Last year, our installation of Blackboard could upload grades from a spreadsheet. So you could grade offline! Which is good, because we want to grade off line, esp. programs. But boo! You couldn’t upload feedback so even though the feedback was sitting in a column ready to go, we had to cut and paste it in. BOO!
But then, in spring, a service pack made it possible up load (and download!) feedback. WOO! This is good! I can grade offline! I can use my tools! I can analyze stuff!
Except I now figure out that if I have multiple question tests, I can’t upload feedback OR MARKS for individuals questions in the test. Which, for something like, oh, I don’t know, a FINAL EXAM is a big deal.
It’s also going to suck for giving feedback. Lots of cutting and pasting in my future.
Software as a service folks of the world, there is a MINIMUM REQUIREMENT on you: Make sure your users can export and import your data. Easily. Very easily. Make it easy, ok? Use freaking XML if you have to. Just make it easy. From day 1. Until day always. For proper bonus points, make sure that simple things can be done simply. But if not that, just make sure we can do it.
Users of SAAS, demand this. DEMAND IT. If they can do it, you should worry.