Test Security - We have had a number of instructors ask us about test security, and we also know that a lot of your schools already have programs for proctoring and browser lockdown. As such, we are not adding our own options for proctoring and lockdown (and be forced to charge for it accordingly), but rather we are providing more tools to make exporting our tests to load into your campus LMS easier. Directions to export a test created with Macmillan Learning Test Bank into your LMS are here .
In addition, each of the individual digital products that we offer have tools to help with test security. You can read through those options here . And we had a very useful webinar with Eric Chiang where he reviewed ideas for test security.
Lastly, we have moved most of our test banks to the Macmillan Learning Test Bank, accessible only only to a verified instructor. With this system you can:
Create paper or online tests that you can export to your LMS using your web browser;
Drag and drop questions to create tests;
Create and edit your own questions and edit publisher-created question sets.
Learn more here: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Getting-Started-with-the-Macmillan-Learning-Test-Bank .
Engaging Students - We know that one of the biggest concerns if you end up moving to a fully or partially online class is keeping students engaged. While each of our products have active aspects, we are proud to offer the market's leading student engagement solution, iClicker. Our attendance feature automates taking roll, then you can choose from flexible polling & quizzing options to engage, check understanding and get feedback from students in real time. Best of all, iClicker works seamlessly with your existing content and any other software or tools you'd like to use in your virtual, hybrid or in-person class. We also have great webinars on fostering student curiosity and engaging students online that I’d recommend.
Volume / Load - We anticipate that many more instructors are likely to try digital solutions for their students as classes are moving to hybrid or fully online options this fall. As such, we have been planning for a large uptick in student usage and making adjustments to our servers accordingly. We feel very good about our preparedness for a significant increase in student users in all of our platforms.
Instructor Training on Digital Products - We are anticipating that a lot more instructors are going to be in need of training with more digital product usage and with changing class formats. Beyond our standard training options, including time with our Learning Solutions team and our self-help documentation , we are also doing intensive training with our entire team so we have more people available to train you. In addition, there are help guides within the products and we have a group of Faculty Consultants (colleagues) who are also available to help. For this to be successful, however, we request that you don’t wait until the day or two before classes start before you request training. 🙂
Professional Development - Throughout the spring and summer, we conducted a wide variety of webinars with a number of our fabulous authors and customers and we recorded all of those webinars. You can find all the recordings here , and they cover both general teaching tips (Online Teaching, Inclusive Teaching) as well as tips for particular disciplines or products. Check out the options!
Student Training on Digital Products - We will continue to add to and refine our First Day of Class Materials for students for you to send to students or use on the first day of class so they know what you are asking them to do online, why, and how to get started.
Customer Support - Our fantastic customer support team stands at the ready to help you and your students with any issues that may arise. You can find the team (as well as a variety of help articles) online here: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/
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The Online Learning Consortium has developed a series of scorecards “with the necessary criteria and benchmarking tools to ensure online learning excellence for the entire institution.” ( https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/consult/olc-quality-scorecard-suite/ )
With that in mind, we at Macmillan Learning thought it might be useful to point out a few places where Achieve can help you get a ‘good score’ on these various objectives. This article is focused on the introductory Quality Scorecard for Digital Courseware Instructional Practice but includes a few additional topics that appear on other scorecards and seem relevant here.
Learning Objectives: In Achieve, instructors can see which assignments are tied to which Learning Objectives (LOs), and how students are doing on those particular LOs. Learn more about the Reports and Insights in Achieve to see how reporting can help you build and maintain a quality course.
Build on their knowledge : Within Achieve, students are asked to build on their knowledge from earlier chapters to show skills and understanding in later chapters.
Even distribution of work: Instructors can set up assignments, as tied to Learning Objectives, to make sure there is an even distribution of work across the class time, and to confirm that students have access to and are using a building blocks approach to learning.
System Requirements: As students register for Achieve, they are provided with the system requirements for the product. This information is also provided in the registration information for instructors to share with students, such as the First Day of Class tools .
Feedback: On the content side, many of the homework assignments in Achieve give students detailed, useful feedback if they get a problem wrong (not just “wrong” but an explanation of what was wrong and how to fix it) so they can learn from their mistake, try again, and succeed.
Help: Whenever one is working in Achieve, one can access “Help” in the upper right, which includes links to help articles to read as well as information on contacting Customer Support through email, chat or phone.
Relevant Activities: Each Achieve course, as makes sense for the course and discipline, provides students with the tools to understand, practically, how the concepts they are learning apply to the real world, from writing feedback to economics principles to learning about how biology applies to everyday life.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Following the ideas of Bloom’s taxonomy, every course in Achieve starts with more basic concepts and moves up through Application to Evaluation, allowing for students to practice and assess more advanced thinking skills throughout the course.
Learning Outcomes: In Achieve, Learning Objectives (LOs) can help instructors see which assignments are tied to which LOs, and how students are doing on those particular LOs. Learn more .
Active Learning: In Achieve, students receive access to iClicker , Macmillan Learning’s student response system, to engage students in the course content, both during live classes and outside of class. Learn more about the integration between Achieve and iClicker .
Consistent Design: Throughout the development (and subsequent deployment) of Achieve, we review to make sure if you do something following X rules here, you should do the same thing following X rules there. We do a fair amount of testing with both students and instructors to make sure the design is logical and easy to use.
Logical Progression: The content of Achieve follows the content of each relevant e-book, moving from easier or foundational topics to more complex and higher level topics.
Accessibility: Learn more about the focus on accessibility at Macmillan Learning and within Achieve.
