Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Assignment Tool Upgrade - Released

Dear Instructors,

The moment has finally arrived and the Assignment Tool Module has received a major upgrade.  As of 6:00AM EST today many new features have been made available to you that will help in making your use of eLab more efficient and productive.  We thank all who helped contribute to this update by providing feedback and suggestions this past year and we appreciate any new suggestions you may have for future releases.

Thank you for being part of our community and supporting the evolution of eLab.

What's New:

  • Enhanced assignment copy. Similar to the feature that is available for tests, instructors can now copy assignments to any course they have access too in their account.

  • Delete uploaded assignment file.  Instructors now have the ability to delete a graded assignment file they accidentally upload to a student's assignment submission attempt.

  • Show grade after viewing feedback. Some instructors asked for the ability to hide a student's score on an assignment until they reviewed the instructor's feedback.  This option is now available under the assignment settings and when enabled, students will be required to click "view feedback" to reveal their grade.  This update affects the assignment homepage, gradebook, and assignment details pages.

  • Assignment file download time-stamp.  A time-stamp is now recorded when a student begins an assignment (download's assignment ancillary file) and when they complete an assignment (file-upload submission timestamp).

  • Assignment Print button.   A print button has been added to the assignment preview and submission pages in student view to allow students to print assignment instructions if they so wish too.

  • Preset “Select # of files to upload”.  Under assignment settings, instructors can now predefine how many files a student is required to submit when turning in their assignments. On the student's side they will automatically see the designated number of file upload form fields as set by the instructor.

  • Enhanced assignment feedback textbox. The assignment feedback textbox has been expanded to allow up to 500 characters.

  • Custom column for student records.   Per request we've enabled the ability to setup a custom column to assign any type of record you may need to differentiate one student from another.  This is particularly useful for instructors whom may use a single eLab course section to manage multiple students from different campuses.  In this example, from Manage Students, the course instructor can assign students to different campuses and the new custom column will appear in the gradebook and the assignment module.

  • Assignment Library, assignment usage tracker.   Assignments that are grabbed form the Pre-built Assignment Library are now marked so you know which have been added to the particular course you are working in. No more guessing which of the 50 or so assignments Labyrinth provides has been used and which have not.

  • New WYSIWYG editor. On all assignment tool pages the WYSIWYG editor has been upgraded to a new more robust editor.  Now enjoy a full feature WYSIWYG editor so you have more control of your assignment instruction formatting.

  • Updated assignment submission page layout (Student View).  Following a suggestion to improve the student's experience we've made three modifications to the assignment submission page:

    1. We moved the Select # of Files to Attach form fields above the Notes area so it is more visible to students with smaller screen sizes.

    2. We reduced the height of the Notes textbox by half so that the "Save" and "Cancel" buttons are more visible at the bottom of the page.

    3. We added the "Save" and "Cancel" buttons to the top of the assignment page so students always see them no matter the height of the page.

  • Previous | Next links for assignments preview page.   Fly through your assignment grading task by selecting all students that have submitted assignments and start grading them in a sequential fashion by using the new Next and Previous buttons without having to return to the assignment submission page.

  • Global Settings for assignments.  Setting up your assignments just got easier.  Instructors now have the ability to predefine general assignment settings. Every time you create a new assignment you can choose to pre-fill the available options by selecting "Use Global Settings" and you're done in a snap.

  • Updated the display and functionality of the instructor's ability to view student's notes.  When instructors view a student's assignment submission they now have a limited view of the student's notes.  If they want to see more they can click a "View More" link that will pop open the current dialog box showing the full notes.

  • Assignment date calendar upgrade.  We've enhanced the date picker feature in assignments with a jazzier calendar with a pre-formatted input box so you don't need to worry about hyphens or dashes when manually inputting a date.

  • Save state of student list in assignment tool.  Your pain is our concern so we've made a update that remembers the last viewing mode you selected when reviewing student assignment submissions. Now when you’re grading an assignment and click "Show All" to see a list of all students in the course, if you click on a student's name, grade their assignment, and return to the student list the system will remember your previous view and you will not need to click on "Show All" again to see the full list of students.

  • New "Save & Back" button on assignment review page. When you grade an assignment, you now have a new option along with the current "Save and "Back" buttons.  Welcome the "Save & Back" button which streamlines your grading by providing you with a quick way to save an evaluation of a student's assignment and return you back to the student assignment submission list all in one click.