Monday, December 20, 2010

With great power comes great responsibility (or why we hate the Access tab)

There is a tab that is very useful in all content pages in ANGEL and it is the Access tab.  But we truly have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with that tab. 

Not all content items (drop box, discussion, page) has an easy way to limit students from interacting with the item.  Most of the time, we recommend you simply set a due date, grade the item within 48 hours or so and anyone who does not submit by that time gets a zero.  If a student chooses to submit an item after the due date, it is up to you whether to accept the late submission or not.

Some instructors want to close assignments after they are due and have found the Access tab thinking this is a good idea.  When an instructor chooses a Start Date and End Date, this makes the item visible and invisible to students.  You, as the instructor can ALWAYS at least see the item (the icon is lighter when it is not visible to students) but students cannot see the item at all. 
This seems like it might not be a big deal, but if a student wants to go back and review their own work or any feedback for that particular item, they CANNOT because IT IS INVISIBLE to them. 

That means, they can't find it. 

Students don't know it exists other than remembering it was there once but seems to be missing now. 

We hate the Access tab for this reason and recommend you not use it in this manner.

Well, my dad always said I should never hate anything so perhaps I just have a very strong dislike of the Access tab.  Either way, it can cause one ginormous headache.

There are still a couple of good uses for the Access tab, however.

Good use Bad use
Set a Password so students can only Access certain content if they have the correct password.  This is where passwords are set when students take Proctored exams. Start Date and End Date.  Remember, this is when items become visible and invisible and if you set the wrong kinds of items to invisible (such as an entire folder) then students cannot see ANYTHING in that folder.
Set Tracking so you can tell when students access the folder or page or other item. 
One caution about setting Tracking to Everyone:  this does increase the size of our student database of information and makes your course slightly more difficult to backup.  However, if you have an item you want to make sure students are viewing, setting tracking is a good idea.
Start and End Date.  Still a bad idea.
Team Access is a good thing if you want only one or two teams of students to be able to access an area.  This is also a way to limit who can see specific items if a student needs to make up an assignment due to some circumstance. Did I mention that Start Date and End Date are bad ideas?
Start Date ONLY can be a good idea if you want students to work along at about the same pace.  This actually keeps students from working ahead which is sometimes quite necessary. 
There have been instances when students think they can go in and do every discussion in the course and then be done with it even though that completely defeats the purpose of the discussions.  In that case you may want to use the Start Date choice so that the content is hidden until you are ready to reveal it.
End Date is hardly ever a good idea. 
Are you seeing a trend?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pending Items

What on earth is a Pending Item?

Sometimes, have students said they have submitted an assignment created using the Assessment tool but when you go to check it out, it's not there?  Do you know about the Pending area in ANGEL?  Pending is the Purgatory of ANGEL where the assignment is not submitted, but not available to students either.  This is when you will have to access the Pending items and make a few decisions.

It is definitely important for you to check this area regularly.  Remember:  PENDING!!!
  • First, go to the item and select Submissions
  • The submissions menu will open up a window like this:
  • Usually, you choose "View, Grade or Delete Submissions" when you want to grade student submissions, but in this case, choose the third item on the list "Pending Items"
  • If there is nothing on the list, you do not have to do anything more.  However, if there is student work in the Pending area, it will show up in a list.
  • If you would like to see what students have done so far, you can choose the View button.
  • If you want to delete the student submission so the student can try again, choose the Delete button.
  • If you want to just submit what the student has done so you can grade what is there, choose the Submit button.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Print the Gradebook Grades (or just create a PDF of them anyway)

Gradebook and Records

As the semester moves along, it is good practice to keep a copy of student grades for your records.  Even though you may be keeping the grades on ANGEL, it is still a good idea to run a report of student grades every week or every couple of weeks and print or keep a copy on your computer or your common drive.

