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As of today, the LaunchPads for Gunn’s Speech Craft, O’Hair’s A Speaker’s Guidebook 7e, and O’Hair’s Real Communication 4e have a new video assessment program. We know that the best way for students to improve their public speaking skills is to give a speech and then watch themselves giving the speech with accompanying feedback--and this new assessment program makes that process so much easier!


So why did we do this and what do you and your students gain with this change?


The new assessment option will allow you to do the following:  


  • Instructors and students can record directly into the assignment.
  • Instructors can add comments and fill out rubrics in the assignment during live speeches and load directly into students’ assignments, all simultaneously.
  • When students finish giving a speech, instructors are done recording and assessing. And since the video and feedback is all in one place for students to reference for learning and improvement, the feedback loop is complete.


The program is simple to use with superior commenting, recording, and rubric assessment features. Features include:

  • Powerful feedback
    • Multiple comment delivery options for rich feedback. Comments are side-by-side with the video. Instructors and students can submit text comments or post audio, video, documents, or images as feedback.
    • Visual markers that map the plusses and minuses of the speech. Easy-to-set-up markers make it possible for instructors and students to call out key issues or positive points of the video. You can track every “um,” every speech citation, every use of eye contact, and students will see these markers mapped visually against their speech video.
    • Descriptive rubrics and publisher-provided rubrics that provide crystal-clear assessment. The rubrics in the new program provides more than just a number score for each criteria; they will now include written information on what each score means, i.e. what a 1 means, what a 2 means, etc. Instructors can create and edit their own rubrics, or they can use or edit ours.
  • Real-time feedback
    • Instructors can record each student’s speech directly into the assignment and assess it live while the student is giving the speech.
    • Students can see their video powerfully, paired with instructor feedback immediately.
    • When the speech is done, the instructor is done with their assessment. Because the grading work of the class is done at the end of the class hour, instructors get their lives back.
  • Mobile device-friendly: Through iOS/Android apps that will go live later in the spring, video can be recorded on a mobile device and loaded directly into an assignment. This is a huge improvement over LaunchPad.
  • Live streaming: Instructors who teach online public speaking classes bemoan the fact that students miss out on the live experience of giving a speech. With our new video assessment program, online speech classes can live-stream their speech video while the instructor and class assesses it in the moment.

We will be adding this to new LaunchPads as they release, going forward. If you have any questions about this exciting new part of LaunchPad, let us know! (And check out all the instructor directions here, to get started today!)

It is disheartening to know how many students don't realize that their LaunchPad includes the ebook--and we wanted to help fix that. So with the newer LaunchPads, we added an Orientation Quiz to help students better understand how to use LaunchPad. There is a short video to watch and a series of quiz questions so students know how to find assignments, reach out to tech support, locate their ebook, see their grades, and more. You can assign this to your class at the start of the semester to make your life, and your students' lives, easier. 


If your LaunchPad starts with a Welcome unit, open that up for the Getting Started Quiz that you can quickly and easily assign. 


LP Getting Started Quiz


Let us know what you think about this--and if you have any suggestions for improving this, we'd like to know that as well. And if your LaunchPad doesn't include this quiz to start, you can easily add it using these directions. Have fun! 

Inclusive Access is an option that ensures when students register for your course, they are charged for the course materials at a discounted rate. They save money and have access to course materials on the first day of class! 
How does this work?
  • Macmillan Learning works with you and your bookstore to find the best price and product for your students. 
  • The format of the product is often dictated by your school but any Macmillan product is available for adoption including LaunchPad, Writer's Help, and our ebooks.


Contact your rep to learn how to offer Macmillan content via Inclusive Access or check out our website for more info.
Becky Anderson

Are you ready for 2018?

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Nov 27, 2017

So the end of the semester is around the corner...and then the next round of classes will start up shortly. 


What should you do to make it all go smoothly? Prepare now! 


Check out information on reviewing, changing or exporting grades for fall, as well as creating and activating new courses for spring. And don’t forget to sign up for training to make sure you have all the information you need to make the next semester even better! 

Let us know if you have any questions—and have a great rest of the term!

After we had the new design release this summer, we had a number of customers ask us if we could add an option to hide the 'Upcoming Assignments and Events' box. Voila! That functionality is now available, and it works the same way as hiding does throughout the rest of the site. Get more directions in the Support Community.


