Archive for August, 2010

The Profile image now plays an important role within the online classrooms. If a user has uploaded an image in their Profile, it will now display beside their name in the Classlist. The image will also display beside all Discussion posts. These features were added to help foster communication and community-building online. If no image has been uploaded, the default user icon is displayed.
Users’ profile images in Classlist:

Classlist

Author’s profile picture in a discussion post:

Discussion Post

Not all users will want to have their own picture displayed. Perhaps using an image of a pet, or something representative of a hobby would be more appropriate for these persons. The idea is to at least share something that others can relate to for each individual. For example, I have a miniature horse, so I use her picture as my Profile image (see above). Someone else may want to use the logo from their favorite sports team.

The NEW Manage Dates tool is a great time saver. In the past, when content was copied from a previous semester, the start and/or end dates had to be changed one at a time by going into each Quiz, Dropbox Folder, Discussion Forum or Topic, Grade Item, or Content Topic. Now you can simply access the Manage Dates tool and make changes to any of these objects from one page. You can choose to open each item and adjust the dates as needed. Or, you can use the Offset availability dates option to change all dates by a specified number of days. For example, if this year’s dates are calculated at being 176 days different than those used last semester, simply offset the current dates by that number.

Manage Dates resized

The Offset availability dates option is also useful when teaching multiple sections that meet on different days of the week. For example, let’s say you have a section that meets on Monday/Wednesday. You can change the dates so they reflect this semester’s schedule. Then, copy the content to the section that meets on Tuesday/Thursday and offset the dates by one day. The system will automatically change all of the start and end dates.
Please note that you still have to double check the accuracy for start and end dates that may be adjusted due to holidays specific to this semester.
To access as task aid on how to use this new tool, click here.

There is a new look and feel to the navigation for your online classrooms. A touch of color now adorns the top of every course with a varied blue header accented by a gold bar. The navigation elements now display icons along with the names of the tools.

New Navbar resized

Edits to the Navigation are also more user friendly with menu-driven options to select desired changes. Each tool provides a pop-up list from which you can choose the action you want to implement. The format also allows for resizing as the tool options will “wrap” if the number of options becomes too great for one line, or if the browser window is re-sized smaller.

edit navbar resized

The newly designed Navbar is frameless, and therefore it is more user friendly for screen reader accessibility.

If you would like to add a link for an additional tool, please use this step-by-step guide: How to Add Links to the Course Navigation Bar

I hope you all enjoy the improvements to this important part of your online classrooms.

Note that the changes are made to the Course Default navigation bar. Courses from previous semesters that have had other Navbars implemented will not display these changes. Or, if you have already made changes to your fall course(s) Navbar prior to the upgrade, you will have to “reset” the template.  For a step-by-step guide on How to Apply the New Navbar Style, click here.

Many improvements can be found in the Manage Files area of  Springboard version 9. One of the more convenient features is that you can now copy an entire folder within the system. You can also copy and paste multiple files simultaneously into various folders. A drop down menu allows you to choose what action you would like to perform for any of the folders or files. If you select the Rename feature, the file or folder name can be edited “in place”. A more intuitive option for unzipping .ZIP files is now an available on its drop down menu.

Manage Files resized

A “Tree” of the contents is displayed to the left of the file structure and allows for easy navigation from one folder to another. The new WYSIWYG text editor provides the ability to edit HTML and TXT file within the system. I think you will find these time-saving improvements helpful as you work with your course files.

For Fall 2010, we are excited to announce that we will be upgrading to Springboard Version 9 on August 18th. Version 9 will bring new and improved features including:

  • Improvements to the Navigation Bar, the Classlist, the Manage Files tool, and Rubrics.
  • A new Course Builder that will simplify tasks such as uploading files and adding pages to your course.
  • A new Manage Dates tool that will allow you to modify most Start and End dates in one easy step.

In order to install this upgrade, Springboard will be unavailable on August 18th. We will post more details here on the Springboard blog.