Mar 19 2014

Questions about the Migration of JHSPH Email to JHU and CoursePlus

With the migration of email addresses to the main JHU email system, there have been a number of questions about how this impacts CoursePlus. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the email migration as it relates to CoursePlus.

Can I sign to CoursePlus in via the faculty login using my new account?

No. The faculty login in CoursePlus asks for your my.jhsph username and password. While this was the same as your email username and password before the migration, my.jhsph accounts still exist and will exist for the foreseeable future. The School’s course database is tied directly to my.jhsph accounts, and the courses you teach as a faculty member are tied to your personal my.jhsph account. As such, you will still need to sign in to CoursePlus via the faculty login using your my.jhsph account username and password.

Will you be changing all eLearning account email addresses to their new counterparts?

No. We will not change anyone’s eLearning account information, including the email address an individual may have entered. 

CoursePlus uses whatever email address students put into their JHSPH eLearning account. For many students, this is an email address. For many students, it’s a Gmail or Yahoo address. CoursePlus will not change student email addresses automatically once a student’s email account is migrated to If a student wants to update their eLearning account with an email address, they are welcome to do so, but we will not do this for them. Students can update the email address in their JHSPH eLearning account whenever they want to, and that change is reflected immediately in CoursePlus.

Emails sent to addresses that have been migrated over to will still make it to the appropriate email address for the next year. At some point, however, emails sent to will no longer work, and it will be up to each individual to update their eLearning account with a new address.

Can CTL Help assist me with problems with my new email account?

Unfortunately, CTL Help cannot assist you with your email accounts. Just as CTL Help has no access to your JHED information, so too do we lack the ability to see anyone’s email account other than our own. The IT@JH team will help you with your email account should you need it.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:19 AM - Categories: CoursePlus | Online Courses

Mar 18 2014

What Will the Merged CoursePlus System Look Like

We've announced that the online course and CoursePlus systems are merging at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year. The major changes to the site were covered in a previous blog post, but one thing that was not included was how things will look in the merged system. 

While the entire site is getting a visual refresh, most of the individual tools that faculty, TAs, and students currently use will look more or less the same. The site home page and individual course home pages, however, are going to look a bit different. The functionality of these pages is largely the same. They'll just have a shiny new user interface to make them look better on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

First, let's take a look at the new CoursePlus home page:

You can see that the overall look is cleaner and more open, with bigger fonts. Links to the various course lists are easier to find, and types of courses (from the catalog, online, non-catalog) are easier to find. We've also made it easy to get to other, related tools (course search, eLearning account management, ISIS) from the CoursePlus home page.

There will be future posts about how the course listing and post-login pages will look, but for now, let's move on to an individual course home page:

Again, there is a much more open look and feel to the page. While we've retained the same information architecture for course sites, we've replaced the tabs on the top-right of the page with simple text links and drop-down menus for each sub-section of the site. This means you can jump directly to the roster page in a site from the course home page.

For faculty, TAs, and site editors, there is also now a "Quick Jump" box which lists nearly all the tools available to you on the course home page. You no longer have to go from the site home page to another gateway page to get to the tool you want. You can jump in a single click from the course home page.

The display of the course term and academic year is also more prominent at the top of the page. Knowing which year's version of a course site you are working on is very important, especially to faculty who teach multiple courses in multiple terms each year.

Each course home page also lists upcoming events from the course schedule (or class sessions tool for on-campus courses), recent posts in the discussion forums, and recent items added to or updated in the Online Library. If students, faculty, TAs or staff involved in the course are currently visiting the course website, their names are listed in the "Who's Online" box on the left side of the page. All of this information makes the course home page a more dynamic place and gives everyone in the course a quick overview of what's going on in the course.

While each online course has a custom banner at the top of the course home page, on-campus courses will get a standardized banner which lists the course title, number, term and academic year in big, bold letters. 

