Viewing by month: January 2013

Jan 29 2013

Farewell, Audio Chat

The Audio Chat tool has been removed from online courses as of Monday, January 14, 2013.

When we launched Audio Chat almost a decade ago, it was a solution that didn't have a comparable equivalent in the desktop world. Now students, faculty, and staff have Skype, Google Hangouts, and the University's Adobe Connect service at their disposal for online conferencing and discussion. These tools offer much better service and many more options than Audio Chat.

Audio Chat is based on aging Flash media technology. The platform on which it's based -- Adobe's Flash Interactive Server -- hasn't gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and there is no solution for this platform which works on smartphones or tablets. Tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Adobe Connect are continually updated, have mobile options, and provide much better service overall.

Our logs show that only a handful of students used Audio Chat in the past few years. If you were one of those students, you should definitely look into Google Hangouts or the University's Adobe Connect service. Both are easy to use and provide a much more robust and better designed experience than Audio Chat ever could.


 

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:43 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Jan 22 2013

Access to Online Course Websites from Previous Terms

One of the major differences between online courses and CoursePlus is the fact that with online courses, you only have access to an online course while the course is running and for a short time afterward. With CoursePlus, you have access to CoursePlus sites for the current and previous academic years. This gives you a much longer period of time to review course materials, download files, and check in as needed.

The new year always brings changes, and one major change you'll notice with online courses here at the School is that you now have access to online courses from previous terms. If you were involved in an online course back in the summer, first, or second term of this year, you'll see that the course is still listed in the "My Courses" box when you sign into the online course system. Each offering of each online course now has its own website, and you can continue to access those individual course offering websites for the current and next academic years.

This change now brings the the online course system and CoursePlus in line in terms of access to course sites. In both the online course system and CoursePlus, you have access to a course site for a period of two academic years. However, please note that this change for online courses only affects courses that began in the current (2012-2013) academic year or later. Access to online course sites for online courses that occurred in the 2011-2012 year is not available. Next academic year, however, you will have access to online courses from both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:04 AM - Categories: Online Courses

Jan 14 2013

End of Support for Windows XP and IE8 on June 1

JHSPH Information Technology announced that they are ending official support for the Windows XP operating system next summer. Windows XP will no longer be supported in any way by Microsoft in January, 2014, and JHSPH Information Technology is encouraging everyone within the JHSPH community to upgrade to Windows 7 at their earliest convenience.

Internet Explorer 8 is the default browser on the most recent verison of Windows XP, and with the end of Windows XP support, Internet Explorer 8 will no longer be supported within CoursePlus and online courses. The "Computing Requirements for JHSPH eLearning Sites" page which governs support for CoursePlus and online courses at JHSPH has not listed Internet Explorer 8 as a supported web browser since January 2012, even though some students, faculty, and staff still use that browser. When support for Internet Explorer 8 ends on June 1, 2013, you will no longer be able to sign in to either CoursePlus or online courses with Internet Explorer 8.

(You should also be aware that Google dropped support for Internet Explorer 8 in Google Apps (incuding Docs/Drive) on November 15, 2012.)

If you do not upgrade your operating system from Windows XP by June, 2013, you can still use Google Chrome or Firefox to access online courses and CoursePlus. However, given that Microsoft is officially ending support for Windows XP in January, 2014, it is doubtful that Chrome or Firefox will be updated indefinitely for the Windows XP operating system.

This transition is still many months away, but it is important that you are aware of this upcoming change so you can prepare accordingly.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:19 AM - Categories: General | Online Courses | CoursePlus

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