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Becky Anderson

Maintenance on 4/29/18

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Apr 25, 2018

We will be performing system maintenance on Sunday morning (4/29) from 12:01am Eastern until 7am Eastern. Sapling and Sapling Learning will not be available during these 7 hours. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please plan accordingly and thank you for your patience.

We are doing a webinar on Friday, February 23rd at 1pm Eastern to show a little more about how SaplingPlus can engage your students and make your lives easier. Check it out--especially if you are a biochemistry or genetics instructor!) 


Sapling Plus for Genetics and Biochemistry Courses 

Student Store Instagram Contest Description


Calling all students! Do you have any tips and tricks to prepare for midterms? Tell us your best study tip in a short video for a chance to win a $500 gift card! Learn how to enter here.

We are excited to report that Sapling Learning and SaplingPlus users now have the option to duplicate their course from a prior semester into a new semester. A duplicate course will have all of the same assignments, settings, and groups as the original course. You will automatically be given Instructor access to the duplicate course, but all assignments in the duplicate course will be hidden from students by default. The duplicate course will be available to you to review and edit, but is not automatically accessible to students. A member of the Client Success team will check your course settings, let you know when the course is available to students, and send you the relevant sign-up instructions for distribution to your class.


To find out more about how this will work, check out the excellent set of directions in our Support Community.


And we’ll be sure to remind you about this as we get closer to another sequence of class starts.

Becky Anderson

So How Is It Going?

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Jan 17, 2018

We just wanted to check in to make sure everything is going okay with your course--whether you’ve already started or are getting ready to begin a new semester. If you have any unanswered questions, you can:


  • Sign up for training
  • Check out the online user guide for more help
  • Investigate our webinars community to learn about new implementation ideas
  • Reach out to your Client Success Specialist for help


Have a great 2018--and be sure to let us know if you need anything!

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. 

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.

You’ve been waiting for it and asking for it, and coming in August, you will finally have a new, modern look for Sapling Learning.


View of the new Sapling Learning design for Fall 2017


This new design allows us to be more accessible and more modern. The colors and logos are changing. We made the assignments more prominent (since students told us that is the key part of Sapling for them, shockingly). We made the editing more intuitive for instructors. And we made the overall view cleaner, and easier to see on mobile. In sum, the new design is something that we’re excited about as it will make the product more functional AND more aesthetically pleasing.


We will roll out this new design before the start of your fall 2017 classes, but we just wanted you to be aware that this is coming. The Client Success Specialists and Customer Support teams are getting information about this new look as well, so everyone will continue to be able to help you and your students through the summer and fall.


If you would like to sign up for a webex to learn more about the new design, we are offering three:

July 20 at 3pm Eastern: REGISTER OR JOIN: (copy and paste this link into your browser while I fix the hyperlink problems). 

July 27 at 3pm Eastern: REGISTER or JOIN

August 10 at 3pm Eastern: REGISTER OR JOIN(copy and paste this link into your browser while I fix the hyperlink problems) 


I hope you enjoy this great new look!

We are very happy to announce that Sapling Learning Student Support now includes phone and chat options through our customer support team in Duluth, MN.


You can see evidence of this by going to the Student Support Communities for college students and high school students). We’ll be getting started with this for summer classes so we are fully prepared when the fall onslaught begins. Let us know if you have any questions about this!

Becky Anderson

New Support Community

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Apr 5, 2017

Starting in mid-April, the help pages and customer support form that you’ve been using will transition to our new Digital Product Support Community--which is contained within this site. In this new community, you can read knowledge articles, create support cases, view product tutorials, and more.


How is this better?

  • You can easily get answers to simple questions and known issues at the touch of a button
  • You can create a support case, and follow it through the system to resolution
  • You can request additional articles or make suggestions to improve our existing articles
  • This new support community is already part of the Macmillan communities that you already know and use, making one stop shopping even easier.


Post to the new community and let us know what you think!

Becky Anderson

Tech Ed Week 2017

Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Apr 3, 2017
From June 26-28, 2017, we are going to bring in a select group of faculty members who are successfully using our technology (Sapling Learning, FlipIt, Late Nite Labs, WriterKey, LaunchPad, LaunchPad Solo, LearningCurve, or Writer's Help 2.0) to talk about how that technology is improving teaching or engaging students.

