We’re gearing up for the start of the school year. The last update of the summer introduces one major new feature — gradebook integration for the Desire2Learn (D2L) LMS — and new improvements in offering instant feedback on hand-in assignments and in the user interface for Smart Author’s embedded tools.
Let’s start by looking at the most exciting improvement: a unified gradebook for D2L users.
Gradebook integration for D2L users
Users of D2L can now integrate their Acrobatiq gradebooks with their LMS’s gradebooks. This is a big timesaver for instructors who have been using D2L and Acrobatiq. In the past, those users had to integrate the gradebooks manually.
Previously, if an instructor had used any features of D2L’s gradebook — if, for instance, they used it to log grades for midterms, finals, class projects, or participation — they would find themselves with two gradebooks: D2L’s and Acrobatiq’s. The only way to combine the two sets of grades was to download Acrobatiq’s grades and upload them into D2L, a tedious manual process.
Our new features sends all Acrobatiq’s grades straight to D2L. Instructors now have only one gradebook. This is a feature we’ve offered to other LMS’s. We’re happy we can now extend it to D2L as well — and right in time for the start of the fall semester.
Extra feedback for hand-in assignments
Earlier this year, Acrobatiq introduced human-graded assignments. This feature which allows course creators to create assignments that must be graded by a person: an instructor or teaching assistant. Thanks to the use of a rubric, the grades of human-scored assignments feed directly into the Acrobatiq Learning Model, the algorithms used to predictively estimate whether or not students are learning.
Our newest improvement to human-graded assignments allows students to receive immediate feedback when they submit hand-in assignments. The hand-in assignment page had previously contained only instructions for the student and a place for students to upload their project.
On the hand-in assignment page, we’ve added a new field allowing courseware authors to offer feedback to students who have turned in an assignment. As soon as a project is handed in, a field containing commentary appears. That commentary might be about the subject matter or the module students have just completed.
It’s important to note, however, that while this commentary is immediate, it isn’t feedback on the project the student had just handed in, but more general feedback on the assignment or unit. In other words, every student who turns in the assignment will see same response from their instructor. Students will still have to wait for their instructor to grade their individual projects, and they will still be able to watch the grading tracker on the hand-in page to see the instructor’s progress on scoring their assignment.
The field allows authors to leave feedback in the form of a video, a document, or an image. It’s a nice way to close out a unit, and this gives students — who will be waiting for their actual grade — a little more content as well as a little more gratification than the grading tracker is able to provide. Think of it as the conclusion to a chapter in a virtual textbook.
General user interface improvements for embedded tools and more
Thanks to an improvement in Smart Author, course creators can now provide context for the external LTI tools embedded in a course.
First, a little background: LTI tools, (short for Learning Tools Interoperability) connect learning platforms with third party or vendor learning tools, opening a connection between LMS and provider. Games and simulations from Muzzy Lane and Toolwire are examples of LTI tools used by Acrobatiq authors, although users can connect to a variety of other providers: videos from TED-Ed, for example,or Google’s graph builder from Google.
Now, authors inserting these external tools will notice a new description field that allows them to offer context or instructions for a specific course activity. If students are expected to perform a simulation, for example, authors can now leave instructions for that simulation in the description field. Course creators will also notice some styling changes for those embedded tools.
Lastly, for global users, India Standard Time is now supported by the Acrobatiq platform.
That’s it for v.2.0. 16 and for the summer. Check back after Labor Day for more improvements and added features.
For more information on Acrobatiq’s platform or Smart Author, feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
And for more on the learning science, instructional design, and use cases behind adaptive learning, be sure to check out our library of white papers.
VP, Product Design and UX