ANGEL has a really nice way to create this record by producing a PDF file.  Here's how:

  • Go to the Manage tab and select Gradebook
  • Look in the left side list and select "Print Grades"
  • This pops open a new window with options for printing the grades
  • You should now see the View or Print Gradebook PDF window
  • Most of the time, you will want to leave the Format Settings the way they automatically display, but do take a look at the options and decide if you need to make any changes.
  • NOTE:  if you choose the last option of "Show Averages Only" it will NOT display individual graded items and will only show the Category averages.  If you want to see all of the graded items plus the averages, DO NOT SELECT that last option.
  • Once you click the Generate PDF button, a new window should appear as a PDF display of your gradebook. 
  • Once the PDF window appears, you may just view the record, print it or keep a copy.
  • If you want to save a copy on your computer or on the common drive
    • Select the litte button on the toolbar that looks like a disk (2nd button)
    • Decide where you want to save the document by making the selection from the Save in box
    • We highly recommend you change the File name to reflect the course and current date for which you are running the Gradebook grades such as PS100_816101S_20Oct2010
    • Click the Save button
  • NOTE:  When naming this file, you should NOT use any special characters in the title such as ? / > < ) ( * & ^ % $ # @ ! and especially not the period.  If you want to designate space in the title, use the underscore ( _ ) or a regular hyphen (-).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Link items to the gradebook

When you look at your gradebook are the items you assigned and intended to grade from the lessons all listed in the gradebook?

Each assignment your students complete should have its own column in the gradebook and its own gradable item (discussion, dropbox, assessment, etc.). This will make your life so much easier!! When you grade an item from the submission on the Lessons tab, it should automatically enter into the gradebook. How do you make that happen? Here's how!

Linking the Lesson Item to a Gradebook column:
  • From Lessons, go to the item you want students to complete or submit (discussion, dropbox, assessment, etc.) and click the Settings tab

  • Look for the Assignment tab and click it. 
  • If under the Gradebook Settings it says (None), you will need to click the dropdown and select (New Assignment)
  • NOTE ABOUT (NEW ASSIGNMENT):  ALWAYS CHOOSE (NEW ASSIGNMENT) TO ADD A GRADABLE ITEM TO THE GRADEBOOK!!!  (If you would like a little more detailed explantion, give Jeff or Angela a call and they will be happy to explain in more depth.)
Now select the options to make this item fit in your gradebook properly, such as the category, how many points it is worth, and the Calculation Type
  • Category - choose the proper category for the assignment from the drop down menu
  • Points Possible - how many points is this assignment worth?
  • Calculation Type - there are FIVE choices and here are how they work:

    • Average score - if students are allowed to submit multiple times and you want to take the average of their scores
    • Maximum score - the highest score if students submit multipel times
    • First submission - (default) the first score recorded for a student
    • Last submission (RECOMMENDED CHOICE)- the last score recorded for a student 
    • Manual - do not choose this option for anything submitted electronically; only choose this option if students physically hand in items to you in class
  • Display Format - shows the choices you made in the Preferences area and you should just leave as Default since those choices are already made

Remember to click SAVE or you will get to do this all over again!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are students reading your ANGEL mail messages? How do you tell?

Do you ever wonder if your students actually read the emails you so painstakingly create?  Is there a way to tell if a student (or group of students) has read your messages?
If you send students messages using the ANGEL mail, then the answer is YES!  So, how do you tell?

  1. Go to the Course Mail and select the Sent mail folder (on the left side) to display all of the mail you have sent and are wondering about
  2. Put a check in the box in front of the messages where you want to see if students have read them
  3. From the Action dropdown menu, select "Message Read By"
  4. Click the Go button
  • This pops open a new window with the messages you selected.
  • If a student has read your email, there will be a plus sign (+) in a box in front of the Source
  • If a student has NOT read your email, there will not be anything in front of the Source
  • NOTE:  At the bottom of the list is the statement "List users that have read selected messages" and a Refresh button.  If you want to see who has NOT read your messages, click the dropdown next to "have" and change it to "have not" and press the  Refresh button.
  • If there is a plus sign in front of the Source message, click it.
  • This will display when you sent the message (date and time) and any recipient(s) and the date and time when they opened the message
  • NOTE:  If you use the "All Students" option when sending an email to the entire class, the source will display ALL of your students in that course under the Recipient list and you will be able to tell when each individual looked at the message (or not!) you sent

