Nov 17 2016

Enhanced Logging in the Quiz Generator

Faculty and TAs have long had the ability to see what a student did throughout the entirety of taking a quiz or exam in the Quiz Generator. This information can be viewed by looking at the responses and scores for a single student, and then clicking the "View Activity Log" link.

We recently added more logging to the Quiz Generator to help provide greater visibilty into the activity surrounding a given quiz:

  • There is now a log showing the granting/removal of special permissions to take a quiz, including when students had their answer set cleared for a full retake, on the Special Access page.
  • You are alerted when students complete a quiz in less than 10% of the allotted time for the quiz.
  • The total time taken to complete a quiz is now displayed on the Excel file of all responses and grades for a quiz. It has long been visible on the "Statistics" page for a quiz.
  • The log of activity for a quiz now shows if a student switches from one tab or browser window to another while taking a quiz.
  • The log of activity for a quiz now shows if a student accessed other pages or content in the same course while taking the quiz.

In regards to the tracking of tab/window switching, it's important to note that we can only record when students switch to another browser window or tab and not if they switch to another application entirely. Allowing one application to see what another application is doing would violate basic operating system security practices, so the browser can only see what goes on inside the browser. However, this information can still provide insight into when a student swaps between tabs or windows in the same browser during a closed-book exam.

In regards to the logging of access of other pages or content in the same course, this is only available to quizzes that are flagged as being part of the student's final grade in the course. Additionally, because this is a computationally very expensive process (merging multiple accesss logs that contain gigabytes of information on a monthly basis), this additional, non-quiz-specific activity can take a few hours from the time a student completes a quiz to appear in the log of student activity while taking a quiz. 

We hope that these changes will make the activity surrounding a quiz more transparent to the entire course instructional team.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:21 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Nov 2 2016

"About Me" Pages in the Portfolio for Faculty Advisors

Students can now create a publishing view in their portfolio which can be flagged as an "About Me" or biographical sketch page which can then be shared with their faculty advisors.

When a student creates a publishing view in their portfolio, there is now an option to mark that publishing view as an "About Me" page:

Demonstration of the About Me checkmark in the student publishing views.

Advisors for that student will then see an information icon next to the student name in the list of their advisors:

Biosketch icon next to an advisee's name in an advisor's view of the portfolio.

Clicking on that information icon will open the "About Me" or biographical sketch page. This is a great way for students to introduce themsleves to their advisors and for advisors to have a quick reminder about the personal and professional goals of all their advisees.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 4:40 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 25 2016

Marking an Online Lecture as "Watched"

While CoursePlus has long tracked students views of online course lectures on a macro level, the system hasn't really tracked if an individual lecture section was watched from start to finish, or if all sections in a lecture have been watched.

That's about to change.

CoursePlus now tracks the length of time someone spends on viewing a single section of an online course lecture video. If the lecture video is viewed for at least 50% of its total running time, that lecture is marked in the system as having been watched. A small checkmark icon appears next to that section in the Lecture Materials box for a fully online lecture.

Example of checkmark next to section title when a section has been viewed.

Back on the main course content page in a fully online course, if all sections of a lecture have been watched, that lecture, as a whole, is marked as being watched. This way, learners have more tools to help them stay on top of the work that they've done, and the work that they still need to do, at least when it comes to the core activity of watching online course lectures.

Note that this only applies to fully online course lectures delivered in video format. If the lectures are in VoiceThread or delivered in Adobe Presenter format, we can't do the same tracking. Fortunately, this change is applicable to the vast majority of lecture content in online courses CoursePlus.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:38 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 13 2016

Portfolio Updates for the First Term

The team at the Center for Teaching and Learning responsible for CoursePlus works closely with the faculty and adminsitrative staff using portfolios in their degree programs. We get a lot of requests for enhancements and improvements to the portfolio, and we work hard to make as many of those requests happen. To that end, here's a list of changes we've made to the portfolio tool in the first academic term:

