Recently we had one of our major releases and there is some more new functionality in Achieve that you should know about.
Students with 1 term access will be able to switch their course enrollment
Student-specific assignments will no longer be visible to those students who aren't assigned the assignment
Coordinators will be able to change Assessment grading settings at any time, from within NGA or the single assign widget, in their Section Manager
Instructors can edit or create their own multiple choice, multiple select, numeric entry, free response, and math equation questions for use in their Achieve courses. See the help article here.
Instructors can “favorite” assessment items that they really like so they are easy to find for later assessments or for use in other courses. See the help article here.
Instructors will be able to grade writing assignments using the rubric score, with optional weighting for rubric criteria (only in English courses using Writing Tools). See the help article here.
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Last year we had a campaign entitled, “ Surround your e-book in luxury with Achieve.” But recently, we had someone suggest that we should start by talking about the benefits of using your e-book in Achieve--even if you aren’t going to use all the other assets that might come with your digital platform. So why should you use the e-book in Achieve?
When your students purchase one term access to Achieve, they can download the e-book for offline use for four years! That downloadable e-book comes with all the features of the standalone e-book purchase: highlighting, notetaking, flashcards, search, and more. (When students purchase a standalone e-book, they most frequently purchase the one with the shortest time span of access as it’s the lowest cost, so using Achieve provides the best value and gives students access to the e-book for longer than they likely would have had it if they just bought the book alone.)
The e-book in Achieve is enhanced as compared to the e-book in VitalSource. In Achieve, we offer books with embedded multimedia (such as videos to explain concepts) as well as quizzes (where you students can see the question and get immediate feedback on their answer). This additional functionality allows students to use the e-book even more to further their conceptual understanding of key concepts in the course.
In Achieve, you can assign the e-book for your students to read. This means you can make suggestions about pacing (Chapter 1 should be done by this date) and reinforce the importance of the e-book so students come to class prepared for discussion. You can assign each part of the reading for points, if you’d like, or no points; that approach is up to you and how you want to structure your course. You can even tag the e-book as something you’d like completed as Pre-Class or Post-Class, again, depending on what works for you and your course.
Beyond assigning the e-book to simply read, some of the assessments in Achieve incorporate the e-book to further encourage student reading. For instance, our adaptive quizzing tool allows students to work through the formative quiz with the e-book open--encouraging students to read to find the answer with no penalty as an introduction to the topic.
In sum, there are a few reasons why students would benefit from using the e-book in Achieve--beyond all the additional luxurious items that are available in Achieve for you and your students. Check it out today!
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The Achieve product team is always looking for new ways to improve our systems and solicit customer feedback. One thing we’ve consistently heard from our customers is that the assessments performance overview page is challenging to navigate, and that as an instructor, you’re looking for quicker ways to determine:
How the class is doing as a whole
Which questions are causing problems
Which students are performing poorly or falling behind
We spent an intensive month conducting collaborative design and testing with over 20 instructors from a variety of schools and disciplines to develop a brand new and improved responses page.
In the past, when we’ve introduced major changes we’ve simply implemented the change on the given day, but this time we’re going to give you a behind the scenes view! Beginning in May, inside of your assessments, on the responses page, you’ll have the opportunity to try a beta view of the new page -- don’t worry you can always opt-out if you just want a sneak peek. When you opt-in to the new page, you’ll see all of your student data for that assessment including some new data that you’ve been asking for, including time spent and activity time stamps for each student. You’ll also have the opportunity to let us know what you think. We’ll still be making changes behind the scenes so we’ll be actively monitoring your feedback and continuing to make improvements. We’re really looking forward to hearing from you and to opening up the curtains a little bit and sharing our work with you sooner than we ever have before.
Current page with toggle:
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Students whose first semester course was deleted are able to transfer their remaining multi-term access to a second semester course
The gradebook export includes the "ungraded" category
Instructors can select multiple resources to batch update, and then make the batch updates from one page instead of in multiple steps
Instructors can select multiple resources and batch update visibility date range
Instructors will no longer be restricted in batch updating due dates for assessments with late penalty and diagnostics
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As we continue to develop new products like Achieve and iClicker, we know there is core functionality that we need to think about, but we also want to make sure that we’re not forgetting to think about big picture, game-changing ideas as well.
