Jun 30 2015

CoursePlus is Changing Its Web Address on August 6, 2015

Over the past few years, CoursePlus has evolved to serve the needs of courses offered not just by the School of Public Health, but by multiple divisions at the University. It is a system no longer specific to the School of Public Health.

On August 6, 2015, CoursePlus will make the move from the courseplus.jhsph.edu web address to courseplus.jhu.edu. While the servers and networking gear behind CoursePlus will remain in the JHSPH data center, and JHSPH IT will continue to support CoursePlus, the web address will change.

The change should be seamless for everyone. Everything will continue to work as before. However, bookmarks and links that point to courseplus.jhsph.edu must be updated to point to courseplus.jhu.edu instead. Bookmarks and links that point to courseplus.jhsph.edu will continue to work for six months after this change. After that time, courseplus.jhsph.edu will cease to exist and those bookmarks and links will no longer work.

If you have questions about this upcoming change, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:27 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jun 9 2015

Hiding or Showing the Display of an Academic Year on the My Courses Page

As each academic year progresses, the listing of all of your courses on the "My Courses" page in CoursePlus grows ever longer. If you're faculty or staff, you also begin to see course listings for the upcoming year fairly early in the current academic year. Either way, this ends up causing a lot more scrolling down the "My Courses" page to get to the academic year listings you most frequently access.

CoursePlus will now remember when you close or open the course listings for an academic year between visits to the "My Courses" page. So if listings for the next academic year are getting in your way, you can simply close it and CoursePlus will keep it closed the next time you visit the "My Courses" page or sign into CoursePlus. 

The previous academic year listing will remain closed by default, just as it has previously in CoursePlus, but you can keep it permanently open if you want to, just by clicking on the banner for that year.

We hope that this little change makes your CoursePlus experience a little bit better!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:28 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jun 3 2015

Wikis Can Now Have Unlock and Lock Dates

Over the past few years, a handful of faculty have asked us if it's possible to set up wikis so that they did not become visible to students until a certain date, or if they could completely prevent any editing to a wiki after a specific date. We're pleased to announce that you can now do both of these things in the wiki tool!

Wikis with an open date will be listed on the main wiki page in a course but will not accessible by the students who have permission for that wiki until the date/time specified in the open date has passed. Wikis with close dates will also be listed on the main wiki page in a course but a student will not be able to access nor edit the individual pages in a wiki after the date/time specified in the close date has passed.

We hope you find this new feature to be useful!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:29 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 26 2015

New Syllabus Editing Workflow Now Live

The new syllabus editing workflow for sections of a CoursePlus syllabus linked to the JHSPH course system is now live. This new workflow was detailed in this previous CTL blog post, but here is a shorter recap:

This workflow came out of the School’s recent accreditation cycle and will ensure consistency between what students see about courses in both the JHSPH course system and CoursePlus. This new workflow only affects the following sections of a CoursePlus syllabus: Course Description, Why Take this Course, Course Learning Objectives, Methods of Assessment, Intended Audience, and Prerequisites. All other sections of content in a CoursePlus syllabus are not subject to this new workflow.

The new workflow is as follows: you can edit any of the above listed sections as often as you like in CoursePlus, but changes will not be seen by students until you submit your edits to the JHSPH course system for review. Once you submit your edits to the JHSPH course system, you will not be able to edit these sections in CoursePlus until your submitted edits are reviewed as part of the normal course system change workflow. The review process in the JHSPH course system is usually handled by your departmental academic coordinator, and should take a few days, or less. Once your edits are approved, they will automatically be pushed to CoursePlus and visible to students. You can repeat this cycle as often as you wish, until two weeks after the start of the term in which the course is offered. After that time, no additional edits can be made in CoursePlus to the above linked sections.

If you have questions about this new workflow, please feel free to contact either CTL Help or your departmental academic coordinator.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:54 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 13 2015

See the File You Submitted to a Drop Box Immediately After Upload

We've made a small, but often requested, change to uploading files to a Drop Box: you can now see the file you uploaded immediately after uploading, on the same screen, rather than having to go back to the main Drop Box page to see the file that you submitted. It saves one click, yes, but it's much more convenient to upload a file and confirm that you uploaded the right file all at the same time, rather than jumping between screens.

Thanks to all the students and TAs who gave us the feedback that instigated this change!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:05 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 7 2015

A New Syllabus Editing Workflow for Academic Courses

As you probably know, JHSPH is winding up its current accreditation cycle. As part of this process, faculty and academic coordinators in departments across the School went through every course syllabus to reconcile the differences between what was in CoursePlus versus the JHSPH course system — the official system of record for academic courses at the School. Also as part of that process, editing information linked to the JHSPH course system was temporarily suspended

This reconciliation process in preparation for accreditation review led to a new mandate from School academic leadership: provide consistency between the course system and CoursePlus in what students and accreditors see while maintaining flexibility for faculty to edit this content in CoursePlus. To achieve that goal, we have implemented a new workflow for making changes to academic course information in CoursePlus. This workflow ties directly into the existing processes for changes in the JHSPH course system, the official system of record about academic courses at the School.

