Nov 27 2018

Panopto Outage on Saturday, December 15

Panopto will not be available on Saturday, December 15 from 7pm-11pm EST.  Panopto, the company which makes the service and provides hosting of all JHU content in the service, will be upgrading Panopto, the service, to version 6.0. Unfortunately, JHU has no control over the scheduling of this outage. Please plan accordingly for a complete lack of access to Panopto during this time.

Panopto has posted information about what's new in the 6.0 update

Posted by Brian Klaas at 1:15 PM - Categories: CoursePlus

Nov 20 2018

Say Hello to Signup Sheets!

Faculty frequently need students to sign up for activities in their courses: office hours, project topics, presentation days, and more. Some faculty have created Google Docs to facilitate this process. Some juggle email combined with an Excel spreadsheet. Others hand out lined pieces of paper in the classroom.

We've added a new tool to CoursePlus that lets faculty set up virtual pieces of paper (or “sheets”) on which students can sign up for activity topics, office hours, groups — really anything where a list of names needs to be collected. Faculty or TAs can create individual sheets, time-based sheets, or groups of sheets where students can sign up inside the course website.

For example, faculty can create a time-based sheet for students to sign up for office hours. The faculty fills out a form that says "I can see a maximum of 8 students between 1pm and 3pm on Thursday," and the Signup Sheets tool creates the appropriate signup form with 8 slots split equally across the 1-3pm period. Another example would be faculty in an online course creating a group of signup sheets for end of term final presentations in LiveTalks. One sheet would be for the Monday LiveTalk and one sheet would be for the Wednesday LiveTalk. Students would be able to sign up on one of the two virtual "sheets" to indicate the session at which they wanted to present.

Here's an example of a group of signup sheets for students to pick the day on which they will present to the class:

Screenshot of a group of signup sheets

All sheets have open and close dates so that faculty and TAs can control when students sign up. Students can add or remove themselves to a signup sheet, or sign up their entire course group — if that feature is enabled in the Signup Sheet setup. Faculty and TAs can even add students to a Signup Sheet if they need to. There is a history tool on each sheet that shows all signup activity by students, TAs, and faculty.

Faculty and TAs can see who has (and has not) signed up with a click of a button. With the click of another button, faculty and TAs can send a reminder message to students that they need to sign up on a sheet (or group of sheets). There is also an option to export to Excel all data for a Signup Sheet or group of sheets.

Screenshot of a group of signup sheets

Students can be sent an automatic reminder that they need to sign up for a Signup Sheet, sent one day before the signup period closes. Signup Sheet open/close dates also appear in the student "My Calendar" view and in the Daily Course Notifications email.

The Signup Sheets tool can be found under the "Resources" heading in the Faculty Tools area of every CoursePlus site.

We hope that faculty and TAs will find this to be a useful addition to the administration of their classes. If you have any questions about how this new tool works, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:55 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 29 2018

Full Emoji Support in the Rich Text Editor

Although not always appropriate for professional work, emoji represent a rich system of communication in any online environment. Students (and many staff) use them frequently. They provide an expressivness and emotional clarity that text alone often cannot.

The rich text editor found in CoursePlus now has support for a wide range of emoji characters found on modern smartphones and operating systems. Typing the colon character ( : ) now brings up an emoji menu, as it does in many Web-based rich text editors.

Screenshot of the emoji menu in the rich text editor in CoursePlus

Once you type the colon ( : ) character, you then need to follow that with typing the start of the emoji character name — "smiling_face_with_halo," for example. There is a full list of the emoji available in the rich text editor in CoursePlus, and that list includes the official names for each emoji symbol.

We hope that this broad support of emoji helps to make CoursePlus a more expressive place for all types of interactions. If you have any questions about this new feature, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 10:45 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 18 2018

Requesting Classroom Recordings via CoursePlus

If faculty wanted to have classroom sessions recorded in the past, a request for these recordings would have to be made through JHSPH's Multimedia group. These recordings would be provided in MP3 (audio-only) format, and would generally be posted to your CoursePlus site within 24-48 hours.

Starting with AY18-19, there's a new system and new process for requesting classroom recordings. Classroom recordings are now captured via a system called Panopto — a tool that's been used by the rest of the University for a number of years. Panopto captures not only the audio of the speaker at the podium but also whatever is being shown on the podium computer screen. Everything is automatically synchronized and played back to students. Recordings are available within minutes of the end of class.

JHSPH IT offers training classes throughout the year on how to use Panopto to record your classroom sessions. 

