PlusPortals Update: February 20, 2017

We are pleased to announce an important and exciting update to the PlusPortals. This update features several important enhancements and fixes:

  • Loading speeds have been improved in several key areas.
  • Students’ scores on quizzes taken in the PlusPortals now automatically transfer to the linked assignment column in TeacherPlus.
  • Teachers can now reset quizzes for students – allowing them to retake single-attempt quizzes.
  • Students with basic usernames instead of e-mail addresses can now receive e-mails within the PlusPortals.

The PlusPortals were updated during the early morning (EDT) on February 20, 2017. Please review the full details of this update below.

Features and Enhancements

Improvements to the Loading Speeds in Several Key Areas of the PlusPortals

Adjustments have been made to the following areas in order to improve the speeds at which they load:

  • PlusPortals Home Page (this refers to the enhanced login page that many of our schools use)
  • Authentication of users’ login credentials
  • Initial landing page that teachers, parents, and students see when they log in
  • Inbox, Drafts, and Sent Items folders of the E-Mail feature
  • Students’ details in the Groups feature

Please note, portions of the above loading enhancements were included in the December 20, 2016 update, which effected a small increase in loading speeds at that time. These enhancements, however, were not fully completed until an update which was released on January 24th, 2017, which effected an additional increase in these speeds at that time.

While the above improvements should have a significant positive impact on all users’ day-to-day experiences in the PlusPortals, this is only the initial phase of this ongoing effort. From this point forward, additional loading speed enhancements will be included in most updates to the PlusPortals.

Students’ Quiz Scores Now Automatically Transfer to the Linked Assignment Column in the TeacherPlus Gradebook

If a teacher creates a quiz in the PlusPortals, and uses the Add to Gradebook as Assignment option to create a linked assignment column in the TeacherPlus Gradebook, the students’ scores will be automatically transferred to the appropriate column when their submitted quizzes have been marked as “Review Completed” by the teacher or by the system.

Additional Notes

  • If a quiz is comprised entirely of questions that can be automatically graded by the system, the quiz will be marked as “Review Completed” as soon as the student submits the quiz.

    Note: In this instance, each time a student completes the quiz, his/her score will be transferred into the linked assignment column in the gradebook, creating a completely seamless process for teachers.
  • If a quiz contains any questions that cannot be automatically graded by the system, the students’ scores will not be transferred to the linked assignment column in the gradebook until the teacher reviews the students’ submitted quizzes in the E-Locker → Quizzes area of the PlusPortals.

    Note: Short Description, Essay, and File Upload questions cannot be automatically graded and always require the teacher’s review.
  • If a teacher deletes or resets a quiz in the PlusPortals that had already been completed by students, it is not possible for the scores to be automatically deleted from the linked assignment column in TeacherPlus. The teacher must remember to also access the gradebook and delete the scores and/or the column there.

    Note: If a student retakes a quiz, the student’s new score will overwrite the previous score in the linked assignment column in TeacherPlus when the quiz is marked as “Review Completed” in the PlusPortals.
  • If a teacher creates and publishes a quiz and later needs to edit the quiz for any reason, if any students have already taken the quiz, the teacher must reset the quiz and the students will need to retake it.

    Note: When a teacher attempts to edit an existing quiz, the system will check to see if any students have submitted it. If so, the teacher will receive a warning and have the option to reset the quiz for all students at that time.

Partial Credit Can Now Be Assigned to Answers for Multiple Choice Multiple Answer Questions in PlusPortals Quizzes

A new Allow partial credit for correct answers option has been added to the Multiple Choice Multiple Answers question type. If unchecked, the student must get the question exactly correct in order to receive credit. If checked, a Score column will appear next to the answers. If an answer is marked as “Correct Answer,” the score box for that answer will be editable.

If this option is selected, teachers will need to enter a value into the Score box for each correct answer. The sum of the points must add up to the value entered in the Points box. When students answer the question, they will receive the points for each correct answer.

Partial Credit

Important: If a student selects all of the correct answers and at least one incorrect answer, the question will not be automatically graded, as the teacher’s discretion is required to determine how much credit the student should receive. The teacher will need to go to E-Locker → Quizzes, access the student’s quiz, and enter the points that they would like to award the student for the question.

 

Quizzes Can Now Be Reset for Students

A new Reset button has been added to the E-Locker → Quizzes screen. This button will allow teachers to reset single-attempt quizzes for students so that they may retake them.

