Mar 2 2017

On-Campus Classes Can Now Use the Schedule Builder Tool

On-campus classes and fully online courses use different tools for setting up and laying out the schedule of classes or content in a course. Many faculty who teach both face-to-face and online have asked if they could use the online course Schedule Builder tool in their on-campus CoursePlus sites. They prefer the simpler layout and increased flexibilty that the Schedule Builder tool provides them, especially in conjunction with the use of Page Builder to create standalone pages in their CoursePlus sites.

All CoursePlus sites now have access to the Schedule Builder tool. In combination with utilization of Page Builder, on-campus courses can now build out sites very similar to fully online courses.

Schedule Builder emphasizes a single item per line in the list of activities in the course. This makes for simpler visual scanning, but with a lack of dense content display. The Class Sessions tool, on the other hand, allows for denser content display per line in the list of activities in the course, but at the cost of difficulty scanning through content. You can see the overall differences between the Class Sessions tool, on the left, and the Schedule Builder tool, on the right, in the image below:

Comparison of the class sessions tool vs. the schedule builder tool

Many faculty prefer the Schedule Builder tool because of its clean look, the separation of each item in the class onto its own line in the schedule, the ability to control access to content by date, the ability to separate class dates from due dates for assignments, and the tracking of completion of individual items on the schedule by students.

If you have an on-campus class and would like to switch to using the Schedule Builder tool, you can do so at any time by clicking on the "Switch to Schedule Builder" button on the main faculty tools page in your CoursePlus site.

Switch to Schedule Builder button‚Äč

You can switch back to the Class Sessions tool at any time, if you wish. Content is not synchronized between the two tools, however. Any change you make in one tool is not reflected in the other tool. One other caveat to note: on-campus classes cannot add LiveTalks to the Schedule Builder. LiveTalks are reserved for fully online classes only.

We hope that the introduction of the Schedule Builder option to all courses in CoursePlus gives you more flexibility in designing your CoursePlus sites. There is a complete guide to using the Schedule Builder tool in the CoursePlus Faculty Guide. If you have questions or need assistance using the Schedule Builder tool, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:21 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 22 2017

Publicly Viewable Page Builder Pages

Sometimes when faculty create their syllabus in CoursePlus, they have projects or assignments which require detailed instructions that really don't belong in the syllabus itself. In the past, there's been no way for faculty to create a whole page to detail a project, assignment, or related issue to the course that they want everyone to be able to see before the course begins.

Faculty, TAs, and staff can now create publicly viewable pages in Page Builder. These pages work just like any other page in Page Builder, except that you can link them to your syllabus (or an email, or anywhere) and then anyone in the world can see the content of those pages. This allows faculty and course teams a lot of flexibility in setting up detailed task lists, or reading lists, or project pages that can be read as students browse for courses or before the courses begin.

These pages can't be full lecture pages, as most lectures are private only to students who have registered for the course. We hope, though, that this new feature will provide even more flexibility to course teams who are looking to provide lots of information about their course to anyone who wants to see it.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:47 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 16 2017

Full CoursePlus UI in Lecture Playback

Many students have asked us why the full CoursePlus user interface and navigation controls disappear when they watch lecture presentations in CoursePlus. This is really a holdover from a time when lecture presentations used to play back in Adobe Presenter format, and Adobe Presenter would stretch to fill the screen when possible. We wanted to make the presentations as big as possible when you viewed them, so we opted to remove all elements on the screen that would cause the presentations to display at a smaller size. That meant that the whole CoursePlus interface should be hidden to maximize the size of lecture presentation playback.

Now that we deliver lecture presentations as pure video, and those videos are set at a fixed size, it makes little sense to hide the whole CoursePlus user interface when playing back lectures. Showing the whole CoursePlus user interface when playing back lectures provides a more consistent user experience and easier navigation overall. You'll now see the full interface when you watch lecture presentations inside CoursePlus.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:18 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 13 2017

CoursePlus 101: Give TAs, Editors, or Guests Access to Your CoursePlus Site

In this updated entry in the CoursePlus 101 series, we look at adding an editor (TA, administrative assistant, guest faculty) to your CoursePlus site.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 3:38 PM - Categories: CoursePlus | CoursePlus 101

Jan 31 2017

Important Notes About LiveTalk for Chrome and Safari Users

Both Chrome and Safari have made changes in recent months which can (and do) adversely affect using those Web browsers for participating in LiveTalks.

Chrome:

By default, Chrome blocks access to your microphone, which is important for participating in LiveTalks. CTL Help has a Frequently Asked Question which walks you through the process of allowing Chrome to access your microphone during LiveTalks. Please be sure to review this information so you know how to give Chrome permission to access your microphone during LiveTalk!

Safari:

By default, the Flash Player is turned off in Safari 10. It will appear to websites that Flash is simply not installed, and you will always get a message saying that you need to install the Flash Player — even if you have already installed the latest version of the Flash Player.

To enable Flash Player in Safari 10, you must do the following:

  1. In Safari, go to Preferences > Security
  2. Make sure that “Enable Plug-ins” is checked.
  3. Click “Plug-in Settings”
  4. Select “Adobe Flash Player” from the list. If Flash is not installed, it will not appear in the list of available plug-ins. 
  5. Once enabled the plug-in is enabled by clicking the checkbox next to "Adobe Flash Player," set the “When visiting other websites” option at the bottom of the screen to either “Ask” or “On.”
  6. You can add specific websites (i.e.; connect.jhsph.edu only) to this screen, so that Flash is only allowed to run on specific websites and not everywhere, but the website must be open in your web browser at the time.

If you need help making this change, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:05 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jan 23 2017

Tracking the Work You've Done in Online Courses

If you've been taking online courses in the current academic year, you may have noticed that when you watched a lecture, a black checkmark would appear next to the listing for that lecture on the main course content page in the course website. This indicated that you had watched that lecture. This was helpful, to a limited extent, but many students wanted more.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to track if you completed Drop Box assignments, or readings, LiveTalks, or other activities in an online course beyond watching a lecture? Now you can. Starting with the third term, you'll see a "Completed?" checkbox next to every item on the main course content page in online courses.

Example of checkmarks indicating items on the course schedule are complete

CoursePlus will automatically track if you have completed watching a lecture, or taking a quiz, or completing a survey. In the near future, we'll be adding peer evaluations and LiveTalks to that list. You can use the checkboxes on the main course content page to track if you've completed Drop Box assignments, projects, or any other item listed on the main course content page.

You can mark a checkbox as completed at any time, or unmark one that CoursePlus has already marked as completed for you. This way, you have a quick visual way in the course website to help you track if you've done everything that is expected of you in the course.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:10 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 19 2016

CTL Help Closings for the Holidays

When the University is closed for holidays, CTL Help is also highly limited. CTL Help will be highly limited on the following holiday dates:

  • Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26, 2106
  • Friday, December 30, 2016 through Monday, January 2, 2017

If you contact CTL Help during this time, you will likely not receive a response until the next day the University is open for business, which is the Tuesday after each weekend listed above.

Please remember that there are many FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on the CTL Help website which answer a large majority of the questions which typically come in to CTL Help via help requests.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:49 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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