Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CTools upgrade contains enhancements, new tools

Over the Summer Term, the CTools team released a series of upgrades that contained new tools as well as enhancements to existing tools. Below is a summary of the new features added to CTools. It is hoped these added features will improve the experience of CTools customers.

Upgrades to existing tools

Resources File Space
Site owners who may be unsure how much file space they have used in their site’s Resources page can find out how much they've used and how much they have left by following the new "Check Quota" link in Resources.

Project Site settings
Site owners can reorder and rename the tools in the tools menu of a project site. They also can hide a tool from the site's Members and Observers but still show the tool to Owners and Organizers. Follow the "Page Order" link on the Site Info page to customize the tools menu in any project site.

Auto-Join for project sites
The "Joinable" setting has been an option in project sites all along, but it's now easier than ever for others to join your site. For any project site configured to be "Joinable" there exists an auto-join URL: http://ctools.umich.edu/join/portal/site/yourSiteIDhere. Anyone with a uniqname who visits that URL will automatically become a participant of the site in the role you designate.

Auto-Group creation
Site owners managing a site with multiple section rosters attached already may be using the Groups function. "Auto-Groups" now makes it easier to create roster-specific groups. Choose auto-groups on the "Manage Groups" page in "Site Info."

LectureTools integration
Instructors can now add the LectureTools tool to their sites themselves. Until now, instructors using LectureTools needed to contact the CTools support team to link the two systems.

Embedding video
It's now easier to embed video in Announcements, Forum posts, Schedule items — wherever text editor tools appear. Click the "Insert Movie" button on the text editor and paste the URL for a Flash, Windows Media, Quicktime, or AVI file. Or, select the "Source" button and paste the object-embed code into the text field. Services like YouTube often prominently display the embed code for each video.

Test Center upgrades
Some long-awaited features are now available in Test Center. Site owners can now export the summary data as a spreadsheet, as well as perform bulk downloads of attachments submitted by students/respondents. Questions can now be created on the fly an assessment is built — no need to create Pools first. Thanks to sponsored development from LSA-PSYCH, site owners can now expose a "Contest" field to allow feedback from students/respondents on the validity of questions. Units and departments can now designate "Master" test center sites where colleagues can share — but not edit — questions.

Extended statistics in forums
Site owners and instructors interested in statistics to describe participants' contributions to Forum topics and threads can request that Extended Statistics be made available on their site. The extended statistics view can sort by student/participant, by date, or by topic. Word count for each post and average words per post per student/participant also are provided.

New tools

My Courses in My Workspace
Students, look for the new My Courses tool near the bottom of the tool list in My Workspace. My Courses gives students a quick view of the classes for which they have registered, and shows which classes have active CTools sites. It also lists a contact name for each class and/or site.

i>clicker Integration
i>clicker support has been added to CTools! Features include Gradebook integration and handset registration through CTools sites. To add the i<clicker tool to a site go to the Site Info page of your site and click Edit Tools.

Signup tool (By Request)
Instructors, are you interested in managing your office hours or having students sign up for presentation timeslots on your CTools site? Program organizers, do you need participants to sign up for externships or on-site visits? Contact theCTools support staff if you want to add Signup to your site.

News Feeds tool (By Request)
Those who have used the CTools News tool before know that each News source needs its own link in the site navigation and requires an independent page a site. In the new News Feeds tool, site owners can aggregate multiple source feeds onto a single page. Contact the CTools support staff to add News Feed to your site.