Course Documentation: Every course that is available fully or partially online should include course documentation such as the syllabus, grading policy, and student ethics. Such documentation is easy to post within Achieve .
Faculty Support: Once you have made the decision to use Achieve in your course, Macmillan Learning offers a variety of tools to help you get up to speed including links to help articles to read as well as information on contacting Customer Support through email, chat or phone. In addition, we offer training on Achieve , and training on LMS integration and the use of iClicker .
Downtime Tracking: Macmillan Learning is happy to provide our most recently downtime statistics, as needed, for the time period you request. In general, we are over 99% uptime.
Security Measures: Within Achieve, we have a variety of different tools, depending on your assignment type, to help you with assignment security , including using time limits, question books, question order scrambling and assignment visibility.
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As more courses move online, one question we keep getting is, “How do I offer assessments in the most secure way possible?”. If you are using a Macmillan Learning digital product for your online class, here are some suggestions below to help you with assessment security. For LaunchPad Users: Set a Passcode - Requires a student to enter an instructor-specified Passcode to begin the quiz. Limit the Number of Attempts - For higher stakes assessment, only allow students to submit the assessment one time. Time Limit - This ensures that all students are provided the same amount of time to complete a quiz. If the quiz is not completed within the time limit, the quiz is automatically submitted when time expires. The time limit will also limit students’ ability to look everything up or get too much assistance. Scrambling - Instructors use this setting to randomize the order of question, the order of answer choices, or both. Feedback Control - This gives instructors the control over what information is available to students after they submit a quiz, such as whether to show the correct answers. Visibility - Instructors use the Visibility setting to "hide" a quiz from students until a specific date and time. Hide Grade - Instructors can elect to hide students' quiz grade until the due date has passed. Question Pooling - can further add to the variability of the assessment so that not all students receive the same questions on the exam and instead receive a random set of questions from a set of them. Instructors can set up multiple pools within one assessment to ensure students receive the right number from each desired topic the test should cover. You can see all of these settings explained in this article on setting up assignments: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/LaunchPad-Tips-for-setting-up-assignments and the article on question pooling: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/LaunchPad-Creating-a-quiz-with-question-pools For Sapling and Achieve Users: For Assessments, use the Quiz / Test policy and add a time limit also. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies Time Limit - This ensures that all students are provided the same amount of time to complete a quiz. The time limit will also limit students’ ability to look everything up or get too much assistance. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-Make-an-Assessment-timed Use question pools - Although many of our questions already contain variation, using Pools can further add to the variability of the assessment so that not all students receive the same questions on the exam and instead receive a random set of questions from a set of them. Instructors can set up multiple pools within one assessment to ensure students receive the right number from each desired topic the test should cover. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-Create-and-edit-question-pools-in-mobile-assignments Scrambling - Randomizing the order the questions are delivered could also be a viable option so no one has the same question 3. This can be set in the Grading Policies for an assessment. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policieshttps://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies Visibility - When assigning the assessment, instructors should use the visibility settings to ensure students don’t see the exam until the instructor is ready for them to see it. By setting the student visibility to a certain date range, instructors can choose exactly when the assessment becomes visible to students and when it closes from visibility. For higher stakes tests, it is recommended that this window be as short as possible. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
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As the semester comes to a close, you'll need to start thinking about wrapping up student grades and then creating your new course for the next semester. Here are a few links to help: LaunchPad: For this semester: Make sure you zero scores for unsubmitted assignments. Make any other changes to student grades. Export your gradebook (as needed). For next semester: Copy your existing course (and update the due dates) or create a new course. (And, if needed, branch from a course Master to create section copies.) Update the assignments (changing questions, changing due dates) as needed to meet your course goals. Make sure your course is available for students. Sapling / SaplingPlus: Make any final changes to student grades. Export grades (as needed). Copy your course or let the Client Success Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you wish to use Sapling next semester. Update the assignments as needed to meet your course goals (whether that means changing the questions or changing the assignment settings). Achieve: Make any final changes to student grades. Export the grades (as needed). Either copy your prior course or create a new course. Update the assignments as needed to meet your course goals. And once you've done all that, consider yourself ready for the next semester!
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We have been doing A LOT of work on Achieve Read & Practice this fall, so here's a recap of what you and your students will have for January 2020. Course List: The Course List redesign (that you'll see when you first log into Achieve in mid-December) organizes courses for students and instructors in collapsible buckets allowing users to easily find their current courses and access past courses. Master Section: There is a new Master Section option that will allow one instructor or coordinator to set up their course and then create individual section courses (for themselves or other instructors) from the Master Section. The coordinator can set all of the consistent course info for all sections in one place. These settings pass down to the sections. Section courses are set up in a grid format where the coordinator can specify the section name, meeting days and times, instructor(s) teaching, and the level of access that the instructors will receive for that section. (If an instructor has Restricted Access, the instructor has clear indicators regarding what actions they can and cannot take.) Within the tools, coordinators will be able to edit the content and push the updates to Restricted Access sections until the first grade return. We recommend using Restricted Access for your own sections when you want to manage the content for all of your sections in one place. Preview as Student: I nstructors can preview the course as a student, including My Course and Gradebook. Contextual Help: From the "Help" in the upper right of each page, we added in Help links to the most commonly asked questions--like how do I assign something on the "My Course" page or how do I sync with my LMS on the "Gradebook" page.
