Viewing by month: July 2018

Jul 23 2018

The New Survey Tool

We are pleased to announce that there's a new version of the survey tool in CoursePlus.

Much like the Gradebook before it, the survey tool in CoursePlus suffered from performance and reliability issues due to the very old code base on which the tool was written.

The survey tool has been rebuilt with a new, modern code base that focuses on reliability and speed. While the survey tool user interface is slightly different from the way it was before, the core functionality of the survey tool is the same.

The CoursePlus team added two new pieces of functionality to the tool during the rebuild:

  1. There is now a log of all changes made to the setup of each custom survey.
  2. If you click on the title of a survey, you can immediately see both the number of students who have completed that survey and a direct link to the survey should you need to pass that link on to students.

Image of new survey link and number of respondents display‚Äč

Additionally, the CoursePlus team did remove one small piece of functionality: it is no longer possible for students to see the results of surveys immediately after completing a survey. This functionality was used only a handful of times in the past eight years, and was last used in a course in 2015.

The new survey tool uses queues to calculate the results of surveys in order to make the load time of survey results significantly faster. This does have one side effect: updated results will not appear immediately when a student completes a survey, or when a set of student responses to a survey is cleared. There is a delay of approximately three (3) minutes between the time a student submits responses to a survey (or has their responses cleared) and when the updated results appear in the results view. If you need the immediate display of responses to a survey in your face-to-face classes, we recommend the use of Poll Everywhere, which is specifically built for real-time audience surveys. The Center for Teaching and Learning provides licenses for Poll Everywhere to interested faculty.

We're pleased with the performance and usability of the new survey tool. If you have any questions about how the survey tool works, or run in to any technical problems with the new survey tool, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 7:35 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Jul 10 2018

New Text Chat App, and the End of Flash in CoursePlus

The Center for Teaching and Learning has been working for some time now to remove all dependencies on the Adobe Flash plug-in from CoursePlus.

For years, online lectures were delivered via Adobe Presenter — a Flash-based tool. Those lectures were replaced between 2014-2016 by MP4 video counterparts. The Online Library tool used to use the Flash plug-in for file uploads, and that was replaced in 2015. Adobe Connect, used for LiveTalks, added the option of being able to participate without having the Flash plug-in installed in 2017. We've slowly been pruning away all content and tools that required the Flash plug-in.

The very last tool that required the Flash plug-in was the Class Chat tool, found in the Communication section of every class website. Although rarely used by most classes, the tool had heavy use by students in a handful of courses. We're pleased to say that the old, Flash-based Class Chat tool has been replaced by a completely browser-based chat tool. The new Text Chat tool has a clean, modern interface and uses the photo in your CoursePlus profile as your avatar in chats.

With the removal of the Flash-based Class Chat tool, the Flash plug-in is no longer required to use any part of CoursePlus. We're glad we finally reached this milestone of making CoursePlus more standards compliant and fully accessible across devices!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:28 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

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