Jan 23 2017

Tracking the Work You've Done in Online Courses

If you've been taking online courses in the current academic year, you may have noticed that when you watched a lecture, a black checkmark would appear next to the listing for that lecture on the main course content page in the course website. This indicated that you had watched that lecture. This was helpful, to a limited extent, but many students wanted more.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to track if you completed Drop Box assignments, or readings, LiveTalks, or other activities in an online course beyond watching a lecture? Now you can. Starting with the third term, you'll see a "Completed?" checkbox next to every item on the main course content page in online courses.

Example of checkmarks indicating items on the course schedule are complete

CoursePlus will automatically track if you have completed watching a lecture, or taking a quiz, or completing a survey. In the near future, we'll be adding peer evaluations and LiveTalks to that list. You can use the checkboxes on the main course content page to track if you've completed Drop Box assignments, projects, or any other item listed on the main course content page.

You can mark a checkbox as completed at any time, or unmark one that CoursePlus has already marked as completed for you. This way, you have a quick visual way in the course website to help you track if you've done everything that is expected of you in the course.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:10 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 19 2016

CTL Help Closings for the Holidays

When the University is closed for holidays, CTL Help is also highly limited. CTL Help will be highly limited on the following holiday dates:

  • Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26, 2106
  • Friday, December 30, 2016 through Monday, January 2, 2017

If you contact CTL Help during this time, you will likely not receive a response until the next day the University is open for business, which is the Tuesday after each weekend listed above.

Please remember that there are many FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on the CTL Help website which answer a large majority of the questions which typically come in to CTL Help via help requests.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:49 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 6 2016

Portfolio Updates for the Second 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 second academic term:

  • A report showing when all reminders for a touchpoint were sent to students or advisors has been added to the main program administration page.
  • A "Mark as Done" or "Mark as Ready for Review” button now appears on all touchpoints set up by program administrators. This will ensure that completion information shows up in the administrative reports even if the touchpoint doesn’t require advisor review or administrator notification.
  • Notification to admins that a student has completed a touchpoint is no longer tied to the touchpoint requiring advisor review. Admins can be notified that a student has completed a touchpoint even if the touchpoint does not require advisor review.
  • Clicking on the link to a student touchpoint in the "Ready for Advisor Review" email message no longer redirects you to the My Courses page immediately after logging in to CoursePlus. 
  • A link to Faculty Self-Service in SIS has been added to the advisor dashboard in the portfolio.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:55 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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

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