Viewing by month: August 2013

Aug 20 2013

Copy Core Syllabus Content from One Section of a Course to Another

Since we rolled out the revamped syllabus building tool last year, faculty who teach multiple sections of the same course have asked if there's a way to copy core/catalog-linked syllabus content from one section of a course to another. This is relatively easy to do in CoursePlus, where you can select the course section from which you want to copy when you set up your CoursePlus site. This isn't so easy to do with online courses, however. You could copy and paste content from one browser tab to another, but there has to be a simpler way of doing this, right?

We've added a feature to the syllabus tool where you can copy all of the catalog-linked syllabus sections of content from one class section (ie; .01, .11, .13) to another class section (ie; .81). When you start this process, you'll be presented with a list of all sections of the course that have a CoursePlus site or an online course. You can then select the course section from which you want to copy, and the following sections of content will be copied into the current course syllabus:

  • Course Description
  • Course Learning Objectives
  • Methods of Assessment
  • Intended Audience
  • Prerequisites
  • Required Text(s)

If you chose to perform this copy, the content of these sections in the current course syllabus will be overwritten.

If you want to simply replace the content of these sections with what is in the JHSPH course catalog for the course, you can do so by using the "Revert to What's in the Catalog" tool that has been in the syllabus tool since we launched it last year.

This new copy tool is available only in online courses for the time being, but will be coming to CoursePlus later this year.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:06 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Aug 13 2013

Faculty, TA and Staff Indicators on BBS Posts

When a course begins, there's usually a flurry of introductory and administrative questions on a course BBS. While students may know who the faculty on a course are, they may not know the course TAs just yet, or they may not know the instructional designers or other CTL staff who may need to occasionally communicate with them on the BBS.

To make the roles of each non-student who posts to a course BBS clearer, we've added small indicators for "Faculty," "TA" and "Staff" next to the names of the individuals who are in those roles in a course. Here's an example:

Faculty flag in BBS posts.

We hope that this makes things clearer for students, especially at the start of a course.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:37 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Distance Learning

Aug 1 2013

Problems Accessing Videos and Lecture Files, August 1

We're aware that a good number of students in online courses are currently having problems viewing course lecture videos and downloading lecture PDFs. In almost all cases, someone clicks a link to play a lecture and gets the message "HTML5: video not found" or clicks on a link to a PDF and receives a "Access Denied" message. This problem began early this morning and seems to be increasing in frequency. Files that were accessible without issue just yesterday are now having these problems.

We've requested that the team at Amazon who manages CloudFront -- the system by which we distribute lecture videos and PDFs -- look into the problem. We are still waiting to hear back from them about what is going wrong.

We've found that Safari and Internet Explorer are much less likely to have this problem than Chrome or Firefox. Until this problem is resolved, you can try one of those two browsers but you may still run into the "Access Denied" message on some PDF files.

We're very sorry about this. We know it's causing many of you a great deal of frustration, and we're trying to get the problem fixed as quickly as we can.

Update 11:04pm — The problems with CloudFront began resolve around 9pm Eastern, and as of 11pm Eastern, we were not seeing errors loading any of the many lectures and PDFs we tried to load. There may be a handful of lingering problems throughout the night. If you do run into "File Not Found" or "Access Denied" errors, please try to reload the page and see if that resolves your problem. You can also contact CTL Help with the precise lecture and section with which you are having problems and they will see what they can do.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 5:15 PM - Categories: General

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