Viewing by month: March 2011

Mar 28 2011

Changes to the Gradebook in Online Courses

In response to faculty and TA feedback, we've made a number of small, yet hopefully useful, changes to the Gradebook in online courses.

  • A new, streamlined view of the individual student Gradebook page has been implemented. We've removed a lot of the repetitive text and visual clutter and made it easier for students to see their grades and feedback in a simple, grid format.
  • All activity related to a student grade is now logged and displayed in the grade history. Previously, only changes to a grade were logged. Now, if a file is uploaded for student feedback, that is logged. If a grade is deleted after one has been entered, that is logged.
  • The "Grades by Activity" view now displays 50 students per page, up from 25.
  • Page load time on Gradebook items linked to the Quiz Generator is significantly faster.
  • Uploading large ZIP files with more than 100 student submissions is now handled better by the Gradebook.
  • A warning is now given that grades will be deleted if you change the setup for an item in the Gradebook where grades exist.
  • A warning is now given if the overall grading method for the Gradebook is percentage-based, but the items in the Gradebook do not total to or go over 100%.
  • Deselecting "Display the grade for each activity in the student view" on the Gradebook setup page now correctly deselects the appropriate checkbox all the way down the chain, including all checkboxes next to each student name for each graded item in the Gradebook. Previously, you had to reselect the "Display Grade in Student View" option for each activity that had already been graded and then deselect it to have all the Display Grade options deselected.
  • A warning is now displayed on the "Enter Grades" view when feedback has already been sent to students that any changes in feedback automatically result in an email with the updated feedback being sent to students.
  • When editing existing text feedback, the "Write new text Feedback" button has been removed and replaced by a "Save Text Feedback" button. Faculty and TAs would sometimes click this button thinking it was a save button, but instead it would delete existing feedback and allow them to start with an empty slate.
  • You can no longer alter the automatically calculated percentage value on the "Prepare Final Grade" page. Previously, you could change this value but it would not be saved when the "Save All Grades" button was clicked, confusing many people.
  • When you manually override a grade pulled in from the Quiz Generator, the "Email Grade/Feedback to this Student" button does not appear for students who have not yet been sent feedback, as feedback for items in the Quiz Generator should be sent from the Quiz Generator. You can only email a grade for an quiz/exam from the Quiz Generator from the Gradebook if you manually override a grade created in the Quiz Generator.

Revised documentation for the Gradebook is also now available within the Gradebook tool. This documentation includes common setup and grading scenarios and how to handle those scenarios in the Gradebook.

Again, these changes came about as the direct result of faculty and TA feedback about Gradebook and how it did (or did not) work for them. We encourage you to continue to provide us feedback so that we can make the Gradebook (and all the tools in online courses and CoursePlus) even better.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:18 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Mar 23 2011

March 2011 Update to CoursePlus

On March 23, the Center rolled out an update to CoursePlus. This update includes the following new features:

  • Students: Online courses for which you have registered in ISIS are now listed when you sign in to CoursePlus. Clicking a link to an online course will take you to the main online course website.
  • Institute Courses: Faculty and editors can now add students who register for institute courses to their CoursePlus sites as students, and not just guests. This was done because institute courses have a mix of students who take courses for credit and non-credit, some of whom have JHED IDs and some of whom do not, and the time it can take to get a student registered in ISIS for an institute course can sometimes be longer than the institute course itself. Students who register for an institute course for credit via ISIS will still be automatically enrolled the appropriate CoursePlus site as a student. This additional tool has been added to handle those students who may not be automatically enrolled in a CoursePlus site. This new feature is only available to institute courses and not regular (section .01, .02, etc) courses.
  • Academic Coordinators: Academic Coordinators now have easier access to view all of the CoursePlus sites in their academic departments.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 12:22 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 23 2011

Changes to the Drop Box in Online Courses

On Tuesday, March 22, the Center rolled out a number of changes to the online course system, including two not-so-small changes to the Drop Box in online courses. The changes are:

  • Limit the type of file that a Drop Box will accept. This has existed in CoursePlus for some time, but not in online courses. Now, when you set up a Drop Box, you can limit the kinds of files that the Drop Box will accept. Students will not be able to submit a file of a different type that the one specified. Options include:
    • Any file type
    • PDF files
    • Word files (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt)
    • PowerPoint files (.ppt, .pptx)
    • Excel files (.xls, .xlsx)
    • Stata files (.do, .dta, .log)
    • R files (.r, .RNw)
    • Plain text files (.txt)
  • See a history of student submissions to a Drop Box. If a students submits a file to a Drop Box more than once, you can see a history of all those submission events. If a faculty or TA submits on behalf of the student, that too is recorded in the history. Note that we do not store all the copies of all the files submitted — only the history of submissions.
As always, if you have questions about these changes, or suggestions for changes to make in the future, we welcome them!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:16 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Mar 18 2011

New Web Event Posted: Kevin Frick

A new, interesting recorded event is now available for viewing on the CTLT web events page: http://ctlt.jhsph.edu/webevents/

Dr. Kevin Frick, discusses "Future Pedagogical Approaches to Health Economics and Economic Evaluation." This event was recorded at the School on February 2, 2011.

Posted by Kathy Gresh at 4:44 PM - Categories: Web Events

Mar 4 2011

Remaking the BBS: Category Organization

In this last entry in the "Remaking the BBS" series, we're going to look at the new tool for creating and organizing categories. This tool is only available to faculty, TAs, and staff working on a course.

The current BBS administrator is a confusing mess of category setup, category options, group setup, user options, and a whole lot of other features which we simply do not use. Most faculty and TAs never venture into the BBS administrator for this reason. We wanted to make the basic setup of a BBS as simple as possible, and here's the result of these changes:

BBS Admin Page

As you can see, it's pretty simple: on this page, you can create categories and category headers, and that's it. Category headers, in case you don't know, are just that: headers under which other categories can be grouped. You can't post a message in a category header. You can only post a message in a category. Category headers in the screenshot above are "Exercises" and "LiveTalks." As you can see, a category doesn't have to exist under a header. Categories can stand alone.

To reorder the display of categories and headers, you drag and drop the categories (or headers) into the desired location.

If you need to change any of the category options covered in a previous post, you do that on this screen as well.

We think this is a lot simpler and a lot more organized than the current BBS administration setup. If you think otherwise, or have any questions or comments about this, please let us know by posting a comment below!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:20 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Online Courses

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