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Eli Release Notes – June 6, 2012

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.

Before – “Create Assignment” was pretty sparse, contained little or no context for what assignments are and what users should do. After – assignments are explained, form elements are labeled more efficiently, and features are laid out in much more concrete detail.

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.

Before – much like “Create Assignment,” this interface didn’t explain its function and features to users, with many elements confusing and difficult to use. After – it’s quite clear now what reviews are how different features work, and the process of building the response types is much more clear.

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.

Before – it was confusing for students about where the text and response options began, and the process for submitting a review to classmates has always been confusing. After – the text and the response types in the review interface are much more clear, the new review features are in place, and the process for submitting a completed review is much more clear.

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.

Bug Fixes

  • 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 support@elireview.com.

Eli Release Notes – June 6, 2012 was published to the Eli Review Blog in the categories Interfaces, Release Notes.

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