Summer 2013 e-Learning Upgrade
From e-Learning Documentation
With the start of the Summer 2013 semester, the e-Learning Support Team will be launching a new version of the e-Learning system. We've been listening to your feedback, and we think you're going to be as excited as we are to use the new and improved features that the community and our developers have created.
Over the next few weeks, we're going to be highlighting some of the features that really stand out in the Summer 2013 e-Learning Upgrade. Keep an eye on this page for the latest information. Alternately, just follow us on Twitter, so you can know about the latest updates as they happen.
But I was just getting used to the old system!
The great news about the Summer 2013 e-Learning Upgrade is that most of your favorite tools will work just as you've come to expect. They'll just look a little better and help you get things done faster. We've done our best to streamline the entire process of teaching courses online — from course request to finalizing your grades. In addition, you can look forward to exciting new tools that give you even more options for teaching and managing your students. The new improvements will automatically flow into your courses that you've already requested for Summer 2013.
And as always, you can call us at 392-4357, option 3. We're here to help take care of the technology so that you can get back to teaching and conducting research.
Making Things Smoother, Faster, and More Intuitive
New Look and Feel
The first thing you'll notice when you first login to the upgraded e-Learning system will be the new look and feel. The skin has been updated to include some new features and to make some older features easier to access.
See that down arrow beside each of the courses up at the top of the page? Now you don't have to navigate to your course page and then select the tool you actually want. When you click that down arrow, you get instant access to the tools you need most.
You can also access your newly updated profile page and prefereces from the person icon up at the top right. That icon will always be up there in the top toolbar no matter where you are in the e-Learning system.
Last but not least, you should now have icons next to your tools in the left menu bar, which should make it easier to pick the tool you're looking for with just a glance.
Automatic Randomized Groups
Have you ever wished that you could randomly assign your students to groups that you could use in Discussions or Assignments? Well, in the new e-Learning upgrade, you can.
Once you specify either the number of groups you want or the number of students you'd like in each group, the system will automatically split everyone up in just a matter of seconds.
Improved Roles and Permissions in Discussions
We've heard from many of you that you find the current interface for managing permissions in the Discussions tool to be somewhat confusing. In the new e-Learning upgrade, things just got a whole lot easier.
You can now see all the different site roles all at once and customize everything all in one convenient place.
Would you like to have separate discussion topics for each of the groups you've set up in your course? We've automated this process to make things much smoother and faster.
When you use this option, each group will get their own copy of the topic that only they can see and post in with no additional effort on your part. The days of manually creating a topic for each group are gone.
Submit As Student in the Assignment tool
Sometimes students have trouble submitting an assignment and they send their assignment to you either through the Mail tool, via email, or even with a thumb drive. Previously, you had no way to submit those assignments on behalf of the student. Now, at your discretion, you can choose to submit the assignment on behalf of the student.
Providing You With Greater Flexibility and More Options
Greater Control of Turnitin Options in Assignments
If you use Turnitin in your e-Learning course, you will definitely benefit from some new options that enable you to specify exactly how you'd like to use Turnitin's features.
You now have the option to indicate that you don't wish for student papers to be stored in the Turnitin central repository, and you can also select the types of sources you'd like Turnitin to compare student submissions against.
Grading and Setting Up Discussions
In the new version of e-Learning, grading discussions is much more flexible. When you select "Grade" from the "More" menu item next to every forum and topic, the system displays the new Statistics and Grading page.
If you haven't specified a default gradebook item when you created a forum topic, you'll see a red Grade icon on the right-hand side. When you click on that Grade icon, the system displays a pop-up menu where you can enter a grade for that particular student in the gradebook item of your choice. This enables you to have the option of grading students into different gradebook items from the same discussion topic.
The Discussions tool now includes a new setting to require your students to post something before reading any of the other posts in that forum.
It's now easier than ever to copy a discussion forum or topic. Under the more, link, just select the Duplicate option, and you'll get a new copy of that forum or topic, saving you some mouse clicks and typing.
New Gradebook Options
The Gradebook tool has added some interesting features for excluding some grades from your course grade calculation. You can choose to drop the lowest grades, keep highest grades, or even drop the highest grades for a gradebook category. You specify the number of items you want to drop or keep, allowing you a great deal of flexibility in your gradebook calculations.
In Gradebook 2, UFID is now displayed as a column, and we've improved the import/export process to understand files with UFIDs and section numbers.
Connecting with Other Users via My Workspace
In the new e-Learning upgrade, you'll be able to write on other users' profile walls, just as you're used to on Facebook and other social media.
We've made some big improvements to the Profile search, making it easier to find other users by name, email, or even common interests. Once you find the person you're looking for, you can even send an email to their UF business email, right from the search results.
Giving You New Tools and Removing Old Frustrations
The New Learning Module Tool
Starting with the Summer 2013 e-Learning Upgrade, we'll be piloting a new tool that will hopefully make organizing course materials and directing student learning a lot easier. The new Learning Module tool gives you the ability to easily sequence content for your course. You can control access to pages in Learning Module by calendar date or even by requiring certain tasks.
Adding content to Learning Module is easy and intuitive. In addition to the Content Editor that you're already used to from other e-Learning tools, you can also embed YouTube videos just by copying the link into a text box, and you can upload documents, pictures, and videos just by selecting them from your local hard drive and uploading them.
Learning Module also integrates with the e-Learning tools you've already come to depend on. You can link to forum topics, quizzes, and assignments just by selecting them from the menus at the top of the tool.
New Question Types in Tests and Quizzes...And a Brand New Look!
The Tests and Quizzes tool has received a facelift that will hopefully make it easier to manage your assessments.
Your assessments are now divided into two separate tabs: Working Copies and Published Copies.
For those who use the Tests and Quizzes tool for survey data, the tool now has support for a survey matrix question type.
We're also really excited to be piloting calculated questions as a question type. Calculated questions will allow you to present students with questions that have the numbers randomized just for them so that each student can have a unique calculation.
Calculated questions aren't limited to just basic arithmetic. The system understands and supports trigonometry functions and even has built-in support for constants like pi.
Now you can add questions that require students to record audio answers, a feature that some of our language professors have been requesting. When the question comes up in an assessment, students are prompted to record their response in a popup window. Their response is saved with their quiz results for ease of grading.
Auto-Loading Rosters and Easy Publishing of Your Site
We're especially excited about this change because it's something that many of you have asked for. In Summer 2013, you will no longer have to associate a section roster with your course. Instead, your sections will be associated with your course when you request a new course site.
To ensure that students won't see your course before you're ready, your course will start out unpublished. However, we've also made it much easier to publish your course. In fact you can publish your course with just one mouse click.
When your course is unpublished, a notice will appear at the top left of every page. You can publish your course by clicking "Publish Now" from wherever you happen to be on your course site.
Greater Control over Mail Tool Permissions
The new Mail tool gives you the ability to control who participants in your course site are allowed to send messages to.
This means that you can turn off the ability for students to send messages to all the participants in your course.