Two Small Changes to Online Courses
The Web Development team in the Center is always working on the online course system and CoursePlus. In addition to quickly fixing bugs that may arise, the team is continually working on changes, improvements, and new features. Over the past week, we made a couple of changes to the tools in online courses that we thought were of note:
- "Normal" has been removed as one of the values that you can assign to the "Importance" of a file in the Online Library. If an item in the Online Library needs to be marked as really important, you can select "Critical" for its "Importance" value. If an item in the Online Library is really there for reference purposes, you can select "Reference" for its "Importance" value. Otherwise, you shouldn't have to assign any specific "Importance" value to an item in the library. If it's in the library, it is, by default, of normal importance. As such, we've removed this option from both adding/editing items in the Online Library and from the student view of the Online Library.
- Load time for the main "Enter Grades" page in the Gradebook has been significantly reduced. While most courses that use the Gradebook only have a handful of graded items in the Gradebook, courses that had many (15+) items in the Gradebook were taking a very long time to load. This is because the Gradebook had to calculate the number of students who had received grades at any given point for all the items in the Gradebook every time you looked at the main "Enter Grades" page. Calculating all of this information on-the-fly is pretty expensive, but it gives you up-to-the-second information. The tradeoff just wasn't worth it for larger Gradebooks, however, which could see page load times of over a minute as a result of this on-the-fly calculation. The Web Development team in the Center has recoded part of the Gradebook to pre-calculate a lot of this data, but still give you up-to-the-second information on the main "Enter Grades" page. The result is a page that loads a whole lot faster — in seconds instead of minutes, even on Gradebooks with many graded items and a large roster.