New features for online tests

We just released a bunch of new features for online tests. Here's a look...

Points calculation


The new Points Calculation feature gives you three options to determine how the test's points will be distributed among its questions:

  • Fixed points: You manually distribute the points while you design or edit the test.
  • Weight questions equally: As you add questions, the test's points will be evenly distributed among all the questions, automatically.
  • Question points total: The test (and assignment) points will add up whatever points you assign to individual test questions.
Edit all question points at once

If you want to change how many points each question is worth, the new Edit all Question Points function lets you do that for the whole test all at once—no more need to edit each individual question (though you can still do that, too).


Importing tests and questions

The course Test > Questions view now lets you import questions from other courses to which you have faculty or admin access. We also spruced up the Import Test feature—now called Import Test Sections, it lets you import individual questions, headings and text, or even the entire test.


Duplicating questions

When editing an existing question, you can now choose to edit the original question (and change it everywhere) or duplicate the question and edit only the copy.


Recurring payments now work with

You can now use payment gateways to take recurring payments and donations in Populi.

To get started, head to Financial > Settings > Payment Gateways in Populi. Point your Tuition & Fees or Donations uses at it. Then make sure recurring payments are enabled in Financial > Settings > General or Donations > Settings. And that's it (on the Populi side, anyway; you may also need to jiggle a few settings in your merchant terminal).


After enabling recurring payments and donations, your online payment forms will give donors and payers the option to make this one-time or recurring monthly payment. Students can also choose a payment plan and have the recurring payments follow the plan's schedule. To help you keep track of recurring payments, Billing and Donations both include Recurring reports that show you all the details, including amounts, timeframes, and payment methods. You can also manage a person's recurring payments on their Profile > Financial page or send them a link to take care of it themselves.

Stripe customers have had these features for years, and we're pleased to now be able to offer them to our users as well.

Interface updates for assignments

Some assignment interface updates are coming soon. Here's a look...

In the student assignment detail view, we're moving the assignment feedback interface into the right column. Doing this gives us more room to devote the main part of the screen to the student's work. It will still work just as it did before: students and professors can comment back-and-forth and share files.

Grade-only assignments will consist solely of the feedback panel:

File assignments will present students with a file uploader right in the center of the screen. This uploader lets students easily upload multiple files at a time—and also removes the extra step of clicking the Submit button:

If a student uploads work to the feedback panel, a new option lets the professor set that file as the student's submission:

For test assignments, the student's test history will occupy the main part of the screen. If she only took the test once, her test record will display. If there are multiple test attempts, the screen will show links to each attempt. Whatever the case, the professor will be able to enter or edit answer grades and leave comments right in the assignment detail view:

Our users have provided a lot of great feedback for how we can improve Populi assignments, and we think the new updates will scratch a lot of itches. Look for the refreshed features real soon!

Special offer from Unicheck for Populi customers

Last March we released our integration with Unicheck, a web-based plagiarism-checking service. Since then Populi users have checked tens of thousands of student assignments for plagiarism against Unicheck's index of Internet-based sources, open access libraries and journals, and documents already uploaded to their school's accounts.

Unicheck has a special offer for Populi customers: If you sign up for an annual subscription by March 31st, 2019, you'll get two months of plagiarism detection for free. For more details, contact Unicheck and let them know you're with us.

Using Populi to detect plagiarism is simple. After entering your Unicheck credentials in Account > Integrations, your faculty will have options to check student submissions for file- and essay-type assignments (including peer review assignments), discussion comments, and test essay questions.

As students submit work, they'll be checked automatically or ad-hoc (however the faculty has set it up). Once the check is completed, you can access the Unicheck report right from the assignment, discussion post, or test question. You can also see the Unicheck originality score on assignment pages, letting you see at a glance which submissions need a closer look.

Get all the details you need in the Populi Knowledge Base, and read more about Unicheck's Originality Report at their support site.


New in Populi: Groups!

One of our customers' most-requested features, Groups provide a space in Populi for different segments of your school's community—clubs, teams, committees, you name it—to communicate, share files, and schedule events with other members. We've already heard from a few customers about what they're planning to do with the new features:

  • Give alumni a place to keep up with each other (and keep them in the loop for donation campaigns).
  • Provide an organized way for thesis directors to coordinate graduate work with thesis advisors.
  • Give student clubs and teams (the chess club, the drama kids, the rugby ruffians, STEM majors who play with Legos) a way to get off Facebook and have a place in Populi.
  • Help manage special committees and projects—student government, the board of trustees, discipline committee, faculty hiring, and so on.
  • Collect training videos, FAQs, and other resources to onboard new faculty and staff hires.

Whatever's going on in your school's community, you can now give it a spot in Populi with Groups. Here's a quick look:

Where to find them

Everyone can find Groups when they log in: the new Groups view is right on the Populi Home page.


Membership can be open to everyone, open to particular roles, or invitation-only. Each Group is overseen by administrators and moderators. Groups can be public or private, and you can mark them Official if they concern important school business.


Groups include a bulletin board, chat, discussions, and shared calendar and files. They're similar to courses and it'll be simple for your users to get the hang of it. Group admins can control how members participate in each of these functions.

Jump on in

We're really pleased to get Groups out to all of our customers. To learn more about them, have a look at the new Knowledge Base articles and the Groups topic in the User Forum.