Viewing by month: December 2010

Dec 27 2010

Winter 2010 Update to CoursePlus Now Live

The Winter 2010 update to CoursePlus is now live! This release focuses on revamping the class sessions tool. There have been a couple of posts about both the changes to the faculty/editor view and the student view of the class sessions tool, but here are the highlights:

  • Drag-and-drop reordering of class sessions (no more number manipulation!)
  • Update all dates for all sessions at one time
  • Create session objectives
  • Create a survey from a template when you create a session
  • Students and faculty/editors: Download all session information to a desktop calendar program
  • Students and faculty/editors: Download all files for a specific session

Additionally, the rich text editor used throughout CoursePlus has been updated to the latest release. This latest version of the rich text editor has vastly improved handling of copying and pasting from Microsoft Word documents.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:16 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 21 2010

University Closings for the December Holidays

In observance of the December holidays, the University will be closed:

  • December 24 at noon (12pm) through December 25
  • December 31 at noon (12pm) through January 1
Technical support for CoursePlus and online courses be extremely limited during this time. Normal support will resume on December 26 and January 2, respectively.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:26 PM - Categories: General | Online Courses | CoursePlus

Dec 20 2010

Maintenance on December 30, 2010

CoursePlus, online courses, and other CTLT websites will be offline on Thursday, December 30, from 6-11AM Eastern Time for regularly scheduled maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:02 AM - Categories: General | Online Courses | CoursePlus

Dec 13 2010

Upcoming Changes to Class Sessions Tool for Students

In case you hadn't seen the earlier blog posts on the subject, the class sessions tool in CoursePlus is getting a major update at the end of the second academic term. Previous posts have focused on changes to the faculty/editor side of things, where most of the changes will occur. In this post, I want to briefly cover the changes on the student side of the class sessions tool.

There are two major changes for students:

  1. Download all sessions to your calendar: Since we launched CoursePlus, you have been asking for the ability to easily import class session information into desktop or online calendars. The student view of the class sessions tool now allows students to download basic information about each session in the .ics format, which can be dragged and dropped into Outlook, Entourage, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird, or imported in to Google Calendar. If there are changes to class sessions after your do the initial download, you are notified on the main class sessions page that there are updates to download.
  2. Download all files for a session: Students have told us that they would like to be able to download all the files for a given session in one click, rather than having to click on the link to each file to download the files. The updated class sessions tool allows you to do this. You can still download files one at a time if you want.
We hope that you find these changes useful. If you have additional suggestions on how to make the class sessions page in your CoursePlus sites more useful, please let us know!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:14 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 10 2010

New Web Events Ready for Viewing

Three new web events, recorded at the School of Public Health, are ready for viewing:

  • The 3rd Annual George W. Comstock Lecture: Global Achievements and Challenges in Tuberculosis Control and Research: Mario Raviglione, MD, Director of Stop TB, WHO, Geneva Switzerland
  • Changing the Food Environment to Prevent Chronic Disease: Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MS, Professor, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Jacob I and Irene B. Fabrikant Professor and Chair in Health, Risk and Society Installation: Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH, Professor, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

To view these events, please go to our Web Event page.

Posted by Kathy Gresh at 11:41 AM - Categories: Web Events | Online Courses

Dec 10 2010

Top 10 Topics in Effective Teaching Strategies

In 2010, Faculty Focus e-newsletter published more than 250 articles on effective teaching strategies at the university level. The articles covered a wide range of topics, including academic leadership, curriculum development, classroom management, learning styles, online education, and teaching with technology.

What were the most popular topics with the readership? Here is a Top-10 countdown: 

10. A Checklist for Facilitating Online Courses (read article

9. Five Questions that Improve Student Writing (read article)   

8. Reasons You Could be Disciplined, Fired, or Sued (read article)  

7. Are You Committing Plagiarism? Top Five Overlooked Citations to Add to Your Course Materials (read article

6. Reconsidering Grading Students on Class Participation (read article

5. Dealing with Difficult Students: the Narcissist (read article)  

4. Good Teaching: The Top 10 Requirements (read article)  

3. How to Design Effective Online Group Work Activities (read article)   

2. Integrating Social Media into Online Education (read article)

And the most popular article of all was --

1. Blogging to Improve Student Learning: Tips and Tools for Getting  Started (read article)   

Faculty Focus was created in 2003 by Magna Publications. Through its free e-newsletter and dedicated website, Faculty Focus publishes articles on effective teaching strategies for the college classroom — both face-to-face and online.

Posted by Linda Bruce at 10:27 AM - Categories: Teaching Tips | General | Online Courses | Distance Learning | Course Tools

Dec 6 2010

Remaking the BBS: The New Topic View

In this post in the "Remaking the BBS" series, we're going to look at the new heart of the BBS: the new topic view. The topic view contains all of the individual posts in a BBS topic, and captures the conversation between students, TA, and faculty. Here's what the new topic view is going to look like:

Mockup of the new topic view in the BBS

Some highlights:

  • Messages that you have already read are hidden by default. This means that you don't have to scroll through page after page of posts to get to the newest messages in a topic. If you want to see all the posts in the topic, just click on the link near the top of the page that says "View All Posts."
  • Click "Agree" to agree with a post. Similar to the Facebook "Like" button, you can "Agree" with posts rather than creating a whole separate message to do so. The names of all the people who agree with a post are listed when you move your mouse over the "[n] people agree" link. If you want to disagree with a post, you're going to need to reply to that post with one of your own.
  • Bookmark posts by clicking the star. As explained in the post about the new bookmarks feature, you can quickly bookmark a post for later review by clicking the star icon next to a post.
  • Faculty and TAs can mark a message as important. Being able to mark messages for later review is certainly useful to you as an individual, but if faculty or TAs want to mark a particular message as important for everyone in the class (maybe it's the answer to someone's question, for example), they can now do so. A message that's marked as important by the faculty or TAs can also have an explanation as to why that message was marked as important.
  • Edit or delete your post whenever. In the current BBS, you only have 15 minutes from the time you create a post to edit or delete that post. In the new BBS, the default behavior is that you will be able to edit or delete your post whenever you want. However, faculty and TAs can still set up a topic or category to only allow you 15 minutes to edit or delete your post(s). This may be necessary for a BBS exercise, for example, so that you can't go back and edit your post once others have posted their work.
  • Smaller nameplates. In the current BBS, the photo, name, and location of the person making the post can take up a lot of vertical space, especially if the post is short. We've made the "nameplate" area of each post much smaller, which means less scrolling and more focus on the content of each post.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:10 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

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