Viewing by month: March 2017

Mar 23 2017

Interactive Transcripts During Lecture Playback

As we move to make both CoursePlus and the content housed in CoursePlus more universally accessible, we're taking a big leap forward with the introduction of interactive transcripts during the playback of online lectures in CoursePlus. 

Screen capture of the interactive transcript player for online lectures

While downloadable text transcripts have long provided an alternative form of consuming the content of course lectures, interactive transcripts provide more functionality than simple captions for the videos. Interactive transcripts provide the following features:

  • A full transcript of the lecture on the page, right next to the lecture video
  • Real-time highlighting of the current word or phrase being spoken
  • Searching the current video for key words
  • Download the text transcript on the lecture video playback page itself

Interactive transcripts can have great benefit for a wide range of student audiences, but can be turned off if you personally don't want to see them. Additionally, interactive transcripts don't currently work on iOS devices, because iOS itself pulls the video off the underlying web page and plays the video back in a standalone, full-screen mode.

As we've demonstrated the interactive transcript feature, the most common questions were: "Is this available for all my lectures?" and "Can I search across all the lectures in a class?"

Interactive transcripts will be added to all lectures in fully online courses starting in fourth term AY16-17, and then rolling forward through every term in AY17-18. New lectures will have interactive transcripts by default.

Searching across all the lectures in a class is a feature that's on the CoursePlus roadmap. We don't currently have a firm date as to when that feature will become available.

In the meantime, we hope that you find the interactive transcripts helpful in your learning experience while in CoursePlus!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:38 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 13 2017

Page Builder for On-Campus Classes

Page Builder is the tool used in fully online courses to build out standalone lecture or activity pages for students to access. Faculty can create extensive descriptions of projects, assignments, or reference guides to the course, each on their own individual page with links to files in the Online Library or other tools in CoursePlus. Page Builder is also used by the CTL team to build the pages for fully online lectures.

All CoursePlus sites now have access to the Page Builder tool. In combination with utilization of Schedule Builder, on-campus courses can now build out sites very similar to fully online courses. Links can be made to Page Builder pages from the Class Sessions tool, and you can link multiple pages to a single class session, or multiple class sessions to a single page. You can even set a date on which students will have access to a Page Builder page in your on-campus class. If you opt to use the Schedule Builder tool instead of the Class Sessions tool, you can link up pages to individual items in the class schedule, just as is done in fully online courses.

Faculty can also import pages from any course that they teach (e.g.; on which they are listed as primary faculty), not just other sections of the same course. This allows easy reuse of content — including fully online lectures — between courses.

As with fully online courses, only CTL staff can create lecture pages. Standard Page Builder lecture pages (just like those found in fully online courses) will be used from this point forward for all CTL-produced lectures for blended classes and flipped lectures. Once created, faculty, TAs, and editors can edit the content of lecture pages created by CTL staff, with the exception of the Lecture Materials box on the lecture page.

Page Builder is a powerful tool which offers a great deal of flexibility the kind of content you can put into your CoursePlus site. There's a full guide to using Page Builder in the CoursePlus Faculty Guide. If you have questions about how to use Page Builder, please contact CTL Help!

0 comments - Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:43 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Mar 2 2017

On-Campus Classes Can Now Use the Schedule Builder Tool

On-campus classes and fully online courses use different tools for setting up and laying out the schedule of classes or content in a course. Many faculty who teach both face-to-face and online have asked if they could use the online course Schedule Builder tool in their on-campus CoursePlus sites. They prefer the simpler layout and increased flexibilty that the Schedule Builder tool provides them, especially in conjunction with the use of Page Builder to create standalone pages in their CoursePlus sites.

All CoursePlus sites now have access to the Schedule Builder tool. In combination with utilization of Page Builder, on-campus courses can now build out sites very similar to fully online courses.

Schedule Builder emphasizes a single item per line in the list of activities in the course. This makes for simpler visual scanning, but with a lack of dense content display. The Class Sessions tool, on the other hand, allows for denser content display per line in the list of activities in the course, but at the cost of difficulty scanning through content. You can see the overall differences between the Class Sessions tool, on the left, and the Schedule Builder tool, on the right, in the image below:

Comparison of the class sessions tool vs. the schedule builder tool

Many faculty prefer the Schedule Builder tool because of its clean look, the separation of each item in the class onto its own line in the schedule, the ability to control access to content by date, the ability to separate class dates from due dates for assignments, and the tracking of completion of individual items on the schedule by students.

If you have an on-campus class and would like to switch to using the Schedule Builder tool, you can do so at any time by clicking on the "Switch to Schedule Builder" button on the main faculty tools page in your CoursePlus site.

Switch to Schedule Builder button‚Äč

You can switch back to the Class Sessions tool at any time, if you wish. Content is not synchronized between the two tools, however. Any change you make in one tool is not reflected in the other tool. One other caveat to note: on-campus classes cannot add LiveTalks to the Schedule Builder. LiveTalks are reserved for fully online classes only.

We hope that the introduction of the Schedule Builder option to all courses in CoursePlus gives you more flexibility in designing your CoursePlus sites. There is a complete guide to using the Schedule Builder tool in the CoursePlus Faculty Guide. If you have questions or need assistance using the Schedule Builder tool, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:21 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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