Viewing by month: March 2013

Mar 27 2013

Upload Images Directly Into BBS Posts

If you've ever tried to insert an image directly into a BBS post, you know that you had to point to an image somewhere else on the Web. You couldn't simply upload a file on your computer directly into a BBS post. You could add a file as an attachment to your post, but you couldn't display it inside the BBS post itself.

That has changed. Starting today, you can upload images from your computer directly into the body of a BBS post in any online course. How do you do this? There's a new button on the rich text editor control bar for BBS posts that allows you to insert an image directly into your post:

Insert Image into BBS Post Button

Click this button, and you'll be prompted to pick a file from your computer to insert wherever the cursor is in the BBS post box. You can even re-use images you've already uploaded if you need to do that.


Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:34 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Mar 25 2013

Major Updates to the Drop Box in CoursePlus

Just in time for the fourth term, the team in the Center for Teaching and Learning has added some major new features to the Drop Box in CoursePlus. Here's what's new:

  • Students can submit files on behalf of a group. 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, and the faculty view of the Drop Box shows that all group members turned in the file. Learn more about submitting for a group in the Drop Box.
  • Timed Drop Boxes. You can now set up a Drop Box so that a student will only have a set amount of time from the moment they "unlocked" a Drop Box before they can no longer submit a file to a Drop Box. If you have an assessment where students need to work inside of a specific type of document (an Excel file or R script, for example), you can offer that document to students and know that students only have a limited amount of time to work with the document and return it to you via the course website. Learn more about this powerful new feature.
  • Get notified about submissions after the deadline. You've been able to get email notification of all submissions to a Drop Box, but now you can be notified only after the due date and time of the Drop Box, if you want. Learn more about submission notification options.

The addition of these features brings the Drop Box in CoursePlus in line with the Drop Box in online courses, so you have the same options and opportunities available in each!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:11 AM - Categories: Course Tools | CoursePlus

Mar 21 2013

Reminder: End of Access to Online Courses and CoursePlus with Internet Explorer 8


Now that we're at the start of the fourth academic term, we wanted to take a moment to remind you that starting June 1, 2013, you will no longer be able to sign in to either CoursePlus or online courses with Internet Explorer 8.

We announced this at the start of the calendar year, but as 10% of the people who access online courses still use Internet Explorer 8, we wanted to post this reminder. Internet Explorer 8 stopped being a supported web browser in January, 2012, but you can still sign in to online courses and CoursePlus with Internet Explorer 8. That will change on June 1, 2013.

In addition to Internet Explorer 8 not being supported for online courses and CoursePlus, JHSPH Information Technology will end official support for the Windows XP operating system this summer as well. 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.

If you are still using Internet Explorer 8 to access online courses or CoursePlus, now is a great time to make the switch to Google Chrome or Firefox!


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

Mar 18 2013

New Syllabus Tool in CoursePlus is Live!

The new syllabus tool in CoursePlus is now live. You can read more about what's new in the syllabus tool in this blog post.

At the last minute, the CoursePlus team did a little work to save faculty some time when reviewing and touching up their syllabus in this new format. Any of the information from the "Additional Faculty Notes" sections of the Course Description, Methods of Assessment, Intended Audience and Prerequisites fields from the old version of the syllabus have been appended into a single section with the official information from the JHSPH Course Catalog database. This means that instead of having to manually merge these sections of content this work has been done for you. The Course Learning Objectives section still has one section for what came from the JHSPH Course Catalog database and another that contains any additional objectives that were in the "Additional Faculty Notes" section in the old syllabus. You should definitely review that material and combine them into a single section.

We have also been asked about the "Files from the Online Library" section and the "Course Schedule" section — both of which appear on the faculty/editor view of the syllabus and both of which cannot be deleted. Both sections are, essentially, placeholders.

In the case of the "Files from the Online Library" section, this section will populate with any files that you flag in the Online Library as being for display on the syllabus. If there are no files in this section, this section is not displayed on the student or printable views of the syllabus. (Remember that the syllabus is public. If you make any files available for download from the syllabus page, they absolutely must be free of any copyright. The concept of "fair use" does not apply in this case.)

