We are delighted to announce that our creative developers have just released a series of updates and improvements to the LMS!
Here's a catalog of what's new since the start of last semester:
Home Page Redesign
You probably noticed when opened your home page that it looks a bit different. Right now, the most significant change is the addition of permanent links directly into various parts of an online class: the syllabus, the outline, and the discussion. This is just the first in a series of improvements — more cool stuff is still to come later in the semester!
In response to user feedback, we have made several enhancements to topic navigation:
- As of November, when you choose a layout and sort order for a topic, the system remembers your choice (learn more). This means that a topic will have the same set-up the next time you open it — regardless of the topic defaults. And this is true for all users.
- You will now find a "Back to Top" link and a "Create new Post" button at the bottom of every page in a topic.
Our Mobile App
The AAU Classes app is now available for both Android and iOS. Learn more:
Beginning this spring, you can choose to watch any topic. This is a great way to keep an eye on new activity in your class — in your Instructor's Office, for example.
- Whenever there is new activity in a topic you are watching, you will receive a notification. The alert will appear in your Notifications Center (accessible from the bell icon at the top of the page).
- You can also use the Settings menu to enable email alerts or to send notifications to the lock screen on your phone or tablet (if you have the AAU Classes app installed — see above).
Display Options for Image Thumbnails
As of November 2016, it became possible to set the size of image thumbnails (learn more). You also have the option to rotate uploaded images and to select the "poster" image for any post (learn more).
Now users can also add captions to the images they upload. The caption is displayed below the image thumbnail.
Lengthy captions will be truncated in the thumbnail view but can be read in their entirety in the push-down/Notes viewer.
The Notes tool launched in Fall 2016 (learn more). Notes is being improved until it offers all the features currently available in the whiteboard — but without Flash. Last fall we introduced tools for creating call-outs, as well as text, audio, and video feedback. The latest improvements include:
- a full-screen view
- the ability to hide markup
the option to delete all annotation
Drawing tools and other enhancements will follow in the coming months. The old whiteboard will not be eliminated until the Notes tool has equal functionality.
Attaching (private) files to grade comments
In response to requests from many online instructors, it is now possible to attach one or more files when you post assignment grades. These attached files remain private — that is, they can be seen only by the student receiving the grade and by you. This new feature allows you, for example, to upload a completed rubric to accompany a grade.
Editing Topic Dates
Two key changes allow you to change the dates for your topics more quickly.
- We have added a Due date column to the main Global Topics page, so you can change all the dates for any topic from this page. In addition, your date choices are now autosaved.
- If you want to extend the closing dates for assignments beyond their due dates, you can now do this for all assignments at once. Note that this tool is available for both global topics and for section topics. You simply define how many days beyond the due date an assignment topic should remain open. Extending your closing date allows submission of late work and a class critique discussion.
Beginning in Spring 2017, a new feedback feature enables students (and instructors) to instantly submit comments and suggestions about their online classes. Simply click the Feedback tab, located on the side of every page, to provide your feedback and requests. This feature allows us to quickly address students' concerns and to gauge — and, we hope, to increase — student satisfaction.
The Online Help Desk will route the comments to the responsible groups. Feedback about instructors will go to Online Student Academic Support (OSAS) and the Online Instructional Review and Improvement (OIRI) Team. We will work with students to resolve their concerns and share relevant feedback with instructors. (Notice that the user's name is included in the report, so this feedback is not anonymous.) By the way, the feedback tab was piloted in a select group of courses in Fall 2016 — and the (very few) comments we received about instructors were overwhelmingly positive!