It’s a busy summer for the Eli team. We’ll be sprinting all through August preparing some major design upgrades and new features to be ready for folks heading back to class in the fall, and there’s a long list of work to be done.
Our first big development push hits today and addresses some of the biggest user experience and bugs users have brought to our attention over the last several months. Here’s a complete report of what’s new in Eli today:
Summary of Major Updates
Creating an Assignment – the first or our interfaces to receive a major overhaul. There are no new features here, but we’ve expanded the interface significantly to include descriptions of each step and help content for assistance and examples. We’ve also made it so that “Description” is no longer a required field; instead, instructors can choose to describe their “Learning Goals” for students.
Creating a Review – the other major interface for instructors being overhauled in this release. The Create Review interface suffered from the same problems as Create Assignment – ineffectively labeled form elements, no explanation of process or function. Now, the process for building a review is much more clear, and help text is incorporated throughout the interface to help clear up questions of confusion. We’ve also added two new features: instructors can now add prompts to both contextual and summative comments designed to guide student responses, and optional “explain your answer” features on ratings and likert scales ask students to justify their responses to those feedback types.
Student Review Interface – the review interface for students has always been functional but a bit difficult to use. Features weren’t labeled well, the text blended in with the response types, and buttons weren’t terribly clear. Now, many of those problems have been addressed. Response types are labeled more effectively, with lots of help text for students who need it, prompts are easily distinguished from responses, and features are more responsive.
Student Review Submission – one of the biggest sources of frustration for instructors and students alike has been the method for submitting completed reviews. Until now, reviews were submitted in a single batch; all of a student’s responses to classmates were submitted at the same time. This was highly problematic, both because it made reviewing difficult for distance/online students and because the process was just confusing. Now, reviews are submitted to classmates individually; students can submit them as they finish an individual review, making it easier for students who are reviewing outside of the classroom.
|Before – reviewers could only submit responses to an entire review at once, meaning that .||After – reviewers now submit feedback to individual writers, allowing them to complete the review process at their own pace.|
Other New Features
- Inline help – as mentioned before, all overhauled interface feature extensive support material accessible immediately inside Eli.
- Updated course homepages – when instructors and students set up or join a new course, a handy welcome message appears, describing what they an do in an Eli course and linking to extensive support material.
- Student assignment submission – the process through which students submit their writing is now much more streamlined and transparent. Students receive effective messages letting them know that their submissions were properly received, and also notifying them with messages and solutions when problems occur.
- Error when instructors use the “Disable Student Access” function from Manage Roster
- Bug when instructors try to load a review
- “Missing Item” no longer displayed when instructors create a trait identification set
- Issue where rating scales were not functioning correctly in some instances
- Bug where due date for a writing task was listed as “Never”
- Bug where student review was listed as “complete” before the review had started
Big thanks to all our users who have been supportive, patient, and generous with their feedback. Please keep letting us know what you think, particularly if you have ideas for features or comments about the new designs. All feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.