We’ve been rolling out a lot of improvements to our platform lately, focusing on the user experience for students, while making grading and assignments simpler for both course authors and instructors.
This week’s biggest improvements center around timed assignments. Timed assignments now include a visible countdown timer, which should prove more convenient for students. We’ve also introduced an optional feature that will prevent students from turning in timed assignments late, an improvement that should ease the burden of instructors with very large classes.
One other fix that may interest our users: if you’ve forgotten your password, the notification email with the reset link is now much less likely to end up in your spam or bulk email folder.
Let’s jump into this update by addressing timed assignments and the impact on student experience.
A visible countdown for timed assignments
Acrobatiq allows instructors to set time limits on certain assignments for learners. These are usually quizzes or checkpoints. Previously, the platform would inform the student that they were starting a timed exercise and tell them how much time they’d have to complete it, later informing them of when their time was up.
This update displays a countdown timer for timed assignments on the page while the assessment is underway so that students can always see how much time remains to complete the assessment. This is an important change, because many timed assignments are usually between 15 to 30 minutes, and every minute counts.
This makes life easier for students, who previously had to track their own time during quizzes. It makes life easier for instructors as well — now a student can’t challenge a grade by claiming they didn’t know how much time was left in an assignment.
Option for not accepting late work on timed assignments
Instructors now have the option of not accepting late work from students who are taking timed quizzes.
Previously, the platform allowed all students to submit work after time was up. Students could keep working until they were done, although the platform flagged that work as late.
Now instructors can change a setting that will prevent students from submitting work if they exceed the time limit during a quiz or checkpoint.
The student will, however, have the opportunity to submit the work they have completed up to that point if they are taking a timed assignment.
As an example of how this feature works, let’s say a student is working on a 10-question quiz. If time runs out when the student has only answered six of the questions, the platform will now prevent the student from doing any more work.
Instead, the platform will display a pop-up message, offering the student a choice: the student can choose to submit the incomplete work, or choose not to submit at all. If the learner chooses to submit the incomplete work, it’s not marked late. The student can also choose not to submit if they don’t like the answers they’ve chosen.
This update is specifically designed to help the instructors of very large course sections. Previously, instructors who didn’t want to accept late work had to manually check for and reject late work. This could be a time-consuming exercise for instructors of large classes if many students submitted late work, particularly if those instructors didn’t have TAs to help them handle the workload.
This update will help those instructors reject late work on timed assessments by default.
Better password retrieval and other fixes
One annoying issue our users have pointed out is a tendency for password reset emails to be flagged as spam. Although your email provider’s spam filters ultimately have the final say on how it will treat an incoming message, we’ve made some changes to the system we use to send those messages, and hopefully, those emails will now end up where they should be: in our users’ inboxes.
We’ve also redesigned our 404 and 500 error pages so that they’re more informative, and our Table of Contents now loads more quickly.
That concludes our updates for v.2.0.20. Check back soon for more features and improvements to our platform.
For more information on Acrobatiq’s platform or Smart Author, feel free to contact us. We’re eager to hear more about how you are using adaptive learning.