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Certify your Roster

How to certify your roster 
This Wingtip will give you instructions about using ANGEL to run a report for your online course and then how to go to Web Services and formally certify your course.
To begin the process, you will need to run a report in ANGEL for your online course.  Remember, if a student has entered the online classroom even ONE time, you must count them as having attended whether they have completed any assignments or not.  There are other places to note those students who are not keeping up with their work.
Go to the ANGEL classroom and choose the Report tab
Once at the Report tab, make the following choices:
  1. Change the Category  to Class
  2. Change the Report to Login Report
  3. Choose the starting date of your course - remember to include the 3 days before the actual course starts as that is when students have access
  4. Make sure the Report View is on Drill Down
  5. Click the Run button once it is all set as listed above
  6. Look at the generated report and if there is any time listed next to a student name, they have entered the online classroom.  If you see the phrase "No data" next to their name, they have not entered the online classroom and you will want to note that for the Web Services Course Certification.

 Once you have run the report and know who has entered the online classroom and who has not, you will need to go to Web Services to officially certify your course roster.

Go to Web Services and key in your login and password
If you cannot access Web Services, contact someone in Tech Support and they will be able to assist you.
Hover over the Faculty choice on the menu bar and a drop down will appear.  Select Course Roster from the list.
     To find your course, the easiest way is to
  • select the proper semester term
  • choose the radio button next to "My Courses" and then
  • click the Get Courses button.
   Now, be patient a bit...
Once your list of courses appears, select the course you need to certify.  It will then display this screen.
Notice on the lower left side is a button for Roster Certification.  Click this button when you are ready to certify your course.
NOTE:  The Roster Certification button is only available during a specific time period.  If you miss the deadline for certifying your course, you will have to do a manual process. 
When you click the Roster Certification button, you will see a screen similar to this. 
  • If a student has entered your online class, put a check in the box next to their name. 
  • If they have not entered your online class, leave the box blank.
Once you have made the proper selections, click the "I Agree" button.
NOTE:  Once you identify a student as having not entered the online classroom, they will be dropped from the course.  Be VERY careful when running the report to make sure you include all dates the students could have accessed the course!!!  Otherwise, it can become a mess!!!
After you select "I Agree" you will see a popup window which is a Certification Receipt.  You may want to print this to keep for your records.

That's it!  Your course is now Certified and the Records office will be very happy, indeed! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guide - Tasks

As an instructor, you may use the Guide and its various views to help you navigate and monitor your online or web-supported course.  We are not sure why the change, but occasionally the Discussions do not show up on that list.  If you would like the Discussions to show up, here's how to make that happen.

Does your Guide - Tasks pane look like this?  Are you missing your Unread Discussions list?
First, go to a Discussion forum and click the Settings button
Choose the Interaction tab
Make sure to choose the Advanced radio button
Look down the screen until you see the Task Notifications area
If there is not a check next to "Unread Posts", make sure to put one there!
Click Save when you are done
Now you should see the Unread Discussion Posts in the Guide - Tasks pane!
Repeat Steps 1-3 above for all of your discussions if you want them to show in the Guide - Tasks pane.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anonymous submissions on assessments

Welcome back to a new school year!  This is the first of the Wednesday Wingtips for 2010-2011.
There were a number of updates back in May during upgrade weekend. As a result, there were a couple of system settings that also changed.   This Wingtip will save you some grief!  Really!

Before your first quiz/exam/test using the Assessment tool in ANGEL, you will want to check the Settings and make sure the Interactions are set correctly.  For certain, check to see that student submissions are NOT set to anonymous!
  • Find an item utilizing the assessment tool .  Most of the time, these are assessments, exams or quizzes.
  • Look directly under the assessment for your options and select "Settings."

  • Once you click Settings, you may receive a message that looks like this one.  If you do see this message, pick the second option - "Set User Tracking to Everyone and uncheck Make submissions anonymous."
  • NOTE:  If you pick the first option, when students take your assessment you will not know who took it or what grade they made as it will NEVER show in the gradebook.  Also, this information CANNOT be retroactively retrieved so you definitely want to check this setting BEFORE anyone takes your assessment!!

  • To make certain this happened correctly, go to the Interaction tab and check that the box in front of "Make submissions anonymous" is NOT checked!!!
  • Be sure and click the SAVE button or you will have to do this all over again!
  • Repeat for all of your assessments.