Nov 7 2017

Automatically Flag Students Who Leave the Exam Page During an Exam

The Quiz Generator in CoursePlus is being increasingly utilized in courses to deliver cumulative exams like midterms and finals. Faculty are rightly concerned that students do not engage in activities which violate the School's academic ethics code while taking these exams. 

CoursePlus has, for some time now, automatically logged student activity when they take a quiz or exam, including if they go off the quiz/exam page, and, since November, 2016, the ability to show if a student accessed other pages in CoursePlus while taking the exam.

This data is very useful to fauclty concerned about academic ethics violations, but faculty or TAs would have to review the log of activity for every student who took the exam to equitably check and see if there were potential academic ethics violations while taking the exam. This is a tedious process.

We've added a new option to the setup to quizzes/exams in the Quiz Generator that gives you the option to automatically flag students who leave the exam page or view other pages in CoursePlus while taking the exam. This option is turned off by default, and must be enabled on an exam-by-exam basis.

If this option is turned on, and a student has left the exam page or visited another page in CoursePlus while taking the exam, a visual alert is placed next to the student name on the main "Responses and Grades" view of the exam in the Quiz Generator:

Icons alerting that the student left the exam page.

The red circle with the exclamation point inside indicates that the student left the exam page and visited other pages in CoursePlus while taking the exam. (The brown stopwatch icon indicates that the student took less than 10% of the allotted time to complete the exam, sometimes also an indicator of potential academic ethics violations.)

Please note that, just as with the adding of the log information that shows if a student visited pages other than the exam while taking the exam, this indicator does not immediately appear the second that a student visits a page other than the exam page while taking the exam. This indicator only appears after the student has submitted their answers to the exam and the full set of CoursePlus logs has been analyzed. Typically, this process takes about 30 minutes from the time the student submits their exam.

If you have questions about how this feature works, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:10 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 11 2017

Tagging and Searching Questions in the Quiz Generator

Some courses have a lot of questions in the Quiz Generator for their course. Finding one specific question out of the 300 (or 500!) plus questions in a course can be tedious, at best. To that end, we've added the ability to tag and search on questions (and tags) in the Quiz Generator.

As you create or edit questions, you can add tags to them.

Form field to add one or more tags to a question.

Tags are simple words that can help you identify:

  • the subject area of the question
  • the course learning objective or departmental competency which the question meets
  • the lecture with which the question is associated

As you add tags to questions, tags are auto-suggested to you in the "Add Tags" field so you can re-use tags across questions. 

When you use the "Add/Edit/Remove" questions page to add questions to a quiz, you can now search by either tag or perform a search in the "Search" box at the top of the page. The search tool looks through the text of any question (not the answers or text contained in linked files), and displays only questions which match the search text.

Example of filtering questions by tag.

Example of searching questions by free text.

We hope that this addition will make the organization of quiz/exam questions in your courses much more efficient, and save you time when building quizzes and exams from large question banks. If you have questions about how this new feature works, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:20 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 5 2017

A Tweak to Drop Boxes for Exams

The Drop Box is one of the most popular tools in CoursePlus. Many courses use it, and many use it to collect written, take-home or open-book exams from students.

Some faculty do not know that when a student submits a file to a Drop Box, that student can download the file that they submitted at any time. If the student is part of a degree program portfolio, the student can also send that file to their portfolio. This enables students a nice degree of flexibility in having access to their course work.

If the file that the student submits is an exam, however, some faculty do not want students to be able to have long-term access to their copy of the exam. To that end, we've added a new option to the Drop Box setup: flagging a specific Drop Box as being for an exam, and to disable student downloading of their submission or sending their submission to their portfolio:

Option indicating that the Drop Box is for an exam.

This option is turned off by default, and must be enabled on a Drop Box-by-Drop Box basis. 

Please note that this in no way prevents a student from storing a copy of the file they submit to the Drop Box  on their own computer, or in the cloud. CoursePlus cannot delete a file of a student's computer once it has been submitted to a CoursePlus site.

If you have questions about how this new feature works, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:36 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 18 2017

Lots of New Statistics Data in the Quiz Generator

Faculty and TAs ask frequently for more information about the data captured in student exams and quizzes in CoursePlus. Having pre-computed statistics helps them make decisions about what is working (and what is not) in this kind of assessment.

We've added a number of new statistics to the Quiz Generator in CoursePlus. Here's a brief tour:

First, basic statistics about student performance on a quiz are now shown on the main "All Responses and Grades" page as soon as students start taking a quiz, and also appear on the main quiz overview page once the quiz is closed to students.

