I will teach a traditional college course that will require students to submit their homework online. The question is: What is a practical way to handle the incoming homework files. I have used regular email, but that turns out to very clunky. I need a simple system that does some secretarial duties of file management for me. I want it to be a repository for homework for that course.

In particular I like to have the following features:

  • It allows me to create a directory for each course/class.
  • Each student in my course has a private directory in the class directory.
  • Students submit (upload) files for say HomeWork1, HomeWork2 etc.
  • I have the right to read each file.
  • There is a mechanism for locking files. For example past a deadline HW1 will be locked.
  • Multiple submissions/corrections for same homework will be allowed as Version 1,2, etc.
  • I have a way of recording a grade/comment for each homework.
  • As many as 50 students each submitting 50 homework of a text file of 1k should be accommodated.
  • Ad supported software is ok.
  • Hosted solution is preferred.

My particular application is for a computational course in mathematics where students use Matlab software. It would be desirable if I could run the code directly from the homework repository. That requires me to be able to declare the Homework Repository as the working directory of Matlab.

This question was also asked in SE.math where BlackBoard capabilities are discussed.


Doctopus and GClassFolders are based on GoogleDocs and are made just for above type of activities.

  • You seem to go dance around what you want, but not actually specify it. Can you be more specific?
    – Seth
    May 20, 2014 at 4:22
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    How many different students? Are you OK with hosted solutions? Or do you want the software to run on your own server?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    May 20, 2014 at 4:30
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    What total space (in MB) do you expect the whole thing to take? What is your budget? Are you OK with advertisement?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    May 20, 2014 at 4:38
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    Do you need students to be able to withdraw/modify their submissions? Do you need to authentication, or anybody can post anything without logging in? Do you need other teachers to see the files, or only you?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    May 20, 2014 at 4:51
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    @Maesumi Now please do us the courtesy of updating your question with the answers you have given in comments. And use bullet points to make the question more readable.
    – user416
    May 20, 2014 at 8:26

3 Answers 3


It sounds like Team Mates plus a git/hg hosting service, there are many free ones but BitBucket has specific free academic plans, is exactly what you need - Team Mates will handle the feedback, including individual private feedback as mentioned here and getting your students used to revision control is a very good idea.

Note that you can determine who has access to the individual repository directories under both git and hg and you can inform your students that they will be assessed on the repository as pushed to by a specific date/time unless there is a reason given, (and accepted), for late submission.

  • TeamMates seems to have a goal of allowing team members evaluate each other. That is interesting but I want to be the one who evaluates all students home works. I am not sure how Team Mates will be useful in that respect.
    – Maesumi
    May 20, 2014 at 5:35
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    What is the connection between Team Mates and Git/Hg? If used out-of-the-box, Git/Hg would allow students to modify their submissions beyond deadline, or maybe even see the submissions of their classmates, with is unwanted.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    May 20, 2014 at 5:55
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    TeamMates has a variety of workflows including ones where you are the sole reviewer and private notifications of review details. Both hg and git have the facility to set specific users individual access rights and you can pull the state of the repository as at a specific revision/date&time, (the students, if interested, could continue working on their items if they would like to take things further or correct mistakes). May 20, 2014 at 18:59

You don't say what operating system you using, but most people use windows. I would use the windows cloud, It's called one-drive now. All you need is a windows email account and the one-drive cloud is included with it. It will work for what your looking for. But each student would need a windows email account for your class,it's free and easy to get so that wouldn't be a problem.

  • Could you give the name of a specific product or related web page. Thanks
    – Maesumi
    May 26, 2014 at 18:27

Here is another answer to my question:

Doctopus and GClassFolders are based on GoogleDocs and are made just for above type of activities.


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