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Feedback: How can we help?
Posted by +Brad Marshall, I-Learn Technology Engineer.

At BYU-Idaho, we are always looking for opportunities to help students and faculty improve their experience with I-Learn. We understand that there are many aspects to making I-Learn better. If we communicate better, we will better understand users’ needs and users will understand how to use I-Learn more effectively and efficiently.

Below are a couple thoughts of how we can improve our communication. Please reply in the comments if you like any of the suggestions, if you would participate, and if you have any other ideas.

  ● Office Hours: Hold regular Google+ Hangouts (see http://goo.gl/sYbII) to answer your questions, share what’s new in I-Learn, and share best practices.
  ● I-Learn Community: Create a Community (see http://goo.gl/UXajG) where all faculty and students may discuss any I-Learn topic. This could include “Tips & Tricks”, “Best Practices”, “Known Problems”, and other topics. (Suggested by +Jesus Gonzalez.)

So, how can we help?

#ilearnfeedback #faculty #students  
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33 comments
 
I have a Android Smartphone and I have wanted an app that allows me to keep track of what is due. Like what is on I learn now where you can see what you have coming due in the next two weeks
 
Agreed on the Community/forum
I-Learn
 
If you are interested in the community forum, what topics or categories would you like to see? 
 
I think that I-Learn is an awesome step in the right direction. I think that it's wise to keep it simple -- some of the older students in our over 30 Pathway Class had a hard time with it -- yet functional. If you do add advanced features, perhaps it would be wise to have them switchable. On and off, so there could be a functional, bare-bones version and than something with a bit more interoperability built in, I would love to have my byui email available, to have a customizable calendar that syncs with my windows and Google calendars. I guess a built in music player is asking a bit much. :)
 
From the viewpoint of students ilearn is just a little clunky.  Things don't work and we have just had to get used to it.  For example when you submit a document in Chrome it gives you an error message but in all reality the assignment was posted.  Discussion boards which only contain text take an unexplainable amount of time to load, and some times cash because of a network timeout.  I drafted a design for a new discussion board a while back.  I sent it as an email to the ilearn email and never heard anything back.  

My suggestion is that ilearn is updated not only on the back end with efficiency and tools for teachers to use, but because of the time students spend on ilearn, also make it an appealing interface that doesn't resemble something that would have come with our family's first computers using AOL 2.0. 

Here is my concept, again just a draft, but much more appealing.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/02dp4kvkamslufw/New%20Discussion%20Board%20Concept%20Smaller.jpg
 
I like your new concept. I think the posts would be easier to read as square buttons instead of long thin strips. I sometimes get lost in the discussion boards myself.
 
Although its a big leap, I do think mobile integration would be huge for I-Learn. 
 
Get feedback from the Computer Science department.
 
For those of you complaining about the usability of I-Learn, you must either not have been around or forgot about the dark days when BYUI was using Blackboard.
While I-Learn certainly isn't perfect yet, it's miles ahead of what it used to be.
I would add another vote for mobile support. That's going to be more and more important.
 
Just because I-Learn may be better than what once was, doesn't mean that we should be satisfied with what now is.

Fixing the calendar would probably be a great help on the student side, I know it would help me out a ton if I could get an accurate bead on upcoming assignments in my calendar app.

The faculty side is such a mess that I know of a couple of teachers that have basically boycotted it, and only use it to enter grades - and they only do that because they can't avoid it. That might be a topic for another thread.
 
+Aaron Ellis the problem with your design is that it doesn't show any relationships between posts by users.  Each discussion board assignment is a separate "forum".  The goal is for users to create posts and respond to each other facilitating a discussion.  It is important from a usability and functionality standpoint that relationships between posts and replies be shown.  The current discussion board accurately fulfills the requirements.  We are constantly working to improve the speed and add additional functionality.

+Morgen Peschke The faculty side is actually quite nice.  Most faculty are not opposed to it and actually like it.  There are a few who have done what you have said, and it is sad that they feel that way.
 
I agree with +Clay Diffrient on the faculty side discussion. I have had very few problems with it, other than some issues with grading categories and weighting. I think its pretty intuitive, even though I don't have any other course management system experience to compare it to. 
 
+Clay Diffrient, with due respect, that's not been my experience with the faculty side.

For example, until very recently (this semester or last, I don't remember exactly), the web editor was severely broken in it's ability to make tables. This was resulting in having class schedules created outside the I-Learn interface and posted in as raw html.

The interface for working with course plans (I think they are referred to as "Masters"), and specific semesters is really unintuitive. More importantly, the interface doesn't give much feedback about what version you are editing.

The loudest complaint is that it simply takes too many clicks to get anything done. It's worse because web interfaces in general - and I-Learn in particular - are not very responsive. This mean that each click results in a delay of several seconds to the overall task.

The worse example of this was in a religion class I took. There were errors on the quizzes on a regular basis, which obliged my teacher to change the grades for every student, in every section. There was no way for him to do this as a batch operation (or at least none that he could find). He used to kvetch about this regularly, which was justified as it took about an hour to get through it all.
 