Basic statistics about student performance on a quiz

Next, statistics about student performance on each individual question in a quiz are now available. If you view the "Responses to Questions" report on the "Statistics" tab for a quiz, you will see the following information:

  • Number of students who answered the question
  • Number of students who skipped the question
  • Percentage of students who received full credit on the question
  • Percentage of students who received partial credit on the question
  • Percentage of students who received no credit for the question

Sample of the breakdown of student scoring on an individual question

This appears in addition to already existing data on the percentage of students who selected each different possible answer to the question. This data is also shown for essay and fill-in-the-blank questions, fulfilling a long-standing facuty and TA request.

Finally, there's an entirely new tab of statistical data for each quiz: the discrimination value tab:

Discrimination Value tab location

Briefly, this tab shows you information about the difficulty of each question in the quiz. Two pieces of information about each question are shown:

  1. The difficulty index of the question on a scale of 0-1 as measured by the percentage of students who got full credit for the question.
  2. The discrimination value for the question. The discrimination value refers to how well an individual question in an assessment differentiates between high and low scorers. The discrimination value can be in the range of -1 to 1. If the majority of students whose overall performance on the quiz was in the top 50% of all scores answered the question correctly, the value will be closer to 1. If the majority of students whose overall performance on the quiz was in the bottom 50% of all scores answered the question correctly, the value will be closer to -1.

Discrimination value report table

In addition to simply showing the difficulty and discrimination values for each question in the quiz, the report also highlights the following:

  • The questions answered correctly by the most students
  • The questions answered correctly by the fewest number of students
  • Questions with a negative discrimination value
  • Questions with a discrimination value less than .2, which is generally considered the cutoff for question discrimination desirability.

You can download the source data which splits students into low and high scorers used in calculating the discrimination values in Excel format.

We hope that all this additional data helps you create better quizzes and exams! 

If you have any questions about these new features, please contact CTL Help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:35 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 6 2017

Better Reminders for Students to Sign in to Class

A growing number of classes on campus use the CoursePlus Attendance Tracker tool to have students mark themselves as present at an individual class session. We've improved the tool over the past year, including adding the option of requiring students to enter a 4-digit PIN given out in class when they sign in. 

In April, 2017, we asked faculty and TAs who use the tool for feedback on how to improve it. A very common theme was figuring out a way to remind students that they needed to sign in during the class. Faculty now have the option of providing reminders to students that they need to sign in to a given class session using the Attendance Tracker tool.

Screenshot of the reminders option in the attendance setup for a class session

Reminders are turned on by default for all class sessions which are set up to require student sign in. You can have reminders turned on for some sessions, but not others, as you see fit.

If reminders are turned on for a given session, students get three different reminders to sign in:

  1. A reminder to sign in is included in the Daily Course Notifications email which students receive each day.
  2. A reminder to sign in is included in their "My Calendar" tab.
  3. An alert box is placed at the top of their "My Courses" page which reminds them that they need to sign in to a class if they have not already done so.

In each case, a link to the course home page of the appropriate course, where they must click the "Sign In" button, is provided.

We hope that this multi-pronged approach to reminding students to sign in to class sessions will significantly improve the rate at which students remember to sign in!

If you have questions about how this new feature works, please contact CTL Help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:37 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 28 2017

Reminder: IE 11 is No Longer Supported for CoursePlus

As we start the first term of the new academic year, we wanted to remind everyone that Internet Explorer Edge is the only version of Internet Explorer supported in CoursePlus. This is stated on the terms of service page for CoursePlus.

Internet Explorer Edge only works with Windows 10 — now the preferred version of Windows for the Johns Hopkins University. If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 7, you need to use Chrome or Firefox to access CoursePlus. Using Internet Explorer 11 to access CoursePlus is possible, but it will result in numerous problems. Chrome or Firefox are much better (and more frequently updated) alternatives to Internet Explorer 11.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:59 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 21 2017

Let CoursePlus Randomly Assign Students to Groups

Assigning students to groups in your classes can sometimes be a tedious process. There a nearly infinite number of permutations of how you assign students to groups. Sometimes all you want to do is randomly assign students to groups. CoursePlus can now do that work for you.

On the main Course Groups page in your CoursePlus site, there is now a "Assign Students Randomly" button:

The assign students randomly button on the course groups home page.

You can either specify existing groups to randomly assign students into, or you can create new groups and randomly assign students to them. You can specify the number of groups to be created, and CoursePlus will equally divide students into those groups. Alternatively, you can specify the number of students to have in each group, and CoursePlus will create the correct number of groups to accommodate groups of the specified size.

The options available when creating course groups with random student assignment

You even have the option to create private discussion forum categories for each new group you create, or hide those groups from student view upon creation, just as you do when creating individual groups one at a time.

We hope this makes life easier for those of you who work with groups in your courses. If you have feedback on or questions about this new feature, please let CTL Help know!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:45 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

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