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Fostering collegial student relationships in an online environment can be one of the most challenging tasks facing an instructor. I am often asked: How can we get students to interact with each other as frequently as they do in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom? What are some best practices by which online instructors have facilitated student-to-student engagement? And, more practically, what can we do right now to implement these techniques in the classroom? Fortunately for those of us using LaunchPad, there are many ways to encourage this kind of dialogue, features like the discussion board, that are already built into the platform. Perhaps the most important, the discussion board tool allows students the ability to post original contributions while also letting them provide feedback to their peers. Indeed, as Krentler and Willis-Flurry (2005) discovered, the implementation of this kind of technology in the classroom does actually empirically increase student learning. While not assigned by default, an instructor can easily implement the discussion board feature into any or all of the chapters and modules. By clicking on “Add to this Unit” the instructor can select the discussion board function and post an appropriate content prompt revolving around the material covered in that specific chapter. It is often helpful for the instructor to construct a prompt that not merely asks the students their opinion on a certain matter - say, do you believe that nature or nurture is the cause of psychological abnormality and suffering? Rather, by including a video clip or a link to a research article, the instructor can help the students more critically and conceptually engage with the material (Harman & Koohang, 2005). That is, by encouraging students to analyze a specific pedagogical object or artifact, they, by extension, are able better to construct a communal narrative that revolves around that very task. Taking a step further, the instructor can also provide ongoing and dynamic feedback while the discussion board has not passed the due date set in LaunchPad. This has the benefit of helping to steer the dialogue in a certain way, acting as an opportunity for student learning, while also fostering class cohesion and identity. The importance of student collaboration and building collegiality becomes all the more pressing in a digital classroom. As a result, instructors will find the discussion board option in LaunchPad to be a very welcomed feature. In fact, I have suggested some ways in which educators can implement this into their curricula. However, what I have found after teaching online for the last 8 years is that the more creative we can get with using functions like the discussion board, the more seamless the online experience and the more efficacious the actual learning. References Harma, K. & Koohand, A. (2005). Discussion board: A learning object. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 1(1), 67-77. Informing Science Institute. Retrieved September 13, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/44867/ Krentler, K. A. & Willis-Flurry, L. A. (2005). Does technology enhance actual student learning? The case of online discussion boards. Journal of Education for Business, 20(6), 316-321. Bio Jacob W. Glazier, PhD, LPC, NCC is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Positive Human Development and Social Change at Life University and an online Adjunct Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University – Steinhardt. He provides therapy services online for BetterHelp and its associated sites as a licensed professional counselor. https://jacobglazier.academia.edu/
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This week, we are making some improvements to the Assessments in Sapling that we wanted to tell you about (since we’re so excited). The Item Analysis & Student Analysis tabs will be combined to a single tab called “Responses”. Under “Responses”, you will see “Question Overview” which has the information formerly shown in the “Item Analysis” and “Performance Overview” that covers the old “Student Analysis” information. There will be a counter bubble to let you know when responses have been submitted from students on an assignment. There’s a new graphical comparison of all the questions in the assignment in the navigation dropdown of the Question Overview card. The Performance Overview card will now only show a subset of students, so it will now load more quickly for larger courses. You should see all these changes by the end of this week--and we hope you’re as excited as we are! ( We are also working to update the help documentation to help answer any questions you might have. ) Good luck with the rest of the semester!
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Did you know that you can drag and drop items in the Launchpad calendar? Or batch update your settings in Sapling? Do you have the 411 on Achieve Read and Practice? Whether you know the tips and tricks or not, receiving training from your Learning Solutions Specialist (or LSS for short) will help get you “in the know” on the digital platform you’ll be using this semester and how to best utilize it for your own course goals. So, who are the Learning Solutions Specialists? The Learning Solutions Specialists (LSS) are part of the Customer Experience group. Each Learning Solution Specialist is a discipline expert that is responsible for helping instructors have a better experience with Macmillan Products. When speaking to instructors, that LSS can demo the product and give you a preview or give you a full blown training, from content familiarity to functionality and best practices. Why Should I Meet With An LSS? 45 minutes can change your entire semester. While you may explore your Macmillan product on your own once you have been given access, our LSS team can highlight key functionality that you may have missed and share best practices on how to implement the many learning resources. There are many benefits to meeting with an LSS: -1-on-1 Meetings focused on your needs and questions -Understand the best practices used by many other instructors -Learn with a guide -Discover Tips and Tricks -Start getting your class setup while on the meeting What Happens After my meeting? Traditionally, after meeting with the LSS in your discipline, you will be sent a follow-up email that will recap what you spoke about, include technical support info and knowledge article links, as well as an extension of help offered for any further questions you may have about your educational digital platform. As you can see, there are many benefits for taking time to meet with a Learning Solutions Specialist. This time will be well spent and save you time throughout the semester. Schedule a demo or training.