We hope you like the changes that we've made. We think they make the whole site easier to navigate and easier to look at. We'll be detailing additional changes to the look, feel, and functionality of the merged CoursePlus in the coming weeks, and in the meantime, we welcome your feedback!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:45 PM - Categories: CoursePlus | Online Courses

Mar 13 2014

March Workshops: 3/19 Peer Learning, 3/26 Plagiarism Prevention

You are invited:

The 2014 JHSPH Faculty Symposium: Peer to Peer: Engaging Students in Learning and Assessment
Wednesday, 3/19/14 12-4:30 in Feinstone Hall and online via Adobe Connect

The Office of Academic Affairs and Center for Teaching and Learning invite you to the 2014 JHSPH Faculty Symposium. The symposium will feature:

  • Lunch
  • An introduction to peer learning
  • a virtual presentation and Q&A with Howard Rheingold, Stanford lecturer, author of Net Smart: How to Thrive Online and editor of The Peeragogy Handbook (,
  • hands-on peer learning in science activity with Laura Foster, Assistant Director of Academic Support at JHU Krieger,
  • a panel of JHSPH professors on their successes and challenges with peer learning and assessment in the classroom and online
  • data from thousands of student participants in JHSPH Coursera course peer assessment assignments
  • an introduction to the new CTL peer assessment tool that will be available in CoursePlus for Summer 2014

Register for this event


Turnitin and Plagiarism Prevention
Wednesday, 3/26/14 12-1 pm in W4013 and streaming online via Adobe Connect

Plagiarism is a problem that has affected all of us at some point. The School is pleased to announce the general availability of Turnitin -- a website with tools that can help you detect plagiarism in your courses and which and helps students improve on their source referencing and source paraphrasing. CTL and the Office of Academic Integrity are partnering on this workshop to introduce you to Turnitin and how to most effectively use the tool. We strongly encourage you to attend to get a solid understanding of what Turnitin does and does not do, and to get a better understanding of the School's policy on Turnitin usage. The CTL team will also discuss how to help prevent plagiarism in assignments by creating assignments which make it fundamentally difficult for students to plagiarize.

Register for this event


Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 8:51 AM - Categories: Distance Learning | General | Online Courses | Teaching Tips | Tech Tools

Mar 4 2014

New Peer Assessment Tool in Online Courses

We're very excited to announce that a new peer assessment tool has been added to the online course system. Developed with a lot of great input from faculty and TAs here at the School, the peer assessment tool allows faculty to set up rubrics against which students will be assessed. There are a number of configurations available for organizing students for assessment:

  • Students can assess themselves
  • Students can assess [n] random other students
  • A student can assess everyone in her group
  • One group of students can assess another group of students
  • Everyone in the class can assess one group of students
  • Faculty and TAs can assess students individually

Assessments can be linked to course drop boxes, so that students are automatically assigned the appropriate files from those drop boxes to assess. Assessments can be points-based or not, and points-based assessments can be linked to the Gradebook for automatic import of final assessment grades into the Gradebook.

The peer assessment tool delivery process works like this:

  1. Create the basic parameters for the asssessment (when it starts/ends, what kind of assessment, etc.).
  2. Create a rubric or copy from an existing rubric against which students will be assessed.
  3. Students assess each other's (or their own) work using the rubric.
  4. Faculty and TAs review student assessments and release results to students.

The peer assessment tool is currently available only in online courses, but will be coming to CoursePlus in June.

There is extensive help documentation built into the new peer assessment tool, but if you're interested in using the tool, we strongly encourage you to talk about creating a great peer assessment with your course instructional designer!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:26 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Online Courses

Feb 12 2014

Teaching During Inclement Weather

The polar vortex has been taking a toll on our time and class schedules! With eight week terms, losing one or two class sessions can make a big dent in our time with students. So the CTL has put together a page with some information on ways to keep the continuity of instruction in spite of the snow and ice...

Teaching During Inclement Weather - this page outlines several options for using previously recorded class sessions, recording new lecture materials using Voicethread, Audacity or Adobe Connect, as well as some information on how you can hold live virtual class (from your home or office) using Adobe Connect.