This workflow only affects the following syllabus sections which are linked directly to the School's course system of record and course catalog search tool:

  • Course Description
  • Why Take This Course
  • Course Learning Objectives
  • Methods of Assessment
  • Intended Audience
  • Prerequisites

All other editing of a syllabus remains as flexible as it has been in the past. This new workflow also does not apply to CoursePlus sites for courses not listed in in the JHSPH course catalog.

Below is the new editing workflow for the above listed sections:

1. Faculty, TAs, content editors, or academic coordinators sign into CoursePlus and begin work on their course syllabus.

2. When faculty opt to edit one of the above listed sections of content in their syllabus, they are first shown the current version of that content in the course system. Faculty make and save their edits to one of these sections in CoursePlus.

3. Once one of the above listed sections has been edited, the official content from the course system is displayed under the subhead “Public View,” followed immediately by the version that the faculty just changed under the subhead “Your Draft.” A note indicating that this content will not be shown to students until the change goes through the JHSPH course system approvals process will also be shown.

4. Once one of the core six sections has been edited, a large button appears in the upper-right corner of the syllabus tool that says: “Send your changes to the course system for approval.”

5. Faculty can continue to make edits to any section in the syllabus as often as they want.

6. When faculty click the “Send your changes to the course system for approval” button, they are shown a confirmation screen that warns them that if they proceed, editing of any of the six core sections will be turned off until the JHSPH course system approvals process is complete.

7. When faculty click the “Proceed” button, the changes to these sections are sent to the course system web service to be put into the review workflow.

8. Once the changes are sent to the course system, the edit buttons for the above listed sections are removed from the Syllabus Builder tool for this course. A notice is also placed at the top of the Syllabus Builder page indicating that the changes for this course are currently under review as part of the JHSPH course system approvals process and that faculty can contact their academic coordinator to facilitate that process. The current official version of each of the above listed sections is displayed along with any changes immediately below each section.

9. Each time the Syllabus Builder page is loaded, the current status of the course in the course system is displayed. This way, faculty can see what the current status of the changes are (in addition to receiving standard emails about the change process through the course system).

10. Once the changes are approved in the course system, the draft changes and the status notifications disappear from the Syllabus Builder tool because the changes have been approved and are now in CoursePlus. Faculty can once again edit any of the above listed sections for their course in CoursePlus.

Three important additional notes on this new workflow:

  • Editing of the above listed sections will be deactivated at the end of the add/drop period in the term in which the course is offered. Faculty who still need to make changes to the above listed sections will have to work within the course system or with their academic coordinator to make changes after this time.
  • The "Required Text(s)" field will no longer be editable from within the Syllabus Builder tool. Due to the way in which required text(s) are added to the course system and then linked to a given course, this information can only be edited within the course system at this time. JHSPH IT is reviewing the way in which required text(s) are added to the course system to hopefully enable editing from CoursePlus at some point. 
  • Titles of the above listed sections will no longer be editable. They must always match what is in the JHSPH course system of record.

We realize that this workflow is not as flexible as the previous way of editing the above listed sections of a CoursePlus syllabus. However, the School has an obligation to provide consistent information about a course across all of its systems, and the JHSPH course system is the system of record. This new workflow still allows faculty and their instructional team to make changes to these sections from within CoursePlus without having to sign into the JHSPH course system, where the ability to make changes is limited to the primary faculty on a course.

Once the new workflow for editing these sections of an academic course syllabus goes live, we'll be posting a video demonstration of all the steps in the process.


0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:27 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 5 2015

Track Twitter Accounts and Hashtags in CoursePlus

You can now track both Twitter accounts and hashtags in your CoursePlus site! A handful of faculty have asked for this feature in the past year, so we've added it as yet another data gathering tool for you and your students. The new Twitter Tracker page is under the "Resources" tab in your CoursePlus site. Faculty and site content editors can follow as many accounts and hashtags as they want, and the 50 most recent results for each account or hashtag will show up for students on the Twitter Tracker page in the CoursePlus site. 

Some faculty have set up their own accounts just for posting interesting and relevant articles and links in their area of research. Some faculty create a class-specific hashtag (ie; #sph140611) to carry on a conversation outside of a classroom. Some TAs use those same class-specific hashtags to gather specific questions for an in-class review before midterms and finals. If you're looking for ideas on how to use the new Twitter Tracker feature, there's a whole page on using the "backchannel," as it's called, in the classroom on the CTL Teaching Tookit site

As always, if you have comments or suggestions about this new feature, please let us know!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:13 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

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