Sep 14 2015

The On-Campus Attendance Tracker

Every few months, the CTL Help team gets asked if there's a way to keep track of attendance in on-campus classes from within CoursePlus. We're always listening to our faculty, staff, and students, and when a certain feature is requested often enough, we know it's time to turn that request into reality. 

Faculty can now enable an attendance tracking tool for on-campus courses from wihtin CoursePlus. The attendance tracking tool enables faculty to keep very simple records about who attended a specific class session. A super-short video demonstration is below, followed by a more complete description of the tool:

The attendance tracking tool automatically pulls information about a course's meeting dates and times from the JHSPH course system and builds out a simple grid of checkboxes where faculty can mark if a student attended that class. Faculty can enable or disable attendance tracking for individual class sessions or add additional sessions to the attendance tracking grid. This data can be exported to Excel at any time.

Faculty can also allow students to mark themselves as attended in the class website, if they so choose. If student check-in is enabled, students will see a button on the course home page which, when clicked, marks them as having attended the class. Faculty control when this button appears and disappears on the course home page by setting a start and stop date/time when this button should be displayed. Faculty can set this to be at the start of class, or at a random time of their choosing during the class.

If the attendance tracking tool is enabled, students can see a report of their attendance as it's been recorded in CoursePlus. This report is available under the "Resources" tab in a CoursePlus site where attendance tracking has been enabled.

It's really important to note that no additional verification methods of student physical presence in the classroom (i.e.; swiping a badge, facial recognition in the room, geolocation of the device used to check in) are provided. CoursePlus cannot guarantee that a student is sitting in a classroom at the time that they check in for a course. Even though geolocation is built into most smartphones, it's only accurate within a few hundred feet (not good enough for ensuring that a student is in a classroom) and students have to grant access to CoursePlus to see their location -- something that could easily be denied by the student. 

That said, we hope that this will be a useful tool for faculty and TAs. Students don't have to check themselves in. Faculty and TAs can take attendance the old-fashioned way, but store that data quickly and easily in CoursePlus.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:22 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 10 2015

Harvesting The Commons: Finding & Using Open Images for Teaching

CTL recently hosted a lunch and learn workshop, called Harvesting the Commons: Finding and Using Open Images for Teaching (slides). In the session, we discussed open images: what they are, what Creative Commons licenses are, how to locate openly licensed images, and the importance of continuing to contribute to the pool of open resources. For those who missed it, here's a link to the 60-minute recording from the session. 

One of the key takeaways was the ease with which you can limit searches on Google Images or Flickr by license type, so that you can locate openly licensed images. Here's a handout on to do this, as well as the Open Image Resources handout from the Johns Hopkins Open Education Lab, which lists a great number of other possible places to find open images. 

To participate in upcoming workshops, please visit the CTL Events and Workshops page, and follow @courseplus and @jhsphctl on Twitter for all the latest news and updates.



0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 8:45 AM - Categories: Course Tools | General | Innovation & Inspiration | Online Courses | OpenCourseWare | Teaching Tips | Tech Tools

Sep 1 2015

Sending Content to the Portfolio Tool

The new portfolio tool in CoursePlus allows students to create a map of their intellectual development at time at the School. Part of that map is the evidence that students provide to show that they achieved certain competencies at certain points in their degree program. Evidence can take many forms, but it most often comes in the form of work done in classes. 

CoursePlus now has the ability to send class work in a number of formats to a student's portfolio with a click of a button. If a student is in a program that uses the portfolio tool, a button appears in the following tools to send that file or content to their portfolio's Evidence Library:

  • Drop Box: any file a student submits to a Drop Box can be sent to the portfolio.
  • Discussion Forum: individual discussion forum posts which a student has made or a topic in which a student has participated can be sent to the portfolio.
  • Peer Assessments: peer assessment results can now be sent to the portfolio.
  • Wikis: any page on which the student is a writer can be sent to the portfolio.

Any evidence which is sent to the portfolio from a course will include the course number, title, term and academic year wherever that evidence is displayed in the student portfolio. This makes it simple to associate specific evidence (files, posts, assessment results) with a specific competency in the portfolio.

