Sep 18 2012

Two CoursePlus Changes

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:50 AM CoursePlus

We wanted to let you know about two changes to CoursePlus that went live over the weekend:

  1. You can now export raw survey data to Excel. If you use surveys in your CoursePlus site, there is now an option to export the raw response data — minus any unique identifiers — to Excel format. The Excel file shows each set of responses as a row, with the questions as the columns.
  2. We revamped the way that students answer essay questions in online quizzes/exams. Previously, when students clicked the "Enter Answer" link for an essay question in an online quiz/exam, an overlay window with a rich text editor would appear for students to create or edit their answer. Now, when students click the "Enter Answer" link for an essay question in an online quiz/exam, the rich text editor appears on the same page, immediately below the question text. This is a change that was made in the online course quiz system a few months ago and it resulted in significantly fewer problems for students answering essay questions in older browsers like Internet Explorer 8. There's no real functional change here — this is more a usability change that will improve the student experience.




Tadiwa wrote on 10/15/121:16 AM

Another thing about OpenCourseWare is that it seems to be somewhat intcopleme (at least as of the year or two ago I delved into it). At the moment, it seems to be mostly exposing the websites used for course teachings rather than being a complete resource in and of itself.The biggest problem is what I will call the "textbook exercise" problem. Theoretically, people could teach themselves subject matter out of textbooks (I've done some of it myself), but books lack the feedback necessary for really strong learning.If textbooks have solution manuals, the problem is solved - try the exercise and see if your logic/answers match the book's. If there is wide divergence, need to check it out further.But, so far, many of the OCW sites are like the books without manuals, and some are more like chapter sketches of the books.I'm sure that OCW will improve, but there is still a very large difference between looking at OCW for a course and actually being at MIT - and not just the presence of fellow students and professors.I guess what I am saying is that the goal is laudable - there's just going to be a lot of work to get from A to B. And a lot of it will probably revolve around how to acheive a good OCW without requiring a lot of uncharged labor by the professorship (or whipping the junior professors and post-docs even harder).

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