To that end, Macmillan has started an Innovation Pitch program. This process allows any person in the company to submit an innovation pitch for the Achieve team’s evaluation, thinking about a problem that needs to be solved and a viable route to success. This fall, we had twelve submissions that resulted in “pitches” from six different teams. All of the ideas were well-thought out, varied, and really interesting! (And yes, I can say that since absolutely none were from me!) Since that time, those six teams have been researching, interviewing, prototyping, and more to further their ideas into solutions that will make your lives (and those of your students) easier.
Not all of these innovation ideas will make it to our products, and that's a good thing! We want each idea to be heavily scrutinized in order to ensure we're delivering the best solutions possible. But keep a lookout for more great new stuff coming from Macmillan Learning and Achieve. This is the stuff that makes working at and with Macmillan such fun!
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When you or your students reach out to our Macmillan Learning Support Community , you deserve to get the right answer, quickly. For this reason, we’ve made some changes to the Support Community that you will see implemented in May.
The first step on the Support page will be selecting your product. This means that more people should get the right article and the easy answer first, fast.
If you want to go to “Contact Support” (in the upper right), you will see a new option that starts with Chat.
By chatting with Mille, our virtual assistant, we hope more people get the answer they need, quickly.
If chatting with Millie doesn't work for you, you can still reach out to our Support team via email or phone--once we have some basic information from you (as before).
We’re hoping that these improvements will result in a better experience for you, leading to more help, faster.
If you have any questions about this, let us know. (And yes, we’ll remind you about this as we get closer to the start of fall classes as well.)
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This is an age old question that isn’t tied to using online homework. Back in the day, students would pay other people to do their pencil and paper homework. Now, they can do the same thing online--but with a wider pool of people willing to "help". So how can you as an instructor combat cheating, so that your homework scores follow the same general patterns as your test scores? Here are a few ideas from users:
Erika Martinez, an economics professor at University of South Florida, has a variety of assignments for students, including watching videos, completing the LearningCurve adaptive quizzes, and having the students complete worksheets (or do in-class activities). All of this work is for points, but very few points. Then she has a weekly homework assignment (which is essentially considered the summation of everything learned that week) that is worth 0 points. She tracks the students who complete the assignments, but they don’t get credit for the completion as part of their overall grade. (They do get flagged by Prof. Martinez if they are not doing the work as no points doesn’t mean optional!) Then she has the students complete weekly quizzes (for points) as well as 2 bigger tests and a final. In this way, students come to see the homework as practice and self-assessment, not as a reason to cheat.
Amanda Norbutus, a chemistry professor at Valencia College explains that while she is willing for students to have multiple attempts at a problem, she has Achieve deduct small points each attempt (5%), so a student has to actively work to solve the problem effectively. With this method, students are more actively mentally engaged with doing the work, and develop better problem-solving skills that serve them well in high-stress situations like a quiz or exam. She theorizes that the lack of any penalty makes it too easy for students to “throw a handful of pasta at the ceiling to see what sticks,” without needing the student to critically think of how to approach a problem and culling through their knowledge to find a working solution/approach.
Dr. Norbutus also suggests making sure the homework assigned has a range of easy, medium, and hard skill level questions , as exposing students only to easy and medium-level questions is a disservice to them in building their skill set for solving problems quickly and efficiently. Professors could also use more problem-solving worksheets or practice assignments either in class or as part of bonus work. If for bonus, make sure they are tiered problems, where the problem requires the use of more than one skill or concept. Finally, have the teacher select one handwritten problem for students to solve and submit with work shown per HW assignment. This can quickly identify where students may have a disconnect between high scoring Achieve assignments and low scoring quizzes and exams.
Kiandra Johnson, a mathematics professor at Spelman College, suggested two simple, easy, and effective ideas. Use clicker questions during the lecture as many of the clicker questions are concept-based and cannot be entered into a mathematical database. This is a way to check individual student understanding outside of the homework. Additionally, use a few problems directly from the homework on the test , and analyze the difference between how students performed on those same problems in homework form vs. on the test.
A few instructors mentioned versions of this as well, “ We’ve tried to emphasize the importance of the assignments with lots of explanations about why we create these assignments and how they can improve understanding (and grades!) but also try to weight those assignments low enough in the grade to de-incentivize cheating."
