Jul 29 2014

Grading TA Role Added to CoursePlus

We're always listening to the feedback given to us about CoursePlus. One request that has come in numerous times over the past few months is the ability to have TAs who can grade papers and exams, but not do anything else within a CoursePlus site. We're pleased to announce that this new role — the "Grading TA" role — has been added to CoursePlus.

This is a special, limited role and is not intended for most TAs. TAs in this role can only do the following:

  • Access course Drop Boxes
  • Access and score quizzes (but not edit or change quiz or question setups)
  • Access and enter grades in the Gradebook (but not edit or change the Gradebook setup)

TAs in this role cannot edit the syllabus, edit class sessions, manage the discussion forum, add files to the Online Library, or do any editing to the content of your CoursePlus site. Their access is limited to the activities listed above. You can add someone in the Grading TA role by going to the "Add TAs, Editors..." tool inside of your CoursePlus site.

We hope that those of you who have requested this feature find it a useful addition to CoursePlus!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:45 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jul 22 2014

Lots of Updates to the Peer Assessment Tool

Since we introduced the Peer Assessment tool in CoursePlus in March, there have been a handful of courses which have used this tool to allow students to assess and grade each other's work. We've received some excellent feedback on the functionality and user experience of the Peer Assessment tool, and have been making subtle tweaks to the tool since its release. As of the summer term, however, we've added a few more noticeable changes to the Peer Assessment tool:

  • The Peer Assessment tool now sends a "confirmation of assessment submission" email to students when they complete and submit an assessment.
  • Faculty and TAs can see a preview of the results email that will be sent to students before that results email is sent.
  • An option to add an “Additional Comments and Feedback” row to a rubric is now available. There are no boxes to click and no points to assign in this row. It there only as an open comments/feedback box for the person filling out the rubric.
  • You can now add students to a peer assessment after it has opened. In the case of group assignments, students will be added into their groups and will be assigned as part of that group. In the case of self-assesments and faculty assessments, students are simply added to the assessment like any other student. In the case of random assignments, faculty or TAs are required to manually assign students added to the assessment after it has opened to other students.
  • Students who do not enter comments for each criteria in a peer assessment are now told that they must do so.
  • Auditors are now excluded from being assigned assessments in the random assignment assessment type.
  • Emails sent from the Peer Assessment tool now include the course number in the subject, and will alternatively use the course short if the course is not a course in the SPH course catalog.
  • When you click on a cell in a rubric to edit the text therein, the cursor now auto-focuses in the rich text editor.
  • When you edit a rubric, you can now see a substantial list of example rubrics in a new window.

We hope that all of these changes — all suggested by faculty and TAs — make the experience of the Peer Assessment tool a better one.

If you have questions about the Peer Assessment tool and how to incorporate it into your classes, please contact an instructional designer in the Center!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:07 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jul 11 2014

Blended and Flipped: Exploring New Models for Effective Teaching & Learning

Blended and Flipped: Exploring New Models for Effective Teaching & Learning (PDF) is a new resource just added to the Flipped Classrooms page in the CTL Teaching Toolkit. It is a detailed special report from Faculty Focus, which is comprised of many individual articles on integrating online and face-to-face activities, course design, reflection, flippable moments, and more! 


0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 3:30 PM - Categories: Distance Learning | Innovation & Inspiration | Online Courses | Teaching Tips

Jul 8 2014

Reminder: The Rich Text Editor in CoursePlus Has an Equation Editor and a Drawing Pad!

If you never taught or took an online course prior to the merging of CoursePlus and the old online courses system, you may not know that the rich text editor found throughout CoursePlus has two very powerful features: the ability to render LaTeX equations and a drawing pad that lets you insert drawings right into the rich text editor.

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.

Equation Editor Button

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

Equation Editor 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:

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).

Drawing board tool

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.

These tools are available throughout CoursePlus, wherever there is a rich text editor, with one notable exception. The equation editor tool does not work 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 such, the equation editor isn't available in the rich text editor inside the class email tool.

We hope that you find these additions to the overall CoursePlus toolbox useful. If you have any feedback, we'd like to hear it!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:05 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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 10 2014

Copying Your Syllabus or Online Library From One CoursePlus Site to Another

As you probably know, when you set up a CoursePlus site, you are given the option to copy content from another section or offering of the same course. What you may not know is that there are a growing number of tools in CoursePlus that let you copy content for the same tool from another section or offering of the same course even after you've done the initial site setup.

Both the Syllabus Builder and Online Library tools allow you to copy the entire syllabus or Online Library from another section or offering of the same course at any time. It's important to note that when you perform this copy, it replaces everything currently in the syllabus or Online Library of your CoursePlus site. There's no option to only pick and choose what you want from the other CoursePlus site.

In the Syllabus Builder tool, the link to do this is in a box at the bottom of the column of suggested syllabus sections on the right side of the page. The box is titled "Copy catalog information from another section of this course." Once you click this link, you will be shown a list of other sites to pick from before confirming the copy.

In the Online Library, click on the "Options" tab. Scroll down until you see "Online Library Migration":

Online Library Migration Tool

Click "Preview" to ensure it's the one you want to copy. Once you're sure, click the "Copy" button to erase your current Online Library and copy everything from the other CoursePlus site's Online Library.

Remember: when you perform this copy in either tool, it replaces everything currently in the syllabus or Online Library of your CoursePlus site.

We'll be adding more copying tools to CoursePlus in the coming months. Our first target will be the Quiz Generator, where you will be able to pick and choose the quizzes you want to copy instead of having to copy all quizzes at once. If there are other tools where the copy feature would be useful, please let us know!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:45 AM - Categories: 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 @jhu.edu) 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 distance.jhsph.edu to courseplus.jhsph.edu. 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: http://ctl.jhsph.edu/help/index.cfm/go/faq.display/faqID/75/
  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

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