Category: Course Tools

Jun 24 2014

New Quiz Generator Features for Those Coming from the Old CoursePlus

With the launch of the merged CoursePlus, faculty who had never taught an online course before now have access to a wide variety of new features and improvements to the tools that they had used in the old CoursePlus. The Quiz Generator has some significant new features which were not available in the old CoursePlus, but had been available in the online course system since the 2012 academic year. These include:

Multi-Access Graded Quizzes

  • Faculty are able to set up a quiz as graded, but then specify only allowing students access to the quiz once, or as many times as needed.
  • As students work on a multi-access quiz, their answers are automatically saved while they work. If the student leaves the quiz and comes back to the quiz, their answers appear exactly as they left them.
  • Students can submit their answers only once, regardless of the number of times they can access a graded quiz.
  • Faculty can set up a quiz so that students can access it as many times as needed, but have a countdown timer just as they could previously, so the student only has a total of [n] minutes to be on the quiz page.
  • Faculty can set up a quiz so that students can access it as many times as needed, but only have a set period of time (ie; 90 minutes) to work on the quiz. That time starts counting down the moment the student first access the quiz and continues to count down even if the student leaves the quiz page. At the end of the set period of time, the quiz is automatically submitted, even if the student isn't on the quiz page.

Allow Students to Continue Work on Single-Access Graded Quizzes

  • If a student can't complete a quiz that can only be accessed once (technical difficulty, etc.), faculty have an option on the special permissions page to let the student continue working on the quiz.
  • If a student is given special permission to continue working on the quiz, faculty have the option of "locking down" the existing student answers so the student can't change them.
  • If a student is given special permission to continue working on the quiz, the countdown timer (if one is used) will continue from the time the student last communicated with the server (so if they had 25 minutes left when they had a problem, they will have 25 minutes when they get special access again).
  • Note that if a student already submitted their answers to a quiz/exam, there is no option to let the student back into the quiz to change their work. (This is a feature that we will add in the coming months.)

Log of Student Activity in a Quiz

  • You can now see a log of all activity by a student when taking a quiz. This includes:
    • Starting and leaving a quiz
    • Selecting or changing answers
    • Snapshots of answers to essay questions as they are written
    • Warnings given to students about leaving a single-access graded quiz
    • Submission of answers Email messages sent by the system to the student

If you have questions about how to use any of these new features, please contact your course instructional designer or CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:34 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus

Jun 2 2014

Two Things all JHSPH Faculty and Students Should Do...

With all of the recent migrations and changes to @JHU email and CoursePlus, there are a couple key things that we should all do:

1. Update your Email address (to on the CoursePlus eLearning Account page. Once you have been migrated on email, this important step will help ensure that your emails come from and go to the correct address.

2. Change all bookmarks and/or reference links from to This will help ensure that students or others attempting to reach a particular class or destination will be able to. Keep in mind that your saved passwords will also be tied to the old address, so you will likely want to re-save any passwords in your preferred browsers.

Also, if you experience oddities or abnormalities while using CoursePlus, here are some tips to try before contacting CTLHelp:

  1. Clear your browser cache:
  2. If that does not work, please ensure that you don’t have any kind of “on startup, pick up exactly where I left off” settings turned on. Google Chrome has this in the Chome Preferences, under “Settings” -> “On Startup.”

Of course, if trouble persists, please use the CTL Help resources or open a help call

0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 2:02 PM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus | Distance Learning | General | Online Courses | Tech Tools

May 22 2014

Change to the "Preview Quiz" Page in the Quiz Generator

When a faculty, TA or staff member previews a quiz in the online course system, they have two options to choose from: "Test the Quiz as a Faculty/TA/Staff member" and "Test the Quiz as a Student.” These two options are nearly identical, and the separate links were only added after we received feedback years ago from a handful of people who weren't sure what things would look like to students vs. faculty who were taking or testing a quiz.

The only functional difference between "Test the Quiz as a Faculty/TA/Staff member" and "Test the Quiz as a Student” on that page is that clicking the "Test the Quiz as a Faculty/TA/Staff member" link resets your attempt on the quiz every time, whereas the "Test the Quiz as a Student" link lets you pick up where you left off on a multi-access quiz. Even so, if you access a multi-access quiz on the "test as student" link, you're presented with the option to start over with a new copy anyway. There's no real difference between the two links.

As such, we have combined the "Test the Quiz as a Faculty/TA/Staff member" and "Test the Quiz as a Student” links on this page into a single link titled “Test the Quiz."

The single “Test the Quiz” link will act the same as the current "Test the Quiz as a Student” link in that if you access a multi-access quiz on the "Test as student" link, you're presented with the option to start over with a new copy anyway.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:10 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Online Courses

Apr 29 2014

Two Changes to the Class Email Tool

As part of the work merging the online course system and CoursePlus, we've made a couple of small and (hopefully) helpful changes to email messages sent from the class email tool.

