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Checking Your Qualtrics Survey Display on a Mobile Device

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By in Distance Education, Mobile, Software, Tools, Training, Uncategorized on .

Since mobile devices are often the access point for email, it’s logical to assume that someone might view your survey link on a mobile device. Checking to see if your questions will display properly is an easy thing to do.

First you should know that Qualtrics surveys are built to be “adaptive” to a device’s screen size and type. The devices that are recommended as compatible, include Android, iOS, and Windows Phone systems. Secondly, while all surveys are set up to be adaptive, be aware that some questions may not display well because they are too wide in their format. So, it’s useful to check your survey questions with the Mobile Compatibility Advisor in Qualtrics.

To use the Mobile Compatibility Advisor, from the edit mode on your survey:

How ? image

  • Click on Advanced Options and then select Mobile Compatibility Advisor. The Advanced Options tab is in the upper right of your screen.
Mobile_Compatibility_Advisor button

Advanced Options tab showing Mobile Compatibility Advisor

  • In the survey, small mobile icons appear to the left of any question box that might have a display concern. You can click on the icon and read the display issue message. An orange icon means the question might wrap or display poorly due to the length of the answer choices.  A red icon means that question format will not display consistently on mobile devices or may not display at all on a mobile device. In either case, you may adjust your question format and run the advisor again to recheck the survey before sending it out or posting the link.
Example of a Red Mobile Icon Image

Example of a Red Mobile Icon

Setting Email Triggers for Qualtrics Online Surveys

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By in Tools, Uncategorized on .

Qualtrics, as an online survey tool, is useful for creating a survey link that you may post to a website.  We often set up those web links for students to submit requests for assistance or information.  An easy way to know that a student has submitted a survey is to set up an email trigger for the survey within Qualtrics.  Instead of logging into Qualtrics to check your responses, you will get an email with the response data in it each time a student submits the form or survey. If you prefer to see your data in the normal reporting views within Qualtrics, it will collectively be there as well.  Another advantage to the email triggers, is that the email allows you to retain a copy per submission for a student’s individual file.  Requests for accommodations is one use case that comes to mind.

Let’s look at how to set up an email trigger.

  • Go to the Edit Survey view.
  • Click in the upper right on your Advanced Options menu button (shown below).
  • Select Triggers, then Email Triggers.
Advanced Options, then Triggers, then Email Trigger

Advanced Options Menu in the Edit Survey page4.

  • The email form appears with your email address in the TO box.  You may change that if needed.
  • You may add a FROM name or a default Qualtrics one will be used.
  • Defaults for “Send Immediately” and “Include Response Report” are already selected.
  • If you would like to add “Show Full Question Text”, you may select that as well.
  • Click the “Save Triggers” button in the bottom right.

Additional information on Qualtrics triggers may be found at this website, http://www.qualtrics.com/university/researchsuite/advanced-building/advanced-options-drop-down/email-triggers/

Confluence as an Alternative Learning Management System

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By in Content Development, Software, Tools on .

Recently, a faculty member commented to one of my colleagues and I that Blackboard was simply “too much” for things he wanted to do within his course.  That got me thinking as to why someone might consider Blackboard Learn to be a tool that might be excessive for specific needs.

Blackboard Learn offers to faculty a rich set of tools – but what happens when a faculty member does not want to use the clear majority of those tools?  What if a faculty member only wants a place to place their syllabus and course schedule, content for students to read, upload an occasional video, and so forth?  Does a faculty member have an option for a simpler way to get course content to students at Purdue?

The answer is yes – the Confluence Wiki.

While it might seem odd that a wiki could be an alterative to Blackboard, the Confluence Wiki can perform many of the same functions for faculty that a traditional LMS would be able to provide.  Confluence offers the following for faculty:

  • On-Demand Course Creation:  Unlike Blackboard, where course sites are created automatically, faculty may create their course’s space (site) in Confluence on demand by using the Space Creation application located at http://www.purdue.edu/apps/Confluence.  This will automatically create a space on Confluence for the class and enroll all students and instructors in the class into the newly created Confluence space.
    Confluence Space Creation Application
  • Automatic Enrollment Management:  When a space is created using our Space Creation application, as noted before all students and instructors will be added to the newly created space.  In addition, as students add or drop the class, those changes are reflected in the Confluence space.
  • Content Management:  Faculty can easily upload documents and images to Confluence, and then quickly replace those documents with up-to-date versions.  For example, if the course syllabus changes, a new syllabus can be uploaded and replace the existing file.  Additionally, web links to other sites and to multimedia may also be included in Confluence.
  • Flexibility:  A Confluence space can be very simple (one or two pages with all the content needed) to highly complex, depending on needs.
  • Privacy:  Academic spaces in Confluence are only accessible to those enrolled in the course; they are not accessible by the public.

