Viewing by month: September 2012

Sep 24 2012

Help Us Provide Better Help to You!

If you've ever gotten help from the CTLT Help team or the CTLT Help website, we want to hear from you about your experience. The CTLT Help team provides a ton of step-by-step guides and help documentation for CoursePlus, online courses, and more. We want to make sure that all of this material is of use to you, and we want to know how you think we can make it better.

We've set up a short, 10-question survey to let you let us know how we can improve the CTLT Help experience and the documentation that's provided. We want to provide great help to you so that you don't have to wait hours for answers to your questions, so please let us know what you think.

Your feedback, as always, is invaluable!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:26 AM - Categories: General | Online Courses | CoursePlus

Sep 21 2012

Massive Open Online Courses to Launch This Weekend

Tens of thousands of students have already signed up to take the School of Public Health's first two massive open online courses (MOOCs), Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp taught by Brian Caffo and Computing for Data Analysis taught by Roger Peng. Both will launch over the weekend, so it isn't too late to sign up. They are free and open to anyone.

Both courses are built around a series of pre-recorded lectures. They also feature discussion forums, homework assignments, and graded assessments. Students who successfully complete the courses will receive a statement of successful completion from Coursera, the company that hosts these courses and six others that will launch over the coming months. 

You have no doubt heard a great deal of blog chatter and media coverage about the emergence of MOOCs. This is an exciting new frontier in education, and there is much to be learned about the effectiveness of these kinds of courses.

JHSPH is experimenting with this new form of teaching as a potential next step beyond its OpenCourseWare project. OCW is a repository of top-notch teaching materials produced by JHSPH faculty for use by educators and independent learners. OCW is not going away, and it will continue to grow as we add materials from more courses.

However, OCW does not offer students the opportunity to either interact with faculty and fellow learners or demonstrate their acheivement of course learning objectives. In Coursera, students will be able to communicate with their instructors and their peers, and they will be able to take graded assessments to show what they have learned. It is our hope that this new model will help the School broaden the reach of its educational mission by making its world-class faculty and their expertise more widely available to a massive population of learners.  

To see a full list of JHSPH offerings on Coursera, visit 

Posted by Ira Gooding at 11:38 AM - Categories: General | OpenCourseWare | Tech Tools

Sep 19 2012

A Warning About iOS 6 and Facebook Integration

One of the marquee features of the just-released iOS 6 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is Facebook integration. While iOS 6 will make it much easier to share on Facebook from a wide variety of apps and iOS services, there is one very important change that you may not be happy about: if you have Facebook integration turned on in iOS 6 and you sync your contacts with Facebook, the primary email address for each person in your address book may be replaced by their email address.

This is a big deal, and will no doubt be a hassle for many people. TUAW (The Unoffical Applw Weblog) has a great writeup about this issue. Note that unlike what happened to people using the iOS 6 beta, email addresses won't be deleted in your iOS contacts. It's just that the email address will become the primary email address that iOS uses. Other email addreses (like your address) will still be there for you to choose, but iOS will default to the address if Facebook contact sync is turned on.

If you don't have Facebook contact sync turned on, you won't have this problem. If you do have Facebook contact sync turned on (and it's on by default in iOS 6), the most you can do is hide your address on your Facebook profile so that iOS 6 does not try to sync it. That will work for you, but not for anyone else who hasn't done this.


Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:01 AM - Categories: General | Tech Tools

Sep 18 2012

Two CoursePlus Changes

We wanted to let you know about two changes to CoursePlus that went live over the weekend:

  1. You can now export raw survey data to Excel. If you use surveys in your CoursePlus site, there is now an option to export the raw response data — minus any unique identifiers — to Excel format. The Excel file shows each set of responses as a row, with the questions as the columns.
  2. We revamped the way that students answer essay questions in online quizzes/exams. Previously, when students clicked the "Enter Answer" link for an essay question in an online quiz/exam, an overlay window with a rich text editor would appear for students to create or edit their answer. Now, when students click the "Enter Answer" link for an essay question in an online quiz/exam, the rich text editor appears on the same page, immediately below the question text. This is a change that was made in the online course quiz system a few months ago and it resulted in significantly fewer problems for students answering essay questions in older browsers like Internet Explorer 8. There's no real functional change here — this is more a usability change that will improve the student experience.


Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:50 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 10 2012

Reminder: New Gradebook in CoursePlus!

As many faculty and students at the School were away during the summer, you may have missed the announcement back in July that we rolled out a totally new version of the Gradebook to CoursePlus. This new version of the Gradebook is the same as the Gradebook used in online courses, and brings many, many improvements — not the least of which is vastly improved speed!

To learn more about the new Gradebook in CoursePlus, please review the original post. There is also a full, detailed help guide available from within the new Gradebook in CoursePlus. If you need assistance with the new Gradebook for any reason, you can also contact CTLT Help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:52 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 7 2012

CTL Fall Teaching Toolkit Events

The Instructional Design team at the JHSPH Center for Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce our fall schedule of workshops and drop-in hands-on sessions for faculty and TA's to discuss, learn about and practice the finer points of teaching, learning, and technology. In order to accommodate those who have conflicts with Wednesday at lunchtime, we have added duplicate events on Thursday afternoons for most workshops as well as drop-in sessions at various other times. All workshops will be available both in person at JHSPH or online via Adobe Connect.

To RSVP, please visit our new events calendar here:  and click the any session to register.

We look forward to your participation!

Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 11:32 AM - Categories: Teaching Tips | General | Online Courses | Distance Learning | Tech Tools | Course Tools | CoursePlus

Sep 4 2012

New Drop Box Feature: Submit Files for a Group!

A long-requested feature has arrived in the Drop Box in online courses: the ability for a student to submit a file on behalf of a group. Here's how this works:

  • When setting up a Drop Box, you can specify that students can turn in a file for a group in the Drop Box. Note that students have to be assigned to groups in the Course Groups tool in order to use this feature.
  • When a student submits a file to a group-enabled Drop Box, the student sees a drop-down list of all the course groups to which she is assigned. If the student is turning in a file for the group, she selects the appropriate course group from the list.
  • When a student submits a file, all group members get an email confirmation of file submission.
  • If a student in the group goes to the Drop Box page, it shows that the file was submitted by the other student and provides a link to the file.
  • On the faculty/TA side of the Drop Box, all group members are shown as having turned in the file, and that the file was turned in by the person who submitted the file to the Drop Box.
  • When the file is downloaded from the Drop Box, it shows the group name instead of the student name, and flags the file as being downloaded for each member of the group.
  • If you upload a group-submitted file from the Drop Box to the Gradebook, all students in the group get a copy of the uploaded group file. You have to assgin grades individually to each student in the group, though, because our research found that individual students in a group usually get different grades based on contributions and performance.

We hope you find this feature useful. This feature will be coming to the Drop Box in CoursePlus around the start of second term, so it will be available for all courses at the School.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:20 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

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