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All Places > Macmillan Learning Digital > Blog > 2019 > July

The team has been working hard on improvements to LaunchPad this year. A lot of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ like security improvements and changes to how LaunchPad works for visually impaired users working with JAWS, but a few to highlight are:


We just released some student onboarding changes that adds a "Purchase Access" and "Enter A Code" button to the top of the LaunchPad course if a user has less than 30 days of access remaining. This is designed to make life (and purchasing) easier for students using Trial Access. 



To further help with student onboarding, we increased character limit of the LaunchPad school name field so institutions with a very long name won’t be truncated, making it easier for students to find their school. 


We removed the Flash Player from the LaunchPad System Check since a) we have very little Flash content in LP anymore and b) Flash is going away, as you know. 



The "Zero score for unsubmitted" Gradebook Preference is now disabled by default for copied/branched course. This prevents the issue where an instructor creates a copy or branch of an existing course but doesn’t update the due dates and then when students enroll in the course, they automatically receive a zero for all past due assignments.



We will be performing system maintenance on Sunday morning July 21st  from 12:01am Eastern until 7am Eastern as well as Friday morning July 26th from 6am to 9am Eastern. Sapling will not be available during these ten hours for students or instructors. Please change any assignment due dates as needed. 

We apologize for the inconvenience, but one of the benefits of this maintenance are some improvements to Sapling. Based on customer feedback, we are making a number of changes to the gradebook in Sapling Learning and SaplingPlus. These updates should be available to users mid-day on Thursday, July 18th. These improvements include:


  • We are making the report names more intuitive, using Gradebook and Student Report instead of Grader and User report. 
  • Clicking on Student Report shows a list of students and the overall grade for each student
    • The list can be sorted by student name or grade
    • The list can be filtered by typing in student names above the list
    • Clicking on a student name goes to the grade report for the individual student
  • The export pages have an improved page to select the grade items included in the file. You can now preview the download as well. In addition, export shows Excel by default.
  • From the gradebook, individual grades can be edited by clicking on the grade. Viewing the submitted work and grade details are available on a menu next to the grade item.
  • Scrolling grades to the side keeps the navigation tabs at the top of the page.
  • When “Show Hidden Items in Gradebook” is set to No, grade items that are hidden (set on Categories and Items) will not be shown on the full Gradebook view.
  • On the Categories and Items page, the icons have been updated. The buttons were moved to the top. The columns for "Keep the highest" and "Drop the lowest" are on the simple view. And Reorder Gradebook has been moved to a button next to the other buttons.


In addition, we are making changes to the Assessments Editor tool.  These updates should be available to users mid-day on Thursday, July 25th. These updates include:

  • Updated visuals and labels throughout for better readability and usability.
  • On the Assessment tab, we renamed “Shared” item sets to “Related Set” for easier understanding. 
  • With regard to re-ordering items, we added a “Reorder” button, restyled the “Move here” and “Move to top/bottom/Pool” target zones, and added animations and highlighting of moving items. 
  • We retired the Settings tab and replaced it with a Grading Settings button on the Assessment tab. We also revamped the policy dropdown to quick-view Template cards (to make life easier) and condensed the canonical system policies to four: Homework; Test/Quiz (formerly Test); Unpenalized (formerly Practice); Student-Comment Quiz (formerly Test with student comments). We also converted other, old canonical policies and custom policies into Custom Templates cards. 


We hope you will find these improvements worth the inconvenience. (We will be updating the help files shortly and your Client Success Team will be able to help with any questions as well.)