Category: 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

Jan 16 2019

CoursePlus Updates, Listed by Month

The CTL Blog and the @courseplus Twitter feed are two ways that you can get information about what's new and different in CoursePlus. Many people are not aware that there is also a list, updated monthly, which details all changes to CoursePlus, big and small.

The CoursePlus Updates page lists all of the changes that occur to CoursePlus each month. The list is presented in reverse chronological order, with the first entry going back to September, 2014. Most of the information on the CoursePlus Updates page is usually first presented on the @courseplus Twitter feed, but not everyone uses Twitter. Please note that the @courseplus Twitter feed contains real-time updates to problems with or unplanned outages in CoursePlus, something not listed anywhere else.

Bigger items listed on the CoursePlus Updates page usually make their way onto the CTL Blog with greater detail about the change than found on the CoursePlus Updates page. However, blog posts usually only appear after the related change is already listed on the CoursePlus Updates page. 

Additionally, the Center for Teaching and Learning offers monthly (and sometimes twice monthly) workshops about teaching with (and without) technology, often focusing on the tools in CoursePlus. These sessions also cover new and improved CoursePlus features.

We hope you take advantage of the resource(s) that best fit your needs for learning about what's new and different in CoursePlus. As always, CTL Help is happy to answer any questions you may have about CoursePlus.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:34 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 13 2018

See the Exact Steps Taken in Calculating a Student Grade in the Gradebook

Gradebooks can be complicated things, with many activities grouped into categories and different rules about how individual grades in a category factor into a student's final grade. It can sometimes be difficult to know the exact set of steps taken in calculating a student's grade.

Fortunately, the Gradebook in CoursePlus has a tool for faculty and TAs that shows the exact steps taken in calculating a student's grade in the course Gradebook. This tool can be accessed at any time, even before the final grade in the class is calculated, and the steps shown will update when you add additional scores in to the Gradebook. 

To access this tool, go to the student view of any student in the Gradebook. For example, in this example class, we're viewing the Gradebook page for a student named Luke Cage:

Screenshot of an example student's grade book page

Click "Show Grade Calculation Details page for [student name]" at the top of the page. This reveals all the steps, in order, that the Gradebook took to calculate the current student grade in the class:

Screenshot of the calculation of an example student's grade

Both the actual current grade and the current grade as displayed to the student are shown. Remember that the grade as displayed to the student may be different than the actual, real current grade because sometimes indivdiual graded items aren't displayed to students. For example, you may have graded a midterm, but not displayed grades to students because not all students took the midterm. This is why we show calculations for both the actual current grade, and what is currently shown to students.

We hope that the information shown in this tool will help you better understand the exact steps taken to calculate a student grade in a course. You can even share this information with students who may have concerns about how their grade is calculated. 

If you have questions or concerns about how the Gradebook is calculating a student grade, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:28 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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