Sep 18 2017

Lots of New Statistics Data in the Quiz Generator

Faculty and TAs ask frequently for more information about the data captured in student exams and quizzes in CoursePlus. Having pre-computed statistics helps them make decisions about what is working (and what is not) in this kind of assessment.

We've added a number of new statistics to the Quiz Generator in CoursePlus. Here's a brief tour:

First, basic statistics about student performance on a quiz are now shown on the main "All Responses and Grades" page as soon as students start taking a quiz, and also appear on the main quiz overview page once the quiz is closed to students.

Basic statistics about student performance on a quiz

Next, statistics about student performance on each individual question in a quiz are now available. If you view the "Responses to Questions" report on the "Statistics" tab for a quiz, you will see the following information:

  • Number of students who answered the question
  • Number of students who skipped the question
  • Percentage of students who received full credit on the question
  • Percentage of students who received partial credit on the question
  • Percentage of students who received no credit for the question

Sample of the breakdown of student scoring on an individual question

This appears in addition to already existing data on the percentage of students who selected each different possible answer to the question. This data is also shown for essay and fill-in-the-blank questions, fulfilling a long-standing facuty and TA request.

Finally, there's an entirely new tab of statistical data for each quiz: the discrimination value tab:

Discrimination Value tab location

Briefly, this tab shows you information about the difficulty of each question in the quiz. Two pieces of information about each question are shown:

  1. The difficulty index of the question on a scale of 0-1 as measured by the percentage of students who got full credit for the question.
  2. The discrimination value for the question. The discrimination value refers to how well an individual question in an assessment differentiates between high and low scorers. The discrimination value can be in the range of -1 to 1. If the majority of students whose overall performance on the quiz was in the top 50% of all scores answered the question correctly, the value will be closer to 1. If the majority of students whose overall performance on the quiz was in the bottom 50% of all scores answered the question correctly, the value will be closer to -1.

Discrimination value report table

In addition to simply showing the difficulty and discrimination values for each question in the quiz, the report also highlights the following:

  • The questions answered correctly by the most students
  • The questions answered correctly by the fewest number of students
  • Questions with a negative discrimination value
  • Questions with a discrimination value less than .2, which is generally considered the cutoff for question discrimination desirability.

You can download the source data which splits students into low and high scorers used in calculating the discrimination values in Excel format.

We hope that all this additional data helps you create better quizzes and exams! 

If you have any questions about these new features, please contact CTL Help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:35 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 6 2017

Better Reminders for Students to Sign in to Class

A growing number of classes on campus use the CoursePlus Attendance Tracker tool to have students mark themselves as present at an individual class session. We've improved the tool over the past year, including adding the option of requiring students to enter a 4-digit PIN given out in class when they sign in. 

In April, 2017, we asked faculty and TAs who use the tool for feedback on how to improve it. A very common theme was figuring out a way to remind students that they needed to sign in during the class. Faculty now have the option of providing reminders to students that they need to sign in to a given class session using the Attendance Tracker tool.

Screenshot of the reminders option in the attendance setup for a class session

Reminders are turned on by default for all class sessions which are set up to require student sign in. You can have reminders turned on for some sessions, but not others, as you see fit.

If reminders are turned on for a given session, students get three different reminders to sign in:

  1. A reminder to sign in is included in the Daily Course Notifications email which students receive each day.
  2. A reminder to sign in is included in their "My Calendar" tab.
  3. An alert box is placed at the top of their "My Courses" page which reminds them that they need to sign in to a class if they have not already done so.

In each case, a link to the course home page of the appropriate course, where they must click the "Sign In" button, is provided.

We hope that this multi-pronged approach to reminding students to sign in to class sessions will significantly improve the rate at which students remember to sign in!

If you have questions about how this new feature works, please contact CTL Help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:37 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 28 2017

Reminder: IE 11 is No Longer Supported for CoursePlus

As we start the first term of the new academic year, we wanted to remind everyone that Internet Explorer Edge is the only version of Internet Explorer supported in CoursePlus. This is stated on the terms of service page for CoursePlus.

