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We are pleased to announce that myCourses -- RIT’s course management system -- will be upgraded to version 10 and made available to all users on August 22.

The upgrade of myCourses to version 10 features updates and additions to navigation and presentation of course materials.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the upgrade, or any other aspect of myCourses, please contact Academic Technology Support, visiting http://www.rit.edu/tls/contact for our hours of operation, contact information, and direct chat.

Index

Tiny Link

User Interface Changes

In this release the vendor has made significant user interface changes for a more engaging and intuitive experience for all users. The most significant UI changes are outlined here.

Top Minibar

The top minibar is in a fixed position and contains the following items:

  • My Home, linking to the central My Home page.
  • Course drop-down menu, which allows users to search for a course, order by last accessed courses, and order by course name. Pinned courses are listed above all others in the list.
  • Message Alerts icon, which notifies users of new Pager messages and allows user to compose new emails through the Access email link.
  • Update Alerts icon, which notifies users of any notifications they have subscribed to.
  • Discussion Alerts icon
  • Profile drop-down menu, which includes the Edit Profile, Notifications, Account Settings and Logout links.

My Home

You can click the My Home link in the top minibar to take you to your homepage.

Course Home

You can click the course title to navigate to your course's home. For longer course titles, your course name may be truncated in the top minibar, but the full name will display on the course homepage.

Your course home will also list your course's full title, indicated with a red arrow in the following picture:

Navigation bars

The white navigation bar is listed below the new minibar at the top.

The navigation bar, indicated with a red arrow, lies below the orange top minibar:

Central column layout

For most pages, the layout centers all content in a central column area. This area encompasses the white rectangular area between the beige-grey gradient background. Pages that do not use the central column include:

  • The Enter Grades page
  • The Question Library
  • The Add/Edit Questions page for individual quizzes
  • The Add/Edit Questions page for individual surveys
  • The default view option for viewing an individual Content topic from the View Topic page (e.g. an HTML file created with the Create New File option)

    Instructors may customize the view option for their individual courses through Content > Settings > Content Viewer > Show Sidebar.

  • Viewing individual Discussion topics, forums, or messages
  • The Course Builder

The above exceptions suppress the course navigation bar, and thus require you to click a confirmation button (such as Exit or Done) so that the navigation bar is visible once more. In the case of the Enter Grades page, instructors must navigate to another Grades area, such as Manage Grades; there is no confirmation button.

Review courses with edited navigation bars

Existing navigation bars will continue to render correctly upon upgrade, but will be displayed within the 960 pixel grid, and thus may wrap depending on the number of links you have included.

If you have customized your navigation bars in the past and are not using the course default, you may need to update your navigation bars to display as expected in the new layout. Please review all of your courses prior to the start of classes to ensure your navigation is set up properly.

Alerts

Alerts are now displayed in three categories and included on the new Minibar. When you receive an alert, the corresponding icon is highlighted with a red dot.

Example

This user has no Message alerts, Update alerts, or Discussion alerts:

While this user has Message alerts and Update alerts:

We are working with the vendor to address the coloring of new alert indicator to provide greater visibility.

Select a course Drop-Down Menu

You no longer have to go back to the My Home page to navigate to another course. Instead, you can use the course drop-down menu from the top minibar, which allows you to search for a course, order by last accessed courses, and order by course name. Pinned courses are listed above all others in the list. This drop-down menu is always visible.

See more info about the Select a course drop-down menu below.

News

Instead of buttons, version 10 uses a drop-down menu for links to News Tools, New items, Reordering items, and RSS subscriptions. The button to the notifications page has been removed.

Reorganized In-tool Navigation

Left-side Tool Areas panels have been moved to the top of tool pages. If the page is deemed an action (e.g. New Module or Reports), it will not appear at the top of tool pages. Only significant subpages have been included to avoid redundancy.

For instance, in Manage Content, the View Content and Manage Files links have been moved to the top of the page:

Grouped Actions

Top tool actions are emphasized and sometimes grouped for easy access, and secondary actions are grouped in drop-down menus to reduce clutter.

