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ReggieNet’s spring break upgrade brings enhancements, new features

ReggieNet screenshot

ReggieNet will be offline on Monday, March 13 so technicians can update it to the latest version of Sakai, the software that makes it run behind-the-scenes.

Students and instructors will see some exciting changes to how ReggieNet looks and feels this spring break. These enhancements will be installed on Monday, March 13, when technicians shut down the service. During that period, which is expected to last all day, ReggieNet will not be available.

Instructional developers at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology have worked for months with the staff in Administrative Technologies to prepare for this upgrade. When complete, ReggieNet will use the latest version of Sakai, the open source “engine” that makes it run. While it will give ReggieNet a cleaner, more contemporary look, the update will not affect existing grades, resources, or assignments uploaded by either students or instructors.

For Students

Screenshot of ReggieNet on iPhone SE

ReggieNet should play better on your mobile device after the March 13 upgrade.

The biggest change from the student perspective is how ReggieNet looks on mobile devices. This upgrade incorporates a more “responsive design,” meaning the web pages (ReggieNet is essentially a big, complex website) will change shape and layout based upon screen size. For example, the list of assignments in the Assignment tool will shrink to a single column, which can be easily scrolled through on a smartphone. While not perfect, this change makes it easier for students to check grades, messages from instructors, and due dates on their smartphone.

The desktop layout is also different in the new version of ReggieNet. It is easier to organize favorite courses which appear at the top of screen. Also, the menu items (“tools”) on the left of the screen now include icons.

For Instructors

Faculty members will have access to new features that will help make teaching more effective … and a little easier, too. The Sakai community of developers has incorporated several small-but-welcome changes into this version. For example, the Resources tool now included a “trash can” feature, making it much harder to accidentally delete files.

An upgrade to the Lessons tool will allow instructors to create online lessons with greater flexibility and more layout options, including section breaks and multiple columns of information. Instructors will also be able to create checklists in Lessons, allowing students and the instructor to both track students’ progress on certain tasks. The Tests & Quizzes tool includes a new question type, called “image hotspots,” which allows instructors to create questions that require students to click on parts of an image.

Learn more about new features on CTLT’s ReggieNet support page.

New Gradebook

The spring break upgrade marks the start of the transition to a new Gradebook in ReggieNet. Confusingly, the current grade book tool is called “Gradebook 2,” while the new tool will be called, simply, “Gradebook.” The new Gradebook is more spreadsheet-like, allowing instructors to do more without having to open individual student records. In addition, two long-requested features are getting implemented in the new Gradebook:

  • Instructors will be able to create different “maximum total points” for individual students
  • Instructors can now add points higher than the maximum points for an assignment—no more creating additional Gradebook entries to award extra credit!
Gradebook tool

ReggieNet will get a new “Gradebook” tool instructors can start using right away.

Instructors have the option to use the older “Gradebook 2” for the remainder of the spring and during the summer. The new Gradebook will be required in the fall.

SCORM Update

For instructors using SCORM-based modules, the Sakai community has adopted a new method of connecting these modules to the ReggieNet grade book. As a result, a few instructors will need to reload their modules using this new method. Instructional support staff members at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology are already reaching out to those affected to help them one-on-one. If you use SCORM in your teaching, and if you have questions, contact CTLT at (309) 438-2542 to arrange a consultation.

Getting Help

Many people across campus work to support ReggieNet. If faculty or students encounter technical issues, please contact the Technology Support Center at ITHelp.IllinoisState.edu or call (309) 438-HELP.

For support on how to use and how to teach with ReggieNet, faculty should contact CTLT at (309) 438-2542 or email CTLT@ilstu.edu to make an appointment for a consultation.

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