Stay warm, well, and connected :)


0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 2:13 PM - Categories: General | Teaching Tips | Tech Tools

Jan 22 2014

Merging the Online Courses and CoursePlus Systems

Over the past few weeks, Center representatives have attended departmental faculty meetings to let them know about a a major change coming to CoursePlus in May, 2014: we're merging the online course system and CoursePlus into a single website,

There are a number of benfits to this merge:

  • A better experience for everyone by having all courses in the same website
  • Better tools for on-campus courses, which have missed out on features previously available to online courses only
  • Improved opportunities for interaction, especially for on-campus courses
  • The ability for the Center to deliver new features faster by focusing on a single system

Those who have taught an online course will not notice too many changes, as the online course system is the basis of the new CoursePlus. The biggest change for faculty who have taught online is that all courses — on-campus and online — will be avialable in the same website and use the same tools. Additionally, you'll be able to sign into the merged CoursePlus using your JHSPH username and password for the courses on which you are primary faculty.

For those who have not taught online before, the system will be a bit different. The biggest change will be to the course home page and the "faculty tools" area. In the current CoursePlus, faculty and editors view a site that is very much separate from what students see. In the merged system, just as in online courses, faculty will see everything that students see, and will have access to all tools on a single page (rather than jumping through multiple pages to get to the tools they use). Additionally, there will be an entirely new and vastly improved discussion forum (the same one used in online courses), a rich text editor that supports LaTeX markup for equations, a peer assessment tool, better student site activity reports, an improved Quiz Generator, and more.

There is one feature of the current CoursePlus which will not be part of the new, merged system: the ability to turn individual features (Drop Box, Online Library, Quizzes, etc) on or off. It's important for students to have a consistent experience in a course management system, and when some courses have some features turned on, and other courses have those same features turned off, it is confusing to students. Additionally, many CTL Help requests relate direclty to a feature being turned off when, in fact, the faculty or TAs needed that feature to be available to students and not realizing they had turned that feature off in their CoursePlus site. By keeping all features on all the time, students, TAs, and faculty should have a better experience.

All content currently in CoursePlus and online courses will be copied into the merged system, so you don't have to worry about content being lost. While there will definitely be downtime for CoursePlus during the last week of May, 2014, while we make the change official, you can still work on CoursePlus sites for courses and that content will be copied over when the new CoursePlus goes live.

Online courses, which currently reside on, will be located at after this change. Requests to website will redirect to automatically, although you will need to update any bookmarks you may have which point to, as those will not redirect automatically.

The Center will offer training sessions for the new, merged CoursePlus starting in June and then throughout the next academic year to show faculty and editors what's new and different in the merged system. Additionally, we'll be providing an overview video of what's changing once we get closer to the actual launch date of the new CoursePlus.

We're very excited about this change and know that it's going to bring a better experience to everyone who uses CoursePlus. If you have questions, comments, or concerns about this change, please reach out to us!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 12:01 PM - Categories: CoursePlus | General | Online Courses

Jan 14 2014

New Version of the Rich Text Editor includes Equation Support and a Drawing Tool

On January 14, 2014, we pushed out a major new version of the rich text editor in all online courses. The highlight of this new version of the rich text editor is that it now includes a) support for rendering equations created in LaTeX format, and b) a drawing board for sketching equations, tables, graphs or anything else!

Faculty (and students) have long asked for the ability to render equations in discussion forum posts, quizzes, and more. The problem has been that doing this required additional plug-ins to the Web browser, because Web browsers used to not be able to display markup for equations. That has changed, and since we're no longer supporting older browsers like Internet Explorer 8, we can now use tools which render equations using markup!

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.

Clicking this button will bring up the LaTeX equation editing 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:

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).

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.

The new rich text editor appears throughout tools in online courses. There is one place where the equation editor tool does not work, however, and that's 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 a result, we've removed the equation editor button from the class email tool so that you don't create messages with equations in them and then get frustrated that students don't see those equations when they read the email. You could use the drawing board tool to sketch your eqation instead, as email clients don't have problems displaying images.

This new version of the rich text editor is available in online courses only at this time. It will be coming to CoursePlus in June.

1 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:26 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Online Courses

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