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Apr
3
eClass Performance Update for Final Exams
Posted by Dave Laurie on 03 April 2020 03:49 PM

Attention eClass Users,

As classes come to a close and our focus shifts to final assessments, we wanted to provide you an update on how eClass has performed through the transition to online delivery.

eClass has had roughly 1.3 million user sessions with 11 million page views and an average of 34,000 active daily users. Our busiest day was March 17th, where the total number of users who accessed eClass was 40,648. For comparison, this is still less than the total number of users who accessed eClass on the first day of Fall term 2019, when 48,144 users visited the site.

The overall usage profile is showing fewer traffic spikes but a higher average load with increases to both the average session length and the number of page visits per session. Through all of this, our monitoring has shown consistent and responsive performance on the system. 

In preparation for the final exam period when we expect there to be a surge in synchronous quiz attempts, we have taken the following steps to ensure the performance continues to meet expectations:

  • We have doubled the baseline number of server nodes in our environment.
  • We have doubled both the application and database memory size.
  • We have been constantly monitoring and tuning site performance based on traffic.
  • We are prepared to rapidly deploy changes to the environment if required.

To that end, we are confident that instructors and students will be able to rely on eClass through the exam period - final assessments are stressful enough without needing to worry about technical failures.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Regards,
IST eClass Support


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Mar
29
Zoom Configuration Update
Posted by Dave Laurie on 29 March 2020 03:25 PM

Attention Zoom users,

Thanks to everyone who continues to provide feedback and ask questions about using Zoom. For basic usage, the Center for Teaching and Learning has provided a list of helpful suggestions

The feedback we’ve received has prompted us to make the following changes:

  • The location information for telephone access to meeting audio has been changed to default to Canada. Please note that our license does not include a toll-free dial-in option.
  • The option to display video feeds with virtual backgrounds had been turned off by default as these can be a distraction and have the potential for mis-use. Virtual backgrounds can be turned on by instructors for their specific meetings by adjusting their user account meeting preferences.
  • The option for all participants to share their screens has been turned off by default. Hosts can still provide the ability for participant screen sharing by clicking the up arrow immediately right of Screen sharing, then accessing the ‘Advanced sharing options’. For use cases where all the participants of a meeting would be expected to share their screen regularly, this can be adjusted in the user account meeting preferences.
  • The option for all participants to send private messages to each other has been turned off by default. Hosts can still send private messages to all participants.
  • Students no longer have access to the meeting invitation.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us at eclass@ualberta.ca or by phone at 780-492-9372.

Regards,
IST eClass Support

 


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Mar
29
ExamLock Manager Configuration Change
Posted by Dave Laurie on 29 March 2020 09:57 AM

Attention ExamLock users,

Some users who have updated to the latest version of Chrome (80+) may encounter a problem viewing and creating exam sessions when accessing the ExamLock manager in eClass. Affected users will see a blank screen when accessing the manager from their course. This issue stems from a recent security change in the latest version of Chrome relating to cross-site embedding.

We have made a configuration change to the ExamLock manager tool that will launch it in a new window (instead of the current setting that embeds it in eClass) so that users adding new tools will not experience this issue. Users who have already added the tool to their course(s) will notice this different behaviour.

We will release a permanent fix for this issue after the exam period that will allow us to re-enable embedding the manager.

Anyone encountering a white screen instead of the usual list of quizzes and existing sessions can resolve it by accessing the tool settings, clicking show more, and changing the ‘Launch container’ to New window.

If you continue to have issues, please contact IST eClass support.

Regards,
IST eClass Support

 


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Mar
24
First Week of Zoom
Posted by Chris Goetz on 24 March 2020 02:41 PM

Attention Zoom users,

Thank you to everyone who has been using and exploring the new Zoom integration in eClass. It has now been a full week since we launched this integration, and we have received some useful feedback from new and experienced Zoom users.

To ensure that the system is working as efficiently as possible, we will be working to improve the configuration over time.

At this time, we would like to let you know about the following changes:

  • Previously, some hosts were able to find a setting to assign participants to breakout rooms before the start of the meeting. This setting has now been disabled as this feature does not function with our implementation of Zoom (at the UofA, Zoom meeting participants do not usually have accounts that can be used to pre-populate breakout rooms.)
  • By default, hosts were receiving an email notification when participants joined the meeting before them. This setting will no longer be turned on by default (but users can still enable this feature if desired).

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us at eclass@ualberta.ca or by phone at 780-492-9372.

Regards,
IST eClass Support


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Mar
20
eClass Exam Digitization Service
Posted by Dave Laurie on 20 March 2020 03:54 PM

UPDATE: The deadline for exam file submission for Winter 2020 digitization is Monday, April 6th at 12:00PM.

Attention eClass Instructors,

As part of moving course delivery online, IST will be providing an exam digitization service for any instructors who require it and who do not have their exams already converted to a digital format. This service is voluntary and is intended to provide instructors with proactive assistance with digitization in case they require electronic exams.

The exam digitization service will take existing exams in electronic format (MS word .doc or .docx) and convert them into quiz activities on eClass. Instructors who do not have image graphics in their quizzes are encouraged to submit their files in the Aiken text format which will facilitate this process. The converted quizzes will be hidden from students so that instructors can review and validate them and decide whether electronic delivery will meet their needs.

Instructors also have the option to create their online exams using our guide for creating quizzes. Information on the basic mechanisms for importing and uploading files into the course question bank is also available.

Please note that online exams may not be required so instructors should follow any department, faculty, or central academic directives on assessment and should also consult the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s guidelines for online assessment.

To submit an exam for digitization, please complete this form.

If you have any questions about this, please contact us at digitize@ualberta.ca.

Regards,
IST eClass Support

 


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