We hope this tips help you as you work to navigate an increasingly digital world with your students.
(A note from Macmillan here: If you do think that you are seeing some of our problems appearing on other sites, with answers, please report these to our piracy team so we can continue to work to maintain the integrity of our content. Thank you! )
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We talk to customers. Our sales staff talks to customers everyday, as do our marketing and editorial teams, our trainers, our learning science team, our product teams, our support teams, and more. We get lots and lots of one-on-one feedback from customers that we track and we can ‘vote up’ an issue that lots of people are hearing about or ‘vote down’ an issue that is less common.
We look at in-product data. With Achieve, we have lots more data on the backend--which is awesome! We can see the volume of people (overall, not the individual list of people) who used a particular feature. Obviously, this means we can when a certain feature is not being used as well. All of this data is considered directional as it helps us figure out what’s important to our users.
We survey users. We ask users who are in Achieve what they think of a particular page or feature and we track those results. We have internal goals about what each page should be achieving on their SEQ (Single Ease Question) and pages that fall below that goal are noted as noted to need more analysis for potential refinement . In addition, we do a longer user survey to both students and instructors at the end of the term so we can ask more questions and also track results over time. This is another way of checking to see what parts of Achieve are working well and where we need improvement.
We track the issues that come into our support team. You as a customer (both students and instructors) can actually submit requests for new features or changes via our support form: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/contactsupport . We also track the calls, emails, and chats to our support team to figure out the topics that have the most problems and we look at what users are searching for in the Knowledge Based. These contacts to support usually signify areas where refinement to the product is needed as customers aren’t finding it intuitive to use on their own.
We do usability testing. We give students and instructors (not always users of our products, and not even always people who are familiar with online learning tools) a goal to accomplish in Achieve like “Assign this homework” or “Check your grade” and then we ask them to complete that task with no additional instructions, but we do ask them to vocalize their thought process. This gives us great insight into things like, “Well I assumed it would be here” or “Because you used this word” and tells us how customers are using the product.
We look outward. In addition to talking to users, we also talk to people who don’t use our product to find out why not. We follow trends in tech education so we can see the big issues under discussion and see how we can help. And we look at other products to check out other great ideas that are out in the world.
So is the formula as simple as A+B=C? No, but we do look at all sorts of data and take your feedback in mind as we continue to improve Achieve. Please keep letting us know what you like and where we can improve.
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We added new "Average Time to Complete" data to the top of each LearningCurve Adaptive Quiz. This data (as shown below on the right) is just calculated for your class for this particular assignment. The data is only calculated started on 4/15/21, so you will not see data for any assignments completed in say January of 2021; this is only for assignments from here on out. (And teaser...we have more data coming for instructors assigning adaptive quizzes in Achieve for the Fall of 2021...) Enjoy!
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Instructors can rename Adaptive Quizzing assignments and Instructor Activity Guides
When instructors update due dates in batch using the option in the preview table, it will default to 11:59 p.m.
Instructors can edit the target score and topics of a Adaptive Quiz or Read & Practice activity even after they've created section courses.
When instructors create section courses, they will immediately become accessible to all instructors enrolled in them.
Assignments with custom visibility settings will have the "hidden" indicator and tool tip
Assignments with custom visibility settings or are hidden until # days before the due date will display in student preview
Sapling migrated assessments will display in the Resources tab in the order that they display in Sapling
Filtering by learning path designation will be sorted in pre-class, in-class, post-class order
Due date exceptions will no longer display to all students (not just those with an exception) in their institutional LMS courses
Instructors who want to override the lack of a grade and give their students a 0, will be able to save that 0
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Here at Macmillan Learning, we understand that not every student, course or institution is exactly alike. Which is why we want to provide instructors with the freedom to create course materials that fit the goals and objectives of their course. By giving instructors the ability to combine their own original content with Macmillan Learning content, we can create the best custom solution to meet your needs. And the best part is we can do this in an easily accessible, digital format!
What can we customize?
