Category: Course Tools

Dec 16 2014

Fall Updates to the Survey Tool

The survey tool in CoursePlus has received a number of small but important updates in the past couple of months. These include:

  • You can now set both open and close dates on the survey. Each is optional, but the links to the survey will not be active to students before the open date and after the close date (if either are specified). You can still have students access the survey after the close date by sending them the direct link, which is available when you edit a survey.
  • You can send a boilerplate reminder to complete a survey to all students who haven't yet completed a survey from the "Who Has/Has Not Completed the Survey" page in your CoursePlus site.
  • You can now preview the content of system-wide template surveys.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:21 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Dec 3 2014

Upload Your LiveTalk Slides Directly Into the Course Website

For years, slides used in LiveTalks for online courses had to be emailed to the course instructional designer who would, in turn, manage the conversion and posting process. While this helped to foster communication between the couse team and their instructonal designer about the content of LiveTalks, it left a lot to be desired from a workflow perspective. It was also problematic if the instructional designer was on vacation or out sick.

We've added a tool to online courses which now lets the faculty and TAs on an online course upload the slides directly into their online course website. This new LiveTalk slides upload tool is on the LiveTalk page in your online course, and is available up to a week prior to any scheduled LiveTalk. 

In addition to being able to upload up to 10 PPT or PDF files, you can also provide the LiveTalk team valuable infomation about your LiveTalk, including:

  • Number of people in the studio
  • Number of student presentations, if any
  • Expected running time of your session
  • Remote faculty or phone call-in speakers
  • And more

Providing all of this information will make it much easier for the Multimedia team who provides technical support for LiveTalks.

We think this process revamp will ensure that your slides get to the right people in a timely manner and will make setting up for LiveTalks go a whole lot smoother. The deadlines for submitting your LiveTalk slides remain the same, however, so be sure to upload those slides by noon on the day of your LiveTalk!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:27 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Dec 2 2014

Four Updates to the Discussion Forum

The discussion forum tool has been getting quite a bit of attention this fall. We've just released a number of new features for the discussion forum, all of which are available right now in your CoursePlus sites:

  1. A discussion forum topic can now be marked as "answered." Only the person who originally posted the topic or faculty or TAs can mark the question as answered. A topic can have more than one reply marked as the correct answer.
  2. If a course faculty or TA has responded to a topic, there is now an icon on the main discussion forum page which indicates this.
  3. Posting dates less than five days old are displayed in relative format. If a post was created 5 minutes ago, the date/time of the post reads "5 minutes ago." If a post was created 2 days ago, the date/time of the post reads "2 days ago." Posts older than 5 days show the date and time on which the post was created. This display of dates in relative format can be turned off in the admin section of each discussion forum.
  4. You can now search for posts marked as "Important."

Finally, students outside of the US now have the name of their country properly displayed in discussion forum posts. Hooray!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:07 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Nov 24 2014

Fall Updates to the Peer Assessment Tool

We've received a lot of feedback about the Peer Asessment tool in CoursePlus since its introduction back in March of this year. The CoursePlus team has already made a number of significant changes to the tool, and as we continue to get feedback, we continue to make changes. During the last few months, the following changes were introduced:

  • The main peer assessment report page for faculty has undergone a significant revamp in order to make it clearer what each student in the class did, if they completed all of their assessments, and what assessments are still outstanding by each student.
  • Load time of the main peer assessment page has been markedly improved by calculating scores and means or medians when students submit peer assessments, rather than dynamically at runtime when the main peer assessment page is requested by faculty or TAs.
  • All peer assessments are now displayed on the "My Assessments" page for students if the person viewing that page is faculty/TA/staff.
  • Faculty and TAs can now see the "My Assessments" page for any student and see exactly what that student sees when they complete an assessment.
  • If a peer assessment is linked to a Drop Box, the main peer assessment report page for faculty now shows a box titled "Students Who Did Not Turn in Drop Box Files." This box lists the students who did not turn in Drop Box files for the linked Drop Box.
  • If a peer assessment is linked to a Drop Box, the main peer assessment report page for faculty now shows a box listing "Students who cannot complete their assessments because someone else did not turn in a file."
  • An "incomplete" marker is shown on the main peer assessment report page for any assessment which is not 100% complete.
  • The overall scoring method is no longer pre-selected. Faculty or TAs must choose which scoring method they prefer to use on a peer assessment.
  • If students do not click on a performance level when filling out a peer assessment, performance levels are automatically selected based on the points value entered by a student.
  • A student can no longer award more points than the maximum allowed for a given criteria.
  • Faculty and TAs can now leave additional comments/feedback on the summary report for peer assessments where a group is evaluated (by everyone or by their own group members). 

