Category Archives: Quality Assurance

Introducing Our New Mobile Friendly Course Site Theme

You probably noticed our new theme for the course site at StraighterLine. While it’s a total refresh aesthetically, it also brings some added benefits to our students by providing a responsive layout.

What is responsive?

In short, a responsive theme is flexible so that no matter what screen size you’re using to view a site, the page loads to look it’s best on that screen by moving page elements or resizing columns. This means that it will be a much more friendly experience for our users who are studying with a tablet or even a phone.

What are students saying?

In our demo to date here’s what students have had to say,

The screen condenses itself to the size you choose, making it a better experience.
I was not able to adjust the size of the screen on my laptop to make the screen smaller or larger. Very Simple looking.

I think it’s better organized…

Looks better.

responsiveness is great- will make much easier to use on my tablet or phone if I’m on the go

I loved how things have heading and i can click on it to access materials. It seems more organized as well before it looked bulky, and messy. I love this new update!

Loved it, love it, loved it! Can’t get here fast enough!

It was such a nice layout. Not as confusing. And it was easier to maneuver around in.

Will the theme now work on all devices? In short, yes. But the content that drives our courses has not changed. Through extensive testing we’ve identified a few devices and OS versions that might continue to have trouble viewing content specifically. We are working with our content partners over time to improve the mobile experience for all courses.

Known issues:

  • On many mobile devices lesson presentations do not autoplay, just click the little play button to start the audio on each slide.
  • iOS8: if you’re using iOS8 you may not have the best experience with the McGraw Hill content. Earlier versions of iOS may provide better experiences to students.
  • PE101: Flash content is not supported on Android or iOS
  • MAT250, MAT251, PHY250: Flash content is not supported on Android or iOS

Have a comment or suggestion? Don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below: http://www.thesladvisor.com/ask-anything/

Upcoming Outages: 10/11, 10/12 and 10/16

Over the next week aspects of StraighterLine services will be down temporarily for scheduled maintenance.

  • Turnitin: 10/11 10am – 2pm EST. This will affect any students in courses with qualitative submissions (labs, composition courses including Developmental Writing, Business Communications, Student Success, Spanish and others). Please note that the submission process may not be available Saturday morning. Service should return to normal early afternoon on Saturday.
  • NetTutor: 10/12 11pm – 10/13 9am EST. On Sunday night NetTutor, used generally in Social Sciences, Business and Humanities courses will be unavailable for maintenance. Any scheduled service hours may be disrupted as will overnight Q&A.
  • Moodle: 10/16 3am – 5am EST. Thursday’s outage will affect all courses and they will be unavailable in the early morning. Please note that all examinations, course resources and grades will be unavailable at this time.

We thank you for your cooperation and patience.

For all StraighterLine related events, holidays and service updates check out: http://www.thesladvisor.com/events/

Try our new course site theme: it’s better on every device

You’re invited to try out our new site design before it’s officially released on your desktop, laptop, netbook, Chromebook, tablet, phablet, phone, Glass or iWatch and let us know what you think. The feedback process is essential to ensuring that we’re doing our best to serve you so please fill out the brief survey once you’ve gone through the quick demo using the link below.

Try out the new site

(Note: autoplay of lesson presentations is disabled for mobile, to play the audio slides just click the play button.) And then don’t forget…

Complete the survey

We’re happy share that we’ve been hard at work creating a better and more mobile-friendly experience for our course site no matter what device you are using to access StraighterLine. Rather than create a device specific app that you need to download we’re releasing a “responsive” theme which will work no matter what screen size your looking at. Responsive design is a feature of many sites you’re familiar with and helps to reorganize elements of websites so that they can easily display on any device without showing just a miniature version of the webpage.

At the moment we’re testing all of the activities that you as students do on a daily basis on our site to make sure that we have maximum compatibility and we hope to update the experience for all students soon. We do know already that some content may not playback on all devices but navigating through the site, checking grades, assignment details, or just seeing what chapter to read from your textbook should be better than ever.

New Course Offerings- 1 Credit Labs: Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy & Physiology

If you’ve already taken a science lecture courses, but now need the laboratory credit for your degree program, check out the new 1-credit standalone versions of our already popular Introduction to Biology, General Chemistry I,  Anatomy & Physiology I, and Anatomy & Physiology II labs. These courses now contain:
1) Enhanced Content – We’ve worked with our content provider, eScienceLabs, to bring you updated, at-home lab experiments and dissections as well as a new virtual model in the A&P labs to help you learn the various systems of the human body.

blog post

2) Grader Feedback – We’ve hired experts in the field who will review and provide feedback on your assignments so that you have a better idea of how well you’re understanding the course material.

3) Streamlined Submission Process – We’ve clarified the laboratory requirements by combining every exercise within a given lab assignment into a single worksheet.  You’ll be able to record data, answer lab questions, and insert experimental photos in one document that will be submitted to our graders for review.

Check out these courses today!

PHY250/PHY250L Chapter 12 and 13 Content Update

In PHY250/PHY250L General Physics I, Chapter 12 and 13, currently our course uses material from our partner, NROC (National Repository of Online Courses).  NROC will be discontinuing the availability of the content included in these Chapters.  We have replaced this content using OpenStax College Physics free online resource along side with supported videos.

OpenStax offers free online resources which are made available to download in various formats.  To check out which download format is best for you, click here.

Browser Hijacking: Ad banners and popups that shouldn’t be there

StraighterLine’s membership and course fees support our staff and help us keep the lights on so that we can continue offering really low cost college credit pathways for students like you. Unlike some other educational websites, we do not put ad banners or popups advertisements in our courses or on our site.

Which is why we were terribly confused recently when a few students mentioned they were seeing ad banners and popups in a lot of our courses as they were trying to learn (how annoying). It took a little bit of research on our end, but we did identify a few ways that your course experience (and general web browsing experience) might be negatively impacted due to a very annoying browser extension.

If you’re seeing ads at StraighterLine.com as shown in the picture below, one of these issues is likely the culprit:

Still seeing ads? Contact us today and we’ll help you out.

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Help us evaluate a new tutoring solution

We’re evaluating a new tutoring solution and we want your help. We want you to use the tutoring along with the existing tutoring provided with your membership at StraighterLine and help us learn about your preferences. Here’s what we’re looking for:

You are,

  • currently enrolled
  • interested in finishing your courses in the next two months
  • willing to try both tutoring options*
  • willing to participate in two brief surveys (one after 2 weeks the other after 5)

You’ll get,

  1. 10 additional free hours of tutoring
  2. to help us steer the direction of academics
  3. our many thanks
  4. a token of our appreciation upon successful completion of both surveys.

This pilot is only open to 10 current students and will kick off next week.

*Current tutoring is accessible through your course. This new Tutoring option will be linked from your Moodle home page but will require an additional login step. The new tutoring option will include audio, video, screen share, white board, etc. Both options will connect you with qualified tutors for your courses.

Interested?

Just fill out the two items below and submit. Participants will be notified by email by 1/22.

The sign up form is now closed. But you can get involved in other user testing by signing up here.

Tips for Troubleshooting Course Errors

Are you a Mac user and experiencing technical errors when trying to access your StraighterLine course in Firefox?  We’ve noticed students using a Mac computer may come across the error “Parameters are incorrect.”  Below is a guide to help troubleshoot this issue.

Enabling Third-Party Cookies in Firefox