For instance, there is now an Add Content button on the Manage Content page:

Labeled Icons

Many icons throughout version 10 are now labeled instead of being stand-alone icons. For instance:

  • Classlist: Icons such as Email, Page, Print, Enrollment, and Unenroll (some of these icons are not available to all roles)
  • Groups: Email and Delete Selected Groups icons

Placement of Save/Cancel Buttons

The placement of Save/Cancel buttons are at the bottom left of tool pages to address issues with the previous full-screen widths where users may have had to scroll to find save buttons if they were zooming with their browser.

General New Functions

Select a Course Drop-Down Menu

The Select a Course drop-down menu allows you to search for a course, order by last accessed courses, and order by course name. Pinned courses are listed above all others in the list.

Important Notes

  • Ordering by course name uses all characters, even leading spaces (for example, ignoring quotes, " XYZ" would be listed before "ABC").
  • After pinning a course, you must refresh the page or navigate to a different page in order for the course to appear at the top of the list.
  • When you are on the myCourses homepage, Select a course... is the title of the drop-down menu. When you are in a specific course, the title of the course itself is the title of the drop-down menu.

Using the Select a course drop-down menu within a course called myCourses Demo:


 

Additional Notifications for Update Alerts

Students can now choose to receive email or text message (SMS) notifications for when a grade item is released or updated. Optionally, the grade value can be included in these messages. Other email or SMS notifications include Discussion notifications, notification when a Dropbox due date is two days away, when a News item is updated, when a new News item is available, and when a quiz end date is two days away.

Notifications available in version 10:

  • Discussions - new message posted to a forum, topic or message for which user subscribed to instant notifications.
  • Dropbox - dropbox folder end date is 2 days away.
  • Grades - grade item released.
  • Grades - grade item updated.
  • News - item updated.
  • News - new item available.
  • Quizzes - quiz end date is 2 days away.

In addition to email or text notifications, the Update alerts icon will also be highlighted once a user logs into myCourses.

Sent Mail folder

Emails that users send through myCourses are stored for review in a Sent Mail folder, which is accessible by clicking the Message Alerts icon, then Access Email, then the Sent Mail button.

Attendance

Copying Attendance Schemes and Registers

Instructors can now copy Attendance Schemes and Registers between courses.

Note

You will need to add the Attendance tool to your course's navigation bar in order to use it. Here is how to do so:

  1. Go to Edit Course and click on Navigation & Themes
  2. To the right of your active Navbar, click the small arrow, then choose "Copy"
  3. Now make this copy the active NavBar by choosing its name under the "Active NavBar" drop-down menu, and then clicking the Apply button
  4. Now, click on the name of your active copied navbar to edit it
  5. Click the "Links" tab
  6. Click the "Add Links" button where you would like for your Attendance link to appear (most instructors put theirs in the bottom left link area, underneath the Left Logo)
  7. Check the box next to "Attendance" and click the Add button
  8. Click the "Save and Close" button

Calendar

The Events widget is now called the Calendar tool. It is more or less the same as the Events widget, but it displays a calendar and has upcoming events listed beneath it.

Collapsing/Expanding items in Calendar widget

You can collapse or expand the calendar or upcoming events by clicking the arrow to the right of the date.

Organization of calendars

Instead of having a checkbox-based list on the left-hand side listing a user's calendars, the calendars are grouped in a dropdown menu. Click the arrow to the right of All Calendars (#) to select calendars to view.

Importing events

You can now import events from an iCal format file to a calendar.

Hidden events

Hidden events are recognizable in the Day/Week/Month views with a 2-pixel dotted border and descriptive alternative text.

Remembered Filters

Filters are remembered as users view items from the List view and return to the filtered list.

Page Break Option For Printing

A new print option has been introduced that allows users to control whether or not page breaks are added after every event when printing. The events displayed as a result of searching and filtering from the List view can be printed.

Task Headings

Task headings now indicate the number of incomplete tasks.

Deleting Repeating Events

When deleting a repeating event, options are available to delete the series, the current occurrence, or the current occurrence and future occurrences.