We look forward to your continued feedback on the Peer Assessment tool, and are already working on more changes!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:05 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Nov 10 2014

Two New Drop Box Features: Automatic Reminders and an Honor Pledge

We've added two new features which we hope will make the CoursePlus Drop Box even more useful to faculty and TAs.

First: automatic reminders. You can now schedule automatic reminders that will be sent to students who have not yet turned in a file to a Drop Box that the Drop Box due date is approaching. You specify the number of days before the due date of the Drop Box that you want the reminder to be sent, and it is automatically sent to students who have not yet turned in a file for that Drop Box. This is the generic message that is always sent:

This email message is to remind you that you have not submitted [Name of Course] [Name of Drop Box].
Due Date: [Due date for Drop Box]

Second: an honor pledge indicator. You can now opt to require that students click a checkbox next to a statement about completing work in compliance with the School's policy and procedure memorandum pertaining academic ethics before they can submit a file to a Drop Box. While clicking a checkbox cannot literally enforce that students complete their work in an appropriate manner, it does help to serve as a reminder to all students of their obligations when it comes to academic ethics.

The honor pledge, written by the Associate Dean for Academic Integrity, reads:

I have completed this assignment in accordance with the School's Policies and Procedures Memorandum Students-1 pertaining to Academic Ethics.

One other change that we made to the Drop Box was to limit the size of submitted Microsoft Word or PDF files. In the first academic term, there were a handful of students who submitted Word documents or PDF files that were over 300MB in size. That's fairly huge for a Word document or PDF file, especially as the vast majority of students submit files that are less than 10MB in size. The problem with these large files was that they'd take a longer than normal time for faculty or TAs to download, and would significantly slow the creation of the ZIP files for all files submitted to a Drop Box. In order to improve the overall experience for everyone, we've limited the maximum file size of Word and PDF files that can be submitted to a Drop Box to 50MB. Students who have files larger than 50MB can use any number of techniques to reduce the file size, and can seek asssitance for doing this from the CTL Help team.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:55 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Oct 27 2014

A New File Uploader for the Online Library

Over the past few months, we've noticed sporadic instnances where uploading multiple files at the same time to a course Online Library would randomly fail. There was no clear indication why the file uploads would fail, and there was no clear pattern to the problem. It would most often manifest itself when people uploaded multiple files with Firefox, but we also saw the problem in Chrome and Safari.

Along the way, we discovered that the Flash-based uploader for files in the Online Library was the culprit. To address this problem, we replaced the Flash-based uploader with a standards-compliant set of code that does not require the Flash plug-in to work. This is one more dependency on the Flash plug-in that we have removed, and makes CoursePlus more accessible across mobile devices.

You should not notice much difference with the new, non-Flash file uploader in the Online Library. One additional benefit this uploader brings is that you can now upload individual files up to 200MB in size to your course Online Library, up from the rather paltry 30MB that was the previous limit.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:26 PM - Categories: Course Tools

Oct 21 2014

Schedule Course Announcements

We've added two new small, but helpful, features to the Announcements tool in CoursePlus.

First, you can now schedule announcements in advance. You can set a date in the future for the announcement and the announcement will not appear on your class website until the date and time you've selected. Previously, all announcements would appear immediately, as soon as you created them.

Second, you can now select the number of days for which you want the announcement to appear. Announcements can appear for 1 to 7 days. (An announcement that needs to appear for more than 7 days should really be added as a class email or go into the Discussion Forum.)

Hopefully these small improvements make announcements more useful for you in your classes!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:24 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus

Search Archives

Subscribe

CoursePlus on Twitter

JHSPH Sites

Categories

Monthly Archives