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Eli Release Notes – July 30, 2012

The Eli development team continues to sprint through the summer with another major release. This time, the changes are drastic: everything from a completely new look and feel to new data reports, Eli feels like a whole new product!


New Features

  • Eli has a new skin! We’ve completely changed Eli’s look. Highlights of the new design include:
    • Branding – the Eli logo is finally visible inside the app
    • Colors – new, more saturated colors. We’ve done away with the wavy look and the pastels, but we are sticking with blue for instructors and green for students, by popular demand.
    • Site navigation – we’ve added a permanent nav bar at the top of the interface; even as you scroll, the new navigation will stay in place.
    • Course navigation – we’ve also added markers and options inside a course so that you’ll always know where you are and how to get where you need to go.
  • System messages – unobtrusive push-down messages that help inform users of successful actions or issues that need their attention.
  • Relative Helpfulness Scores – a new review report for instructors demonstrates the helpfulness ratings given to each student by their reviewers and ranks students based on their scores.

User Experience Upgrades

  • Interface Improvements – our major goal with this round of development was to iron out many of the common problems users have reported since Eli first launched. We cleared up many of those with our June release, but there were several more places in Eli where we could improve the user experience. Specifically, this round of updates brings improvements to:
    • Review Reports – the previous post-review reports for both instructors and students tended to overwhelm users with data and the ways the data displayed did not make it easy to consume all that feedback. We’ve made many upgrades to these reports, including:
      • new designs to make reports more readable
      • more concise instructions for students about how to rate feedback for helpfulness
      • no more glaring red NOs when a comment hasn’t been endorsed by an instructor; now, endorsed comments get a friendly “thumb’s up” graphic and comments without endorsements don’t show anything.
      • review statistics are now much more clear and usable
      • reports for both instructors and students now show the “Explain Your Rating” options for scaled response items.
      • comments are more clearly organized by the reviewer who wrote them
      • student review reports include documentation explaining their results and how to make the most of them
    • Editing Writing and Review Tasks – there have long been issues with how existing reports and writing and review tasks are edited in Eli. In many cases, tasks saved as drafts could not be moved out of drafts correctly, and editing a review left some options unchangeable. All of those issues should be resolved now and and changing these tasks should work as expected.
  • Vocabulary: Eli early adopters will know that we’ve struggled with how to name some of our features. Particularly challenging were what to call the writing students submitted; they started out being called deliverables and then they were called products and users generally didn’t recognize those terms. We’ve finally tested a term that makes sense: “Writing Tasks.” This will hopefully make Eli’s concepts and interfaces easier to understand.
  • Separation of Codes: for students, Eli has always had a box on the homepage labelled “Secret Codes” where they could redeem codes both for joining a course and for subscriptions. “Secret Codes” are a vestigial feature from the first Eli prototype and don’t make sense anymore, so now, what was the “Secret Code” box is labeled “Join Courses” and, in the rare event that students need a subscription code, that box has moved to “Account Settings.”

Bug Fixes Galore

Since last release we’ve identified several bugs (and had many pointed out to us by users) that we have addressed in this release. We’ve addressed the following bugs:

  • Spaces no longer cause email addresses to return invalid
  • Writing and review tasks saved as “drafts” will now publish correctly
  • Tasks saved as drafts will now show correctly in courses where no students have enrolled
  • Resolved issue where some students couldn’t give helpfulness ratings on comments
  • Instructors can no longer create reviews unless there are writing tasks in their course
  • Fixed a hiccup that caused student confusion when redeeming a course code; link to course now shown clearly and success message displayed

What’s coming next?

We’ve already begun building the third leg of our three-tiered approach – revision. In the next version of Eli, our focus will be on building features that help writers strategize how to use the feedback they receive from their reviewers and how to submit revised versions of that writing. We’ll truly be closing the composition loop in our next development push – we couldn’t be more excited for what’s coming up next!

Eli Release Notes – July 30, 2012 was published to the Eli Review Blog in the category Uncategorized.

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