Viewing by month: June 2010

Jun 30 2010

Important Changes to Online Courses in the Summer Term

In case you missed it, the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology has announced a series of significant changes to the online course system in the past few months. All of these changes have been blogged about on this site, but the list below contains links to all of the announcements.

These changes affect a number of aspects of online courses, not the least of which is the course sign-in process. We encourage you to quickly review each of these changes so that you're not surprised by what you encounter.

Thank you!

Students and Faculty:

Faculty Only:

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:00 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Jun 25 2010

How Would You Improve the BBS?

In our last survey of students and their opinions on the technologies used in online courses, we got a lot of feedback about the BBS and needed improvements to the BBS. As a result, we're now looking at how we can overhaul the BBS found in both online courses and CoursePlus to make it a more useful tool. 

We'd like to ask you for your feedback on the BBS. Are there things in the current BBS that get in your way of posting to the BBS? Is it easy to find topics of interest in a course BBS? What could the BBS system do better? What new things would you like to be able to do in the BBS that you currently can't do?

Posted by Brian Klaas at 12:19 PM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Jun 21 2010

Summer 2010 CoursePlus Update

The summer 2010 update to CoursePlus is now online. The big addition in this update is the addition of the wiki tool to CoursePlus. Wikis have been a part of online courses at the School for a couple of years now. We wanted to see how they were used in online courses and adjust the tool appropriately before rolling it out to CoursePlus.

What's a wiki and why would you use it? Here's a quick overview:

The wiki tool allows you to create and share a collection of Web pages, called wikis, within a class Web site. The focus of wikis is on shared Web pages, creating content on the Web, not in Word or PowerPoint files. Faculty and TAs set up the wikis in each CoursePlus site. Faculty and TAs control who can write in a specific wiki, and they also control who gets to read a wiki. All wikis to which you have read or write access are listed on the main wiki page in your CoursePlus site.

Wikis are often used for group activities, and the posting and sharing of content by students where you want other students to comment (online) on what is posted. One of the most powerful features of a wiki is that everyone can see all the edits and changes made to a wiki over time, so faculty and TAs can see who really contributed in the development of a wiki, and students can see all the versions of the wiki that they helped create.

There's a full set of step-by-step documentation, including a Quick Start guide, in the wiki tool itself. The Instructional Designers at the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology are also available to assist you in figuring out how to make wikis an effective part of your course instructional design.

The other main feature of this update is specifically designed for faculty who teach at the School of Arts and Sciences (Homewood) or other schools at the University who also use CoursePlus. In the past, faculty who created "non-JHSPH course catalog CoursePlus sites" for their course had to manually give students in their course access to their CoursePlus site. We've added a tool, only for these "non-JHSPH course catalog CoursePlus sites," that allows faculty to take a course roster from ISIS and import it in to their CoursePlus site. The tool will take the Excel file of your roster from ISIS, read through it, and put any students it can match from the roster in your CoursePlus site. Students will still need JHSPH eLearning accounts, but the process of adding them to your non-JHSPH course catalog CoursePlus site just got a whole lot faster.

As you begin to work with these new tools, please let us know if you have any questions or feedback about how they work!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 3:47 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jun 4 2010

BBS Problems in CoursePlus

We're aware of a problem with the bulletin boards in CoursePlus. The problem, in a nutshell, is that no BBS in any CoursePlus site can be accessed. The cause of this problem is a very perplexing database issue which appeared in the last 24 hours. We've been in contact with the company which makes the BBS software and are hoping to be able to implement a fix soon. Given the time needed to investigate and pinpoint the problem, however, the problem will most likely not be resolved until late on Monday, June 7.

We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing some Summer Institute courses. We know that time is of the essence with those courses, and we want to fix this as soon as we can. If it were a simple fix, rest assured that it would have been fixed already.

We thank you for your patience and will post any updates that might come in to this page.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:35 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jun 3 2010

Summer Change: A Few Fixes to the Quiz Generator

As part of the changes for the summer project, the Quiz Generator received a little attention, and three changes of note were made:

  1. If a student loses their connection to the course Web site (or the Internet), a warning appears at the bottom of the screen informing the student of the situation. This most frequently happens with students on wireless connections. Wireless connections are generally re-used and changed between individual laptops as the nearby network access point sees fit. This can be a problem in situations where a student is taking an online quiz/exam, because when the connection is automatically switched by the nearby network access point, the course Web site no longer understands who the student is because when the student started the exam, they were using a different Internet connection. Students will now receive a warning if this happens, and can take appropriate action.
  2. If a quiz has one or more manually graded questions that are excluded from scoring, and there are no other questions in the quiz that require manual grading, the quiz is now automatically scored and students can see their results immediately. This means that an exam with 45 multiple choice questions and a fill-in-the-blank for the student to "sign" the ethics pledge can now show the student their results immediately and requires no intervention on the part of faculty/TAs to grade the exam.
  3. If a quiz is set to have a time limit above 120 minutes, a warning is given about the unreliability of student network connections to a single Web page for more than 120 minutes.


Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:06 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

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