Internet Explorer Edge only works with Windows 10 — now the preferred version of Windows for the Johns Hopkins University. If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 7, you need to use Chrome or Firefox to access CoursePlus. Using Internet Explorer 11 to access CoursePlus is possible, but it will result in numerous problems. Chrome or Firefox are much better (and more frequently updated) alternatives to Internet Explorer 11.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:59 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 21 2017

Let CoursePlus Randomly Assign Students to Groups

Assigning students to groups in your classes can sometimes be a tedious process. There a nearly infinite number of permutations of how you assign students to groups. Sometimes all you want to do is randomly assign students to groups. CoursePlus can now do that work for you.

On the main Course Groups page in your CoursePlus site, there is now a "Assign Students Randomly" button:

The assign students randomly button on the course groups home page.

You can either specify existing groups to randomly assign students into, or you can create new groups and randomly assign students to them. You can specify the number of groups to be created, and CoursePlus will equally divide students into those groups. Alternatively, you can specify the number of students to have in each group, and CoursePlus will create the correct number of groups to accommodate groups of the specified size.

The options available when creating course groups with random student assignment

You even have the option to create private discussion forum categories for each new group you create, or hide those groups from student view upon creation, just as you do when creating individual groups one at a time.

We hope this makes life easier for those of you who work with groups in your courses. If you have feedback on or questions about this new feature, please let CTL Help know!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:45 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 9 2017

Pulling the Peer Assessment Tool for a While

Peer Assessments have been available in CoursePlus for the past couple of years. To be honest, though, the tool has never been particularly stable. In half the courses that used the Peer Assessment tool, the peer assessment would go off without a hitch (provided, of course, that the peer assessment was set up properly). In the other half, though, some kind of manual intervention by the team in Center for Teaching and Learning was required. That's not the kind of experience that we want faculty, TAs, and students to have.

After long discussions within the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), we've decided to pull the Peer Assessment tool from CoursePlus for the next few months for a lot of under-the-hood retooling. We're focusing on making the tool completely reliable, requiring no manual intervention by CTL team members — the kind of experience you've rightfully come to expect from all the tools in CoursePlus. There are also performance optimizations around reporting in the Peer Assessment tool that we plan to make because no one gets upset when an application runs faster.

This change most directly affects first and second term courses in the 2017-2018 academic year. CTL instructional desigers have reached out to affected fauclty. If you have not been contacted by a CTL instructional designer and are using the Peer Assessment tool in the first or second academic term, please contact CTL Help right away. We'll connect you with an instructional designer who can work with you on equally effective alternatives.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:52 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Aug 7 2017

Drop Boxes for Specific Course Groups

Over the past academic year, we received a number of requests to allow course Drop Boxes to be visible to and submittable by specific groups of students. This lets administrators set up a Drop Box only for those students in the "DrPH Program" group in a site, or faculty to only allow the groups "Presentation - Sustainable Cities" and "Presentation - Built Environment" to submit to a specific course Drop Box. 

To create a Drop Box that can only be seen by specific groups of students, you first have to set up a group (or groups) in the Course Groups tool. Once you do that, the list of course groups appears when you create or edit a Drop Box:

The option to limit a Drop Box to select course groups.

You can select one or more course groups to have access to the Drop Box. Only the students in the selected groups will see the Drop Box on the Drop Boxes page in the class website, and only the students in the selected groups can to submit files to that Drop Box.

We hope that this new feature makes Drop Boxes and CoursePlus even more flexible! If you have questions about this new feature, please contact CTL Help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:02 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jul 10 2017

An "Exam Dates" Section in Your Syllabus

The School of Public Health frequently surveys students about their experiences during their graduate degree programs. One piece of feedback that has come up repeatedly in these surveys is a desire by students to know the dates of the midterm and, especially, final exams before the term begins. This gives students the opportunity to plan ahead for the coming term and hopefully avoid taking a course load that puts multiple final exams on the same day.

To help facilitate this process, the JHSPH Committee on Academic Standards asked the CoursePlus team to add a recommended "Exam Dates" section to the Syllabus Builder tool. We've done that:

The exam dates section highlighted in the "New Section" drop-down.

When you click on the "+ New Section" button in the Syllabus Builder, you'll see a pre-made section for "Exam Dates." You can enter your exam dates and students can see this information before they register for courses, enabling them to better plan their academic schedules.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 12:12 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

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