Sep 30 2014

CoursePlus Will Be Offline Starting at 7pm on Friday, November 21 Until 5pm Sunday, November 23

In November, Facilities Management must make a repair to the substation which provides power to the part of the Wolfe Street building which houses the JHSPH data center. In order to perform this repair, they must turn the power off. This means that all websites housed in the JHSPH data center will be shut down, including CoursePlus.

CoursePlus will therefore be offline begining at 7pm Eastern time on November 21, 2014. CoursePlus will remain offline until the repair work is done and the power is turned back on. It is possible that this work may only take a few hours, but as with any major, physical, electrical repair, things can get more complicated. JHSPH Information Systems is advising that you plan for a longer outage period. This work is occurring over a regularly scheduled JHSPH Information Systems maintenance period, which are scheduled from 5pm on a Friday until 5pm on Sunday. While we hope that the maintenance period will not last a full two days, no such guarantee can be made.

Faculty in all courses should plan accordingly for this outage of CoursePlus. This outage will occur right before the Thanksgiving weekend — usually after midterm exams, but during period where many projects end up being due. 

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:37 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 16 2014

Discussion Forum Updates for the First Term

Just in time for the first academic term, we've added a bunch of new features to the discussion forum. These are:

  • You can now search for posts by date range.
  • There is now a "My Own Posts" view in the "My Discussion Forum" section of the discussion forum. This page shows all the posts you have made in the discussion forum.
  • Faculty and TAs now have a report which shows them if a student did or did not respond to a specific category or topic in the discussion forum.
  • If there are posts in a discussion forum category that still need to be graded, a red exclamation point is displayed next to the Gradebook icon for that category on the main discussion forum page. 

Additionally, the layout of the discussion forum has been completely redone on mobile devices. It's now much easier to read and particpate in the discussion forum while on your phone!

 

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:19 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 9 2014

Using Online Lectures in Your On-Campus Courses

For years, some faculty who teach both online and on-campus versions of the same course have used their online lectures as reference material in their on-campus courses. In some cases, they even replaced in-class lectures with the lecture from their online course. This was always a manual process that involved the assistance of CTL.

Starting in the first academic term, you can now use lectures from online courses in your on-campus class with the same course number without any assistance by CTL. When you create a class session, you will see an option to include a lecture from the online (.81) version of the course in that class session. You can choose to use the whole lecture, as is, or only use specific sections. 

Students then see a "Lecture Materials" box very much like the one used in online courses. Students can see the same lecture video, and download the MP4, MP3, text transcript for each section of the lecture just as they do in online courses. The same set of rules applied to each online lecture in terms of what is downloadable apply to the display of the lecture on the class sessions page.

Faculty and TAs will even get the same report that exists in online classes which shows which students accessed each lecture, if they downloaded files, and so on.

There is one caveat to using this new feature: if you opt to not use all sections of an online lecture in a class session, the PDF for that lecture will not be displayed. This is because PDFs for online lectures in online courses are a single file of all sections in the lecture. If you opt to not use all sections of the lecture, the PDF will contain sections and content which you did not want to give to students. This will lead to confusion and potential problems in course content sequencing. You can, however, take the PDF from your online class, delete the pages which contain the materials you didn't want to show students in your on-campus class, and then upload that edited PDF to the Online Library. You can then even link that updated PDF to the same class session as the lecture.

We hope that those of you who teach both online and on-campus find this new feature to be very useful for both you and your students!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:47 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus

Sep 9 2014

CTL Teaching Assistant (TA) Short Courses and Resources

The JHSPH Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers some comprehensive resources and courses for preparing to TA:

1.  The first is the Teaching Toolkit web site, which contains an area for TA's: https://sites.google.com/site/ctltteachingtoolkit/teaching-assistants including specific TA information for each JHSPH department, an FAQ, and information on our two mostly self-paced TA training offerings.

