After months of development and beta testing, we’re proud to introduce Acrobatiq 3.0!
This release includes significant new enhancements to Acrobatiq Smart Author™ digital publishing application, making the development and continuous improvement of adaptive courses faster and easier for university partners.
Additionally, this release also includes enhancements to the Acrobatiq learning analytics engine enabling earlier, more predictive learning estimates; streamlined course publishing and maintenance to give course development partners more control over course maintenance and release scheduling; and new publishing tools including Course Readiness Reports that accelerate the quality assurance process and allow users to make more informed and data-driven changes and updates to course content.
Better analytics for new courses
Acrobatiq uses observations of student learning in a course — specifically, their selections and responses on questions and practice activities — to estimate progress toward course objectives and to predict outcomes on tests. Prior to this release, Acrobatiq used data from students in the first version of a course to improve its predictions for students in subsequent terms.
Our new learning analytic model begins assessing student learning while the first version of a course is running. After 25 students have gone through an objective in a course, the model learns from their responses, and tunes itself so that it can make better predictions about the next 25 students to work on that objective. Then, after 50 students complete the objective, the model tunes itself again. The more data the model gets, the better its learning estimates are.
A better-looking, updated Learning Dashboard
If you’re a regular Acrobatiq user and course creator, you’ll notice that the Learning Dashboard and Smart Author has a new and improved aesthetic and the entire interface has a more unified look.
More importantly, the dashboard has been updated so that it’s easier for instructors to see how students are doing at a glance. Dashboard components are broken into cards, and the left-hand navigation bar now moves out of the way to provide a larger view of the cards.
The cards themselves have been updated as well. The scatter plot graph that shows how students are doing in a course, is now displayed prominently on the learning dashboard, for example.
The update also makes it easier for instructors to create and customize their own cards for the dashboard. Rather than pre-populating the dashboard with default cards; when a new course is created, the dashboard offers options from the defaults and the opportunity to create others. Creators might elect to see how students are doing on a specific question, for example, or data about how often students are logging in.
(To learn more about how colleges and universities are putting real-time learning data to use, please read my newest blog: How Universities Are Putting Learning Data to Practical Use — Real-Time Course Correction and Long-Term Strategy).
The Course Readiness Report available to all users
Last year, Acrobatiq debuted the Course Readiness Report, a feature that allows course creators to run a check on their courses to ensure that all activities are aligned with learning objectives, for example. That feature, which has been running in beta, is now fine-tuned and available to all our users.
Course authors run the Readiness feature once they finish their project. It lists all the possible mistakes in a course. These can include simple errors like placeholders left on a page or more serious issues like an ordering error that has a quiz before the relevant practice activity.
The Course Readiness feature looks for errors in six categories:
- Process: Basic errors, such as placeholders left in a course or media elements not inserted.
- Skill Graph: The Skill Graph should be fully filled out and tied to objectives and activities.
- Alignment: Objectives, practice and assessments must all be aligned. The Course Readiness Report now also flags adaptive activities that have no adaptivity levels set.
- Questions: Mistakes in questions, duplicate answers, and missing correct answers.
- Accessibility: Checks that images have alt text and that video content has transcripts. This feature now also checks external videos, such as those from YouTube, to see if they meet accessibility guidelines.
- Structure: Every page must have at least one learning objective.
In addition Acrobatiq now runs a Course Readiness check whenever a course is published, which brings us to the next update.
Publishing a course is now easier and faster
In the past, course authors had to email their engagement managers in order to publish or make any changes to a course after it was published.. This update gives creators more control. They can now publish a course in Smart Author and get that course up and running in as few as three days.
Here’s how it works: after a course is published, it’s locked down in Smart Author as the engagement manager reviews it, but a copy is uploaded to Acrobatiq’s maintenance server and the creator gets a link to that copy so they can see what it looks like to students.
Once the course is approved by the engagement manager, authors can use that maintenance server copy to continue to do minor work on a course there, fixing typos, or adding small elements to the course as it runs without sending those changes to the engagement manager. Any changes to a course made on the maintenance server will be seen by students within 24 hours.
If an author wants to create a new version of the course for the next semester with substantial changes, however, they will have to ask their engagement manager to create a version 2.0 of the course and upload it to Smart Author.
Please share your feedback
Acrobatiq 3.0 is available to customers now. The new analytic model will only affect courses created after today. The other updates described above — improved dashboards, the course readiness report, and improved publishing controls — will apply to all courses.
Course creators who use Smart Author will be offered training on the new publication process.
In the meantime we are working on more updates made possible by our new analytics engine. Look for those upgrades soon and in the meantime, please do not hesitate to share your feedback or comments on these, or any Acrobatiq platform feature.