Content

Viewing Options for "View Content"

Instructors and admins have four options for how to display the content of their course, chosen from the Content Viewer section of the Settings area in Manage Content:

  • Full screen with sidebar with the content map sidebar on the left and without the course navigation bar (as is typical for full screen pages)
  • Full screen with no sidebar without the content map sidebar and without the course navigation bar
  • Fixed 960px width with sidebar with the content map sidebar and with the course navigation bar
  • Fixed 960px width and no sidebar without the content map sidebar and with the course navigation bar

The Fixed 960px width with sidebar option is the closest to the default setting in the previous myCourses version.

Discussions

The "Must Post First" option

A new option in Discussions now enables you to enforce participants to post their opinion first before reading others’ posts. This encourages original
thought without influence from other existing messages.

From the student's end, they will be notified of unread messages but will not see them upon opening the Discussion topic. They will see the message "You must compose a message before you can view or reply to other messages in this topic" where the messages would ordinarily display.

To enable this feature use the new checkbox under Options entitled 'A user must compose a message before participating in the topic.' Just check that option to enable it and save the Topic.

Dropbox

In previous releases, as soon as feedback was entered and saved for a student’s dropbox submission, that feedback was immediately available to students. Unlike other assessment tools such as Quizzes and Discussions, Dropbox feedback could not be withheld. Now instructors can withhold feedback so they can review and revise grades, rubrics, comments, and attachments. Publishing feedback allows students to see feedback from their submission history in the dropbox and updates any associated grade items. Instructors can publish feedback to all students simultaneously after they have finished assessing submissions or on a student by student basis.

When leaving feedback, there are options to Publish or Save Draft:

The easiest way to tell if a draft is saved and not published is from the Folder Submissions page. Drafts will show the prompt "Feedback Left," while published feedback will show the prompt "Grade and Feedback Published":

Prior versions showed the prompt "Leave Feedback" when the feedback was released to students, which could be confusing for users.

Instructors can also publish feedback in bulk from the Folder Submissions page by selecting users and clicking the Publish Feedback icon ( ).

Grading Through GradeMark

A Dropbox folder's "Out Of" score is used when creating assignments in TurnItIn for online markup (GradeMark) usage. If an instructor gives a student submission a score through online markup, this score will be shown on the Leave Feedback page. Instructors can choose to use this score for the student's folder score, or simply use it as one data point when determining the student's overall mark.

Entering a score through the GradeMark interface:

Instructors can choose to "Use this score" on the Leave Feedback page underneath "Markup Document" and it will transfer to the Dropbox score:

Availability of GradeMark Markup

Instructors can choose when GradeMark markup will be available to students beneath the Originality Checking Options section:

Edit Other Options

After saving a Dropbox, instructors can use the Edit Other Options link, which opens a new window to the Turnitin website. This link provides access for instructors to configure rubrics in Turnitin prior to students submitting work, provides access to confirm assignment settings or update them with guidance from technical support, and will also expose future assignment options when made available by Turnitin.

Grades

Indicators on the Enter Grades page

The Enter Grades page has indicators of the current state of user submissions, and access to user submissions and assessment item pages through icons, links, and context menus.

Exported File Format

Users can export grades to a CSV or an XLSX file (the latter with the "Export to Excel" button). However, you cannot import this XLSX file; it still needs to be a TXT or CSV file.

Navigation Bars

Instructors and admins can now edit the currently-active navigation bar or manage all of their course's navigation bars by hovering over the navigation bar. The pencil tool allows users to edit the currently-active NavBar, while the gear icon allows users to manage all navigation and themes.

Pager

Filtering and Sorting Messages

From the Pager Settings area (Message alerts icon > Access Pager > Settings), users can control the filtering and sorting behavior. There are Inbox sorting options, a Friends List Filter, Friend sorting options, and Classlist sorting options.

Deleting Messages

Senders and receivers can now delete Pager messages.

No More Audio Alerts

The settings for users to choose whether or not to show the Pager notification icon in the navigation bar, and to select a sound for an audible notification of a new Pager message have been removed.

Rubrics

Import/Export Support

Version 10 offers the ability to include Rubrics in import and export packages, as well as copy Rubrics from other courses.

Edit Course

Links on the Course Administration page, accessible through the Edit Course link, can now be sorted by Category or Name (i.e. alphabetically) by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the page.

