Academic Technology Center
Teaching with Technology Collaboratory

Features Overview

The wide variety of features in myWPI can sometimes be overwhelming. This overview provides a brief description of each major feature to give you an idea of what is available, and what might be most useful for your course, project group, or organization site in myWPI.

All of these features are available to courses, project groups and organizations in myWPI, and can be enabled or disabled for individual myWPI sites by a site maintainer, such as an instructor, TA, or course builder.

Communication Features

Announcements

General announcements to students or organization members can be posted in the Announcements area.

A sample course announcement

Discussion Boards

The Discussion Board is a tool used for asynchronous discussion between users in a myWPI site. Messages can be grouped into forums and threads, and a record is kept of the conversation for future reference.

A threaded discussion

Blogs

A blog is a website where individuals make entries that are posted in reverse chronological order. The entries usually provide commentary, reflection, or news on a specific topic. It is possible to have group or individual blogs.

A blog example

Wikis

A wiki is a website where multiple individuals add and edit content collectively. Multiple related pages may be linked within the wiki. Wikis can be used for building a collaborative knowledgebase, facilitating research coordination and collaboration, and building group portfolios.

Collaboration

The Collaboration tool is a text-based synchronous chat feature. Collaboration sessions can be run in two modes, Lightweight Chat or Virtual Classroom. The Virtual Classroom mode includes additional features such as displaying the course map or external web pages during a chat. The Collaboration tool is synchronous and is restricted to enrolled users.

A chat exchange using the Lightweight Chat tool

Send Email

The Send Email feature is used to send e-mail to an entire class or organization. It can also be used for contacting individuals, groups or course staff such as TA's within a myWPI site.

Messages

The Messages feature is used to send email like messages to users within your myWPI site. These messages are maintained exclusively within the myWPI system.

Electronic Content Features

Content Areas

Content Areas are places for posting a wide variety of electronic materials, including documents, media files, images, and links to websites. Content areas may also include online assessments or links to other areas in the course.

Items and Folders in a Content Area

Learning Units

Learning Units are used within a content area to create sequential content, and include navigation features.

Assignment Submission

Assignment Manager

The Assignment Manager allows students to submit files electronically. Assignments may be created in any content area and are integrated with the Gradebook. Assignment files may be downloaded by selected students or all at once.

Assignment Links in a Content Area (student view)

SafeAssign

SafeAssign is an additional assignment submission tool that prevents plagiarism by checking submitted papers against thousands of published sources. Instructors and students receive reports flagging problem areas in papers and it is up to the instructors to then decide if plagiarism occurred. SafeAssign is an alternative to the Assignment Manager and works similarly to the Assignment Manager.

Warning

SafeAssign does not yet work with Microsoft Office 2007, so students must submit save their papers in a Microsoft Word 2003 format (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), or as PDF documents (.pdf). Please encourage your students to use one of these formats.

Grading and Assessment Features

Tests and Surveys

Online tests and surveys can be created with a variety of question types, including multiple choice, true/false, ordering, matching and short answer. Test results, except for essay questions, are graded automatically. Surveys are ungraded and anonymous.

A sample true/false test question

Question Pools

Question Pools are similar to test banks and can be used to generate a random block of questions for each student or to import and export assessments between courses.

Gradebook

The Gradebook is used for tracking student progress in a course. Students can see their individual grades in a course, and can see the grades for all of their myWPI-enabled courses that use the Online Gradebook from the My Home tab. Instructors, TAs and Graders can see grades for all students in a course or can download a copy to a .csv (comma-separated value) file which can be read in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel.

Tests and surveys created in myWPI are also reported to the Gradebook along with uploaded files from the Assignment Manager.

Items in a course Gradebook

Course and Organization Statistics

Rudimentary statistical data can be reported for a myWPI site on how frequently different areas of the site are accessed. The statistics are intended to present a general idea of whether or not users are accessing a myWPI site, and which areas are the most popular. It is not intended for in-depth statistical analysis. Statistics are only available in myWPI for the past 180 days.

Project and Scheduling Features

Calendar

The Calendar tool is a basic calendar that can be used by courses and organizations. For example, it could be used to remind students of important deadlines in a course.

Group Pages

The Group Pages feature is used for creating groups within a myWPI site. Each group has a private area. A private Discussion Board, Collaboration (Chat) area, File Exchange and e-mail list are available for each group.

Tasks

The Tasks feature is an interactive to-do list. Tasks can be marked with different priority and completion levels. Tasks can be used for personal or course/organization use, and can be set to report progress to a site maintainer.

A task list for a class project

Other Features

Check Spelling

The Check Spelling tool is available in most areas of myWPI, such as Content Areas and the Discussion Board.

Equation Editor

Equations may be added to most areas of a myWPI site. The Equation Editor is powered by WebEQ. Equations are entered using the built-in graphical editor or as MathML.

Entering an equation into the graphical editor

Maintained by itweb@wpi.edu
Last modified: Jul 10, 2009, 11:55 EDT
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