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For Fall 2016, we are going to have some new diagnostic reports coming to Writer's Help 2.0 and some LaunchPad courses that will allow you to see in one screen a comparison of pre-test and post-test results by class, by student, and by topic. This feature isn't available yet, but ask your representative to show you a sample in their trial course so you can see what to expect--or check out a sample below. And let us know what you think!



When my daughter earns screen time, her favorite thing to watch (lately) is clips from The Ellen Show. I monitor them to make sure they are appropriate, and she watched this excellent one this morning about a young man named Ezra Frech that I really liked and thought I should share. Enjoy! Incredible Young Man Ezra Frech - YouTube 

This week I was talking to Brenda Leady, a lovely professor of biology at the University of Toledo. She mentioned that when she first started using LaunchPad, she didn't use LearningCurve. She found the fact that she, a self-admitted control freak, couldn't control the precise topics or number of questions in each LearningCurve assignment to be a negative, so she didn't assign it. She changed her mind, however, when her students told her that they were using and really liking LearningCurve, even though she hadn't assigned it. So now she assigns it, and is very happy with how it is working to prepare students for class. If you use LearningCurve, there is a lovely new (short) video to help your students learn how to use it to help them succeed. Or, to learn more about how Brenda Leady, and others, use LaunchPad, sign up for our Peer-Led Webinars.

Just a reminder as classes get started and students familiarize themselves with Achieve and Sapling and LaunchPad (and LaunchPad Solo and Writer's Help) that you ARE NOT tech support for your students. Macmillan has a lovely tech support team in Orlando, FL waiting to help your students. The agents are good, nice, and fast--and they have quick answers to lots of the typical problems that students encounter at the beginning of the semester. So encourage your students to use Macmillan Tech Support and they won't use you. They can be contacted via email and phone, once you fill out the support form. (And don't forget that they can help instructors too!)

Recently my family went to an amusement park targeted at younger (ages 2-12) kids. At the swings--the ones that the kids get on and then the machine lifts them up in the air and spins them out--there was a mom who was checking to make sure the staff understood that her child, a young boy with some special needs, needed the directions about how to stop the ride if he started to panic. She was visibly nervous, but as the ride started, the kid was clearly loving he. He was smiling, wiggling around, and checking out everyone else. When I looked at the mom, she had tears in her eyes. It's interesting in a society where so many kids are asking for, or being given, so much 'stuff,' how such a basic experience of a swing can make a child--and his mom--so happy. It really is all about the little things.

As we begin 2016, we want to make sure you are all ready for classes. So just a reminder of a few things:

  1. If we asked you to make a NEW course for January (not copy), then please be sure to do that.
  2. If you copied your course from the fall, make sure you update your assignment due dates before you activate your course.
  3. If you need a refresher on LaunchPad, check out our training resources.
  4. If you need First Day of Class tools (slides or documents), check out the resources on our FDOC page.


If you have any questions, just let us know. And Happy New Year!

During this time of year, my daughter has a lot of days off from school. I'm not sure that she's ready for it, but one thing that I'm thinking about is getting her to watch Pride and Prejudice with me. I love the book, but she's only nine, so that might be a little much to start with. And I adore the movie, the A&E version with Colin Firth, but it's quite long. However, I find the character of Elizabeth Bennett to be inspiring, because she speaks her mind, doesn't want to settle, and admits when she is wrong. And (spoiler alert in case you don't know the plot), it's inspiring when love triumphs. So we'll see if I can get my daughter to watch this, or if I have to wait a few more years to inspire her with Jane Austen.

Every fall, our local high school puts on a musical and anyone in the community can attend. There is an adult director, but the rest is pretty much run by the students--as actors, set designers, lighting and audio techs, and more. As someone who loves to attend theater, but can not imagine participating in theater, I find these performances to be inspiring. Not only do the students put in tons and tons of hours to prepare for the five shows, but they put themselves out there just by participating in the shows, whether in front of the audience or behind the scenes. Even if the performance isn't like going to Broadway, I find simply the fact of the show itself to be inspiring.


What inspires you?

I don't watch much television or go to the movies often, nor do I listen to a lot of radio or podcasts. So most of my inspiration comes from books. This one is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I know this is a pretty popular book right now, but for a good reason. It's about a student who is going to public school for the first time, as a middle schooler. Middle school is challenging socially for lots of people, and to make it worse, Auggie is different. It's an excellent book to remind people--especially kids--that people who are different than you likely have stuff in common with you too, and that commonality can be a great basis for friendship.

Sometimes when you've had a long day (or week or month) at work, it's hard to remember why you liked your job in the first place. With that in mind, I would like to do periodic posts related to the topic of "What inspires you." I hope that you will respond with stories of your own, whether your inspiration is something you read, heard about, were told, or experienced. Here's to more thinking positive!


Spare Parts by Joshua Davis

I read this book a few months ago and really liked it. It's very short and a quick read, but it reminds you of how a great teacher, a teacher who really takes an interest in each individual student, can make such a difference for those students. If you've read it, let me know what you think. Or if you have another book recommendation that inspires you, please share!

If you or a student sees any kind of crazy question in LearningCurve, you can now let us know within the product. Once an answer has been submitted, you get the pop-up saying if your answer it right or wrong, with some feedback. Now, in the upper right, you will see a hyperlink to "Report this question" if you feel it was graded incorrectly or awkwardly phrased or whatever. Simply click on the link and you will get information about that LearningCurve question into the right hands to review, fix, and respond. We hope you find this helpful!


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Becky Anderson

Faculty Consultants

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Sep 15, 2015

Did you know that we have Faculty Consultants for LaunchPad, LearningCurve, and Writer's Help 2.0? They are available to talk about how they are using our media and give advice, as needed, for what might work for you or how to use media more effectively. You can see them here: Macmillan Higher Education  And hopefully some of them will agree to do some posting on the community site so we can learn from each other about what works, and what doesn't, and brilliant ideas, and so forth. More to come...

Becky Anderson

Question of the Day

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Sep 2, 2015

I just saw this great question and answer exchange that I thought might be interesting to people:


Question for LaunchPad folks: These instructors write a lot of their own quiz questions. Is there a way for instructors to share those questions between each other? At this point, it doesn't sound like they want to do a master course that everyone copies since they all pretty much do their own thing within LaunchPad. Ideally, they just want the ability to share questions that others in the department write.


Answer: Questions can be imported within LaunchPad, so if you have a pool of questions that everyone in the department wants to write and use, they can be imported. Here are the screen steps on how to create questions using the import function. My additional advice on this process is to test the questions once you’ve written them.  That just ensures your questions and answers are formatted properly.

Below are the list of the most common questions that our Tech Support Agents get from Instructors. We thought it might be beneficial to share this information with you. If you come across another question that you think we should answer in our LaunchPad Instructor's Manual, or have a suggestion to improve wording, just let us know via the commenting at the end of each article.



  • How do I help students find my course?

       Step 1:  Make sure your course is active.  Please refer to this article to activate your course:

Step 2:  Share your course with your students.



  • How do I find my course? The course doesn’t appear in my DashBoard.




Did you know that students can get temporary access to LaunchPad for 21 days while they get their financial aid sorted out? Check out the details in LaunchPad Instructor's Manual.