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Becky Anderson

LearningCurve Works

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Jan 16, 2018

We know that about 79% of all LaunchPad submissions are LearningCurve. We also know that LearningCurve has a 90% satisfaction rating with students. And I just got this tremendous quotation from a professor today:   "In the 10+ years that I've been teaching, I've never experienced students come to lecture so prepared and knowledgeable before; this is due to the Learning Curve assignments"

 

You can learn more on our LearningCurve catalog page, or check out LearningCurve in your LaunchPad (or SaplingPlus) course. 

We know that for people new to LaunchPad, they just want to learn the key functionality to get started--not all the pieces that the product offers. To that end, we just added a series of Interactive Guides to LaunchPad to get you up and running when you first log in. For instance, when you first go in to create a course, you will see the guide for how to create a course.

 

 

You can follow this step-by-step walkthrough to actually create a course. At the end of the tutorial, you will have a fully functional course to explore. All in all, we added seven interactive guides to LaunchPad, including ones on Course Creation, Dashboard Navigation, Course Activation, Instructor Resources, Gradebook Tour, Instructor Console, and Zero Out Past Due Assignments.

 

Interactive Guide List

 

You can open them up by clicking on “Guides” on the right, or close them out with the x. We are testing these guides out this semester to see if you find them useful. Please let us know what you think by responding to this post (or by using the guides themselves)--and let us know if you have other topics that you think would benefit from a guide.

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!)

Becky Anderson

Upcoming Maintenance

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Dec 21, 2017

On December 31st, from 12am to 8am Eastern, we will be doing maintenance on LaunchPad and Writer’s Help. During that time, you will not be able to log in or access grades. Your students will not be able to do any work in the LaunchPad family of products either. We have selected this day and time as it is historically a low-usage period for us, so hopefully this doesn’t cause you too much trouble.

 

In addition, please note that our Customer Support team is getting some time off at the end of the year.  The office will be closed on the following dates:  12/24, 12/25, 12/31, and 1/1. Please use the support documentation during that time to get any of your questions answered, or fill out the support form and an agent will get back to you when we reopen at 8am Eastern on the next day of business.

 

We have added this information to the pop-up that appears on the log-in page and first page in the product, but if you have any classes running over the Dec. 24 to January 2 period, please let your students know about the maintenance and the support hours as well as they may not read the pop-up.

 

If you have any questions, let us know.  And we look forward to working with you in 2018!

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!

On Saturday, 10/28 from 4am -7am Eastern, we will be performing maintenance work on LaunchPad and Writer's Help. During that time slot, both LaunchPad and Writer's Help will be unavailable. Please adjust your assignments or plans to do work accordingly. 

While we are waiting to have "Spring 2018" added to the LaunchPad dropdown as part of the course creation process, there are no issues if you want to create your full course now tagged to another semester, and then go in later and change that semester to Spring 2018. We want to encourage you to avoid procrastination! 

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:
http://info.macmillanlearning.com/gD0byOR0R00qFG0vC000chb

 

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!”

As a recent graduate, I remember all too well the shivers we would get as students when professors muttered the word “test” or “quiz”. If you wanted to hear a symphony of groans, add in the word now and a sea of furrowed brows and hand slams would fill the room.

 

Tests get a bad rap in the academic world nowadays. With test anxiety being shed to light, academia has become aware of the negative effects it can have on students. Some students dislike testing because it makes them question their intelligence with every wrong answer. Others get stage fright, and can’t perform under the pressure, time constraint, etc.

 

Not everyone’s IQ is defined by a mere test by any means, and some professors have shied away from administering them. For some students, an examination apocalypse would be a dream, but what if I told you that testing could actually be a good thing?

 

It’s all about the execution.

 

According to the Scientific American article Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning  through the psychological process of retrieval practice, the repetitious nature of test taking actually aids students in retaining knowledge longer term as opposed to traditional teaching methods (Paul). Retrieval practice, formally known as “the testing effect” argues against the “reading the material and being tested on it later” method, but rather encourages students  to learn through frequent state of testing. Now while consistent testing sounds intense, many do not realize the brain empowered blessings this poses. Studies have shown that when testing a student on material even before they have had their lecture can improve knowledge retention rates even beyond the final exam.

 

Learning Curve and iClicker are excellent examples of just that. Learning Curve allows students to answer multiple choice and short answer questions before the actual lecture, making students read the material and answer basic questions on what they read. To continue the testing repetition, using iClicker’s REEF Polling can continue the testing habit in a group setting. If more students get in the habit of answering questions based on the material, when it is time to take the official exam, they are more likely to excel and score higher.

 

 

Paul, Annie Murphy. "Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning." Scientific American. N.p., 08 July 2015. Web. 24 May 2017.

As you may recall hearing from us earlier in the year, the LaunchPad team has standing Wednesday releases scheduled. As a result, we’d like you to assume that between 4 am and 8am Eastern on Wednesdays we may be having a release that may require downtime. You should not have assignments due then just in case.

 

Using that same model, the team would also like time for more advanced work, like database improvements, on the weekends this summer. Consequently, there is the possibility for a release every Saturday in June and July from 3am to 8am Eastern for all products in the LaunchPad family of products; do not have any assignments due during that time. We will return to our standard release schedule in August, as the Fall classes will be starting; the additional release windows are only for June and July.


We hope that by giving you advanced notice, even though we may not use every Wednesday and every Saturday, that it makes scheduling your short, intense summer classes that much easier.

Many instructors have adopted online discussion boards as a tool to encourage students to communicate with each other, share ideas, and participate in peer review. It’s also one of the few ways to check in on students to make sure they are actually reading their assigned texts (though the effectiveness of this is debatable).

 

Plenty of students will admit that participating in discussion boards is pretty low on their priorities when juggling multiple courses, campus life, eating, and maybe getting a wink of sleep every now and then. In my experience, these discussions counted for a fairly minute portion of my grade, which translated to me posting first on these discussion boards in order to write something that was articulate but not exactly insightful.

 

Genuine, thoughtful discussion can be beneficial to developing critical thinking skills and challenging students to question both their knowledge and their patterns of thought. This, however, is not something that can be forced. 

 

Creating dynamic discussion online is not an easy task, but if done correctly these discussion boards can become an invaluable resource for students to become both better thinkers and writers. 

 

So this question remains: How can instructors make online discussion more than a perfunctory task?

 

  1. Use Small Groups
    In some of my best classes, splitting the class into groups of four to six students eliminated the anonymity of posting. With the knowledge that my posts would have a specific audience, I was more likely to actually put effort into my responses and try to give helpful feedback to my peers.
  2. Ask Thoughtful Questions                                                                                                                                       This may sound obvious, but I challenge you to examine the prompts that you are giving your students. Are you challenging them to think or guiding them toward a specific response? 
  3. Relate Their Coursework to Their Real Lives                                                                                                           Students are more likely to actively engage with a text if they believe that the topics and themes are relevant to their lives on a personal, professional, or political level. If you find that students do not engage with specific texts it may be time to reevaluate what you are using in class.

 

Like anything else, discussion boards can be incredibly effective when used well. Make sure you are reading your students’ posts and starting good discussions yourself. Consider doing the discussions within the e-Book itself to further foster reading and critical thinking. Bring up interesting topics in class to prove that you have read the discussions, and that will likely prompt students to be more thoughtful in their responses. And think about making the discussion boards worth more of students' grades if they are helping you achieve your goals.

 

Let us know if you have other ideas to make discussions even better!