There are a few features Confluence does not have that is important to note.  First, Confluence does not offer integrated homework submission and quizzes/exams, like Blackboard.  Faculty who want to offer online exams (such as pre- or post- assessments) would be able to use Qualtrics and survey panels within the Qualtrics tool to control assessment delivery.

Also, Confluence does not offer an electronic gradebook, which would require students to track their own grades.  Additionally, while Confluence does offer the ability for students to comment on pages, there is no threaded discussion board available like what is available in Blackboard.

One other concern would be that if Confluence is used instead of Blackboard Learn, students will need to be directed to Confluence to access course content.  In this case it is recommended that any instructor using Confluence provide directions to students in class on how to access the Confluence site and make the site a favorite, so the site is quickly accessible after login.

Although there are these concerns, the Confluence Wiki does provide a great amount of flexibility on how the online portion of a course can be set up.  As much (or as little) information can be made available to students as desired.

While Blackboard Learn has many tools that faculty may wish to use in their teaching, there may be a desire for something that simply does not do everything that Blackboard can do, and that’s where Confluence can assist.  An example “course” in Confluence has been created at https://wiki.itap.purdue.edu/display/confcourse/Confluence+for+Courses+Demonstration+Home to provide some ideas on how Confluence may be used as an alternative to Blackboard.

Confluence for Courses example homepage  example course schedule in confluence

For more information about using Confluence as an alternative to Blackboard, or adding wikis to your course, please contact us at tlt-consulting@purdue.edu.

Brett Creech
Educational Technologist

Never Overlook the Value of Communication When Teaching Online

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By in Distance Education, Musings on Technology, Student Behavior on .

I’ve been teaching online at an institution other than Purdue for about 7 years now.  During the Fall 2013 semester, a student commented to me that they really appreciated the amount of communication I had with them during the semester.  Another student mentioned that I was much more engaged compared to his previous online course instructors.

For some reason these comments really haunted me after that term.  Yes, it felt great to get that kind of feedback from students because it was positive.  However, I have since been curious about why these students praised my involvement.  Why is it odd to students that online instructors are engaged in their courses?  If so, shouldn’t that be somewhat alarming?

Engagement is a two-way street.  We can’t expect students to be highly engaged in their classes while as faculty, we appear to either simply observing the class…or at worst, completely unengaged and uncaring about what is going on.

One aspect where student performance can be impacted positively by communication from faculty is through feedback.  Chickering and Gamson (1991), in their Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, list two principles that work hand-in-hand when it comes to communication:  Giving prompt feedback, and communicating high expectations.

If I simply state in my syllabus that I expect strong performance from my students on an assignment, but I provide little to no feedback to students, I am not being effective in providing guidance to high-performing students who may simply need reinforcement that they’re on the right track.  I am also not being effective with lower-performing students by not providing them with the feedback and information they need to improve their work and rise to the expectations I have for the class.  If I don’t tell a student what I expect and clearly communicate to them what they need to do to improve, how can I expect them to do better?

So what’s so important about prompt feedback?   Prompt feedback plus communication about what the student needs to continue doing (or improve upon) can make a difference in the student’s performance.  Not providing prompt feedback can put a student in a position where they don’t know what to improve upon until after the submission of additional assignments or assessments.

There are other components of communication that can be accomplished to keep you engaged with the course.  Consider using Announcements within Blackboard to provide updates and information that can help them, such as tips on how to complete assigned tasks, or emphasizing due dates.  If you do use Announcements, change your course entry page from Course Content to Announcements so those are the first thing a student sees when they log in.  In addition, critical announcements can also be emailed to students.

Furthermore, if you’re teaching online or a blended course where synchronous activity with your students is limited, you may wish to add online office hours using web conference tools provided by Purdue.  This can allow you to host real-time discussions with students wherever you are.

Communicating feedback and expectations is important for student success.  However, simply communicating with your students to let them know that you’re engaged and available can also demonstrate that you care about your students and their involvement in your class.

To discuss ways to increase communication with your students, please contact us at tlt-consulting@purdue.edu.

Brett Creech
Educational Technologist

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1991).  Appendix A: Seven principles for
good practice in undergraduate education.  New Directions for Teaching
and Learning, 47
, 63-69.