Updates to New CourseWorks

Unknown.gifOn December 29th 2011, CUIT upgraded the New CourseWorks system to Sakai version 2.8. With it came a number of new features and interface improvements.

The interface of the system has been upgraded to better utilize space and ease navigation among course sites. In order to save space at the top of each course site, the tabs have been moved into a new Quick Links feature at the upper left-hand corner of the screen. The Quick Links list can be customized by each user via the Customize Quick Links option.

Now when users log into New CourseWorks, the My Courses page displays a list of their registered courses for the current semester. Additionally, the My Workspace tab has been moved into the left navigation of the My Courses page. All of the tools in New CourseWorks benefit from a new WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor interface called CK Editor. A new Profile feature allows students and faculty to establish connections with peers outside of the context of a specific course site.

Within course sites, the course title has been added to the top of each page, and a "dockable" left navigation feature has been added. Tools that have been hidden (via the Page Order feature) are now italicized to indicate that they are inaccessible to students. The Facebook feature, which allowed faculty to see a grid of student ID photos, has been replaced by the Roster tool. The Roster tool can be activated in the Edit Tools window of the Site Settings area.

Several other new tools have been added to the system and can be enabled via an email request to the New CourseWorks team at newcourseworks@columbia.edu. These tools include:

  • Guest Access - for granting limited access to non-UNI holders
  • Lesson Builder - a tool to coordinate and deliver content and tools within Sakai in a distance education context
  • Sign Up - a mechanism to allow students to sign up for office hours or other events
  • Gradebook 2 - a new interface to improve the current Gradebook tool

As Sakai is a constantly growing and improving system, new features, interfaces, and tools will be added on an ongoing basis. The next upgrade is likely to happen in the summer of 2012, so stay tuned!