Monday, December 6, 2010

Sapling Learning v1.13 Release Notes

Sometime in the next week or so (depending how soon everything passes our testing process), we'll release our latest update, version 1.13. This release includes several features that we hope will make your (or your students') life easier.

Activities (aka Assignments):
  • Bigger Assignments: Since we first created SaplingLearning.com, screen technology has improved greatly. The laptop I'm typing this on has a higher resolution than the monitor I was using on a "top-of-the-line" desktop machine when I helped design the first version of the site. To reflect this change, we've updated assignments to scale to fit your browser window. We also increased the minimum size, so that superscript characters can't become unreadable.
  • More Info on Main Course Page: Students want to know two things when they come to their course: What do I have to do, and what scores have I gotten on the things I've done so far? To make that information easier to find, we've put it on the main course page. For you, we show Available From and Due Date information, and highlight assignments that are available to your students right now in green. For your students, we add their score on each activity, just like they'd see in their gradebook. 
Activity Editing:
  • Minutes: Minute will roll from 55 minutes to 0 minutes and 0 minutes to 55 minutes when setting due dates in the activity editor, rather than 55 minutes to 59 minutes (and then "stuck").
  • Scrollbar: We've made the scrollbar in the Library portion of the Activity Editor (hopefully) make a bit more sense. It's no longer hidden off the right side of your window.
  • Quick Editing: You can now set all available from and due dates on the "Activities and Due Dates" page, for (much) faster editing.
  • Due Date Extensions: You can also see a count of due date extensions you have granted to students for each activity on the "Activities and Due Dates" page.
Grades:
  • Hidden Grades: If your totals include hidden grades (for example, grades on activities you decided not to assign), we'll tell you about those hidden grades, and help you fix them if you want to fix them.
  • Student Review Links: If you click "User report" from the gradebook, you can see individual-student score reports (useful, for example, for reviewing work with a student at office hours). You'll now be able to click the score on that report to go to that student's version of the assignment, just like you can in the "Grader report."
Other:
  • Logging In: We've improved the functionality of the login box at SaplingLearning.com. You can now use your tab key to move quickly between Username and Password, and you can click enter in either box to log in.
  • Support Email Link on Course Enrollment Page: We've added an extra support@saplinglearning.com link on the course enrollment page to help students find us if they're confused about what to do.
  • Icons for Common Filetypes: We added icons for common filetypes like Microsoft Word documents or PowerPoint presentations. If you upload files of this type, they'll now have an icon indicating what they are for your students.
  • Participation Reports: Go to "Reports" then "Participation report" to see when your students accessed any particular assignment.
  • Activity Reports Graph: Click any student's name in your gradebook, and go to "Activity reports" then "All logs." A graph of that student's activity now appears at the top of that page.
We have more exciting features in the works for next month's release, including the Activity Sidebar. If there's anything you'd like to see in an upcoming release, let us know in the comments.

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