In addition, I wanted to remind you that we are happy to get started on building your courses for the Winter or Spring 2018 term now. (We'd rather start early, than get a panicked email from you on January 6!) So, if you would like us to start building your Sapling Learning course for you, can you do one of three things:

   1. Fill out this form.

   2. Let your rep know.

   3. Let your Client Success Specialist know.


We look forward to hearing back from you. 

As of today, 70 LaunchPad titles have the link to the new ebook under the Help Menu. We wanted to give students the opportunity to access the mobile-optimized and accessible ebook, as well as give offline access. (You can look to see if your book has this functionality.) 


So how does this work in LaunchPad?


Go to HELP in the upper right of your course. You will see the option for “Download Offline eBook.” Click on that. (If you don't see that option, then your book doesn't have this functionality, unfortunately.) 


You will then to go to a new log in page.


Enter in your email address to create an account.


That will then opened the book on your bookshelf:


Then, if you want to do the app, you need to download the “Macmillan Learning eBook” app and use those same credentials that you just created, to log in and see the book on your device.


If you go to another LaunchPad course that has the offline ebook, simply enter in your existing username and password, and you will then see that additional book appear on your bookshelf. (You will not need to create another account.)


For more information, directions, and visuals, check out the article in the support community

Thursday, September 7th at 2 PM EST, Professor Benjamin White and Macmillan Learning will host a 20-minute webinar where he will share his strategies and approaches to thinking about and incorporating digital resources effectively into his classes. A brief Q&A session will follow to address any questions you might have on these topics.


Register Now:


If you can't join us, we will record this and post the recording in our Webinars on Demand Community. 

About the Host:


Benjamin White—a professor of psychology at Blinn College—has been successfully incorporating digital assets into his courses for over seven years and has been at the forefront of utilizing technology in his courses to provide better educational opportunities for his students. He serves as the faculty fellow for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Blinn College, where he delivers professional development talks and workshops to faculty several times a semester on various aspects of pedagogy, teaching, presentation strategies, and learning.



One of the greatest benefits of using LaunchPad is how easy it is to customize to create the perfect course for you. But not everyone knows that you can do all these things, so here’s just a short refresher on how you can customize your own LaunchPad course.


First off, you need to choose the correct LaunchPad course to begin with. Make sure you are using the author and version of the book that best matches your course goals. (And we have lots of books available with LaunchPad, so this can be daunting. Work with your local representative to find the best book for you, or you can see what we have by browsing our catalog.)


Once you have the base course selected, next comes adjusting the content. You can re-name and re-order chapters/units, delete existing units, or add new units. You can add additional resources to your course, like your syllabus or student policies, discussion boards, outside links, video assignments and more. You can pull in resources from our resources tab that are in the course, but not assigned.


You can create or delete assignments that we have created for you. You can edit existing quiz questions or add your own quiz questions. You can pool questions for greater variety and security in your assignments. You can create video assignments. And for all of these assignments, there are a variety of settings that you can adjust, such as number of attempts, time limits, or ordering of questions.


Since so many people using LearningCurve so extensively, you should know that you can remove topics in LearningCurve, as well as adjust the target score.


You can manage your roster, dropping students from your course, creating groups for assignments or for various accessibility reasons, or emailing some or all of the students in your class. You can change assignment settings for particular assignments or particular students.


If you want to know more, check out all the articles in our support community or reach out to us if you have additional questions. We love to be able to tell you, “Yes, we can do that!”

We now have a basic iClicker integration with Sapling Learning. This means that you can have your students’ cumulative iClicker Reef grade appear within the Sapling gradebook. It's very simple: you can add an activity to your course and include the link from your iClicker course in that activity ID. The directions are here (although most of the actual integration work can be done by your Client Success Specialist, to make it even easier). For only an additional $5, your students can have access to the iClicker Reef mobile Student Response System to make your course more active and engaging. Please let your CSS and your representative know if this is something you want to do for Fall 2017 classes.

The recent LaunchPad release had a number of items in it, but there are three items that I’m particularly excited about: 

help links to the new support community, access expiration information in the roster, and passcode protected quizzes.


For support, we have a new Support Community for ALL our digital products (which hopefully you know about already). The support links in the entire LaunchPad family of products were re-set and now go to this new support community. Check it out!