Anything we publish! The Macmillan Curriculum Solutions team is able to customize e-books as well as our digital courseware solutions, Achieve and LaunchPad. We are able to add exciting interactive content to all of these platforms to give your students a digital courseware experience that meets them right where they are, online. With features available ranging from additional readings, assessments, videos and other interactive content, we’ve got you covered.
What do other instructors do to customize their courseware or e-book?
As Macmillan’s Custom Marketing Manager, I’ve seen some amazing projects come across my desk recently. Some of the most unique and interesting projects involve incorporating local students into the content. Seeing their peers reflected in their course materials can be incredibly impactful for your students. And whether it is profiles of current and former students, pictures, video or artwork produced by students, or exemplary student projects used as examples, all of these are options in customizing Macmillan courseware.
Outside of incorporating students into their project, many instructors include videos, interactives or other dynamic content they have created. Some instructors organize their projects around a theme that involves a selection read by the entire school, freshman class, or cohort. This creates an opportunity for meaningful conversations among students, faculty, and sometimes even the author of that reading selection.
How does it work?
Customization is a collaborative effort! Your Macmillan Learning sales representative will work with you and an editor from our Curriculum Solutions department to create the custom courseware that works best for you and your students. We provide guidance on selecting content, proofreading services and clear all permissions necessary to get your content ready by the start of the semester. Most projects take anywhere from 3-6 months to complete depending on complexity, but the time and the effort are all worth it!
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As we start the semester, don’t forget that Macmillan provides a variety of tools to help get your students registered for your class. You can see slides, videos, and syllabus inserts on our First Day of Class page to get you through the start of the semester regardless of which product you’re using.
That said, a few students will always run into some issues, so here is one easy thing, per product, to tell your students or do yourself.
“I’m still waiting for the code.”
When students buy access to Achieve, LaunchPad, or Sapling through the Student Store , they do not get emailed an access code; they purchase the access directly to the product. Some students wait for the email to arrive that includes their access code. That’s not necessary (and no email will arrive with a code). Once you pay for access, you can enter the product.
“I can’t find your course on the Store.”
LaunchPad: We sometimes get reports that students “can’t find” their instructor’s LaunchPad course. Remember, you need to activate your course in order to make it available for students. And if you activate the course at 1pm on Monday, it won’t appear in the Student Store at 1:02pm on Monday; it will appear the next day.
Sapling: If you are using a Sapling course that is LMS-integrated, then that course is NOT available to buy through the Student Store. Students can only purchase access directly through SaplingLearning.com. So if students can’t find your course on the Store, that’s one likely reason.
Achieve: You need to make your Achieve course Active before students can enroll into it. You also are asked for your course start date when you set up your course. If your course starts on 1/25 and you put that into Achieve, your course will remain in draft status until 1/25, which is why students won’t be able to purchase access until 1/25.
If you have more questions, you can always check out our Support Community for more help.
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As you likely know, we at Macmillan Learning have a ton of help articles in our Support Community. What is the best way to find what you're looking for?
If you are just getting started, there are "Getting Started" pages for each of our digital products. To find them, go to the main support page (https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/) and scroll to the bottom to find the digital product that you're using from the list of icons.
If you click on, for example, the logo for Achieve, you will be directed to a page where the articles are organized by Topic and there is a "Getting Started" link at the top.
If you are new to the product, I'd start with the Getting Started information. If you know generally what you're looking for, say something about student refunds, simply click on that "Refunds and Returns" box to find a number of relevant articles. (Keep in mind, those articles will be for both students and instructors.)
Alternatively, if you have a precise question, when you first get to the support page (https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/) you can click on the "Search" box.
I would then recommend that you use the filters (Role and Products, for sure) and then search for the topic such as "extra credit." You can use the Article Features option to search for articles with videos. When you narrow your search using the filters, in this case, Instructor using Achieve, then the article that comes up (see in the gray box) is more likely to be the answer you need.
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2021 is off to a great start and we have improvements to Achieve to note already!
Students with multi-term access will be able to transfer their enrollment to a second semester deep integrated course
Deleted iClicker sessions will no longer be included in the Achieve gradebook
From within the Achieve e-book, students and instructors can access "read aloud" text to speech features from within course readings. (Note, available on iOS outside of the Macmillan app)
From within the Achieve e-book, students and instructors can access content formatting options like font size, font type, line height and background color from within course readings.
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