Using Panopto is easy, and telling JHSPH Multimedia that you want to have your classroom sessions recorded is even easier. There's a tool in all on-campus CoursePlus sites titled "Panopto Recordings" that lets you request Panopto recordings for your class:

Screenshot of location of Panopto Recordings tool in Faculty Tools

Click the button in this tool to turn on Panopto recordings for your class and notify Multimedia that you'll be using Panopto. Once you've activated Panopto recordings for your class, students will have a quick-access link to all of the Panopto recordings for your course from the main content page in your CoursePlus site:

Screenshot of location of student access to Panopto Recordings

Panopto recordings of class sessions are a big improvement on the old recordings, and are greatly appreciated by students.

If you have questions about using Panopto or your Panopto recordings, please contact JHSPH IT.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:34 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Oct 10 2018

Peer Assessments Back in CoursePlus

After many months of work and refinement, the Peer Assessment tool returned to CoursePlus back in August of this year. The core of the work focused on improving both the reliability and speed of the tool. Many core processes related to generating individual student assessments and assigning students to one another have been rebuilt from the ground up.

The following specific changes have been made:

  • The interface of the tool has been refined to be less complex during the setup process.
  • The interface now provides additional status about an assessment once it has been set up.
  • New example rubrics designed by the CTL instructional design team are available during the rubric design process for guidance.
  • Calculation of student scores is now done at the time a student submits an assessment, resulting in faster overall score calculation for students.
  • Reporting is faster, and has been streamlined to reduce redundant clicks.
  • The summary report for a student's assessed work in the Peer Assessment tool is now displayed in an overlay window, reducing repetitive page loading while reviewing multiple students' work.
  • Multiple tooltips have been added on setup and reporting pages to improve usability and accessibility.
  • Importing final Peer Assessment scores into the Gradebook now occurs automatically when a score is marked as final in the Peer Assessment tool.

The CoursePlus development team remains deeply committed to improving the Peer Assessment tool based on the feedback of the faculty, TAs, students, and staff who use the tool. The team has already begun to collect suggestions for user interface improvement, and will continue to iterate on the Peer Assessment interface — and performance — in the months ahead.

If you have any questions about how to use the Peer Assessment tool, please contact CTL Help. The CTL instructional design team is also available to provide guidance on how to create an effective Peer Assessment activity in your course.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:32 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 26 2018

New Behavior for the "Post Before View" Option on Discussion Forum Categories

The "Post Before View" option in the CoursePlus Discussion Forum tool is a powerful way to get students to contribute to a Discussion Forum activity without the influence of other student work. When enabled, this option makes it so that students cannot see anyone else's post in a topic until they post something in that topic themselves.

We want to let you know that the behavior of setting the "Post Before View" option on a Discussion Forum category has changed. When you turn on the "Post Before View" option in a category, students will not be able to see any topic and any post in any topic in that category until they create a new topic (with a post) in that category.

Previously, the "Post Before View" option would require that a student post in a topic to see all the posts in that topic. A post would have to be made in every category in that topic for students to see the posts in every topic. That could be tedious, requiring much more work on the part of the student than originally intended.

Now, if the "Post Before View" option is turned on at the category level, a student needs to create a single topic in that category and then the student will be able to see all the topics and posts in that category.

"Post Before View" on the topic level works as before. This change only affects "Post Before View" on categories.

If you have any questions about how the "Post Before View" functionality works, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 9:06 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

Sep 12 2018

More Gradebook Updates for the First Term

Since the launch of the new Gradebook in CoursePlus in January, 2018, we've received a lot of positive feedback along with a stream of requests for enhancements. In addition to the changes detailed in previous blog posts (including vastly improved extra credit support), the CoursePlus team has made the following changes to the Gradebook tool:

  • As faculty and staff sometimes have questions about how, exactly, a student's final grade is calculated, there is now a tool that shows the exact steps used in calculating a student's grade. This tool can be accessed by viewing any individual student's Gradebook page. The exact steps for calculating that student's grade will then be displayed.
  • On the student's individual view of the Gradebook, if categories are used in the Gradebook, the student's current grade per category is now displayed. For example, the Gradebook now shows not only that a category is worth 20% of a student's grade in a class, but also that the student currently has a score of 92% for that category alone.
  • CoursePlus also now displays the student's current grade on the individual "Grade by Student" view in the Gradebook.

All of these changes are live in CoursePlus right now. If you have any questions about these changes, please contact CTL Help!

Posted by Brian Klaas at 7:46 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

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