First, all courses (online or on-campus) will list the course number in the subject line of every message. Currently, online courses display a shortened version of the course name in the subject line. Many students do not know what these shortened versions of the course name mean. Messages sent through CoursePlus currently display the course number in the subject line. By making all courses, regardless of modality, use the same format for the subject line, we'll eliminate some confusion and create a more consistent experience.

Second, all email messages sent through the class email tool will be framed in a nice, gray box and will include a “Go to the class website” button at the bottom of all messages.

This is a small visual change, but makes the messages look nicer. With the addition of the “Go to the class website” button, everyone receiving the message now has an easy way to get to the class website from the email message.

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:45 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus | Online Courses

Apr 22 2014

"Recent Items from the Online Library" Box on the Course Home Page

When the online course and CoursePlus systems merge at the end of the academic year, we'll be introducing a new element to course home pages: a "Recent Items from the Online Library" box on each course home page. This box includes the five most recently uploaded (or replaced) files or links in the course Online Library.

Aside from making the course home page more useful, the other purpose of this addition is to help replace some of the functionality on the “What’s New” page in CoursePlus. In case you don't know, when students sign into CoursePluse, there is a “What’s New” link next to each course in which they are enrolled. This page lists recently added quizzes, surveys, Drop Boxes and Online Library files for a specific course. Unfortunately, this feature won't make it into to the merged CoursePlus right away because it’s not a very scalable tool (it takes 5-7 seconds to gather all the data for just one course). It also helps to divert students from actually going into a CoursePlus site and engaging in the full scope of activities therein. It’s certainly convenient, and our hope is that — while no replacement for a custom, per-person, per-course “What’s New” page — the "Updates to the Online Library Box” will help replace some of this convenience.

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:24 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus | Online Courses

Mar 4 2014

New Peer Assessment Tool in Online Courses

We're very excited to announce that a new peer assessment tool has been added to the online course system. Developed with a lot of great input from faculty and TAs here at the School, the peer assessment tool allows faculty to set up rubrics against which students will be assessed. There are a number of configurations available for organizing students for assessment:

  • Students can assess themselves
  • Students can assess [n] random other students
  • A student can assess everyone in her group
  • One group of students can assess another group of students
  • Everyone in the class can assess one group of students
  • Faculty and TAs can assess students individually

Assessments can be linked to course drop boxes, so that students are automatically assigned the appropriate files from those drop boxes to assess. Assessments can be points-based or not, and points-based assessments can be linked to the Gradebook for automatic import of final assessment grades into the Gradebook.

The peer assessment tool delivery process works like this:

  1. Create the basic parameters for the asssessment (when it starts/ends, what kind of assessment, etc.).
  2. Create a rubric or copy from an existing rubric against which students will be assessed.
  3. Students assess each other's (or their own) work using the rubric.
  4. Faculty and TAs review student assessments and release results to students.

The peer assessment tool is currently available only in online courses, but will be coming to CoursePlus in June.

There is extensive help documentation built into the new peer assessment tool, but if you're interested in using the tool, we strongly encourage you to talk about creating a great peer assessment with your course instructional designer!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:26 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Jan 14 2014

New Version of the Rich Text Editor includes Equation Support and a Drawing Tool

On January 14, 2014, we pushed out a major new version of the rich text editor in all online courses. The highlight of this new version of the rich text editor is that it now includes a) support for rendering equations created in LaTeX format, and b) a drawing board for sketching equations, tables, graphs or anything else!

Faculty (and students) have long asked for the ability to render equations in discussion forum posts, quizzes, and more. The problem has been that doing this required additional plug-ins to the Web browser, because Web browsers used to not be able to display markup for equations. That has changed, and since we're no longer supporting older browsers like Internet Explorer 8, we can now use tools which render equations using markup!

If you look at the rich text editor in the discussion forum, quizzes, or elsewhere in an online course site, you will now see the Greek Sigma symbol as a button in the editor toolbar.

Clicking this button will bring up the LaTeX equation editing window.

You paste in syntactically correct LaTeX markup, and the result  is rendered immediately in a preview. Clicking OK to close this window inserts the equation wherever it your cursor is placed in the rich text editor box. 

The other new button in the rich text editor toolbar is the paintbrush button:

Clicking on this button will bring up the drawing board tool, which allows you to quickly sketch or draw something (or mark up an equation or create a 2x2 table, etc).

Once you click the OK button, the image is saved, and then that image then becomes part of the content of your discussion forum post, email message, quiz question, etc. This is a great tool for marking up something that isn't possible to type.

The new rich text editor appears throughout tools in online courses. There is one place where the equation editor tool does not work, however, and that's within the class email tool. The reason for this is because the rendering of equations inside the Web browser requires code to execute. Email clients do not allow code to execute when you open an email message because that would be a major security risk. As a result, we've removed the equation editor button from the class email tool so that you don't create messages with equations in them and then get frustrated that students don't see those equations when they read the email. You could use the drawing board tool to sketch your eqation instead, as email clients don't have problems displaying images.

This new version of the rich text editor is available in online courses only at this time. It will be coming to CoursePlus in June.

1 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:26 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Online Courses

Search Archives




Monthly Archives