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73 Posts authored by: Becky Anderson Employee

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!


Report This Question.png

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.

This spring, we had a contest where we asked students to submit videos via Instagram about LaunchPad. The results were very creative and might make a nice introduction to LaunchPad during the first week of class. Plus, the videos are short! Check out the LaunchPad Instagram Content Winners here.

After a rigorous analysis of customer support tickets, conversations with our field sales personnel and digital support specialists, and extensive interviews and testing with students and instructors (users and non-users), we decided to focus on the following areas for LaunchPad improvements for Fall 2015: onboarding, assignment journey, and video assignment tools.



  • Improvements to the eCommerce flow, so that students can more quickly buy direct access to LaunchPad
  • Due to student feedback, changing references to temp access to "free trial access"
  • Adding student messaging that clarifies when a user's free trial access will expire, so if I'm a student and I have free trial access, each day that I log in to the product, I'll see a counter at the top of LaunchPad saying 20 days, 19 days, 18 days, etc.
  • Moving the system check from the login screen to the eCommerce screen - this system check on the LaunchPad sign in page was distracting users from logging into our product and was a frequent tech support complaint


Assignment Journey:

  • Expanding the clickable area in the assignment list to make loading an assignment easier
  • Allowing instructors to set the student view of letter/point/percent grade or any combination thereof
  • Removing the marketing banner from interior pages of the product (welcome page, dashboard, home page)


Video Assignment Tool

  • Instructors can create video assignments requiring that students have to upload or embed their own videos
  • Instructors can create video assignments requiring that students add time-based comments on videos
  • For disciplines with a video library, instructors can create video assignments requiring that students add time-based comments on publisher-supplied videos
  • Instructors can use rubrics to grade video assignments
  • You can learn more here: What is a Video Assignment? | LaunchPad Instructor's Manual | Macmillan Media for Instructors 


Let us know what you think of these changes!