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THE FUTURE OF ONLINE LABS Bill Heslop at Learning Science on Smart Worksheets Monday, October 14th at 1:00 PM EST Bill is going to show how student-entered data worksheets could be the answer in your lab, providing students with immediate feedback on their own lab results and saving TAs a ton of time grading--that they can use helping students in lab instead. WATCH THE RECORDING ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lab Simulations - for online learning and to enhance all classes Wednesday, October 16th at 1:00 PM EST Starting some online labs? Want to do more to prepare your students for lab? Learn more about Hayden McNeil's Lab Simulations and how they can benefit your lab and your students. WATCH THE RECORDING
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Picture this: it’s finals week. You’ve been tirelessly grading papers, proctoring exams, attending end-of-semester meetings. Keeping an eye on the final grades deadline, you enter that last student’s exam score into your learning management system (LMS) and click submit. Viola! Another successful semester in the books. You are just about to settle into your favorite reading chair with a glass of vino when you hear your email ding. Your heart sinks as you skim a far-too familiar email. A student is shocked and unhappy with the less-than-desirable grade that has just been posted. “How could this happen? I worked really hard. Can you please bump my grade? Is there any way I can complete extra credit?” The “Surprise F Scenario,” as I like to call it, is one that is equally as frustrating for both students AND instructors. We all want our students to succeed, but we cannot provide grades that have not been earned. Instead, we can help set our students up for success by encouraging them to engage in goal setting and grade tracking from the first week of class on, so they can accurately predict their own performance all semester (before it’s too late!). The concept of goal setting is not new; the goal setting theory has been studied for over fifty years and has been demonstrated as instrumental to success and performance across cultures, contexts, and cohorts (Locke & Latham, 2019). A recent study (Handoko et al., 2019) of over 600 university students in a large online course found that successful completers of the course demonstrated greater skills in goal setting, including setting standards for course assignments, as well as setting short-term (i.e., daily or weekly) and long-term (i.e., monthly or semester) goals. The encouragement of goal setting early in the semester can help students master self-regulated learning – particular in online courses where engagement with course material must be self-directed. Goal setting can also guide time management for students, which is another major predictor of academic success (Basila, 2014). Goal setting should coincide with regular grade tracking. Handoko and colleagues (2009) also found that successful students engaged in “self-monitoring to maintain what they perceived as a high standard for learning” (p.50). To understand if students are reaching short-term goals, and thus more likely to meet long-term goals, they should be monitoring their assignment scores and current grade in the course each week. Their final grade should never be a surprise; if they are checking their progress on a regular basis, they have a realistic idea of how they are performing and what scores they need to earn to achieve a desired final grade. It is so helpful that Macmillan Launchpad automatically syncs with my LMS, so students can view their Learningcurve and Assess Your Strengths grades, as well as all of their Canvas grades and assignments, in one gradebook. To really convince my students why they should engage in these practices, I take a “proof is in the pudding” approach. After the first high stakes assessment, such as a unit exam, I calculate and provide students with their own data that supports this claim. I typically do this by providing a table that breaks down Exam 1 grades (A, B, C, D, F, Did not Attempt), and provide corresponding grade averages for the lower stake learning activities (Learningcurve, Assess Your Strengths, weekly attendance/participation, etc.). A pattern almost always emerges that shows as exam grades go down, averages for other class activities goes down. This highlights to students that the weekly goals (and corresponding activities) matter – those achieving those weekly goals are more successful on high stake assessments. Best practices: Encourage goal setting during the first week of classes by asking students to complete a goal worksheet with daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Regularly check in with them to update their worksheet. Post the expected time commitment for each assignment to assist with time management. Ask students to track their own progress using the Launchpad and LMS gradebook. Research shows simply measuring behavior can improve it. Many LMS systems allow students to determine how well they need to do on assignments to earn a desired grade such as a What If? Feature where they can enter hypothetical grades for future assignments). Encourage them to set a short-term goal (daily or weekly) and long-term goals using this feature, and regularly monitor their progress in the gradebook. After a high stakes assignment, show students a breakdown of the high stakes assignment grades with grades on other assignments – this usually showcases a pattern that those who complete/do well on learning activities also do well on larger assessments. Show them data supporting that their effort and performance on low stakes assignments pays off in meeting goals. References Basila, C. (2014). Good time Management and motivation level predict student academic success in college on-line courses. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 4(3), 45–52. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijcbpl.2014070104 Handoko, E., Gronseth, S., McNeil, S., Bonk, C., & Robin, B. (2019). Goal setting and MOOC completion: A study on the role of self-regulated learning in student performance in massive open online courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20(3), 40-58. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2019). The development of goal setting theory: A half century retrospective. Motivation Science, 5(2), 93–105. https://doi.org/10.1037/mot0000127
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I’ve been teaching Abnormal Psychology with LaunchPad in hybrid and in-person courses for multiple years, but this summer semester was my first attempt at teaching fully online. Compressing the 15-week course into 8-weeks was one challenge, but others included how to best communicate all the things that often get said in the classroom, not just about content, but also about how to use resources like Launchpad. Below are some lessons learned: Things kept from previous classes that worked well: An extensive syllabus, including not only requirements and schedule, but also all assignment components, and an expanded section on the computer access and skills necessary for success in the course. This includes reminders to plan for emergencies, and always have a backup. LearningCurve – these quizzes have been a great tool for my students for many semesters, and this did not change in the online modality. I require students to complete these as they read the chapters, and encourage them to return to them as a study tool before tests. Frequent reminders/FAQs – there are always questions about LaunchPad and how it is integrated into the course. I keep a list of both the questions asked, and how these are answered, so that in future courses I can post these as a reference. I also schedule announcement posts in the first week of class reminding students how to do things like integrating their LaunchPad account into the LMS (we use D2L Brightspace). Test questions – many of which I have obtained from the Instructor Resources included in LaunchPad. While testing did have to be moved into the LMS, the items remained the same, allowing me to compare results across modalities. Things that had to be adapted to the online modality: Early semester presentation on how to use LaunchPad. In previous semesters I have worked through this in person – for the online course I recorded a mini-lecture of me working through the site, navigating one LearningCurve quiz, navigating to the grade book, etc. Lecture presentations – while I have recorded lectures and provided these online in order to use a “flipped” classroom model for previous hybrid sections, teaching fully online reduced the opportunities for students to discuss questions about these lectures with me in person. This was dealt with by adding the discussion modules below. Things added to the online course: Discussion boards – in place of in-class discussions, students were required to post their questions or comments on each chapter, and respond to their colleagues. This allowed an opportunity to correct misapprehensions and answer questions about content. In addition, this further encouraged reading of the textbook, which was the prompt for these discussion posts. Online interaction with instructor and TA – as always, students were encouraged to come to us with problems as early as possible. New modalities for this were necessary, and a discussion board was added for this purpose. Activity Checklists – in order to organize the many components of the online course, and to help with flow in a compressed (8-week) semester, a checklist of tasks was created for each week of the course. This included links to: the e-book with instructions to read the relevant chapter the relevant Learning Curve assignment, which had been integrated into the LMS any additional reading the posted video lecture\ the required discussion posts in the LMS This addition also helped streamline student’s use of LaunchPad, as the checklists were in the LMS, but linked to components of LaunchPad which had been integrated. Links navigated to Launchpad, but scores appeared in both gradebooks. Results Class average scores on all tests were approximately the same, in some cases slightly better, than in the previous 3 semesters of teaching the course in other modalities. As usual, there were some students who failed to complete some or all of the LaunchPad assignments, however the proportion of this seemed lower than in previous semesters. Final grade average was slightly higher than in most recent semesters, with a higher proportion of “A” grades.
