May 18 2016

Reminder: Access to AY14-15 Course Websites Ends May 31

Access to academic year 2014-2015 courses ends on May 31, 2016. This is in line with the policy for access to CoursePlus websites. The policy states that access to a CoursePlus site is enabled for the academic year in which the course is offered and following academic year. For example, if a course occurred in the third term of the 2014-2015 academic year, a student enrolled in the course has access to the CoursePlus site until the end of the 2015-2016 academic year. After that point, access to that CoursePlus site is terminated.

If you need materials from a CoursePlus site in the 2014-2015 academic year, please download them before May 31, 2016, as you will not be able to access the sites from the 2014-2015 academic year after that time.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:33 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 11 2016

Access to the Schedule Builder Tool in Online Courses

Some faculty in online courses have long asked for the ability to edit the course schedule (or main "Content" page), as it's the only page in their online course site which they cannot edit. Prior to now, the faculty had to work with their course instructional designer to make any changes — even the modification of one due date — to their course schedule.

Faculty now have access to the Schedule Builder tool in online courses! Faculty cannot do everything that a course instructional designer can do, but they can:

  • Access the Schedule Builder tool
  • Reorder the items in the schedule
  • Add new items that are not lectures or LiveTalks. Those must still be added by the course instructional designer.
  • Add and edit group headers for items on the schedule.
  • Change available and due dates on any item except for lectures or LiveTalks.
  • Change the Assignment Description for lectures or LiveTalks.


Edits that are made by faculty are compiled into a daily digest email and sent to the course instructional designer. This helps facilitate communication between the two parties.

The limitations on complete faculty access to the Schedule Builder tool are the result of the extensive, detailed production process for creating online lectures. While it would certainly be convenient for faculty to be able to change the opening date of a lecture as they see fit, that lecture might not actually be fully produced by the date that the faculty selects. As such, coordination with the course instructional designer is still important.

We know that some faculty will continue to rely on their course instructional designer to do all edits to the course schedule. For those fauclty who prefer a more hands-on approach, we hope that these changes will provide you with additional flexibility you've been looking for!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:16 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 4 2016

Portfolio Updates for the Fourth Term

We're always getting great feedback from the program coordinators and faculty working with students in the CoursePlus portfolio tool. Based on recent feedback, we've added the following features to the portfolio tool:

  • Custom touchpoint due dates can now be assigned on a per-student basis. If a custom touchpoint due date is not used, the default due date for that student will be used. If a student is assigned a custom due date for a portfolio touchpoint, that custom due date now appears in the "My Calendar" view when a student signs in to CoursePlus as well as the Daily Course Notifications email from CoursePlus.
  • An online library for documents specific to a given program and cohort is now available. These documents appear to all students in a cohort in a "Program Library" tab inside of their portfolio.
  • The main touchpoint interface for students has been revamped, providing clear, step-by-step instructions on what to do in a single touchpoint.
  • A program coordinator can now be set as the "advisor" to all students for any touchpoint. That person can then review and check off that touchpoint for any student in the cohort. That person will also get email notifications, just as faculty advisors would, when students mark a touchpoint as ready for review.
  • All reflections for a touchpoint can be downloaded by a program administrator into a single web page, Word, or Excel file.
  • Program administrators can now download all evidence associated with a single touchpoint in a single ZIP file.
  • Students can now send survey results to their portfolio.
  • Students now get an email notification when advisors comment or leave feedback on a touchpoint.
  • The reports which show students waiting faculty review and students who have completed a touchpoint now shows the date on which a student sent a touchpoint to a faculty advisor for review, and flags in red those who did so after the due date for that touchpoint.
  • The words "Student Portfolio" have been removed from the top of published views in the portfolio.
  • Print output of all pages within the portfolio has been cleaned up, eliminating the display of many URLs that were previously only visible in the print view. 
  • Numerous changes to the user interface have been made to make the display of selected competency levels clearer across all views (student, advisor, and administrator). 

