Graded discussions, course equivalencies, and Library enhancements

11-17-14 Graded disc

Concerning software releases, we've been busy the past few weeks...

Graded discussions

Graded discussions let you grade your students for their participation in a discussion. Here's how it works:

  1. You create a new discussion-type assignment, and either use it to start a new discussion or link it to an existing discussion.
  2. You then have options to set up grading requirements, giving points for posting a minimum number of comments or replies, number of words posted, average peer rating—among many other criteria.
  3. If you wish, you can set the discussion to close on a certain date and time, after which Populi can auto-grade your students based on your grading requirements.
  4. The discussion assignment page presents all of your students' discussion info—including comments and participation stats—so you can easily grade the assignment by hand if you so choose.

The grading features are a major part of a general overhaul of course discussions, which now include...

Peer rating

When you enable peer rating, students can rate one another's comments and replies from one to five stars. You can include peer rating stats as a discussion grading requirement.

11-18-14 peer rating

Post first

You can now require students to post to the discussion before they can see anyone else's comments.

11-14-18 Post first

Improved comment reporting

When students report inappropriate comments, you now have better tools to handle these reports—and more accountability for the student who submits the report.

11-18-14 comment report

Draft mode

If you're not ready for students to know about an upcoming discussion—maybe it's a surprise assignment, or perhaps you're still working on the grading requirements—you can leave it in Draft mode. When you're ready for it to get out there, just set it to Published.

11-18-14 draft mode

To get a look at everything you can do with discussions now, have a look at the Populi Knowledge Base.


Course attendance now features ID photos (like the Roster), radio buttons for attendance status, and new action links to mark all students either Present, Absent, Tardy, or Excused.

11-18-14 attendance

Course equivalencies

In Academics, we added course equivalencies. Equivalencies are specified at the course catalog level. Effectively, this lets you substitute any course for any other in a student's academic history. For example, say you make ENG101 an equivalent of WRI101:

  • Students who took WRI101 will show that they have completed a degree course requirement for ENG101 on the Degree Audit.
  • Students who took ENG101 will be able to register for a course that has WRI101 as a prerequisite.
  • Students who need to retake ENG101 can take WRI101 instead.
  • And vice-versa for all of the above...

Additionally, you can now use Course Groups as prerequisites for catalog courses. This lets you treat a group of courses as equivalent (take this course OR this other course...) when setting up prereqs.

11-18-14 prereq

Library enhancements

We've added a bunch of little (but significant!) things to Library the past few weeks:

  • Library Staff can now place holds on behalf of patrons.
  • Additionally, they can now renew loans, even if the affected resource has a hold or is overdue.
  • You can now see the due date for each resource when checking them out to a patron.
  • If you remove a copy from circulation, any holds on it will be transferred to the next available copy.
  • When placing a hold, patrons and staff can now choose which resource copy they want.
  • Library staff can now click # of holds to see a list of all the holds for a resource, and their associated data. They can also manage which resource copy the hold is on, or cancel the hold—all from the same dialog box.
  • You can now manually pull Library resources.
  • We've limited the resource type drop-downs on Library search to show only the resource types you currently have entered in Library.
  • Library search results now display up to five resource copies, together with their locations and call numbers if possible. So, now you can find out if there's a copy and where to grab it without clicking through to the copy page.
  • And finally, if you hate pressing "Enter" on your keyboard for Library (and Bookstore) searches, there's now a Go button you can click!

11-18-14 Library search