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As you know, one of the benefits of using a digital product (vs a print product) is that you can quickly make changes to that product and continue to improve on it after it releases. To that end, we’ve been working hard on Read & Practice in 2019 (and will continue to do so through the rest of the year).
This summer, we released two major changes:
Added ‘batch’ functionality so you can assign multiple items or chapters at once (directions under Method 4)
Changed the page layout so you can see more of the important stuff at once
As a reminder, in the spring, the team was also busy working on a variety of changes and improvements based on your feedback:
Improved the loading speed of the gradebook
Improved navigation within the gradebook so that the top row and left column always appear
Added pagination to the gradebook so instructors don’t have to wait for ALL students to load on one page
Added Search to look for specific Assignments or specific Students in the Gradebook.
Added the downloadable ebook option (click on the arrow next to your name in the upper right)
Created the ability for instructors to add a URL to their course
And of course, we will not stop work once the fall rolls around...but we want you to have the element of surprise to look forward to…so more to come!
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In an effort to make sure you are all ready to go before classes start, here's a short checklist of how to prepare yourself and your students to use Sapling and SaplingPlus this semester.
Course Set Up – Prior to Term
❏ Bookmark the Sapling log in page: https://www.macmillanlearning.com/college/us/digital/sapling
❏ Attend a training and feel confident in your ability to use Sapling
❏ Learn your username and password (and don’t put it on a post-it note in your office for students to see)
❏ If you are using an LMS in conjunction with Sapling, make sure your integration is set up correctly (and the Client Success Team has been notified of your integration plans).
❏ Bookmark Instructor Help and know how to contact Customer Support AND the Client Success Team
❏ Set up a new course for the new term. (You can copy your existing course or work with the Client Success team to create a new course.)
❏ Edit Existing assignments or create new assignments for your students to complete .
❏ Confirm that your assignment settings match the goals of your course.
❏ Confirm that your course is available for students to enroll into. (The client success team can help you with this.)
❏ Prepare for your First Day of Class with students by using our FDOC tools or by talking to your local representative .
Getting Started with Students - First Day of Class
❏ Provide students with the access information needed to join your course.
❏ Explain to students why you are having them use Sapling and show how it can benefit them
❏ Make students aware of the three purchase options: purchase now, enter an access code, and pay later.
❏ Make sure students know when and how to contact Customer Support .
❏ Make students aware that the full ebook is included in SaplingPlus, and it’s available to be downloaded for reading offline .
Gradebook Results and Assessment – During and After the Term
❏ Review the gradebook to identify common student misconceptions and inform course and lecture plans
❏ Use individual student data for early intervention
❏ Download my student results from Sapling (or, if using an LMS, from the LMS)
❏ Think about how to change and improve your course for next semester
❏ Review the Macmillan “ Webinars on Demand ” for new ideas on how to use Sapling in your course.
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In an effort to make sure you are all ready to go before classes start, here's a short checklist of how to prepare yourself and your students to use LaunchPad this semester. Course Set Up – Prior to Term ❏ Bookmark the LaunchPad sign in page: https://www.macmillanlearning.com/college/us/digital/launchpad/ ❏ Attend a training and develop confidence in your ability to use LaunchPad ❏ Learn your username and password (and don’t put it on a post-it note in your office for students to see) ❏ If you are using an LMS in conjunction with LaunchPad, make sure your integration is set up correctly and that you’ve attended the LMS training session . ❏ Bookmark Instructor Help and know how to contact Customer Support ❏ Set up a new course for the new term. (You can copy your existing course and branch it, if you have multiple sections of the same course, or create a new course .) ❏ Make a series of assignments for students to complete. If you are new to LaunchPad and want to start small, we typically recommend that you begin with LearningCurve. ❏ Confirm that your assignment settings match the goals of your course. (For instance, do you want to make the assignments due before class to enable discussion or after class, to confirm understanding.) ❏ Activate your course so it is available for students to enroll into. ❏ Prepare for your First Day of Class with students by using our FDOC tools or by talking to your local representative . Getting Started with Students - First Day of Class ❏ Provide students with the access information needed to join your course, whether they are buying access through the Macmillan LearningStudent Store or purchasing codes directly from your campus bookstore. ❏ Explain to students why you are having them use LaunchPad and show how it can benefit them ❏ Make students aware of the three purchase options: purchase now, enter an access code, and pay later. ❏ Make sure students know when and how to contact Customer Support . ❏ Make students aware that the full ebook is included in LaunchPad, and it’s available to be downloaded for reading offline . Gradebook Results and Assessment – During and After the Term ❏ Review the gradebook to identify common student misconceptions and inform course and lecture plans ❏ Use individual student data for early intervention ❏ Download my student results from LaunchPad (or, if using an LMS, from the LMS) ❏ Think about how to change and improve your course for next semester ❏ Review the Macmillan “ Webinars on Demand ” for new ideas on how to use LaunchPad in your course.
