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News & Events: New Features for January 2009

Mark your calendars!

Release scheduled for Tuesday, December 23, 2008 

Our new feature release is scheduled for Tuesday, 12/23/08. The estimated downtime will be 5:00 PM on December 23rd to 5:00 AM Eastern Standard Time on December 24th. Please do not schedule tests or assignments during this time. MyMathLab and MathXL courses will be temporarily unavailable. No new player installation is required with this release.

New Features

For Instructors


Number of Attempts for Homework Questions
Instructors will be able to specify the number of times each homework question on an assignment can be attempted, from 1 to the current default of unlimited. Students are told of the number of attempts they have on the Homework Overview. This option lets instructors balance students’ ability to practice with similar exercises while preserving the integrity of the assignment.

More Options for Preview & Add, Preview & Remove
As they preview questions while creating homework assignments, instructors will see the entire question worked out so they’ll know how many parts the question has. They can also switch from this default view to “Work Problem as Student,” where a “Show Answer” button allows them to see the correct answers. A “Reload” button regenerates the values of the question being previewed. (Show Answer and Reload are currently available in Preview mode for tests/quizzes.)

Enhanced “Change Due Dates & Assign Status”
A new option on this page lets instructors update only the setting they change without affecting other settings. This feature is especially helpful for course groups, where a coordinator instructor can change the password of a test without overriding any specific settings for that test in member courses (such as due dates and times). Also, the action buttons will be available at the top of the page, to allow more convenient navigation in courses that have a large number of assignments.

Hiding Publisher Announcement
In the Announcement Manager, instructors can choose to hide the auto-generated announcement (with links to Browser Check and the “How to Enter Answers” tour) the same way they can hide the My Assignments dashboard.

“Suggestion Box” Renamed as “Ask the Publisher”
This popular feature will be relabeled “Ask the Publisher” to emphasize that the suggestion is not for students. Also, instructors can now access this button from Preview & Add (or Preview & Remove) while creating assignments as well as during a review of students’ submitted homework or test.

For Students


Partial Credit for Incomplete Homework Questions
Students who work through most parts of a homework question but do not complete it before going to the next question will get partial credit for the correct answers they entered. They can return later to finish the question and try to improve their score.

New Interaction Between Question and “Help Me Solve This”
To ensure that the “Help Me Solve This” learning aid is used as intended, algorithmic values in the original question will regenerate as soon as a student clicks the Help Me Solve This button, rather than when the student returns to the question.

“Chapter O” (Orientation) Questions on Using the MathXL Player
Beginning with courses for copyright 2010 titles, there will be a number of orientation questions that help students get started and become familiar with how to enter answers in the Player, use the palette, and work with the Grapher.

Enhanced Answer Feedback Messages
By popular request, we are reinstating the colorful correct and incorrect answer feedback messages, which seem to provide added motivation to students.