The quarterly maintenance brings the 9.4.1 upgrade to myCourses. The changes to the public side of myCourses are outlined below.
Update Jan 10: The hotfix to address the Events widget performance was installed on Tue, Jan 10. The Events widget has been restored on the My Home page and on courses using the default course template.
The Events widget has been disabled on the My Home and Course Home pages due to performance concerns. In the meantime you can use the Calendar link on the navigation bar to access the tool directly. We are working with the vendor to address these as soon as possible.
If as an Instructor you have customized your Course Home to include the widget you may wish to remove it until a fix has been announced.
Users can choose to have some notifications sent to them by email, RSS, or SMS so they can be informed of course updates without being required to log in to myCourses.
Current notification options:
If you choose to enable Notifications you must take time to configure them properly to ensure they meet your needs.
For details please review the Notifications - User Documentation.
Users can manage their own view of the News to keep only the items they desire visible. They can dismiss news items from the News widget and have access to a News tool overview where they can manage and search news items. For more information please review the News - User Documentation.
All of these are detailed in the News - Instructor Documentation.
To make sure an instructor can do all the tweaking to date restrictions, release conditions, content formatting, and getting the headline just right before a news item gets posted News uses the concept of draft, published, and scheduled news items.
We want instructors to be able to refine a news item, but that shouldn’t impact students’ notifications and dismissed news items. When you edit a news item, you will see a check box for major edits, that make the item visible again to any user who had dismissed it. And it generates “news item edited” event to trigger notifications (important for assignment changes and so on).
Post-dated news items previously appeared in the News widget. These items are now only displayed in the News tool overview.
The new Calendar is completely redesigned and built from the ground up to focus on the presentation of course material.
The Calendar interface features a calendar area to add and remove calendars and quickly jump between courses in a single click. You can quickly choose to show all calendars or just your current calendar. You can view and print a syllabus for any course in just a few clicks.
The Calendar is a consolidated interface for all course calendars and features various views to consume content in a method that makes sense for you.
The agenda view shows details of course events and enables you to view events by date, course, or event type (assignments, discussion, tests).
You can access a full course schedule for any course in your calendar with a single click. This provides a view of all events in the course calendar and access to lets you subscribe to the calendar or print the entire schedule.
You can click on a time interval to immediately create an event in that timeslot. In conjunction with the calendar switcher, this interface makes it possible to create events for any course in just a few clicks.
When you edit a recurring event Calendar gives you the option to update all occurrences, the active occurrence only, or the active occurrence and all future occurrences. This gives you maximum flexibility for changing your recurring course events.
Calendar also lets you change the visibility of your course events using relative criteria. You can set the event to be hidden until a specific number of days, hours, or minutes before the event starts, hidden after the event ends, visible between a date range, or hidden indefinitely.
This gives you the confidence to work on your content events without exposing the events to participants.
You can bulk edit the visibility of all events across all course calendars, if you have the proper Role. Calendar provide you with the option to set relative visibility so you can set the visibility of all events relative to their own start and end dates.
You can also bulk offset all your event dates. This is a great way to move events forwards or backwards by days, hours, or minutes.
We enabled options to customize the printing experience – from showing and hiding event details and navigation bars, as well as defining a print range. You can print a course syllabus, or all events from all of your course calendars.
We implemented smart defaults, so if you print from the Day view the event range is automatically for the day, if you print from the List view while viewing upcoming events, then the print range will default to events starting today, etc.
You can subscribe to all your course calendars or individual course calendars. This enables you to easily view your myCourses course events in external calendars such as Outlook and Google Calendar, and on mobile devices such as iPhones, Android, and Blackberry. Any changes made to events in Calendar automatically feed to all devices and external calendars you have subscribed to. The details of the agenda view are also sent with the iCal feed and are displayed as links
Keeping track of all your course tasks can be difficult, so we’re adding a tasks management interface for every user directly into the Calendar tool. Create and manage all of your course tasks alongside your events in the Calendar.
The vendor has removed support for exporting and importing calendar events as .csv files.
Grading can be a time consuming and repetitive process. For this reason, the vendor set out to make the experience of assigning grades and leaving feedback more efficient, and with fewer distractions. They redesigned the layout of the page, updated the interactions, and added some exciting new capabilities.
The changes are details under Leaving feedback and grading dropbox assignments section of the Dropbox - Instructor Documentation.
To make better use of browser window real estate, the new layout arranges components horizontally and removes the navigation. It shows evaluators submissions on the left and space to evaluate the submissions on the right in a format that allows evaluators to grade a list of students with submissions defined by criteria set on the folders submissions page. In place of the navigation bar, we added navigation links to all the things you might need when evaluating submissions.
A major goal for this redesign was to enable users to view documents in their browser without having to download them. This reduces issues with evaluators not having the appropriate software to view common file types, or issues with downloading and managing multiple copies of documents.
The vendor has announced that that will be removing the Journal and Articles tools in their March 2012 release. These tools were deprecated in November 2009 signaling their intention to eventually remove them in favor of the Locker, Blog, and News (or Content) tools.