Common concepts

Special terms and concepts

Devilry has some special terms and concepts. The most important (that cause most confusion) is:

  • Period: A range of time. Typically a semester or a year.
  • Examiner: Someone that provides feedback.
  • Group: Students are always in a (project) group even when they work alone on an assignment.

More details about these and more terms and concepts follows below.

Subject (course)

A subject is, as far as Devilry is concerned, a container of Period (semester, year, …) s. In a typical Devilry setup, a Subject is the same as a Course, and each Period (semester, year, …) within the Subject is a semester or year.

Period (semester, year, …)

A period is a limited span of time (I.E: january to july 2011) that you give a name (I.E.: Spring 2011). You register assignments on a period, and register students and examiners on each assignment.

Group, Candidate and Student

Students are not registered directly on an assignment. Instead a group is created, and one or more students is added as Candidates on that group. This means that project assignments, where students cooperate, is organized exactly like any other assignment. The only difference is the number of Candidates in each group.

A Candidate can also have a candidate ID, which is used to identify the student on anonymous assignments like exams.


Examiner is someone that writes feedback. Examiners are often one of these:

  • A teacher that corrects their own students. They are usually Period or Subject administrator in addition to Examiner.
  • A teaching assistant.
  • Someone giving anonymous feedback on an exam.

A user becomes examiner when they are assigned as examiner for a group (See Group, Candidate and Student) by an administrator.

See also

The Examiner role.


FeedbackSets are where comments and deliveries are organized. A FeedbackSet has a deadline(a datetime field) associated with it, and comments and files belongs to a FeedbackSet. You can see the FeedbackSets as attempts on specific assignment for a group. The FeedbackSet is not registered directly on an assignment, but on a group which is registered on the assignment (Group, Candidate and Student).


GroupComments are the actual deliveries in Devilry. A comment is connected to a FeedbackSet (see FeedbackSet) and a you can add files to a GroupComment which is considered a delivery. Technically, a file is a file object associated with what we call a CommentFile, wich again is associated with a GroupComment.

Note that GroupComments are a way of making deliveries and communicating with other students in your group or the examiners. Usually, the last comment, or a comment with a file will be considered the delivery.

Special terms in context — a typical Devilry hierarchy

The tree below is an example of a typical Devilry hierarchy for a university named Duckburgh University with the special terms in brackets.

Simple visual representation of the delivery workflow

Here’s a simple workflow represented visually from the students standpoint. This does not differ that much from examiners and admins standpoints when on the delivery feed page.

  1. Student asks the examiner a question
  2. Examiner answers
  3. Student submits their delivery
  4. The deadline expires
  5. Examiner corrects the assignment