  • There is now a "Return to Student as Incomplete" workflow for touchpoints which require advisor approval. If an advisor marks a touchpoint as "Incomplete - Send Back to Student," the student is notified and can see the faculty feedback on the relevant touchpoint page. The student can then make adjustments and return the touchpoint to the advisor for additional review. A history of student reflections and advisor comments is displayed to both students and advisors.
  • Touchpoint display on the main student view has been modified so that if there are more than five (5) touchpoints in a program, only touchpoints that are due in the next 16 weeks (two academic terms) are shown, rather than all touchpoints at once. There is a button to show all touchpoints, grouped by academic year, at once. Any touchpoints that have a status of "Waiting for Student" or "Returned as Incomplete" are always shown.
  • The text of each reflection prompt has been removed from the main listing of touchpoints in a student portfolio. This makes the page significantly more readable.
  • The "All Touchpoint Completion for a Cohort" report for program administrators can now be exported to Excel.
  • If a student has set up a bio-sketch publishing view, a link to that bio-sketch is now also available in the program administrator when you look at students in a cohort.
  • When a student selects a level for a competency, a checkmark briefly appears next to that competency, indicating that it has been saved. 
  • Program admins can now filter the overall competency report by date, so that they can see how all students in the program self-rated on competencies at a specific point in time. 
  • Program admins can now hide the display of entire cohorts of students from faculty advisors.
  • The list of student advisees in the faculty advisor view is now grouped by cohort and cohort start year so that the most recent cohorts display first.
  • Expand/collapse buttons are available on list of student advisees in the faculty advisor view so that entire cohorts can be hidden or shown at once.
  • A link has been added to faculty self-service in SIS on the advisor dashboard page.
  • An individual no longer needs to have the default role of "Faculty of Record" in CoursePlus in order to be added as an advisor to a cohort.
  • The touchpoint type (Reflection/Task) has been removed from the main touchpoint view for students.
  • The time stamp on personal journal entries now displays in 12-hour format, instead of 24-hour.
  • Custom due dates now appear in the timeline view of a student portfolio, instead of the default due date for that touchpoint.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 4:00 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 28 2016

New Table Tools in the Rich Text Editor in CoursePlus

There's a powerful rich text editor used in many tools in CoursePlus. It's not quite the same as editing a document in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but it provides a lot of formatting and media insertion options when creating text in CoursePlus. While this tool has had table editing tools for a long time, we heard from some faculty that they didn't know that they could add tables to text fields in CoursePlus, and that editing table layout and properties was just too hard.

We're pleased to announce that the rich text editor found throughout CoursePlus has an all-new, easily discoverable set of tools for creating tables!  The new tools make setting up a table, adding or deleting rows and columns, and merging rows and cells much easier:

Icons representing the new table tools in CoursePlus.

The new table tools can be found at the top of almost every rich text editor in CoursePlus. We hope you find them easier to use than before!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:15 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 23 2016

Important Notice about Safari 10 and LiveTalk


Safari 10 was released on Tuesday, September 20, and includes a significant change which affects attending LiveTalks.

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.”

You can add specific websites (i.e.; 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 9:35 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 6 2016

Cleaning Up the Syllabus Builder Interface

In addition to making significant improvements to the printed version of a syllabus in CoursePlus, the CoursePlus team has also cleaned up the Syllabus Builder tool interface to make it easier on the eyes. We've removed a lot of visual clutter and extra whitespace so the whole page has a leaner, more readable look. Sepecifically, we've:

  • Taken the sidebar of suggested sections and put it into a drop-down button at the top of the page
  • Removed some of the suggested sections in the sidebar because they were never used in the past two years
  • Reduced the box sizes and font sizes of section headers
  • Reduced blank space between sections
  • Provided a "Collapse/Expand All Sections" tool so you can quickly see all the sections on the page
  • Removed the "See Student View of the Syllabus" button because that's available from the "Syllabus" menu at the very top of the page

We hope that these changes make it an easier tool for everyone to use!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:05 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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