Viewing by month: February 2015

Feb 26 2015

What's New In CoursePlus: Winter 2014-2015

We frequently post on this blog and on the @CoursePlus Twitter feed about changes to and new features in CoursePlus. This can be a lot to keep up with, so we've made this 5-minute tour of what is new and different in CoursePlus from November 2014-February 2015. It doesn't capture everything, but it does capture the highlights.

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 2:15 PM - Categories:

Feb 25 2015

Intermittent Problems Uploading Files to a Course Drop Box - UPDATED

We're aware that in the past few days, a small number of students have had problems uploading files to CoursePlus Drop Boxes. The upload appears to succeed, but no confirmation email is sent to the student after the uplaod and the file doesn't show up for faculty and TAs in the class.

The cause of the problem is in the code from the third party vendor that creates the tool where you can pick files from your computer, Dropbox, JHBox, or Google Drive for uploading into the course Drop Box. There are intermittent failures in this service, and the third party vendor is investigating. They've been responsive, but aren't able to pinpoint this intermittent problem just yet.

Again, this problem does not affect all course Drop Boxes in CoursePlus. It is intermittent and affects Drop Box submissions randomly. 

As soon as we know more, we'll post here. You can also contact CTL Help directly for updates. 

Update Feb 27: We've verified with the vendor that the problems with Drop Box submissions intermittently failing was resolved right around the time that this post was made. We haven't (and they have not) seen any problems since late Tuesday, February 24.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 3:09 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 24 2015

Requiring Comments for Every Criteria in Your Peer Assessment Rubric

When the peer assessment tool launched in January, 2014, one of the goals of the tool was to get students to provide constructive, written feedback on the work of their peers. Not only could students quickly evaluate a student according to the performance levels in a rubric, but we really wanted them to write about why they chose specific performance levels for a given rubric criteria. As such, some kind of comment was required for every critera (row) in a rubric.

We discovered quite quickly, however, that there were many criteria where text-based commenting simply wasn't appropriate. Why force students to write comments on critera such as "length of paper"? The student being evaluated either wrote a paper that met the criteria of 2-3 pages, or did not. Additionally, some faculty and TAs used the peer assessment tool to do quick, quantitative-only evaluation of students and were stymied by the requirement that every criteria (row) in the rubric required some kind of text-based feedback.

Requiring text-based feedback (comments) for every criteria (row) in a peer evaluation rubric is now optional. The default is to require comments, but this is simple enough to turn off in those cases where comments in every row are not important, needed, or required. The comment box will still exist for every row in a rubric, and students can enter comments if they see fit, but comments in every row are no longer required in order for a rubric to be marked as 100% complete by a student if this option is turned off.

The CoursePlus team really does listen to the feedback we get from faculty, TAs, and students. We hope that this change will help the peer evaluation tool better meet the needs of a number of courses!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:57 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 16 2015

Ending Support for IE9 in June, 2015

Numerous large, Web-based companies such as Google have adopted a policy that "we will only support the current and previous version of a browser" as supporting many different versions of a Web browser — particularly older Web browsers like Internet Explorer 9 — is expensive. Many of the bugs and problems we've had in tools like the Gradebook and Peer Assessment tool in the past year have been caused by the hacks put in place to support IE9. IE9 was really the last version of Microsoft's browser to not fully embrace the open standards which power the modern Web. As such, even the mighty Google has dropped official support for the browser.

Effective June 1, 2015, CoursePlus will no longer support Internet Explorer 9. You will not be locked out of signing in to CoursePlus if you use Internet Explorer 9, but an increasing number of features will not work with the browser. Technical support for IE9 will be extremely limited as well. We strongly encourage you to upgrade to IE10 or IE11, or to switch to a different browser such as Chrome if you cannot update your local copy of Internet Explorer. JHSPH IT will gladly assit you in this process should you need help.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:58 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 13 2015

CoursePlus Outage on Friday, February 13, 2015

CoursePlus was unvailable from 7:52:33 AM until 8:17:20 AM today, Friday, February 13, 2015. JHSPH IT performed security updates on all CoursePlus servers early this morning and all CoursePlus servers responded without issue after the update. However, at 7:52:33 AM, the database cluster which powers CoursePlus began rejecting all connections. Fortunately, JHSPH IT was able to force over connections from one part of the cluster to another part of the cluster, which allowed CoursePlus to get back online at 8:17:20 AM.

We know that any downtime with CoursePlus is a huge inconvenience to everyone at the School, and thank you for your patience today. We should note that today's outage was the first unplanned downtime that CoursePlus has had since September 2013. Here's hoping it's another 16 months —or longer! — before the next unplanned outage for CoursePlus!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:40 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 11 2015

See Who Dropped Your Course

Although ISIS shows faculty who is both enrolled in their course and who dropped their course, CoursePlus has only shown students currently enrolled in a class. As of Friday, January 30, 2015, CoursePlus now records when students drop a course and that information is shown to faculty and TAs at the bottom of the class roster page. If a student dropped a course prior to Friday, Janauary 30, 2015, they won't show up on the bottom of the class roster page, but all drops will show moving forward. 

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:24 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Feb 3 2015

A Slew of CoursePlus Changes for Third Term

In addition to the many updates to CoursePlus we've been blogging about in the past few weeks, a slew of smaller changes that don't quite deserve their own blog post have been made. These include:

  • Courses in the upcoming academic year are hidden on your "My Courses" page by default until the last week of May.
  • If an online course lecture has additional sections following the one currently displayed, a "Next Section" link is displayed below the lecture video.
  • The name of the person who entered a grade for each graded item is now shown in the Excel export of the Gradebook.
  • A reminder to upload slides for a LiveTalk is included for faculty, TAs, and instructional designers on the daily course notification email message on the day that there is a LiveTalk in their course.
  • Faculty and TAs can now see a list of all students in the class and the wiki(s) to which each student is assigned.
  • The self-reported city and state of the student is shown next to each student name in the faculty list of all students and their course groups.
  • Linking multiple files to multiple class sessions when you upload the files now works as expected. Previously, you could only link to multiple class sessions if you uploaded a single file at a time.
  • The "Files from the Online Library" section is not displayed if the CoursePlus site has not been set up for that course.

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:47 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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