Thursday, February 25, 2010

ANGEL Tip of the Day #46 - Setting Dates in ANGEL

ANGEL allows a ton of flexibility with date setting. Unfortunately, such flexibility can lead to confusion for all involved. Here is a quick primer on setting dates in ANGEL. All of the info below is based on the Advanced setting in the various areas.

There are 3 areas that you can set dates in ANGEL: the Access tab, the Assignment tab and the Interaction tab in Assessments.

Access: When you set dates under the Access tab, this controls when an item is visible to students. Both dates are optional and it is ok to set one and not the other.

Assignment: Under the Assignment tab, you can set dates in the Milestone settings. Milestone dates list the activity in the student milestones and automatically puts the activity in the Calendar. Many students use the milestones to see how they are progressing through their work, so it can be quite helpful to them.

Milestone dates allow you to set assign and due dates (both are optional and you need not set both). Milestones are completely unrelated to access dates and thus, milestone dates need not match Interaction or Access dates (for example, I have quizzes close at 12:05 AM on the day after something is due, but set the milestone for the actual due date).

Interaction: In an assessment, you can also set dates using the Interaction tab (note, the ability to set dates under this tab is not available in other areas like the drop box or discussion). This controls when a student can actually take an assessment.

For example, you may have a quiz that closes on Tuesday, but you want students to be able to review results through Sunday. You would end the Interaction on Tuesday (so students could still see the quiz link but could not actually take the quiz) and end the Access (thus making the item invisible) on Sunday.

Be careful! If your Access and Interaction dates conflict, mayhem can ensue.

Hopefully this adds a bit of clarity to your date setting activities in ANGEL. As always, feel free to email me with questions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

ANGEL Tip of the Day #45 - rearranging assignments in the gradebook

It is not intuitive how to rearrange the order of assignment in the ANGEL gradebook, but it’s not hard once you know how. Thanks to my work study student Stephanie Carlson for these great instructions.


You can change the order of the categories of the Gradebook and then within the categories you can change the order of the assignments.

To start be under the Manage Tab at the top

Select Gradebook

Then under Gradebook Management on the right hand side select Categories

- Your screen should now look something like this:

-Next click the box that belongs to a category you want to correct or change(I suggest only doing one at a time)

-Once you do that the other buttons next to add new will become available. At that time you can then Select Show Tasks

-Once you select Show tasks you will have the following options available to you…

-If it’s simply the category that is out of order by choosing up or down that will adjust where the category lands amongst the other categories.

-If you are needing to also adjust the assignments select Reorder Assignments in this area which will pull up an additional screen:

-In this screen simply select the assignment you wish to reorder and use the buttons on the right to change the order according to your preference.

-Once all of these changes are complete select save and you should have your gradebook set up the way you want it to be!

ANGEL Tip of the Day #44 - Why empty the Cache?

When you call Presidium for help, the first thing they do is ask you to clear your cache. How annoying! Especially when you just want to solve the problem. Today, I got an explanation of why they do this. If you are curious, read on. If you are not curious, emptying your cache at the first sign of a problem really is a good idea.

See ATOD #33 on How to Clear your Cache

ANGEL uses something called load balancing. When you log into ANGEL, you access one server and then you get sent to the server with the lowest use (load) at that time (WAOL ANGEL has 40 servers averaging about 150 users each, they have a capacity of about 250 users). A cookie is then set and whenever you access ANGEL after that, you get sent to that same server.

Let’s say something goes wrong with that server. You’re stuck going to that same server until you delete that cookie and start off fresh. So, from a trouble shooting perspective, Presidium wants to be sure that you are going to a good server. Thus, they ask you to clear your cache.

So, before calling Presidium, to do a bit of your own troubleshooting, clear your cache and try changing browsers (if you are in IE, try Firefox and visa versa). For me, most of the time these two steps solve the problem. If it does not, then you have some good information for the Presidium folks to get started in getting to a resolution.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Changes to What’s New/Tasks

Changes to What’s New/Tasks
The Task/What’s New functionality exist in several areas within the system. On the Home page it exists in the Courses nugget, Group nugget and Repository nugget. In a Section (Course, Group or Repository) it exists in the Guide. The following are the changes you will in this feature.

Home page

Courses nugget
The design for the Courses nugget includes an additional link to allow users to populate or refresh the tasks list for all courses in the list.
Load Tasks – This link displays in the top of the nugget, just below the title bar. It displays each time you login to ANGEL. When clicked the What’s New/Tasks are added to each course in the list. These are cached for the duration of the user’s login or until refreshed.

Refresh Tasks
– This link displays in the top of the nugget, just below the title bar. It displays after you have click Load Tasks and is used to refresh the Task list. When clicked the What’s New/Tasks are refreshed for each course in the list. These are cached for the duration of the user’s login or until refreshed.

Course Guide

The functionality in the guide is basically the same. To view What’s new in the course, click the What’s new tab. To view outstanding Tasks in the course, click the Tasks tab. The change made to this feature is to always default to the Map tab. This improves your user experience since you won’t have to wait for the Tasks or What’s new to load when you don’t need them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ANGEL Tip of the Day #43: Try a Different Browser

You’ve probably had the experience of trying to do something on ANGEL and had it not work. I thought I’d share my personal strategy for this – try a different browser.

I’d love to say that, if you always use Firefox or always use Internet Explorer 8, everything in ANGEL will work. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case and personally I have not found there is any one browser that works all the time. I will say that Firefox works far better more often than any version of Internet Explorer. Safari and Chrome also work most of the time, but neither is supported by ANGEL and thus have some serious drawbacks (for example, it is hard to upload a document to a dropbox from Safari).

So, my tip of the day – if it does not work in Firefox, try Internet Explorer. If it does not work in Internet Explorer, try it in Firefox. 80% of the time, changing browsers will fix the problem. If that doesn’t fix the problem, clear your cache – that fixes another 15% of the problems. The last 5% are real problems that require a call or email to Presidium.

Please share this strategy with your students. Also, use this strategy in the lab computers (Firefox is installed on all lab computers on campus).