January and February Updates

February 23, 2016

Happy 2016 to everyone! We hope that everyone was able to find some happiness bringing in the new year.

Hello and Goodbye January and February

For ClassMate there is much work to be done! Last month we recognized some large feature gaps ClassMate has had, and our current efforts have been focused on closing those by designing and building based on the needs of users of ClassMate.

January has been a continuation of our work with a hard focus on grading, grade system design, curriculum design and flexibility, content reusability, the mentor platform and activity completion.

Various parts of ClassMate are now facing redesign from our design team to help us keep things organized, so in future releases you may expect ClassMate’s interface to be tidied up.

Curriculum Designer:

Our team has been struggling to design a curriculum designer interface that is flexible enough to allow for any style of classroom possible. With our recent releases this month we feel strongly that are on the right track.

Curriculum sections were originally labeled as “Week {Section Number}”. In January we released a feature that allows Educators to customize these section labels. This update has also set us up to allow for drag and drop sections, which will continue to enhance the flexibility and ease of curriculum design.

Grade Book

We are continuing to add more grading features. This is a multi-pronged project since we are focused on making grading easy for Educators, while also allowing Learners and Mentors to have access to critical information.

Grades are now displayed as percentages as well as total points earned. When Educators are inputting the grades, they may add grades as either total points earned, or as a percentage – whichever is easier for them.

Grading is optional! Not all classrooms require grading, so ClassMate will toggle various interface features based on whether or not grading is required.

Assignments marked with a grade weight of 0 will be excluded from the final grade calculations.

Classroom Invitations

Fixed a bug that was sending the “Learner X has accepted the invitation to classroom X” back to the Learner instead of the Educator to whom was intended to receive that feedback notification.

Mentor Platform

The Mentor Platform is our effort on building communication and transparency between Learners, Educators and Mentors. As we continue with ClassMate we have introduced:

  • New responsive templates that help navigate one or many Learners you may be mentoring.
  • Various forms that allow for the request of a mentorship, or requesting someone to mentor you.
  • Hooks into various Learner details views and Educator contact features.

Our Team Presented at Meteor Dev Shop

Hats off to the organizers of the Meteor Dev Shop NYC, these guys pour a lot of energy into their feature presenters. At Meteor Dev Shop this month we designed two separate presentations and ended up with participating in a panel discussion about our experience building ClassMate and using the Meteor.js framework to build it.

Whats Next?

As we continue to build features, we have been logging requests from our users. We have Educators ranging from K-12 and College professors beginning to teach with ClassMate, and we are happy to say with each week we get closer at closing out feature gaps.

Features you will see us talking about in the coming months are

Activity submission and completion is only the beginning. Early January we started to discuss building in a feedback loop between Learners and Educators. This will allow Educators a medium for providing feedback on any given task and track a dialog between a Learner and Mentor.

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