Recently in Instructional Technologies Category

Sakai is unavailable Wednesday, August 23rd, for system updates and maintenance. OIT plans to have it back online by the end of the day. 

Faculty who use eCollege ("Pearson LearningStudio") for their courses must migrate their courses to another system due to the discontinuation of the eCollege / Pearson LearningStudio product, as previously announced last year.

Pearson officially discontinues support for eCollege at the end of the current Fall 2017 semester. 3rd-party integrations such as Turnitin.com will cease functioning within eCollege by the end of the term.

As of January 1, 2018, eCollege will go into an extended, limited-functionality mode for Rutgers' use; this is intended to provide additional time for moving courses to other systems. The limited functionality will impact students and we strongly recommend using other systems by the start of the Spring semester. All access ends after December 2018. 

Faculty may move their eCollege courses to one of four supported systems:

  • Blackboard (Newark and RBS)
  • Canvas (primarily online courses as a direct replacement for eCollege, also available university-wide)
  • Sakai (university-wide)
  • Moodle (RBHS)

The Center for Online and Hybrid Learning and Instructional Technologies (COHLIT) provides assistance to faculty in moving their courses. Please refer to the following web pages for more information:

We are changing the administration of the Student Instructional Rating Survey (SIRS) for fully-online courses that are taught through eCollege (Pearson Learning Studio). Previously, the Center for Online and Hybrid Learning and Instructional Technologies (COHLIT) ran the surveys for many of these courses directly through eCollege. Beginning with the Summer 2017 term, the Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research (CTAAR) will administer all eCollege course surveys through our "evaluationKit pilot" process. This change is necessary due to the eCollege "end of life", as the underlying survey component will soon cease to work in eCollege.

The only significant change that eCollege instructors and students will notice is that eCollege will no longer issue a "pop-up" alert to students to prompt them to complete the survey. Students and instructors will instead receive multiple email reminders. Some courses may see a small drop in student participation in SIRS as a result, but experience varies from course to course. 

Instructors who prefer that students receive an in-course "pop-up" prompt to complete the survey may want to consider moving their eCollege course to either Blackboard or Canvas, which we have now configured to support this feature (please note that this is automatic with Canvas, but for Blackboard courses you must contact CTAAR to request that we enable this feature for your course). Sakai is currently unable to support "pop up" prompts for surveys.

If you are teaching a course through eCollege and have any questions, please contact us at ctaar@brokenmail.rutgers.edu please replace "brokenmail" with docs.rutgers.edu.

If you have questions about migrating your eCollege course contact help@brokenmail.rutgers.edu please replace "brokenmail" with ecollege.rutgers.edu. COHLIT has additional information about preparing for the eCollege "End of Life"

Rutgers Canvas is currently experiencing some problems and may be intermittently unavailable. 

Canvas is hosted externally, and status reports are posted at http://status.instructure.com - they are currently reporting the problem originates with Amazon Web Services, and that Amazon is aware of the problem and working on a solution. 

Migrating Course Sites to Canvas

COHLIT has created a process to migrate a course web site from Sakai, Moodle or Blackboard to Canvas. Faculty interested in trying out Canvas with an exsting course site can fill out the Canvas Migration Request form (this creates a copy of your course site in Canvas, and leaves your existing course site in place and fully operational, should you choose to go back). 

Faculty who prefer to do it on their own can also write to help@brokenemail.rutgers.edu please replace "brokenemail" with canvas.rutgers.edu to request a blank Canvas course shell, and follow our instructions on copying your course material from Sakai to Canvas.

Sakai will be upgraded to version 11, and will be unavailable beginning Saturday, August 20 through Monday, August 22, 2016 (until the upgrade is complete). [note that the upgrade was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was moved to coincide with other OIT maintence to reduce the number of interruptions to service.]

Sakai 11 brings the following changes:

  • A new look, with improved experiences on tablets and phones
  • A new gradebook
  • Improvements to tests & quizzes
  • Improvements to the Lessons tool
  • Some older tools have been removed (these were not much used, so shouldn't affect many people)

More information is available on the OIRT Sakai upgrade page, and more detailed descriptions of the changes are on the Sakai Project documentation page.

As noted earlier, COHLIT is replacing the old "eCollege" Pearson Learning System with Canvas, a much-needed improvement. Sakai is unaffected, and continues to be supported by OIT, however some instructors who currently use Sakai may want to switch to Canvas, particularly if they are in a  program that has decided to adopt Canvas for their online courses. 

We have put together some preliminary instructions on how to copy course materials from Sakai to Canvas. Keep in mind that COHLIT is still making changes to Canvas and that some things may change in the next month or two (Sakai too is expected to be updated in August), and that these instructions are based on very limited testing so there may be some variation. We will update the instructions as we gain experience. Currently, to gain access to Canvas you must contact COHLIT directly, and for the Fall semester their focus is to primarily work with specific graduate programs.

In general, moving a course from Sakai to Canvas is not perfect. Depending on the complexity of your course site, it may be better to start from scratch in Canvas, and fine-tune the course materials to take better advantage of Canvas' capabilities. This process should be seen as a "quick and dirty" way to get started; you will want to spend some time afterwards to move, rearrange or change your material before it's ready for students.

Instructions on how to move a Sakai course to Canvas are at the link below:

https://ctaar.rutgers.edu/technology/sakaiToCanvas

Course Workload Estimator

Rice University has developed an Course Workload Estimator to help faculty and instructors estimate the amount of  time students will need to spend outside of class in order to complete the required course assignments. This simple-to-use calculator allows you to enter the number pages of reading and writing assigned; based on research about reading speeds, the tool then estimates the number of hours per week the students will need to spend.

The blog post announcing the tool and detailing the research is here:

How Much Should We Assign? Estimating Out of Class Workload
http://cte.rice.edu/blogarchive/2016/07/11/workload

and the tool itself can be found here:

Course Workload Estimator
http://cte.rice.edu/workload/

Canvas replaces eCollege

Instructure "Canvas", one of the newest course management systems and the system that is most prevalent among CIC schools, is available to Rutgers instructors and faculty through COHLIT for Fall 2016 courses. 

"eCollege" (or "Peason Learning Studio"), the previous system used by most online and hybride courses, has been discontinued by Pearson and must be phased out over the next few semesters. Faculty who are currently using eCollege may continue to do so for a while longer, however Canvas is a far easier and more flexible product, and there are many advantages to switching sooner rather later.

COHLIT will work with Pearson and Instructure to move courses from eCollege to Canvas. Please see the COHLIT announcement regarding Canvas for more information and updates. COHLIT has also posted Canvas training dates and materials.

Canvas is available to all faculty and instructors at Rutgers, but only replaces eCollege. Rutgers continues to support Sakai (for all campuses), Blackboard (for Newark and RBS) and Moodle (for RBHS). 

Rutgers Camden will hold the 3rd annual Faculty eLearning Conference on Thursday, April 7, 2016. 

Faculty and instructors at Rutgers Camden and participating community colleges can find more information at the Engaged eLearning Conference web page. 
http://elearning.camden.rutgers.edu

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