We will pay for your travel costs to our Austin, TX office, meals, and two nights in the city, and we hope to get your feedback on our technology plans for the future. In exchange, we ask that you give a brief (15-minute) presentation for us on how our technology is changing your course, improving your teaching, or engaging your students. We will record these presentations for sharing with others.

If you are interested, and your participation in this sort of event--at our expense--is approved by your institution, please fill out the application. The full rules are here.Confirmation by your ethics officer will be required if you are selected. We will notify all who are selected at the beginning of May.

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

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.  

Sapling Learning is committed to updating and improving content in all disciplines we offer. Since we often get questions on 'what's new?' this post will answer that question in Chemistry.  Any system is only as good as its content, and at Sapling Every Problem Counts. Every homework problem features a hint, specific wrong-answer feedback, and detailed solutions.


How do I see this new content in detail?

  • Existing user? Ask your CSS (formerly known as Tech TA) for review assignments
  • New user? Schedule a demo!


Recent Changes in Chemistry:


  • Introductory Chemistry: 268 new questions based on instructor feedback.
    • For example, 13 questions to the introductory chemistry library on batteries, which are written as introductions to batteries, including diagrams of battery organization.
    • Labeling question of battery components


  • GOB - General Organic and Biochem: 266 new questions based on instructor feedback.
    • For example, 20 questions were added to organic chemistry topics, 20 questions on carbohydrates, and 25 questions on metabolism.
    • GOB Metabolism



  • General Chemistry: 459 new questions 
    • OpenStax partnership: Course templates are ready and available for both the OpenStax Chemistry texts--the traditional (reactions first) and atoms-first versions.
      • The Client Success Specialist can customize the template for individual instructors.
      • The CSS can also customize the questions to fit the text.
    • Atkins 7e now available
      • Fundamentals Chapter quizzes added
      • 122 of the EOC (end-of-chapter) questions from Atkins, Jones, and Laverman Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight 7e have been converted into Sapling Learning. These are currently exclusive to Atkins users.
      • General Chemistry Atkins Question



  • Inorganic Chemistry: 104 new questions based on instructor feedback.
    • For example, 14 questions to Latimer diagrams were added, 20 questions on kinetics of coordination chemistry, and 50 questions on descriptive chemistry topics.



  • Analytical Chemistry: 280 new questions based on instructor feedback.
    • For example, 76 questions on electrochemistry and 81 questions on chromatography were added.
    • Analytical Electrochemistry



  • Biochemistry: 237 new questions 
    • Sapling Plus for Lehninger 7e now available, featuring many resources from the textbook and converted EOC questions
    • General library features over 150 new questions and some converted Lehninger EOC questions


    • Organic Chemistry: 823 new questions 
      • In response to professor requests, hundreds of new mechanism, multi-step synthesis, and spectroscopy questions have been added to the library.
      • Vollhardt 7e enhanced - Over 300 converted EOC questions from Organic Chemistry, Structure and Function 7th ed. by Peter Vollhardt and Neil Schore. These questions are available to all Sapling Learning chemistry users.
        • Several questions for every chapter have been authored, with an emphasis on reactions and topics not typically covered by other books. For example, Several questions from Ch 25 cover heterocycles and electrophilic aromatic substitution of heterocycles.
        • Many of the “Pre-professional” questions at the end of the book are available as a practice review exam and similar in scope to that expected for a GRE or ACS Organic exam.
        • Several questions that utilize real spectral data have been added, including questions where students have to analyze real IR, MS or NMR spectra.


    How do I see this new content in detail?

    • Existing user? Ask your CSS (formerly known as Tech TA) for review assignments
    • New user? Schedule a demo!


    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

    Upcoming Maintenance

    Posted by Becky Anderson Employee Jan 12, 2017

    On Saturday, January 14th, from 6 AM until 8 AM Central, Sapling Learning will be down for maintenance. During this time, neither you nor your students will be able to access Sapling Learning. Please alert your students to this maintenance and be sure to adjust your assignments in Sapling accordingly.