Maple T.A. Parent - Child class structures and Inheritance

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    If you often find yourself in situation where you've to copy the same question material from old to new classes over and over again, this post is for you.

    Creating a child class is an ideal way to manage multiple class sections of a large course using common question banks and assignments, ranging from practice to homework to exams
    Source: Maple TA 10 user manual

    The best way to leverage this functionality is by structuring the course in a way that the course material is created and maintained solely in the Parent Class. Generally, this results in a structure similar to:

    In this example, the demonstration class contains sample questions and templates, and the content (question material) is stored in the Parent Class. The material stored in the "AE1130 Dynamics -Parent" Class is available for the Child Classes: "Dynamics (2014-2015)" and , "Dynamics (2015-2016)". Similarly to the Object Orientated programming languages, the relationship is one-way, this means that the content created and stored in the Child is not shared with the Parent Class. Additionally, to ensure the consistency of the course material, Maple TA doesn't allow user to make changes in the child classes by locking the questions. These locked question are marked with (In versions prior to 10, these questions are marked with ). Again, the idea behind this approach, is to keep the content in one single class (Parent). <tbd>

    At this point, Instructor has the choice to create assignments either in the Parent or the Child classes. When an assignment is created in the Parent, it is automatically inherited by all the Child classes. But, keep in mind that:

    • Editing the policies of the assignment in the Parent, won't change the policies of the inherited assignment!
    • Maple TA will not allow you to edit the assignment in the Parent, if it is active in one of the Child classes.
    • When assignment is created in the Parent class, depending on the chosen Policies, students could be able to see and launch it in the Child classes.
    • Change of the questions, points and the sequence of the questions in an assignment in the Parent, will change the assignment of the Child Classes.

    This does not mean that assignment cannot be used in the Parent Classes. Consider the following scenario:

    5 groups of students (A - E) have to do a weekly assignment. The assignment is identical for all the groups, only the time slot is different.

    In this case, since the assignment is identical for all the groups, it can be created in the Parent class (with Policies). Then, the start and end time can be set in each of the Child Classes. This saves time to set up the course and enables you to compare the assignment results in the gradebook of the Parent per group.

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