Category: CoursePlus

Jul 9 2019

More Accurate Reporting of Abandoned Quiz Attempts

The Quiz Generator tool in CoursePlus has long helped faculty track situations where a student started taking a quiz or exam, but never finished the work by submitting their answers. In Quiz Generator parlance, this is known as an "Abandoned Attempt."

The CoursePlus team recently refined the way in which an Abandoned Attempt is detected to provide more accurate information in situations when a faculty or TA gives a student who previously had an abandoned attempt more time or more attempts on a quiz. Prior to this change, a faculty or TA could give a student special permission (via the Special Permission tool) to access a single-access exam a second time, or convert their submitted answers back in to an active quiz/exam, and the student would still be listed as haivng an "Abandoned Attempt" until the student actually went back into the quiz/exam to continue work.

The code for this feature now takes in to account if the student was recently given special permission to re-access a quiz, if the student has worked on the quiz in the last hour, or had their answers cleared for a retake after the quiz deadline. If any of these conditions are true, then the student is no longer listed as having an Abandoned Attempt, but instead is listed as "In Progress" for their work.

Hopefully this change will reduce confusion when faculty and TAs work together to administer a quiz or exam. If you have any questions about this change, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:13 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jun 27 2019

PathFinder Gets a User Interface Overhaul

PathFinder is a tool that allows students to engage in choice-based simulations. It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure tool within CoursePlus. PathFinder has existed for over a decade in CoursePlus, but only a handful of courses used the tool. It's not simple to make a choice-based simulation, as it takes time to plan all of the content. The original PathFinder user interface also did not make it simple to put together a simulation, nor see how all of the possible choices intersected and worked together.

The PathFinder user interface has undergone a huge renovation, making it dead-simple to map out your content and see how one choice leads to the next. The tool now includes a drag-and-drop interface for building your choice-based simulations:

Screenshot of the new PathFinder editing UI

Exits from one choice point to another are now displayed in an easy-to-parse flowchart, and you can add exits and ending points with ease from within the dynamic, new user interface. This vastly streamlines the effort of putting together a PathFinder simulation.

The student view of PathFinder has also been refreshed with a card-based interface that makes it easy for students to see the choices they've made thus far:

Screenshot of new card-based student view of PathFinder simulations

PathFinder is a powerful tool that can add significant learning value to your course. The instructional design team in the Center for Teaching and Learning is happy to help you figure out how to best use the tool in your class, and CTL Help will glady answer any questions you might have about using the tool.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:37 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 14 2019

New, Zoom-Based LiveTalk Tutorials for Students and Faculty

As previously announced, all LiveTalks in online courses in CoursePlus are switching to a new tool called Zoom starting with the summer institute term of academic year 2019-2020. Zoom is very different from Adobe Connect, which was previously used for LiveTalks.

It's important that all students, TAs, and faculty become familiar with how Zoom works before their first online, academic course in the coming academic year. To that end, the Center for Teaching and Learning has created two new tutorials to get you up to speed on using Zoom:

If, after viewing the tutorial, you have additional questions about using Zoom and LiveTalks, please contact the CTL Help team. They will be happy to help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:25 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 1 2019

Reminder: Access to AY16-17 Courses Ends May 31, 2019

Access to academic year 2016-2017 courses ends on May 31, 2019. This is in line with the policy for access to CoursePlus websites. The policy states that access to a CoursePlus site is enabled for the academic year in which the course is offered and following two academic years. For example, if a course occurred in the third term of the 2016-2017 academic year, a student enrolled in the course has access to the CoursePlus site until the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. After that point, access to that CoursePlus site is terminated.

If you need materials from a CoursePlus site in the 2016-2017 academic year, please download them before May 31, 2019, as you will not be able to access the sites from the 2016-2017 academic year after that time.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:55 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Apr 22 2019

Important, Big Changes to All LiveTalks in Online Courses in CoursePlus

Starting with the Summer Institute term of AY19-20, all LiveTalks in online courses at the School are changing to use a new tool called Zoom. Zoom is the industry-leading videoconferencing platform. The entire University, not just the School, is moving to Zoom this coming academic year.

Zoom has a very different focus of interaction from Adobe Connect, which was previously used for LiveTalks. Zoom puts video —video of faculty, students, and the desktop — front and center. Chat is available in Zoom, but it is diminished within the user interface. Zoom expects all participants to be seen and heard throughout a session.

Zoom provides excellent quality video and a super simple setup that's superior to what was provided in Adobe Connect. Zoom makes it very easy for everyone to participate via audio and video. Unlike Adobe Connect, Zoom also offers recordings that are both downloadable and play back on mobile devices.

In the coming year, CTL will offer multiple trainings each term for faculty and TAs on how to effectively run a LiveTalk via Zoom. CTL will also provide on-demand training videos for the basic management of a Zoom session. Details on both of these training opportunities will be forthcoming. The instructional design team in CTL is also happy to work with faculty on planning for this change and, potentially, rethinking how you run your LiveTalk sessions. Students will also have multiple opportunities through the end of the calendar year to participate in Zoom training sessions.

We're very excited about the possibilities for improved interaction during LiveTalks that Zoom enables. We're happy to answer any questions you have now. The whole CTL team will be in touch in the coming months to provide you more details and lots of support for this change.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 7:58 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 18 2019

New Look for the Main Faculty Tools Page

The main faculty tools page in every CoursePlus course website is a hub for faculty, TA, and instructional staff activity. Many links to new tools and reports in CoursePlus have been added to this page over the years. Some of the link organization makes sense, and others, quite frankly does not.

The main faculty tools page has been re-organized. The key to this reorganization is a new grouping of tools titled "Activities and Assignments." This new grouping puts tools like the Drop Box, Quiz Generator, and Gradebook all front and center on the main faculty tools page. The new layout is now live in CoursePlus. 

In on-campus courses, the new layout looks like this:

Screenshot of the new faculty tools page for on-campus courses

In online courses (or on-campus courses using Schedule Builder), the new layout looks like this:

Screenshot of the new faculty tools page for online courses

We hope that this new layout will make it easier to find the tools you need, and will bring some of the most commonly used tools front and center in your CoursePlus website.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:17 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jan 31 2019

Access to Three Years of Courses in CoursePlus

For many years, students, faculty, and staff have had access to CoursePlus sites for a maximum of two academic years. A course site was visible for the academic year in which the course was offered, and the following academic year. This met the needs of a large number of people who use CoursePlus, but not all.

Students in part-time programs and students in doctoral programs are in those programs for longer than two academic years. Not being able to see courses from more than one academic year in the past could be problematic as students prepared for capstones or oral examinations. 

In early January, the CoursePlus team quietly rolled out the ability for students, faculty, and staff to have access to CoursePlus sites for a maximum of three academic years. Therefore, if a student takes a course in the third term of AY2018-2019, the students have access to that course site through May 31, 2021 — three full academic years. This change is also retroactive, so everyone now has access to their sites from the 2016-2017 academic year.

While it would be wonderful to offer access to any course taken by any student at any time (or set up by any faculty member at any time), there are finite resources at play which make keeping sites available indefinitely a probematic proposition. We must balance the need for fast access to the sites for currently running courses with the need of a much smaller population to access courses which ran in the past.

Remember also that CoursePlus provides tools for students, faculty, and staff to quickly download all files in an Online Library, or the content of online lectures — the very materials most people have requested when wanting to view courses from four, five, six, or more years in the past.

We hope that access to three academic years worth of courses will help everyone access the content they need from CoursePlus, when they need it.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:00 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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