Community Feedback Drives Upgrades
By Elisa Rincon
In September 2013, the NYU Classes team completed phase 3 of a yearlong project that launched NYU Classes as the primary learning management system (LMS), replacing the previous Blackboard LMS. Since its launch, NYU Classes has been embraced by a large community of users with close to 38,000 students and 4,000 faculty logging in on a semesterly basis. “Using NYU Classes gave my students an opportunity to engage in a multimedia learning experience both in and outside the classroom,” says Brane Zivkovic, a faculty member at Tisch School of the Arts who used NYU Classes for his course, Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch. “This evolving service with advanced functionality has allowed my students to actively participate, anytime and from anywhere, in course activities and syllabus related events, and gave them the tools to gauge their own success of academic progress.”
One of the benefits of NYU Classes being built on Sakai, an open source platform, is the flexibility afforded in continually upgrading and enhancing the service. Since the University-wide launch of NYU Classes, the NYU Classes team has continued to develop the service, incorporating user feedback and deploying several enhancements over the course of the previous six months. Some of these enhancements include the ability to:
- Pull mid-term and final grades into Albert
- Add “hot spot” questions to Tests & Quizzes
- Create an assignment with Peer Assessment
- Re-use Images in Tests & Quizzes
- Capture and save live audio recordings in the Text Box Editor
- Take advantage of a 5GB increase in storage space for Resources
In addition, there is a new Design Trial (see fig.1 at right).
Expansion is also on the way. The NYU Classes team is currently in the process of transitioning one new school and one academic division to NYU Classes, each of which support online and distance learning: the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering (inclusive of ePoly) and School of Continuing and Professional Studies- Distance Learning. Each will be using NYU Classes for the Fall 2014 semester and will use new capabilities to support fully online synchronous learning. The NYU Classes team plans to make these capabilities available university-wide at a later date. For more information on future enhancements please visit the NYU Classes timeline (see fig.2 at right).
The User Advisory Group (UAG), which reports to the Learning Management Systems and the Instructional Content Management Systems (LMS/iCMS) subcommittee of the Teaching Technology Committee and helps gather the NYU Community’s needs and set priorities for NYU Classes, is looking for new members. Members of the UAG represent NYU sites, schools, and departments and provide input to help make informed decisions about the service. The purpose of the UAG is both to help identify unmet needs and to help evaluate how well current functionalities and interfaces are working for users. If you would like to find out about joining the group, please contact the NYU Classes UAG Admin Group, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the UAG and how they work, please visit their website.
Would you like to stay informed about all the ongoing changes and service updates in NYU Classes? Join the NYU Classes Updates group to receive our monthly newsletter, which provides members with the latest news on support documentation, service enhancements, training opportunities, and much more! Please join the NYU Classes updates group by clicking here.