+Clay Diffrient, in reference to the class forum, part of the problem is that there are several free and open source implementations of forums that provide all of I-Learn's current functionality, with many useful additional features that I-Learn's software can't touch.

They load faster, run better, are searchable, and have many less bugs/errors/browser dependent quirks/etc. It's frustrating because we know how much better they can be, but aren't.

Even some of the /comment/ offerings out there in the web are better than the I-Learn forums.
 
72 of the best 100 universities of the United States (Including Stanford, Princeton, Utah State, Boise State, etc) have change their internal systems to Google Apps, it's so much better, fast, and a great saving of money for the Universities. And It's totally free for educational institutions. Why to create or even fix a discussion board, or I-Learn thing, when there's available a better system for free?? Check this out: www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education
www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/customers.html
www.umzuzu.com/blog/2012/9/14/72-of-the-top-100-universities-have-gone-google.html
 
I wish that we had the option to receive a notification if someone replies to one of our posts on the discussion boards. The whole point of the boards is that it be a conversation. I think this would make it a ton easier for us to carry on that conversation if we knew when someone responded. This also could be used to cut down on load times. We could just click on the link from our email and load only that post w/ responses, rather than the entire thread.

I wonder if adding some display modes might help cut down on load times. Since we are supposed to find a post with less than three responses in most classes, we could have a 'Show Post with less than ? responses' where we provide the number. We could have 'Show Posts with no replies', 'Show only my Posts', Show only Posts I've replied too' or 'Show ?'s posts' where were provide a uses name. Of course 'Show only new posts' and some type of way to load the posts with out the replies would be cool. When we click on the expand carrot the replies could load. I'd rather have to wait two smaller amounts of time, rather than one big wait.

Thanks so much. This is a great idea.
 
+Clay Diffrient I would point you back to the design. The expanded view (big blue square) of each comment or post has a cascading conversation. 
 
+Jesus Gonzalez I agree wholeheartedly. I also think Chrome should be the default browser for the school. The new HTTP2.0 is based on the Chrome communication packet design (protocol). HTTP use protocol from the 1970's! If a webpage hangs up, there is no quick detection system built in. You have to wait for the time-out routine to kick in. I don't recall waiting this long, but the article I read on it said that some systems take up to 10 minutes to time out!

BYU-Idaho is doing it right. The Learning Model, the Pathway Program -- which has a 64% graduation rate for the Over 30's age bracket compared to University of Georgia's model that one of our couple missionaries worked on which had  28% graduation rate -- and even the way they are rolling out the online classes. Why not use the best tools that are available to us? Plus it's free. :) No brain'er,
 
Currently the Fastest Browser is Google Chrome, followed by Internet Explorer 10, Safari, and Firefox.
Talking about email services, comparing the current email of byui to gmail, the byui email sucks like no other! Gmail is way faster and more functional.
Comparing the text editor of I-learn to Google Docs, it's like compare Instagram with Photoshop (Instagram is a bad joke).
Talking about servers efficiency, well BYUI wastes thousands of dollars in cooling systems and maintenance. Google gives you all of that for free. That's why Boise State after changing to Google started to save around 150K dollars per year. What if BYUI use that money on more scholarships? Many would be benefited. 
 
Just a reminder to everyone that the topic of discussion for this post isn't about feature requests and improvements that could be made.  The specific topic is how can communication be better facilitated between users (students and faculty) and the developers.  A few ideas were suggested in the post, but are there others?

I'm not saying that a discussion like this isn't helpful or constructive.  It's just simply off topic.
 
+Clay Diffrient - I don't know that it is that off topic. The people who have commented are voting with their actions.

There is a real possibility to create a community here, you already can seen that there is the potential for engagement far beyond what is currently the norm in the communication between the devs and the user community.
 
So, Clay Diffrient -1 to your comment! lol just kidding
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Thank you all for your comments. We have asked how we could help and you have given us some examples. Keep a lookout for some exciting developments over the next few days as we try to increase community involvement. 
 
I am not sure what you are doing in the web code, but for some reason no browser's spell check ever seems to be able to check things that are being typed in while posting on message boards. The result is that many people (including me) will normally type longer posts in a word editor first, then copy and paste it to the browser. Seems kinda silly. 
 
Since not one of my students ever came to my regular office hours on abode connect, why not let teachers just post in their profile that if a student needs or wants to converse with me on abode connect then they can email me and will set up a time that works for them? 
 
Most of my teachers only ask to attach files. In that case we shouldn't use I-learn, just the email! 
 
The best suggestion I have is when taking an online test, I and many of my friends have been "backed out" of the page. This closes (most times) the test and grades all the unanswered questions as a zero. This is poor development seeing that a confirmation box when trying to navigate away isn't hard to add. This would be a pretty easy fix. Too often, hitting a bumper button on the mouse or making a misgesture was not intended. 
Thanks.
 
To answer the original question: You need to add a Contact Us button to the I-Players. This is the normal path people take to contact you on any other application  Surveys are a great way to get information. Just have add a survey button on your menu bar. Playdom does a 'Tell us how were doing' link that seems to work well for them, I think a forum would work, but it would be easier for non-tech savvy users if there was just a button on the I-Player menu.
 
I would like to have google hangouts with members of my class
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