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:32 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 18 2015

What's New in CoursePlus Session on Monday, August 24

CoursePlus is continually receiving updates and improvements based on the feedback of faculty, TAs, students, and academic support staff here at the School. There were a ton of updates and improvements to CoursePlus in the last academic year. On Monday, August 24, from 2-3pm in room W2030, the team from the Center for Teaching and Learning will take you through these changes and give you an opportunity to get your questions about CoursePlus answered.

This session will not be webcast, but will be recorded for those who cannot attend and want to watch a recording after the event.

We hope to see you there!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:54 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 12 2015

Changing the Deadline for Editing Course System-Linked Sections in the Syllabus

Since launching CoursePlus syllabus-to-JHSPH course system data integration last year, we've received a lot of feedback from faculty, academic coordinators, and senior academic administration about ways to make the integrations better. One of the major changes we implemented is that sections of content on your CoursePlus syllabus which are linked to the official JHSPH course system must be reviewed by your departmental academic coordiantor before publication to students. This process takes time, and CoursePlus was allowing changes to be made all the way up to the end of add/drop in a given academic term. This didn't work well for the review process, or for Summer Institute courses, where add/drop doesn't really apply.

Effective immediatley, editing of JHSPH course system-linked sections in your CoursePlus syllabus is now locked at 11:59pm on the first day of the academic term in which the course occurs. No changes to course system-linked sections can occur in CoursePlus after this time. You can still make changes after that time by working with your departmental academic coordinator directly within the JHSPH course system. You just can't make those changes in CoursePlus after 11:59pm on the first day of the academic term in which the course occurs.

We realize that this may be inconvenient for some faculty, but it's important that students have core course syllabus information which has been reviewed by all appropriate parties the day that the academic term for a course begins. Remember, though, that you can still keep making changes in the JHSPH course system after the first day of the academic term in which your course occurs. You just won't be able to do that in CoursePlus.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:28 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 3 2015

Ad-Hoc Peer Assessments

Since the launch of the Peer Assessment tool in CoursePlus in 2013, we've added tons of new features and reworked reporting and other core workflows to make the whole tool more powerful and useful. The Peer Assessment tool currently offers five different assessment types:

  • Students evaluate [n] randomly assigned students
  • Students evaluate group members
  • One group evaluates another group
  • Everyone in the class evaluates one group
  • Students assess themselves
  • Faculty and TAs evaluate each student

In spite of the enormous flexibility these different peer assessment types bring, there are still situations where faculty want to have different peer assessment setups. What if, for example, you wanted to randomly assign students to each other in the first peer assessment in a class, but then continue to have the same students assess each other in subsequent peer assessments? What if you wanted some students to assess more students than others in the class? What if only a portion of the class should be involved in a peer assessment?

To meet the wide range of potential scenarios for peer assessments, we've added an "ad hoc" peer assessment type to the tool. In this type of assessment, faculty and TAs manually assign students to each other in any way they see fit. All the tools in a peer assessment are available for this assessment type, including linking to a Drop Box, but faculty aren't limited in student-to-student assignments by one of the pre-set assessment types.

We think this is a powerful addition to the peer assessment tool, and will make it even more useful across courses at the School.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:54 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jul 14 2015

New Features for Summer Term

The CoursePlus team is always working to improve the tools available to faculty, students, and staff in CoursePlus. This summer has been no different. In addition to some of the major, recently-announced features, here are a bunch of the new features just added to CoursePlus:

  • Quiz Generator: Students can now opt to hide the countdown timer on timed quizzes.
  • Quiz Generator: You are now given a warning if you try to add a question to a quiz where students have already started answering questions.
  • Drop Box: The total number of submissions out of all students in the class is now shown for each Drop Box on the main faculty Drop Box page.
  • Drop Box: The faculty and student main page views of the Drop Box have been reworked to be more mobile friendly.
  • Surveys: A unique, random identifier for each student is included on the Excel export of survey data. This allows for cross-referencing individuals across surveys without knowing the individual's identity.
  • Surveys: Responses to matrix/Likert scale questions are broken out into individual columns on the Excel version of the data. Previously, all responses for a single student were listed in a single column in the Excel file.
  • Surveys: All student views of survey pages are now mobile friendly.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:02 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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