Monthly Archives: September 2011

Major upgrade: A whole new Activity Library!

We’re thrilled to introduce our brand new Activity Library, featuring hundreds of new curriculum-connected activities and an easy way to find the ones you’re looking for. Here’s what’s new:

Search

Finding an activity is now as simple as typing a topic into the new Search bar. Suggestions appear automatically while you’re typing, and the results show everything at a glance so you can quickly find the right activity and assign it to your class.

Simpler browsing

If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, just click on a subject to browse a list of relevant activities. There’s also a new Featured section that shows you activities that are new, popular or timely.

Every activity now has a section showing you what topics it coversĀ  – click on any of them to see every activity in the library that deals with that topic!

Tons more activities

Best of all, there are hundreds of fantastic new activities in the library, created by curriculum specialists and teachers like you. The new Activity Library is a must-see. Whatever you’re teaching, we just might have the activity you’ve been looking for! Check it out here.

Major upgrade: Better activity management

Tracking your students’ progress as they work on an activity has just become much easier! Now you can see at a glance what stage your students are at and easily get to the comics you need to review.

Activity progress dashboard

All of the activities you’ve assigned to your class appear on the My Activities homepage. Each activity has a new dashboard that shows student progress categorized into 5 very useful sections –

Submitted for review – these students have sent you comics and are waiting for you to approve them or provide feedback.
Unstarted – these students have yet to start their comic.
In progress – these students have saved a draft but not submitted it to you yet.
In revision – these students have received your feedback but have not yet re-submitted their comic to you.
Approved – these students have successfully completed the activity.

Clicking on any of these categories takes you to the relevant list of students. Generally, the one you’ll be most interested in is Submitted for review, since it’s the list of students who require your feedback.

Review comics faster

And giving feedback is easier than ever. Just hit the ‘Return comic for revision’ button above the comic you’re reviewing and add any comments you have. You’ll then automatically move to the next comic in the review queue! That means no extra clicking or guessing which comic to review next.

On the left of any comic you’re reviewing, you’ll see a list showing each student’s progress, and can easily navigate to any of them to see their work so far. Again, this means less clicking and an easier way to get a snapshot of your class’s progress.

We think you’ll find our new system for managing your activities intuitive and easy to use. Now all you need to do is assign an activity!

New feature: Turn student access on and off

There are times you might want to limit student access to your classroom. So we’ve added a useful new option under your classroom settings to give you better control over how and when students can log in.

You can find it in the Class Permissions box on your Settings page. By default, you’ll see that student access is set to Enabled. To change it, just hit the Change button and choose one of the other options – you can disable access completely or just limit access to school hours. Whichever option you choose, you can always log in any time and change it back. To check it out, just click on the Settings tab in your account.

Major new feature: Simpler comic controls!

We’ve just added a whole new way to control objects in the Comic Builder, making it easier than ever to become a comic-making pro. If you were already used to the old controls, don’t worry – we think you’ll find the new ones more intuitive and quicker to use.

Now, whenever you drag anything into a panel, you’ll notice a blue box appear around it. This blue box is all you need to move something around, make it bigger or smaller, or rotate it. Here’s how it works:

Moving things around

To move any object inside a panel – including characters, props or even text bubbles – just click on it and start moving it around with your mouse. Okay, so far that’s not really new. But…

Scaling things bigger and smaller

When you hover your mouse over any one of the small squares on the edge of the blue box, you’ll see your cursor switch to the ‘zoom’ icon. When this happens, click the mouse button and move the cursor up and down or side to side – your object will start scaling in the same direction! Next, let go of the button and move your mouse back onto the object. The cursor will switch back to the move icon. This means that you no longer need to use the buttons at the bottom of the Comic Builder every time you want to switch between moving and scaling, so it’s much simpler and faster to position things just the way you want them.

Rotating things

Wait, there’s more! Move your cursor outside any one of the corners of the blue box and it’ll switch to a ‘rotate’ icon, letting you easily spin objects around in either direction.

So now alternating between move, zoom and rotate is just a matter of moving your mouse into different areas of the blue box!

What about the old buttons?

One last thing – the familiar Move, Zoom and Rotate buttons still appear at the bottom of the Comic Builder. These are now only used for working with the background of a comic – for example, zooming in on a whole panel at once, or rotating the entire scene. But to work with individual objects, the new blue box is all you need. Enjoy!