New Features and a New Layout
By Kyle Jordan Blythe
In response to faculty feedback and as a part of our commitment to continuous improvement, NYU Classes will be upgraded to the most recent version of its underlying software over the upcoming Winter Recess. This upgrade will provide an updated, cleaner user interface, as well as enhancements to a number of existing tools. (For example, the Resources tool will include drag-and-drop capability for uploading files.)
The upgrade is scheduled to occur from the evening of December 27 until the morning of December 31, 2014, Eastern Time. During this time, NYU Classes will be unavailable to faculty, students, and staff. This timeframe has been identified as the least disruptive to faculty and students and was approved by the Teaching Technology Committee.
Highlights of the Upgrade
Below are some highlights from the many functional enhancements that will be made available following the NYU Classes upgrade:
Faster Navigation and Tool Access
The new NYU Classes interface design will offer quick access to course or project site tools directly from the site menu bar and My Active Sites. Selecting drop-down menus next to the site name will provide a list of its tools, allowing users to navigate directly to the desired tool.
Improved Contextual Help
The contextual help icon, which appears in the upper right of NYU Classes tools, will now link directly to relevant content in the ServiceLink knowledge base, giving users immediate access to the support documentation for a given tool.
Drag-and-Drop Uploads in Resources
The process for uploading documents and other files in NYU Classes will be dramatically improved, as users will now be able to drag-and-drop multiple files from their computer into the Resources tool. Using Chrome, users will even be able to drag-and-drop entire folders to upload content.
Improved Recipient Selection in Messages
Enhancements to the Messages tool will be familiar to users of modern email applications such as Gmail, Outlook, or Apple Mail. The process for adding a new message recipient will be as easy as typing the name of the user or group that you would like to include or selecting them from a dynamically updated participant list. Once selected, recipients will appear in the message’s “To:” field, and may be easily removed by clicking the “X” next to their name.
Group Submission in Assignments
When creating assignments, instructors will now have the option to allow group submissions. When this option is selected, any member of a student group may submit on behalf of the entire group. When a grade is entered for a group submission, it will apply to all members of the group. However, instructors will still have the ability to edit any individual group member’s assignment grade, should they desire to do so.
Joinable Groups for Students
While instructors may still set up manual groups in their course site, they will also have the ability to create sets of groups that students may join on their own. They may also determine whether students can see the other members of their group before or after joining, as well as whether students can leave a group.
Random Group Creation
If an instructor opts to create groups themselves, they may choose to randomly add students to them by determining either the number of groups needed or the desired number of students per group.
Extra Credit in Gradebook
Extra credit will now be available as an optional setting when creating graded items/weighted categories within the Gradebook. Selecting “Extra credit” for an item or category of items will allow instructors to provide grade points in excess of the points or percentages allotted for the course.
To learn more about the enhancements that the upgrade will bring to NYU Classes, see the following ServiceLink knowledge base articles:
Anyone with questions about the upgrade may contact the NYU Classes Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.