Viewing by month: December 2014

Dec 23 2014

VoiceThread Gets an Upgrade

A new version of Voicethread has been released, and is now the official active version in use by JHU. This version has some notable new features and a greatly updated user interface. (Catch a good glimpse of what it looks like in this short video.)


0 comments - Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 7:30 AM - Categories: Course Tools | Distance Learning | General | Innovation & Inspiration | Online Courses | Teaching Tips | Tech Tools

Dec 16 2014

Fall Updates to the Survey Tool

The survey tool in CoursePlus has received a number of small but important updates in the past couple of months. These include:

  • You can now set both open and close dates on the survey. Each is optional, but the links to the survey will not be active to students before the open date and after the close date (if either are specified). You can still have students access the survey after the close date by sending them the direct link, which is available when you edit a survey.
  • You can send a boilerplate reminder to complete a survey to all students who haven't yet completed a survey from the "Who Has/Has Not Completed the Survey" page in your CoursePlus site.
  • You can now preview the content of system-wide template surveys.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:21 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Dec 10 2014

A New "My Calendar" View, with All Your Courses Listed

One of the best things about CoursePlus is that it is shaped by the people who use it every day: the faculty, students and staff here at the School. The team in the Center for Teaching and Learning is continually getting feedback about what works and what doesn't work in CoursePlus. One of the biggest pieces of feedback we've heard in the last year from students is the need to see upcoming events across all of their courses in a single location. Previously, CoursePlus listed only events for the upcoming week in a small "My Calendar" box when you signed into CoursePlus.

We're pleased to announce that there's a whole new "My Calendar" tab when you sign into CoursePlus that displays all activities in all your courses in the coming month. This much expanded list of course activities includes due dates for quizzes, Drop Boxes, surveys (if they have a due date) and peer assessments, as well as links to each course website for each item in the list. We hope that this new "My Calendar" tab provides students with a much better picture of what's coming up in their courses.

We're considering additional changes to this view for the future, including the option to view up to 8 weeks of activities, and the option to download the current list of activities to your calendar application. Remember that you can go into any course website and download the full, current list of acitivities to your calendar application right now. This has been a feature of CoursePlus since 2012!

We hope that this new feature makes things easier for students, and everyone who uses CoursePlus!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:40 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Dec 3 2014

Upload Your LiveTalk Slides Directly Into the Course Website

For years, slides used in LiveTalks for online courses had to be emailed to the course instructional designer who would, in turn, manage the conversion and posting process. While this helped to foster communication between the couse team and their instructonal designer about the content of LiveTalks, it left a lot to be desired from a workflow perspective. It was also problematic if the instructional designer was on vacation or out sick.

We've added a tool to online courses which now lets the faculty and TAs on an online course upload the slides directly into their online course website. This new LiveTalk slides upload tool is on the LiveTalk page in your online course, and is available up to a week prior to any scheduled LiveTalk. 

In addition to being able to upload up to 10 PPT or PDF files, you can also provide the LiveTalk team valuable infomation about your LiveTalk, including:

  • Number of people in the studio
  • Number of student presentations, if any
  • Expected running time of your session
  • Remote faculty or phone call-in speakers
  • And more

Providing all of this information will make it much easier for the Multimedia team who provides technical support for LiveTalks.

We think this process revamp will ensure that your slides get to the right people in a timely manner and will make setting up for LiveTalks go a whole lot smoother. The deadlines for submitting your LiveTalk slides remain the same, however, so be sure to upload those slides by noon on the day of your LiveTalk!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:27 AM - Categories: Course Tools

Dec 2 2014

Four Updates to the Discussion Forum

The discussion forum tool has been getting quite a bit of attention this fall. We've just released a number of new features for the discussion forum, all of which are available right now in your CoursePlus sites:

  1. A discussion forum topic can now be marked as "answered." Only the person who originally posted the topic or faculty or TAs can mark the question as answered. A topic can have more than one reply marked as the correct answer.
  2. If a course faculty or TA has responded to a topic, there is now an icon on the main discussion forum page which indicates this.
  3. Posting dates less than five days old are displayed in relative format. If a post was created 5 minutes ago, the date/time of the post reads "5 minutes ago." If a post was created 2 days ago, the date/time of the post reads "2 days ago." Posts older than 5 days show the date and time on which the post was created. This display of dates in relative format can be turned off in the admin section of each discussion forum.
  4. You can now search for posts marked as "Important."

Finally, students outside of the US now have the name of their country properly displayed in discussion forum posts. Hooray!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:07 AM - Categories: Course Tools

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