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2016

Last week we invited 14 instructors to our New York offices so we can learn more about how they are using our digital offerings in their classes, and so we can get feedback on some new things that we are thinking about as well. As part of this event, all the instructors had to submit a prospectus and then give a 15 minute presentation on that same topic. You can see all the presentations in the community (under content -video - search for techedweek), but what I was most impressed by was how much everyone was trying to think of new and different ways to engage their students and energize their classes. Erica Duran talked about using technology to "flip" her composition class. Nicholas Fernandez talked about how he assigns everything in LaunchPad, so students can study the content areas that interest them, while all learning the skills of psychology research. Don Ehlers talked about using the SQ3R design to redo his large intro psych class. And those are just three--but all of them are great. If you get a chance, check out one or more and let us know what you think of the presentation--and how you are changing your class. (Hopefully we'll do another TechEd Week next summer, and you can apply then to give us even more insight into the innovations that you are trying out.) Prepare to be inspired by these instructors--and we look forward to being inspired by you!

Although it may be summer and a slower time for many colleges and universities, for our technology team, it is the busy season. I have posted about most of these elsewhere, but here’s what you can expect for changes for the Fall 2016 semester (all in one post).

 

  • Faster, more reliable user experience and faster page load times
  • Updated LearningCurve (with a new look, new functionality, mobility, and meeting WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards)
  • Small changes to the onboarding process for students (as part of a larger project to make getting into our products easier)
  • New diagnostics (for some English products)
  • New quiz creation flow and question filters (for some products, as we migrate this to ALL products as they release over the coming years)


Once the summer is over, the teams are going to continue to work on all of these projects (as the work is never done) and more (to come). We hope you like what’s happening at Macmillan Learning. Now enjoy the summer while we return to the salt mines...

So I will confess that I didn't watch the Tony Awards when they were telecast, but there was so much discussion afterwards that I decided to watch some of the snippets. You can see them at Watch Online - TonyAwards.com - The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards® - Official Website by IBM  . So what was inspiring about these? First off, I'm always amazed a people who can sing and dance and act--all at once! (I can barely do the pat your head / rub your belly thing.)  I had no idea that James Corden was talented enough to do that opening number. The fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote Hamilton (story, score, songs) and it is such a unique musical, with a hugely diverse cast--and he wrote a sonnet to his wife as a thank you when he won a Tony! Steve Martin worked on Bright Star, after a career as a comedian, novelist, actor, and more. The kids singing, dancing, and playing musical instructors in School of Rock were fabulous. The stories behind The Waitress and Shuffle Along are fascinating (and a bit sad as well). I'm sure there are more stories, but I don't know that I can take more inspiration today.

On Friday evening, July 1, we are going to be making some changes behind the scenes to the way LaunchPad (and its family of products) runs. This update means that you will experience faster page load times and greater scalability as we move forward with more and more people using our products.

 

Because of these updates, during the evening of July 1, please do not have any assignments due as students will not be able to access them, or any part of LaunchPad, Writer's Help 2.0, or LearningCurve.

 

You will receive additional notifications from me during the week of June 27th so you can better plan your time (and we can give you exact times that the maintenance will be happening) but for now, avoid due dates later in the day on July 1 and you should be all set.