For the roster, in any LaunchPad course, an instructor can go to the Instructor Console - Roster & Groups, and now see all of their students along with the accurate Access Expiration Information. This will be especially useful in the first few weeks of classes, when students are using temporary access, to remind them to purchase full access



Roster Image


For quizzes, instructors now have the option to add a passcode (not a password, since that requires more stringent policies like letters, numbers, symbols, etc) to a particular quiz to limit student access to that quiz.


How does this passcode setting work? As an instructor, go to an existing quiz, or create a new quiz. On the settings page, you will now see the option for a passcode (see below). That code will be visible to the instructor as they type in the word/number combo. (The passcode has to be 8-20 characters with at least one capital letter and one number, but it can’t include special characters.)



After the instructor saves those settings, when the student goes to take the quiz that has a passcode set, they will have to input the passcode in order to gain access to the assignment. They can not get in without the passcode, nor will the system shut them out after x number of attempts.



Caveats: Once the instructor has used the passcode option, they can’t use the option to “allow save and continue” as well. In addition, at the moment, the passcode can only be used for the entire class; coming soon, the instructor will be able to adjust the passcode for groups or individuals.


Let us know what you think of this, as I know I'm excited about these improvements in functionality.

Just this week we released a new feature to all LaunchPad and Writer’s Help courses: REEF Integration. REEF, i>clicker’s mobile response system, enables you to poll and quiz students using the devices they already bring to class--smart phones, laptops, tablets, and even i>Clicker remotes.


What does this mean? As of today, you can link your REEF course to your LaunchPad course and quickly synchronize your students’ grades to LaunchPad. This allows students to have single sign-on with REEF and LaunchPad, and keep all their grades in one spot. We have a quick explanatory video for you.


How does this work? In REEF, navigate to your REEF course’s Settings and copy the link from the LMS Sync tab (which is accessible from the REEF Settings icon/page).


LMS Sync in REEF



Then in LaunchPad, you will select “+ Add a new assignment” and you will now see the option for “Reef Course Link”.

+Add New in LaunchPad


Set up the assignment, making sure to paste in that URL from REEF. Voila!  You now have a column for REEF in your LaunchPad gradebook.


How much does this cost? As of today, 6 months of REEF access is only $5 when packaged with a Macmillan Learning Product. What a deal!


How can I learn more about REEF or this integration between REEF and LaunchPad and get access to REEF? Reach out to your local Macmillan Learning representative for more information.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to go to a presentation by Sara Goldrick-Rab. You can see the presentation here. Regardless about how you feel about her politics, her statistics about the number of students, especially community college students, who are not only struggling to pay for school (which we all know) but that are, at the same time, experiencing homelessness and food insecurity and hunger was shocking to me. We know that, in pre-K to 12, that there is constant discussion about how students can't learn when they are hungry or when their home life is unstable. And for pre-K-12, there are some existing solutions (like free and reduced school lunch, weekend backpacks of food, etc.) that make a difference. But we haven't gotten to those solutions on a mass scale for higher ed yet, and it's something to think about and work on. Please share any ideas that are working at your school or in your community.  

Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to Donovan Livingston do a live version of his spoken word poem "Lift Off" that garnered so much attention from the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Convocation last year. (If you haven't seen it, it's 6 minutes long, very powerful, and I'd highly recommend it.) In addition, he spoke a bit about the impact that the teachers mentioned (and not mentioned) in the poem had on him. He spoke of Ms. Parker, who in 7th grade encouraged him to harness all his energy and taught him to debate. He talked about his high school teacher who wouldn't let him do spoken word at his high school graduation (but reached out immediately after his Convocation talk to congratulate him.) And he talked about all the people he met along the way, both at Harvard and before, who helped him become the person he is, who influenced him so much, and who allowed him to make that moving speech. It was a great reminder of the impact that teachers can have on students, and humans on one another. 


I used the Sapling online genetics homework system in my class in the fall of 2016. I was greatly impressed with the system—it provides excellent problems, superior feedback to students, great analytics for the instructor, and outstanding customer service.


Here are the top eight things I love about Sapling.