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Learning Curve quizzes are a great tool to help students review material and prepare for classroom discussion, and they also provide us with metrics to indicate what students might be struggling with so we can better tailor our classroom time to meet the student’s needs. Students often ask “how can I better study for exams?” and sometimes ask for review sheets or some way to test their knowledge prior to the exam, so they can see what they know and what they do not. Showing student how to properly use Learning Curve quizzes to help them study for exams provides them with a critical tool for learning and developing metacognitive skills. When it comes to studying, a lot of students’ report reading and re-reading the text, highlighting as they go, but these strategies have been demonstrated to be relatively inefficient in terms of learning (Dunlosky, et al, 2013). If we can direct them to utilize more high-impact practices, such as self-testing, we can encourage learning as well as promote the development of study skills that can benefit them over the course of their academic career and beyond. To help our students better learn material and prepare for exams, we can direct them back to the Learning Curve quizzes and explain to them how to use them as a study tool. When students study material in the same way that they will be asked to recall it later on an exam or quiz, we find an increase in performance for that material, this is often referred to as the testing effect. When students prepare for a standardized exam, like the SAT or GRE, they are encouraged to take practice exams in order to assess what they know and identify areas where there is are gaps in their knowledge. Roediger and Karpicke’s (2006) investigation of the testing effect demonstrated that students who tested themselves on the material perform better than students who reviewed the material for the same amount of time despite the former group of students spending less time initially on the material than the students who simply re-studied. Roediger and Butler (2011) build on the testing effect and repeated retrieval, demonstrating that an expanding interval between retrieval attempts provides better retention. We can use these findings to benefit our students by explaining to them that learning science has informed us, through evidence-based research, that the best way to study is to do it in little bits, spread out over time, and repeated self-testing can be an efficient way to learn and practice material. Explaining the testing effect to students and how to use Learning Curve quizzes more effectively has the potential to increase student grades and engagement with your course. These best practices give them better control over their success in your course. When we explain to students how to better use their study time, we can help them become better learners in all their courses. Best practices: Let your students know that re-reading and highlighting may seem like they are working, but actually provide the least benefit to learning. Let them know that instead of taking more time to study, they use the time they already allocate to study more efficiently. Direct them to the Learning Curve quizzes as a way to test their knowledge and study for exams. Tell your students that if they get a question wrong, do not copy the question and correct answer to review later, instead write down the concept that the question was about, look it up and then write down (in their own words) their understanding of the concept. Inform them that this helps get the idea into your memory, copying the question and answer may feel like work, but is not helping you understand. Encourage your students to study often, in small blocks of time. Very few students I’ve spoken to enjoy cramming for 8 hours the night before an exam. Let your students know that they should study in the same way personal trainers will tell you to work out, in small blocks of time and with concentrated effort. Tell your students about the testing effect (there are many you-tube videos you can show in class or put on your LMS) and how it works. Encourage them to prepare for exams by reviewing Learning Curve quizzes and taking notes. References Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4–58. doi:10.1177/1529100612453266 Roediger, H. L.; Butler, A. C. (2011). "The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 15 (1): 20–27. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2010.09.003 Roediger, H. L.; Karpicke, J. D. (2006). "Test-Enhanced Learning: Taking Memory Tests Improves Long-Term Retention". Psychological Science. 17 (3): 249–255. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01693 BIO Benjamin has been teaching psychology courses at Blinn College, a two-tear open enrollment community college located in Bryan, Texas, for the past 10 years. Benjamin integrates a host of student success components into his course to help his students with college skills, such as studying, time management, and presentation skills. In addition to teaching, he is the Faculty Fellow for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Blinn College, and provides instructors of all disciplines with several workshops a##nd presentations each semester. He presents on a wide variety of topics concerning andragogy, teaching methods, and student success with a goal to provide faculty with different perspectives and methodologies to promote success for themselves and their students inside and outside of the classroom.
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We are delighted to report that you can now add your TAs (or SIs) to your course without the help of the Client Success Team. In the left-side menu of your course, if you hover over Course Management , you will see Teaching Assistants . Follow these directions for all the details on how to add a TA and what that role means in your course. And while you’re looking at the Course Management button, note that you can Duplicate Your Course as well--a handy feature to remember for future semesters! I hope this gets your semester off to a good start! Let us know if you need anything else.
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The team has been working hard on improvements to LaunchPad this year. A lot of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ like security improvements and changes to how LaunchPad works for visually impaired users working with JAWS, but a few to highlight are: We just released some student onboarding changes that adds a "Purchase Access" and "Enter A Code" button to the top of the LaunchPad course if a user has less than 30 days of access remaining. This is designed to make life (and purchasing) easier for students using Trial Access. To further help with student onboarding, we increased character limit of the LaunchPad school name field so institutions with a very long name won’t be truncated, making it easier for students to find their school. We removed the Flash Player from the LaunchPad System Check since a) we have very little Flash content in LP anymore and b) Flash is going away, as you know. The "Zero score for unsubmitted" Gradebook Preference is now disabled by default for copied/branched course. This prevents the issue where an instructor creates a copy or branch of an existing course but doesn’t update the due dates and then when students enroll in the course, they automatically receive a zero for all past due assignments.
