The idea behind iSocrates

Like most good ideas, iSocrates first sprang to life out of necessity. With all of the pressures associated with academic careers, how does the busy instructor provide his or her students with useful feedback? Shannan and I first started asking that question while we were teaching multiple sections of the public speaking course as graduate students at Penn State and trying to get our dissertations written.

Although we would all like to think that each student evaluation we give back is truly unique, we soon realized that this wasn't always the case. What we found in our own experience was that we tended to provide very similar feedback for similar types of problems. It was this insight that lead us to develop a very basic iSocrates prototype in graduate school. We presented this digital evaluation tool to the Basic Course Division at the Eastern States Communication Association's annual convention in New York City in 2002.

The feedback we received both during and after the conference encouraged us to take the idea a step further and develop our evaluation form into a stand-alone software application. That was the beginning of iSocrates.

Whether your approach to evaluation is quantitative or qualitative, point-based or holistic, iSocrates is designed to let you create the form of evaluation you desire. iSocrates uses a versatile modular approach that can be tailored to evaluate and provide feedback for almost any project imaginable, including: oral presentations, group projects, written assignments, poster presentations, visual design, and media projects.

You can evaluate student performance with a built-in Likert scale featuring pre-made evaluation phrases, or add up to a 10-point custom scale. You can also assign weights to each evaluation category or criterion, and have iSocrates instantly compute totals as you evaluate each criterion. iSocrates can provide a grade based on your assigned weights and evaluations, recommend a grade, or simply ignore points altogether and let you assign a holistic grade. As educators, we understand that there isn’t one correct way to do things, so we’ve built that flexibility into our software.

Use iSocrates to:

Create a rubric for one project and export components of the rubric for use in new projects

Share your custom rubrics with other members of the academic community on this website

Download and utilize rubrics from colleagues

Print evaluations as soon as a student completes a project or print them all at once

Print student scores or export them to a third-party grade book.