Reset Quiz

Note: In the event that a teacher uses this option, the student’s submitted quiz will be deleted – the student’s previous answers will not be pre-populated in the quiz when the student retakes it. If the student needs access to the answers from his/her previous attempt, the quiz must be printed out from the Quiz Results screen prior to being reset.

 

Controls Allowing Users to Select Which E-Mails Are Loaded Have Been Added to the E-Mail Feature

In our December 20, 2016 update, a new automatic filter was applied to the E-Mail screen, which loaded only the past 30 days of e-mails. To see all e-mails, the user needed to click the Clear Search button. However, this was not obvious to the user. In addition, the filter was mistakenly applied to the Archived E-Mail section.

In order to address this, we have added two new buttons for users, as shown below:

E-Mail Loading Controls

 

The Show recent e-mails button will be selected by default each time the E-Mail screen is accessed. This option will show e-mails from within the past 30 days. This will ensure that the screen loads more quickly, particularly for users with a large number of e-mails. In order to see all e-mails, users can click the Show all e-mails button.

The selected option will be maintained when users switch between the standard Inbox, Drafts, and Sent Items boxes. If the user accesses the Inbox, Drafts, or Sent Items under the Archived E-Mail section, the option will automatically be switched to Show all e-mails.

Students with Usernames Instead of E-Mail Addresses Can Now Receive E-Mail Within the PlusPortals

If a student does not have an e-mail address for his/her PlusPortals username, he/she can still be selected as an e-mail recipient. In this instance, the e-mail will be delivered within the PlusPortals, and will be available to the student in the Inbox of the E-Mail feature.

Note: The Activity Feed feature in the E-Mail Analytics area of the PlusPortals Admin Site currently displays details only for e-mail recipients with e-mail addresses. These details feed directly from our e-mail relay service provider, which in turn feeds the delivery statuses directly from each recipient’s e-mail service provider. Due to this, student recipients having usernames instead of e-mail addresses will not appear in the Activity Feed. In the future, the Activity Feed feature will be changed in order to also display these recipients, with a status that will indicate that delivery was within the PlusPortals only.

Feature Fixes

  • Individual students can now be selected as e-mail recipients regardless of whether they have or do not have usernames.

    Prior to this update, if a student selected on the Select Recipient menu had no username for the PlusPortals, any other students on the menu that also did not have usernames were automatically selected.

  • Lesson Planner Units and all content will now be copied to other sections successfully.

  • Recurring events on School Calendar will no longer appear outside of the recurrence pattern selected.

  • Parents will always be able to see the Groups button if one or more of their children are Group Members.

    Previously, if students were added to a Group using any method other than by Grade Level, the Groups button was not appearing for their parents.

  • Totals for Daily Absences and Tardies will now be tallied properly in the Attendance area for parents and students.

    Prior to this update, these totals were appearing doubled to parents and students at a small number of schools.

  • Attachments will now display in the News box of the PlusPortals Home Page for all School Announcements.

    Previously, attachments were displayed only for the topmost Announcement within the News box. The attachments for other Announcements were available by clicking the View All button.

  • The Progress Box will now always appear for students and parents on their Home pages.

    Prior to this update, if the settings which control the visibility of scores were disabled, the Progress Box did not appear.

    Note: Marking Period Averages and Grades will not appear in the Progress Box unless they are enabled in your settings. Nonetheless, the Progress Box is still very useful in showing parents and students their classes and allowing them to click on a class to access its home page.
  • The Groups and My Schedule buttons will now appear for PlusPortals users who are using the PlusPortals District feature.

    Prior to this update, unless a teacher logged in using the direct PlusPortals link for a school that his/her account exists within, these two buttons were not appearing.

    Note: The PlusPortals District feature enables databases of schools within the same district or diocese to be connected in the PlusPortals, providing single sign-on functionality for users having user accounts across multiple schools.
  • Links containing underscores ( _ ) can now be posted to the PlusPortals.

  • The recommendation box on the Course Recommendations screen has been resized in order to correct a display issue in which the box was pushed down below the student selection box.

    Note: In addition, the word “Request” has been changed to “Recommendation” on all buttons at the bottom of this screen.
  • The Recent Scores box on parents’ and students’ Home page will no longer be pushed down below the Progress Box when a user has a monitor resolution higher than 1920 x 1080.

 

If you have any questions related to this update, please e-mail portalsupport@rediker.com or call Tech Support at 800-882-2994.