  1. Great questions, each carefully reviewed and vetted.
  2. Excellent functionality. Questions include multiple choice answers, fill in the blank, and drag and drop labeling.
  3. Superior feedback to students, with feedback specific to the wrong answer they provide.
  4. A complete, worked-out solution for each question available after students have submitted their final answer.
  5. Super analytics for the instructor. Easy to see which questions students are getting wrong and why.
  6. The system is intuitive and easy to navigate for both the student and instructor.
  7. Great flexibility for the instructor, with ability to set due dates, points awarded for each question, penalties for multiple incorrect attempts, points deducted for late submissions, etc.
  8. Absolutely fabulous support. A Tech TA (Client Success Specialist) is provided for each course, who works closely with the instructor before and throughout the semester, essentially an additional TA for the course devoted entirely to the digital resources.


Specific Comments:

Sapling provides great functionality for genetics practice problems. The Sapling system includes multiple choice questions, drop and drag labeling, and answers that can be typed in. The questions are well formatted and easy for students to understand. My students appreciated the graphics and simulations that accompany some of the questions, making them interesting and fun. All the questions have been carefully vetted and reviewed; I found no errors in any of the questions or solutions.


Sapling provides superior feedback for students. When a student gives an incorrect solution, the feedback is specific to the wrong answer provided, helping the student to understand their error without giving away the answer. Also, if students are unsure of how to go about answering a question, they can ask for a hint that gets them going in the right direction. Sometimes students arrive at the correct answer without fully understanding the question or the solution. After students have submitted their final answer or given up, the system provides a complete worked-out solution to the problem, which is especially helpful for students first learning how to solve genetics problems. Instructors can adjust the percentage of points awarded for multiple attempts at answering a question. For example, I started off reducing by 5% the points available for each incorrect attempt at answering the question, but found that that was not enough of a penalty to discourage students from guessing before carefully working out the solution. I then raised the penalty for each attempt to 15% and this worked well for my students.  


As the instructor, I found the system easy to manage and navigate. Settings, such as due dates, question selections, points awarded, etc. were intuitive and easy to carry out. The system provides superior analytics to the instructor, enabling me to quickly assess how my students were doing. I especially appreciated the heat maps, which give a quick visual representation of student success with each question. It is also possible to view the incorrect solutions that individual students provided. I found this really helpful when students came in to see me during office hours—I was able to quickly determine where they went wrong and provide feedback.


One of the best features of Sapling is the support. The TechTA that Sapling provides each instructor is literally like having another teaching assistant devoted entirely to managing the digital resources. My Tech TA took my syllabus and textbook, selected appropriate questions, and assigned due dates that that fit my syllabus. He was always available whenever I had a question.

Becky Anderson

Content Updates

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Dec 12, 2016

When a customer reports a content issue in LaunchPad, sometimes we can fix that issue immediately and sometimes we need to make the edit at the end of the semester. For a number of courses, we will be adding a new folder to your table of contents entitled Winter 2016 Content Updates at the end of December. In this folder, we will have new content for you to use. To use this new content, first, remove the ‘old’ content. Then simply move the ‘new’ content into your existing table of contents and assign it.


You should have gotten an email from me about this detailing the content coming if you are using one of the books / LaunchPads listed below: 


Belsky, Experiencing the Lifespan 4e
Berger, Developing Person through Childhood & Adolescence 10e
Berger, Developing Person through the Life Span, 9e
Berger, Invitation to the Lifespan 3e
Comer, Abnormal Psychology 9e
Comer, Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology 7e
Comer, Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology 8e
Cowen, Modern Principles of Economics 3e
Cowen, Modern Principles of Macroeconomics 3e
Cowen, Modern Principles of Microeconomics 3e
Domosh, Contemporary Human Mosaic 1e
Greenberg, Soc Psychology 1e
Hockenbury, Psychology 7e
Hockenbury, Psychology, 7e for High School
Krugman & Wells, Macroeconomics in Modules 3e
Krugman Mods Macro 3e Update
Krugman, Economics 4e
Krugman, Macroeconomics 4e
Krugman, Microeconomics 4e
Lodish, Molecular Cell Biology 8e
Morris, How Life Works 2e
Myers, Exploring Psychology 9e DSM-5 update
Myers, Psychology in Everyday Life 3e
Myers, Psychology in Modules 10e DSM-5 update
Nolan Statistics for the Behavioral Science 3e
Pierce, Genetics Essentials, 3e
Pulsipher, World Regional Geography Concepts 3e
Research Methods: The Scientist Within, 1e
Rosenberg Abnormal Psychology 2e
Schacter, Psychology Third Canadian Edition
Siegler How Children Develop 4e


Please let me know if you have any questions about this.