31 August 2009

Reset Quiz Attempt

Instructors can reset quiz attempts, but the ability to do so has to be turned on:

  • When looking at the Grade page for a quiz, click on the link to Display Options
  • In the dialog box that opens, check in the box to Allow Reset and click the Save button
A check box will appear next to each attempt and a trash can icon will appear on the page to reset any selected attempts.

Hide Dropbox Attached Files

When a file is attached to a dropbox folder using the Add a File button, it is accessible to students outside the availability window set on the Restrictions tab. To hide the file from students until the availability window is open, link it instead inside the Custom Instructions field. The file should first be uploaded to the Manage Files area (access this via the Content page or the Edit Course page). Then insert a quicklink into the Custom Instructions field and choose the Course File category. When the availability window opens for that dropbox folder, students can click on the folder name to view its instructions, and the file will be linked there. [VIDEO DEMO]

Incomplete Grades

Our process of using a new course offering for each class for each semester gives us a few ways to handle incomplete grades:
  1. You can make the previous course offering visible to the student by changing its end date. To do this, select Edit Course and then Course Offering information. However, this will make the course offering visible to all students who were enrolled in the course. In addition, you will need to modify the quizzes or dropbox folders to add the incomplete students under the Add Users to Special Access section of the Restrictions tab for each assignment the student needs to complete.
  2. You can copy the necessary dropbox folders and quizzes into one of your course offerings for the current term and then manually enroll the student into the course offering. You may need to use the special access tool to limit access only to incomplete students if these assignments are not shared with the current students. Preventing these items from appearing in the grades area is probably a good idea, as they will confuse your current students. Click here to read the blog entry on the best way to enroll students manually.
  3. You can create a development course offering for handling incomplete grades and manually enroll students as necessary. You will also need to copy any necessary course material into the development course course offering. There is a minor cosmetic issue for students - this new course offering will appear on their My Home page under the "Training and Development" grouping instead of under a semester.

23 August 2009

Entry Limit for Chat Comments

Only 400 characters can be entered into a single chat comment. That is more than Twitter allows and is twice as many as this blog entry, including its title and label.

22 August 2009

Copying Grade Schemes

You can copy grade schemes among course offerings within the Schemes section of the Grades tool. On the Grades page, select the Grades Schemes option and click the Copy button on the Schemes List page. You will see a list of all the grades schemes you created in all of your course offerings (including the current one). Select the scheme you want to copy, type a name for your new scheme, and click the Copy button.
The following page is the edit page for the scheme you just copied.

18 August 2009

Turnitin and the Dropbox

The Turnitin.com plagiarism-detection service is now integrated with the dropbox. This is a single switch on the Properties tab for a dropbox folder immediately underneath the folder name:

Turning this switch on means documents submitted to this folder will be checked for plagiarism as if the student or instructor had submitted it directly to Turnitin.com. The instructor can decide whether to show the Originality Report to students and whether to make the process automatic for all submissions or selectively. The bottom of the Properties tab includes a section "Plagiarism Detection Options" if this switch is on. Turnitin currently accepts the following file types for submission: MS Word (.doc), WordPerfect (.wpd), PostScript (.eps), Portable Document Format (.pdf), HTML (.htm), Rich Text (.rtf) and Plain Text (.txt). All files submitted to Turnitin must be text based. Papers which have been scanned must be sent through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software before they can be submitted to Turnitin.
Once enabled and a report finishes processing, the folder list will show a color-coded label showing the percentage of plagiarized text in that document.

Note: If you allow students to do multiple submissions to the dropbox folder, Turnitin will treat subsequent submissions to the same dropbox folder as "revisions," meaning that those subsequent submissions will not consider the text from the original submission as a similar source.

17 August 2009

Adding a Course Event to Calendar

There are two ways to make a course event in the calendar. One is to click the box "Display in Calendar" when an item has a date restriction set. This makes an event that will appear automatically in the calendar of all students enrolled in that class, and the event will be a link to that particular item.
A second way is to create a new event and make it a course event. At the bottom of the New Event page is an option to choose the Event Access. Choosing the course name makes the event appear automatically in the calendars of all students enrolled in that class. The description can include anything, including quicklinks to course material.
In both cases, the calendar widget on the course home will show a date in bold type if there is a course event on that day.

14 August 2009

Ongoing Discussion Grades

Instructors can use a combination of grade categories and hidden items to create an ongoing discussion grade, which saves having to re-read every post at the end of the semester when assigning an overall discussion grade:
  • On the Grades page, create a new category with the name for your overall discussion grade (eg, "Online Participation").
  • For each topic that you want to count toward your overall discussion grade, edit it and click the Assessment tab.
  • Click the New Grade Item link and (in addition to the name and points possible), choose the category you picked and the option to "Hide this grade item" on the New Grade Item dialog box. There are two advantages to hiding the grade item: it makes the students' view of the grades page shorter, and it allows the instructor to make some topics optional without adding to the anxiety of students seeing they got zero points for a grade item.
The points possible for the category will be the sum of the points possible for the discussion topics it includes. As the instructor grades each discussion topic, the overall discussion score grows over the course of the class.
Thanks to Timaree Hagenburger for asking the question.

05 August 2009

Quicklinks and Date Availability

One effective use of QuickLinks is to provide direct access to an assessment tool (like a Dropbox folder or a Quiz) from your Content area. If the target of the QuickLink has a start date in the future, students clicking on it see an informative note. So when resetting the date ranges for a subsequent offering of the same course, you can dispense with setting a date availability range for your QuickLinks. If you wish, click on the Restrictions tab (as you do with other items).

04 August 2009

Restore My Edit Course Link

If you remove the Edit Course link from your navbar, you might think you have lost the ability to access the tools linked from that page. You can restore this link by clicking on the pencil icon in the upper-left corner of the navbar.
Click this to go to the edit navbar page, and you can restore the Edit Course link to any of the navbar locations. (The default location for Edit Course is the bottom right.)
The Edit Course link is not visible to student users enrolled in your course.