The "Course Schedule" section is a placeholder that does two things: on the Web-based, public view of the syllabus, a link to the class sessions page is displayed. On the printable version of the syllabus, any information from the class sessions page is inserted into the printout of the syllabus at that point. The inclusion of the class sessions (or schedule) is an important part of creating syllabi for accreditation, so that is why this section is always included.

As we've mentioned before, if you have questions or run into problems with the syllabus tool, please contact the CTLT Help team. They're quite responsive, and will gladly help work through any issues you may have.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 7:55 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 14 2013

New Syllabus Tool Coming to CoursePlus During Spring Break

The new syllabus tool that has been available in online courses since the start of the academic year is coming to CoursePlus on Sunday, March 17. Last year, the School completed a process wherein a standardized syllabus template was developed by individual academic departments and the School's academic deans. The new syllabus tool that's coming to CoursePlus meets the requirements of and encourages faculty to work within this new syllabus template. We had hoped to get the new syllabus tool into CoursePlus in December, but the complexities of transferring all the data in "About the Course" pages in CoursePlus into the new syllabus format caused that deadline to be pushed back by a few months.

The instructional design team in the Center for Teaching and Learning has been offering workshops on how to create a great syllabus, and will continue to do so in the coming months. We will also be posting some overview videos of the new tool in the CoursePlus 101 movie list.

In the meantime, here's a refresher on some of the major changes that the new syllabus tool brings to CoursePlus:


  • Select information from the JHSPH course database is pulled into the syllabus tool and can be modified from within the syllabus tool. Previously, these sections were not editable from within the syllabus tool. This includes the following sections:
    • Course Description
    • Course Learning Objectives
    • Methods of Assessment
    • Intended Audience
    • Prerequisites
    • Required Text(s)
  • Numerous sections of content recommended by the committee which developed the standardized JHSPH course syllabus appear on the main editing page. These sections can easily be added by clicking a [+] button next to the section title.
  • Guides for effectively writing each section of content in your syllabus have been created by the instructional design team at the Center for Teaching and Learning. These guides can help you write a better syllabus in less time.
  • You can rearraange the display order of sections in your syllabus by dragging and dropping those sections on the page.
  • You can flag files in the Online Library so that the files display on the syllabus.
  • The syllabus is available in a printable format with one click.
  • If you print the syllabus, and you use either the schedule in an online course or the sessions tool in CoursePlus, the schedule/session information is printed inline with the rest of the syllabus content.
  • Classroom information is now pulled from centralize scheduling and included in the syllabus.
A common question that has been asked about the new syllabus tool is: what do I need to do when the new syllabus tool launches? The answer: not a whole lot. Everything that was in the old "About the Course" page on your course's CoursePlus site will be copied into the new syllabus. However, you'll probably want to reorder the display of content on the page, and you'll probably want to consolidate some sections of content. For example, on the old syllabus in CoursePlus, you could not edit the course description or learning objectives that came from the SPH course catalog database. As a result, many faculty added "Additional faculty notes" about the the course description or learning objectives. In the new syllabus tool, these "Additional faculty notes" will appear as a seprarte section of content. You will most likely want to merge what you once had in the "Additional faculty notes" into the main course description or learning objectives sections. You can keep those "Additional faculty notes" sections if you want, but it may be better in most cases to merge them.

If you have questions about the new syllabus tool in CoursePlus, the CTLT Help team is happy to help!


Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:25 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 12 2013

E-reserve System Maintenance on Friday, March 15

The Ares E-reserve system will be upgraded on Friday, 3/15 to improve functionality and performance. The upgrade will begin at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern) and last approximately 2 hours; during the upgrade, e-readings will not be available.

Welch Services Center staff apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please contact us at 410-955-3410 if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Welch Medical Library

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:12 PM - Categories: General | Online Courses | CoursePlus

Mar 9 2013

Daylight Saving Times Begins on Sunday, March 9

Daylight saving time begins in the U.S. on Sunday, March 9. This shifts the time zone of most of the US, including Baltimore, by +1 hour. As such, the time zone in Baltimore shifts from -5 GMT to -4 GMT beginning on Sunday, March 9. The current time in Baltimore (US Eastern time zone) is displayed at the top of every "Course Content" main page for your reference. 

Please be sure to take note of this if you have assignments coming due on Sunday, March 9 or later.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 6:15 PM - Categories: General

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