Academic Technology Center
Teaching with Technology Collaboratory

What's New in myWPI?

A major upgrade of myWPI took place in August 2007. In the upgraded version of myWPI, some features have been updated and others have been added. These changes are intended to provide more flexibility and options to users and enhance the experience of using myWPI. Complete documentation on all of the myWPI features is available at the myWPI Help and Support Site.

Updated Discussion Boards and New Discussion Board Grading Options

The discussion board tool has been redesigned with a new appearance and some new features. The new appearance is intended to make it easier for users to navigate through the discussion forums and locate new messages. Users can now flag messages for later action and they can quote messages they are replying to. Instructors can set forums and/or threads up for grading. Discussion board grades are tied into the Gradebook in myWPI. For more information, see Using the Discussion Board and Grading Discussion Board Participation.

Sample view of discussion board thread and posting

Visual Text Box Editor

A visual text box editor will be available when adding items, folders, announcements, assessment questions, and discussion board postings. The visual text box editor allows you to format text and add links, images, and media using a convenient toolbar. The visual text box editor can be turned off by users who do not want to use it. For more information, see Text Options in myWPI.

Visual Text Box Editor

Digital Dropbox Being Phased Out

In the current version of myWPI, the Digital Dropbox, the Assignment Manager, and SafeAssign are available for assignment submission. However, the Blackboard company which makes the software that runs myWPI is planning to phase out the Digital Dropbox in future releases of its software. In an effort to phase users out of using the Dropbox, in the latest release of the software which WPI will be using following the upgrade, the Dropbox is disabled in all courses even if the course has previously used it. The Assignment Manager replaces the Dropbox and provides many convenient features for managing submitted assignments. It is recommended that you use the Assignment Manager or SafeAssign instead of the Dropbox, seeing as future upgrades to myWPI will likely eliminate the Dropbox completely. However, if you still want to use the Dropbox for the time being until it is eliminated from the software, you can enable it in your course. For a comparison of the Digital Dropbox, the Assignment Manager, and SafeAssign, and links to instructions on using both tools, see Online Assignment Submission Options.

SafeAssign: A Plagiarism Prevention Assignment Submission Tool

SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention tool that is integrated with myWPI and allows for online assignment submission. It prevents plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. SafeAssign compares submitted papers across the following sources:

SafeAssign creates an originality report for instructors for every submitted paper that details the results of the matching process. Instructors can then decide for themselves whether the flagged text in each paper constitutes plagiarism. A draft feature allows students to check their papers and view a report before submitting a final version.

SafeAssign is an alternative to the Assignment Manager and Digital Dropbox, although it functions much like the Assignment Manager. When you use the SafeAssign tool for assignment submission, students see a statement alerting them to the fact that the assignment will be checked for plagiarism and they are provided with a link to WPI's Academic Honesty Policy. To learn more, see the SafeAssign page.

Blogs

A new Blog tool will be available in myWPI following the upgrade. 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. In a course site, a blog can provide a forum for students to reflect on course-related content, projects, and ideas. In an organization site, a blog allows users to post important updates and information for other organization members. To learn more, see Creating Blogs.

Wikis

A new Wiki tool will also be available in myWPI following the upgrade. A wiki is a website where multiple individuals add and edit content collectively. Multiple related pages may be linked within the site. Wikis can be used for building a collaborative knowledgebase among multiple contributors, facilitating research coordination and collaboration, and group portfolios. To learn more, see Creating Wikis.

Podcasting

Following the upgrade, podcasts will be available in myWPI sites. A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed online using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Most podcasts contain audio files, although video files can also be used. Podcasts are convenient for sharing media files with students or organization site members. If you enable RSS feeds, users in the site are notified of when a new file is available and they can listen to or view it on their personal computer or download it to a portable player. Otherwise podcast files are accessed through the course site. To learn more, see Adding a Podcast to a Course.

A sample podcast episode in a course site

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Last modified: Mar 27, 2009, 07:21 EDT
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