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We will be performing system maintenance on Sunday morning July 21st from 12:01am Eastern until 7am Eastern as well as Friday morning July 26th from 6am to 9am Eastern. Sapling will not be available during these ten hours for students or instructors. Please change any assignment due dates as needed. We apologize for the inconvenience, but one of the benefits of this maintenance are some improvements to Sapling. Based on customer feedback, we are making a number of changes to the gradebook in Sapling Learning and SaplingPlus. These updates should be available to users mid-day on Thursday, July 18th. These improvements include: We are making the report names more intuitive, using Gradebook and Student Report instead of Grader and User report. Clicking on Student Report shows a list of students and the overall grade for each student The list can be sorted by student name or grade The list can be filtered by typing in student names above the list Clicking on a student name goes to the grade report for the individual student The export pages have an improved page to select the grade items included in the file. You can now preview the download as well. In addition, export shows Excel by default. From the gradebook, individual grades can be edited by clicking on the grade. Viewing the submitted work and grade details are available on a menu next to the grade item. Scrolling grades to the side keeps the navigation tabs at the top of the page. When “Show Hidden Items in Gradebook” is set to No, grade items that are hidden (set on Categories and Items) will not be shown on the full Gradebook view. On the Categories and Items page, the icons have been updated. The buttons were moved to the top. The columns for "Keep the highest" and "Drop the lowest" are on the simple view. And Reorder Gradebook has been moved to a button next to the other buttons. In addition, we are making changes to the Assessments Editor tool. These updates should be available to users mid-day on Thursday, July 25th. These updates include: Updated visuals and labels throughout for better readability and usability. On the Assessment tab, we renamed “Shared” item sets to “Related Set” for easier understanding. With regard to re-ordering items, we added a “Reorder” button, restyled the “Move here” and “Move to top/bottom/Pool” target zones, and added animations and highlighting of moving items. We retired the Settings tab and replaced it with a Grading Settings button on the Assessment tab. We also revamped the policy dropdown to quick-view Template cards (to make life easier) and condensed the canonical system policies to four: Homework; Test/Quiz (formerly Test); Unpenalized (formerly Practice); Student-Comment Quiz (formerly Test with student comments). We also converted other, old canonical policies and custom policies into Custom Templates cards. We hope you will find these improvements worth the inconvenience. (We will be updating the help files shortly and your Client Success Team will be able to help with any questions as well.)
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Today we had a release that allowed us to share some much-asked-for changes to the way the homepage in Sapling works. Instructors can now select multiple items on the course home page, including assessments, labels, and resources Selecting multiple items (or single items) allows the items to be moved, deleted, or have the visibility status toggled The move option opens a new menu with an outline of the course showing the possible locations to where the selected items can be moved
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Macmillan Learning has a Faculty Consultant program that might work for you.
The Faculty Consultants talk about how they implement our products in their classes . They can speak about how our products actually work in real classes with live students.
They can talk about how LaunchPad changed their class or what students think of Sapling or how they included Achieve Read & Practice into their syllabus or how they use iClicker to engage students. So if you are thinking about using LaunchPad, we can connect you to another faculty member to learn more about what they use in LaunchPad and why they like it. Or if you aren't sure how Sapling would fit into your program, you can talk to an Faculty Consultant about their experience with Sapling. Or if you want to know if Achieve Read & Practice really works, you can talk to a peer about the benefits of R&P. Lastly, if you want to know anything about iClicker--active learning activities, grading best practices, or benefits of the student app & remotes--our Advocates are prepared to help out!
If you want to learn more, just comment on this post and we'll be in touch!
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Thanks for your usage of Sapling and we hope you’ll continue to work with us. In fact, if you tell us by 4/20/19 that you'll be using Sapling in the summer or fall, we think it will make you healthy, wealthy and wise. How so? Because if you tell us now, then we’ll send you one of our great trade books--and you can choose which one... Yes, I'm planning on using Sapling Again Titles available to you: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--And Why Things are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling et al What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today's Biggest Problems by Linda Yueh The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century by David Salsburg Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure by Cedric Villani Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George Evolutions: Fifteen Myths that Explain Our World by Oren Harman Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark Heart: A History by Sandeep Juahar Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution by Menno Schilthuizen Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon The Zoomable Universe: An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing by Caleb Scharf; Illustrations by Ron Miller
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For Fall 2019 classes, almost all of our Sapling users (except those in Chemical Engineering and Organic Chemistry ) will have the option to start using Sapling in HTML5. What are the benefits of moving to HTML5? With Flash going away, there will be NO PLUGIN needed to run Sapling. Sapling will then run faster on more browsers. (For the best user experience, we recommend that you run a browser check. Go to HTML5test.com to see your status). We will have more accessibility options. HTML5 also provides a better platform for upcoming additions to features and functionality. More modern and intuitive user experience Assignment preview and reset has more options Improved analytics such as item analysis Mobile accessible for tablets and t arget Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA Previewing assignments is easier Building and editing assignments is easier MolDraw for Lewis structures and molecular geometry What do you need to do to move to HTML5? If you are planning on using Sapling for the Fall 2019 semester, the sooner you let the Client Success Team know, the better. They can start building your course now in HTML5 before the start of classes. How can you get training on this? Just sign up for one of our training classes sometime this spring! https://macmillanlearning.com/Catalog/event/training-demos/Sapling/Training When do you have to move to HTML5? Flash will be retired in December 2020, so you will be definitely need to by the end of 2020.
