Category: General

Aug 4 2014

CoursePlus Will Be Offline Starting at 5pm on Tuesday, August 12 Until 5am Wednesday, August 13

Due to electrical inspections which must occur every five years, the JHSPH data center must be shut down and be offline from 5pm on Tuesday, August 12 Until 5am Wednesday, August 13, 2014. The JHSPH data center houses most School servers including the servers for CoursePlus. This means that CoursePlus will not be available during this time. If you try to reach CoursePlus during this time, you will receive a "This website cannot be found." message in your Web browser.

We know that any outage of CoursePlus is a big interruption in your daily academic life. We simply have no choice in the matter, nor does JHSPH IT, who operates the JHSPH data center.

We ask that you please plan for this outage acccordingly.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:13 PM - Categories: General | CoursePlus

Jun 2 2014

Two Things all JHSPH Faculty and Students Should Do...

With all of the recent migrations and changes to @JHU email and CoursePlus, there are a couple key things that we should all do:

1. Update your Email address (to on the CoursePlus eLearning Account page. Once you have been migrated on email, this important step will help ensure that your emails come from and go to the correct address.

2. Change all bookmarks and/or reference links from to This will help ensure that students or others attempting to reach a particular class or destination will be able to. Keep in mind that your saved passwords will also be tied to the old address, so you will likely want to re-save any passwords in your preferred browsers.

Also, if you experience oddities or abnormalities while using CoursePlus, here are some tips to try before contacting CTLHelp:

  1. Clear your browser cache:
  2. If that does not work, please ensure that you don’t have any kind of “on startup, pick up exactly where I left off” settings turned on. Google Chrome has this in the Chome Preferences, under “Settings” -> “On Startup.”

Of course, if trouble persists, please use the CTL Help resources or open a help call

0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 2:02 PM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus | Distance Learning | General | Online Courses | Tech Tools

Apr 10 2014

The Innovative Instructor: Peer Learning, Formative Assessment and Poster Projects

For those who haven't yet subscribed to The Innovative Instructor, a blog by our colleagues in the Johns Hopkins Center for Educational Resources, you should! Aside from the very recent posts on our SPH symposium on Peer Learning and Assessment, and ideas on the social media keynote by Howard Rheingold, here are a a couple other recent posts you should definitely check out:

The Characteristics of High Quality Formative Assessments
Formative assessment still tends to lag behind summative assessment in terms of adoption in the classroom. This post provides background, research, loads of references, and will help get things started for incoroporating more. Not sure about the differences between formative and summative assessment? Here's a refresher from Carnegie Mellon.

Creative Student Assignments:  Poster Projects
"For STEM career-path students, poster sessions are certain to be a part of their futures. Increasingly, those in Humanities and Social Sciences are finding that poster sessions are being seen in their professional/academic conferences. Posters and similar presentation approaches are becoming part of business (including non-profit) practice as well."

On some floors of the School of Public Health you can see poster presentations on the walls. Were these created by faculty or by students? Whoever does the work, does the learning.

0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 8:47 AM - Categories: General | Innovation & Inspiration | Teaching Tips

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: Teaching Tips | General | Online Courses | Distance Learning | Tech Tools

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

Dec 3 2013

Are You Using a Supported Web Browser?

Web browsers are updated on a regular basis. Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft (and the Firefox Foundation, of course) introduce new security, performance, and application features on a regular basis to make the Web as a whole a better place. Companies usually only support a subset of all possible Web browsers for their applicaitons. Google, for example, only supports the current and previous version of any Web browser for Google Apps (Mail, Drive, etc.). For example, Google only supports Internet Explorer 10 and 11 and Safari 6 and 7 as those are the current and previous versions of those Web browsers.

The CTL also only supports specific, recent versions of Web browsers for online courses and CoursePlus. The list of supported browsers for CTL sites can be found here. If you're not using a supported browser, you will run into problems, and you'll probably get a message when trying to log in to online courses or CoursePlus that your Web browser isn't supported. 

If you've been taking online courses for a while, you may be in a situation where you are using an unsupported Web browser and may not know it. Safari 5, for example, stopped being supported in June, 2013, but there are still some students who use this browser. While you can sign into online courses with that unsupported browser, you will likely run into problems with the courses and may find yourself unable to sign in with little warning.

If you are using Safari 5 or versions of Chrome or Firefox below version 15, you will not be able to sign into online courses as of December 26, 2013. You should upgrade to a newer version of that browser as soon as you can.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:30 AM - Categories: General | Online Courses

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