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:55 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Apr 20 2016

WYSIWYG Editing in Page Builder

Page Builder is a tool for (obviously) building web pages in fully online courses in CoursePlus. Once the domain of CTL staff alone, the tool became available to all faculty, TAs, and editors in an online course a few years ago. The interface of the tool, however, wasn't updated from its origins as a tool for CTL technical staff only.

We're pleased to announce that the Page Builder interface has undergone a lot of changes, and that WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing has come to Page Builder.

Screenshot of the main Page Builder Page editor

The main editing tool for a Page Builder page has been redesigned to allow for real-time previews of the page, and for extensive on-page editing. You can even re-order the layout of the page via drag and drop using the "Edit Layout" tool. This makes editing a Page Builder page much easier, and much more intuitive.

Additionally, many other parts of Page Builder have received an interface refresh, specifically:

  • The "Created," "Current Status," and "Published Status" columns in on the listing of all pages have been removed.
  • If the course is an online course, a column which shows the event on schedule builder to which the page is linked has been added.
  • For each page in the listing of all pages, a checkbox indicating published status appears. If the checkbox is selected, the published status bar turns yellow with the published page URL. If the checkbox is deselected, the published status bar turns red with the words "Not published" in bold.?
  • The order of the items in the action box for each page (Edit Basic Info, Manage Sections, etc.) has been redone to bring the most commonly used links to the top of the list.
  • The page.preview event has been eliminated. If faculty or staff copy a page URL, that link will work for everyone once the page is published.
  • The faculty listing is now always displayed on the "Faculty" tab, instead of being hidden inside an expandable panel.
  • Many "Are you sure you want to delete this?" dialogs have been replaced by inline confirmation buttons.

These changes make Page Builder a much easier to use tool. We hope that you agree!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:18 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Apr 6 2016

Required Surveys Before Accessing Course Content

Sometimes faculty want background or demographic information about the learners in their course so that they can a) better know their learners and their work or academic experiences and b) better tailor course content to the learners in the class. We've just introduced a new feature to CoursePlus which can aid in this process.

Faculty and editors can now select one survey in a CoursePlus site that students must complete before being allowed access to the content of a CoursePlus site. Students can click around the syllabus, resources, or communication sections of a CoursePlus site, but if there is a required survey for the course, they will not have access to anything under the "Content" tab of the site until they complete the survey. Learners are told that they need to first complete a survey before they can have access to the content. Once the survey is complete, students have access to anything under the "Content" tab.

Only one survey in a course can be set as required before students can access the content of a CoursePlus site. If other surveys are required, they should be set as required activities in the course, or you can consider combining multiple surveys into a single, required survey.

This feature is completely optional, as requiring completion of a survey before accessing course content may not be the right experience for most courses. However, we hope that faculty and editors on courses that do need this kind of required survey find this new feature to be useful!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:35 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 22 2016

All New Faculty Guide to CoursePlus

The CTL Help team is responsible for the CoursePlus guide for faculty — an in-depth, step-by-step guide to all of the tools in CoursePlus. The CoursePlus guide for faculty includes screenshots, video tutorials, and example workflows in addition to the step-by-step instructions for all CoursePlus features.

We're pleased to announce that there's an all new version of the CoursePlus guide for faculty. This new version incorporates a lot of feedback about the organization of the help guide, and allows you to get to help on individual tools much faster. It also features a new, clean design which is much more readable for those with less-than-perfect eyesight. 

The guide has been updated with all the latest changes to CoursePlus, and can serve as your one-stop reference to how to do anything in CoursePlus. We hope that you find the new verison of the guide to be a highly useful resource!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:09 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 10 2016

Show and Hide Academic Terms on Your "My Courses" Page

You have long been able to show and hide entire academic years on the "My Courses" page in CoursePlus. You can now also show and hide individual academic terms within an academic year!

An example of the fourth term collapsed and the third term visible in the 2015-2016 year listing.

As the academic year goes on, many people don't want or need to see sites in either upcoming terms or previous academic terms. You can now click on the title of any academic term and hide or show the courses in that term. When you leave the "My Courses" page and come back again, the listing will be as you left it before.

We hope that this little change will make your time in CoursePlus a little more pleasant.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:06 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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