2.  The second part of the training program is a self-paced, fully online short course, Teaching Assistantships 1: Essential Elements (TA1), which orients Teaching Assistants to the roles and responsibilities of their position, relevant policies and regulations, technical tools, teaching tips, and other important information. This short course is offered every term and must be completed within an academic year. Facilitators will be available to answer questions, but the course is specifically designed so that a student can complete activities at their convenience.  Students will be required to interact with others at the school (i.e. faculty, academic coordinators, other TA's) in order to complete the brief assignments.  Register here!

3. Finally, there is Teaching Assistantships 2: Interactive Methods (TA2), a cohort-based practicum for those who have completed TA1: Essential Elements, in which TA's put their skills and knowledge into practice by facilitating discussions, resolving potential issues, brainstorming management techniques, and interacting with each other and their course facilitators.  This course is scheduled 2-3 times per academic year and runs for 3 weeks, with the first 2 weeks completed online, but requiring interaction with other students taking the course.  The third week will involve either two 1-hour on-campus sessions or two 1-hour LiveTalks.  Students can decide if the online or on-campus session in the final week is appropriate, based on their planned TA assignment (online or on campus course).  If desired, a student can attend both the on campus and online LiveTalk sessions. 

We offer a certificate of completion for those who complete both TA1 and TA2. 

We look forward to your participation!

0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 8:02 AM - Categories: CoursePlus | Distance Learning | General | Online Courses | Teaching Tips

Sep 2 2014

The eLearning Account is Now the CoursePlus Account

At the start of the first academic term, we renamed the "JHSPH eLearning Account" to the "CoursePlus account." This change reflects what most people at the School have always called the account. Given that the username and password combination is only used on CoursePlus now (and there is no longer a separate, online courses-only site), it seemed to make sense to make this change.

Your username and password does not change in any way. It's only the name of the account that has changed.

CoursePlus has been updated throughout to reflect this name change.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:12 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 20 2014

A Slew of Summertime Updates to CoursePlus

In addition to the new features in the Gradebook, Quiz Generator, and Peer Assessment tool blogged about previously, there have been a slew of smaller changes to CoursePlus this summer. These changes include:

  • When you create a survey from a template, you can now specify the number of copies you want to make. This allows you to make 5 or 8 or 16 copies of a custom class session evaluation, for example.
  • You can now manually enter email addresses in the CC: field in the class email tool.
  • If there are graded categories in the discussion forum, and there are posts in that graded category that haven't been graded, an icon is shown to faculty/TAs on the discussion forum home page indicating that the category has posts which need grading.
  • Auditors who have not submitted a file to a Drop Box are now grouped and listed at the bottom of the list of students who have not submitted a file and they are automatically deselected from receiving the reminder email.
  • The course number of a course is displayed next to the course name on the Course Quick Jump drop-down tool.
  • It is now possible for developers to un-delete a Drop Box that has been deleted through the CoursePlus interface by faculty or TAs. 

All of these changes are documented in the CoursePlus guide for faculty and students. If you have any questions about how any of these features work, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 7:54 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus

Aug 12 2014

Assign Grades by Group in the Gradebook

The Course Groups tool in CoursePlus enables you to set up groups of students that can then be utilized in many ways throughout your CoursePlus site: private discussion forum categories for each group, having a single student submit a file to a Drop Box on behalf of a whole group, and more. Now there's a new Course Groups-enabled feature in CoursePlus: the ability to assign a single grade to a group of students.

When you go to the "Enter Grades" page in the Gradebook for a given activity, a separate box appears on screen that lists all the Course Groups in the CoursePlus site for that course. Clicking on a group brings you to a screen where you can enter a single grade for every member of that group. You can even return a file for each member of the group.

You can override the grade of an individual group member if you want, but now you have a tool for quick and easy assignation of grades to all members of a group in the class!

If you have feedback about this new feature, we're always interested in hearing what you have to say.  

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

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