Edit Course Subpages

Homepages

Instructors can now choose a number of different homepage layouts for their courses, instead of the default three equal panels with header and footer panels. The different layouts include:

  • One: Just one panel.
  • Basic: Two panels, one large panel on the left and one smaller panel on the right.
  • Basic Plus: Three panels, one large panel on the left and one smaller panel on the right with a footer panel.
  • Large Left Panel: Four panels, one large panel on the left and one smaller panel on the right with header and footer panels.
  • Large Right Panel: Four panels, one large panel on the right and one smaller panel on the left with header and footer panels.
  • Large Middle Panel: Five panels, one large panel in the middle and two smaller panels on the left and right with header and footer panels.
  • Three Equal Panels: Five panels, three equal panels with header and footer panels.
  • Two Equal Panels: Four panels, two equal panels with header and footer panels.

The Select New Layout screen includes screenshots for each type of layout.

The option to group links in drop-down menus has been introduced in the Custom Links management area. Link groups can contain both system and custom links.

Course Offering Information

Renaming of course titles has been disabled

With version 10, myCourses now has the ability to quickly access any course through the Minibar, which is always present at the top of the page. Instructors renaming their courses and not following the standard course numbers make their courses difficult or even impossible to locate through this search.

Course titles in the new SIS are also standardized and have longer titles available to avoid potentially confusing abbreviations departments have had to deal with in the past. The course catalog is also moving to specific names instead of generic titles such as "Special Topics." Any concerns regarding a course title should be handled through proper channels with the course catalog in the Registrar's records and not temporarily addressed through myCourses. Any changes made to the Registrar's records will be reflected on myCourses with the next information feed.

If a class does need to be renamed it can be address through a support request to Academic Technology Support.

Supported Web Browsers

Windows

Browser

Status

Internet Explorer 10

Investigation

Internet Explorer 9

Supported (recommended)

Internet Explorer 8

Maintenance

Firefox (newest)

Supported (recommended)

Firefox 10.0

Maintenance

Chrome (newest)

Supported

Mac OS X

Browser

Status

Safari 5.1

Supported

Safari 5.0

Maintenance

Safari 4.0

Maintenance

Firefox (newest)

Supported (recommended)

Firefox 10.0

Maintenance

Chrome (newest)

Supported

Tablet support for Desktop Web

Browser

Status

Android Browser (newest)

Investigation

iPad Safari (newest)

Investigation

Playbook Browser (newest)

Investigation

Mobile Web

Operating System/Browser

Status

iOS (Newest)

Supported

iOS 5 (Safari 5.1)

Supported

iOS 4 (Safari 5.0)

Maintenance

iOS 3 (Safari 4)

Maintenance

Android (Newest)

Supported

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

Supported

Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)

Supported

Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Supported

Android 2.2 (Froyo)

Supported

Android 2.1 (Eclair)

Maintenance

Android 1.6 (Donut)

Maintenance

Android 1.5 (Cupcake)

Maintenance

Blackberry 6

Supported

Vendor Status Definitions

Investigation

The browser is recognized and under consideration by Desire2Learn, but has not been tested against any versions of Desire2Learn products and may never be fully supported.

This category is mainly used for new browsers that have a significant user base, good vendor support, and are generally considered as candidates for future Desire2Learn support.

Supported

The browser and operating system combination has been fully tested by Desire2Learn.

Maintenance

The browser is not tested against new versions of Desire2Learn products, but customers can still report problems and receive support for previous versions.

A browser goes into maintenance either when a vendor officially ends support for it or Desire2Learn decides to end support for it.

A maintenance browser becomes officially unsupported after one year.

Retired Functionality

The Articles and Journal tools are no longer available. We documented the vendors intention to retire these tools in the 9.4.1 upgrade announcement in December 2011, so instructors using those tools could make alternative plans.

Changes in Terminology

Pager

Although still called the Pager in version 10, pager alerts are now displayed in the Message Alerts icon from the top minibar. The functionality is the same.

Calendar

The Events widget is now called the Calendar tool.

Classlist

Reports are now referred to as Enrollment Statistics. The functionality is the same.

Navigation

The Edit Course page now refers to Navigation as Navigation & Themes.

Navigation Themes

Templates are now called Themes.

Quizzes

The Quiz Categories button is now labeled Edit Categories.

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