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Okay, so I will confess that Question Pooling is probably my favorite part of LaunchPad. (Yes, I'm a nerd and I'm okay with that.) Hopefully you know all about question pooling already and this post is a boring reminder...but just in case, here's a recap: With Question Pooling, you can create a group of questions from which one or more (depending on the setting) is chosen at random for students (and we do this for some of our pre-built quizzes already) . If you pick questions that are all related to the same topic (which is sensible to do, by the way), then students are all being quizzed on the same concept, but the actual question they see varies--making cheating harder to do (not that students cheat, but you know, hypothetically...) and giving you a more diverse question base. So you could end up with a quiz where students see 10 questions, but those 10 questions are pulling from a pool of 50 questions, so each student likely ends up with a slightly different quiz from each of their colleagues. Check it out and let us know what you think!
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Students and instructors LOVE our new Achieve Read & Practice product. It has gotten higher marks from both groups than any software we have ever offered. For a limited time, we are offering TWO popular trade books to anybody who meets with one of our specialists for an Achieve Read & Practice demo. Sign up HERE and in the notes and comments section of the sign up form simply typ e #AchieveRP . Once you have completed your 20-30 minute meeting, we will send you your choice of two of these excellent and recent Macmillan popular books. Get your students reading and get some pleasure reading for you in the process! THE SELLOUT (winner of the Man Booker as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award) by Paul Beatty https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9781250083258/thesellout A HIGHER LOYALTY by James Comey https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250192455 BEING MORTAL (NYT bestseller) by Atul Gawande https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9781250076229/beingmortal FACTFULNESS (Bill Gates and Barack Obama favorite) by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9781250107817/factfulness FRESH COMPLAINT (new collection of short stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of MIDDLESEX and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES) by Jeffrey Eugenides https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9781250192721/freshcomplaint THE SUN DOES SHINE by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9781250205797/thesundoesshine ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9780374537159/annihilation THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780312577230 FIRE AND FURY by Michael Wolff https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250158062 THE FIELD OF BLOOD (the company's top trade history title this season) by Joanne B. Freeman https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9780374154776/thefieldofblood THINKING, FAST AND SLOW (NYT bestseller by a Nobel Prize-winning Economist) by Daniel Kahneman https://us.macmillan.com/tradebooksforcourses/academictrade/9780374533557/thinkingfastandslow
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At this point, hopefully you've gotten all your students into LaunchPad and you want to see who has started to do work. So you open up the gradebook and bam--there are ALL these pieces of data in the gradebook. What do they mean and how can they help you and your students? I think one of our BEST resources is the LaunchPad Gradebook Tutorial . This help article shows everything you need to know about the gradebook and more! Check it out and let us know what you think!
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Friday, February 8, 2019 at 2:00 PM ET While the benefits of a classroom response system in large lecture halls may be obvious, those same benefits can be obtained in smaller, more intimate class of 30 or fewer students. Led by Brian Geislinger of Gadsden State Community College, this webinar will discuss both how iClicker can be effectively used in small classes, as well as the unique challenges that active learning techniques in a smaller group can present. After earning his PhD in Physics from UAB, Brian Geislinger has taught Physics and Astronomy at Gadsden State Community College for the past 10 years. Brian has been recognized with a number of awards for innovation both in teaching and for the use of technology in his classroom. Register
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If you're just starting out with LaunchPad and you are overwhelmed with the number and variety of resources in the product, just start with LearningCurve. Assign one LearningCurve before each class period so students come to class prepared for discussion. This will allow you more freedom in your class to talk about what's important, and you can see which students are doing the work or which topics are causing problems. And though it's hard to believe, students consistently, over the years, report actually enjoying doing work in LearningCurve because they can make progress, ask questions, and they actually learn! They view the interface as 'game-like' and the online format allows them to learn without feeling silly by asking questions in class. It's a win-win, so give it a try! And if you're nervous, reach out to our implementation team of help in setting up your course quickly and easily. We're here to help!
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If you have students who want to get the print book to go with LaunchPad, LaunchPadSolo,or SaplingPlus, please be sure to alert them to the options at the Student Store. store.macmillanlearning.com Why rent textbooks from Macmillan Learning? Renting textbooks can help students save money throughout their college career. Textbooks rentals are available from 3 months to 1 year—choose the duration that works best. The best part of all? We offer free shipping for all hard-copy textbook rentals with immediate 14-day access to the online e-textbook.
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Did you know that you can integrate iClicker into your LaunchPad or SaplingPlus course to keep all your grades in one place? And that you can use iClicker for attendance? With iClicker, us e GPS technology to ensure that students are attending class. No more attendance codes that can be easily shared via text! Learn more or sign up for a demonstration.
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As you start to prep for your next round of classes, don't forget that we have syllabus inserts and presentation decks for you to use to help students get registered with Achieve, LaunchPad, and Sapling.
Please view the following presentation slides and download the attached syllabus inserts, input your course information, and share them with your students prior to your first day of class. You can post them in your learning management system, e-mail them, or print them out to distribute in class.
If you want to make any changes to the presentation slides, go to File > Make a copy and edit the copy you create.
Good luck and let us know if you have any questions as you start up classes!
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