had at CMU.
This is the main repository that includes the application layer of the project. Installing other services are optional but highly recommended for full functionality. For further information:
- [Tango Service] (https://github.com/autolab/Tango)
Deploying Autolab on Docker:
Follow this guide to get started with deploying Autolab using Docker. This is the recommended deployment method for real-world usage with Autolab.
Running Autolab locally on your machine:
This is recommended for development and trial purposes:
For Ubuntu 14.04+ users: To complete all following steps with a bash script, run:
AUTOLAB_SCRIPT=`mktemp` && \curl -sSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/autolab/Autolab/master/bin/setup.sh > $AUTOLAB_SCRIPT && \bash $AUTOLAB_SCRIPT
For Mac users: Follow the step-by-step instruction below (we are working on an automated script for you!)
Install rbenv (Basic GitHub Checkout method): Github rbenv
Install ruby-build (as an rbenv plugin): Github ruby-build
git clone https://github.com/sstephenson/ruby-build.git ~/.rbenv/plugins/ruby-build
(You might need to restart your shell at this point in order to start using your newly installed rbenv)
Install the version of ruby in the text file
rbenv install 2.2.0
At this point, confirm that
rbenv is working (depending on your shell, you might need to logout and log back in):
$ which ruby ~/.rbenv/shims/ruby $ which rake ~/.rbenv/shims/rake
gem install bundler rbenv rehash
binand install the required gems:
You need to have MySQL installed before hand.
As Gems get updated, this can have problems. Check the [FAQ] (https://github.com/autolab/Autolab/wiki/FAQ).
Configure your database next. You need to fill the
config/database.yml.templateand rename it to
config/database.yml. Depending on how you installed MySQL and which platform you're running on, you might have to change the database socket setting in this file. If you're having trouble, look at the [FAQ] (https://github.com/autolab/Autolab/wiki/FAQ)
Set up initializer for Devise Auth systems with a unique key.
cp config/initializers/devise.rb.template config/initializers/devise.rb
Make sure you fill in
<YOUR_WEBSITE>and insert a new
secret_keyin devise.rb. You can get a random token with
$ bundle exec rake secret
Create and initialize the database tables:
bundle exec rake db:create
If you have no existing database:
bundle exec rake db:reset
If you already have a database whose data you want to preserve:
bundle exec rake db:migrate ```
Do not forget to use
bundle exec in front of every rake/rails command.
(Optional) Populate dummy data for development purposes:
(#TODO: make it so that setup.sh initiates the directories)
(Optional) Setup [Tango Service] (https://github.com/autolab/Tango) following the [instructions on the wiki] (https://github.com/autolab/Tango/wiki/Setting-up-Tango-server-and-VMs).
Create the autogradeConfig file by editing
config/autogradeConfig.rb.templateand renaming to
Start rails server:
bundle exec rails s -p 3000
Go to :3000 to see if the application is running. You can use the
Developer Loginoption with the email "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Setting up Tests
Add a test database in
Create and migrate the database.
RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rake db:create RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rake db:migrate
Do not forget to use
RAILS_ENV=test bundle execin front of every rake/rails command.
Create necessary directories.
mkdir attachments/ tmp/
After setting up the test environment, simply run spec by:
bundle exec rake spec
Autolab is released under the Apache License 2.0.
Please feel free to use Autolab at your school/organization. If you run into any problems, you can reach the core developers at
email@example.com and we would be happy to help.