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 dialogs have been replaced by inline confirmation buttons.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

Feb 29 2016

Video Thumbnails During Lecture Playback

Video thumbnails are now displayed when you scrub across the video player timeline during playback of video in any CoursePlus site. This makes it easier to quickly scan through videos to look for individual sides or segements which may be of interest.

Screenshot of what video thumbnails look like during playback.

To bring up the video thumbnails, simply move your mouse over the video player timeline. As you move your mouse right or left, the thumbnail will change to show what is on the screen at that point in the video. Please note that if the video has not yet fully loaded, you may not be able to see thumbnails in the segments which have not yet fully loaded.

We hope that this small change makes for a more useful video watching experience in CoursePlus!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:43 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 15 2016

Report on Non-Participating Students in Online Courses

It's important for faculty, TAs and course coordinators in fully online courses to make sure that students are participating in the course on a regular basis. A lack of engagement in an online course is often an indicator of a struggling student, or a student who simply isn't interested in the course and may want to drop the course.

While CoursePlus has reports which show when a student last signed in to a course site, when a student watched or downloaded online course lectures, and when a student last posted to a course discussion forum, these reports are separate. There has been no single report which says "Show me students who haven't been active in the course site in the past week."

We just added that report to CoursePlus:

A report showing students who haven't participated in various course activities.

This report shows students who have not:

  • Logged into the course website in the past week
  • Posted to the discussion forum in the past week
  • Watched/downloaded any lectures in the past week
  • Attended any LiveTalks or watched any LiveTalk archives in the course

We hope that by more easily surfacing this data, and by limiting it to only the past seven days, faculty, TAs, and course coordinators will have an easy-to-read dashboard where they can look for students who may need individual attention or a simple reminder to remain active participants in the course.

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 7:30 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 2 2016

Portfolio Updates for the Third Term

Program administrators who are currently using the portfolio tool in CoursePlus have been an invaluable partner in helping to make that tool better. Based on their feedback, we've added the following features to the portfolio tool in CoursePlus:

  • Touchpoints can be configured to send an automated reminder to those students who have not completed the touchpoint up to 7 days before the touchpoint is due. 
  • A new report has been added which shows a grid view of all touchpoints, all students in a cohort, and an indicator of the status of student work on each touchpoint. 
  • "Students who have completed this touchpoint" is now shown on touchpoints where no advisor check-in is required on the the main administration page for a program. 
  • A "Past Touchpoints" tab has been added to the main administration page for a program. Past touchpoints are displayed in reverse chronological order. 
  • A "Program Coordinator" role has been added to the type of advisor roles someone can be assigned.
  • Advisors can now attach files to a reflection review.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:27 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

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