Overview of CoursePlus
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has developed and supports the CoursePlus learning management system (LMS), the proprietary teaching and learning platform used for courses at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Most of the courses that the Bloomberg School offers through the Johns Hopkins University Student Information System have a home on CoursePlus, as do a selection of other courses for which CTL provides support, including some on-demand training.
Faculty, teaching assistants (TAs), content editors, and course and academic coordinators can utilize all or some of the tools that CoursePlus has to offer, such as allowing students to submit assignments, take quizzes online, view and download related course materials, and more. More information about several of the CoursePlus tools available to faculty and students is available on the Technology for Teaching at the Bloomberg School of Public Health page. CoursePlus can also be used to enable students to work together and collaborate on projects, as well as build digital portfolios that allow for student reflection and show evidence of their learning.
It is essential to establish a baseline understanding of CoursePlus to efficiently facilitate a course site using the platform. CTL provides workshops and resources to ensure that faculty and students feel confident and comfortable navigating course sites inside the platform. Below are some activities and resources for getting acquainted with the LMS.
Introduction to Online Learning
Introduction to Online Learning (IOL) is a free, mandatory prerequisite course that prepares students to take online courses offered via CoursePlus. Attention is focused on learner responsibilities, communication strategies, and the diverse ways in which faculty run their online courses. Register for Introduction to Online Learning here.
CoursePlus Stand-Alone Guides
There are several stand-alone guides for faculty centered on individual CoursePlus tools, and also relevant resources for students to provide direction when a tool is first used in a course. These guides are available on the Toolkit Shelf.
CTL regularly offers a CoursePlus Refresher workshop for faculty or TAs who want to review the functionalities of CoursePlus or learn about enhanced or new features. This workshop is tailored for those who have some experience in the editing role (faculty, TAs, and staff) and want a closer look at CoursePlus tools. It also addresses areas where help is requested most frequently and answers participant questions. Please visit this Toolkit’s Events page to sign up for the next CoursePlus Refresher workshop.
The CTL Blog publishes brief updates, tutorials, and resources related to using CoursePlus and other CTL services. Blog posts can be filtered by category, and the Quick Look series provides videos that demonstrate some of the intermediate to advanced features of CoursePlus. There is a link at the bottom of each page on the Blog’s site to subscribe via email as well as a link to the RSS feed.
CoursePlus Faculty Help Guide
Specific step-by-step instructions about how to use tools or features within CoursePlus can be referenced in the CoursePlus Help Guide for faculty. The guide is sorted by grouped tools inside the LMS and is also searchable by keyword(s). Its instructions are continually updated to reflect updates made to the CoursePlus site. This is a great first stop for questions about using CoursePlus. (The CoursePlus Help Guide is linked in the left-hand navigation bar of the CoursePlus homepage for logged-in users.)
The CTL help desk provides personal assistance with CoursePlus for faculty teams and students. The main CTL Help site (linked from the CoursePlus homepage) lists frequently asked questions and tutorials and provides links to the faculty and student guides. Additionally, the site links to the option to open a help call, which asks the user to provide a description of any issues, including error messages. This help call form is also linked from the “Help” item in every course page’s navigation bar. When a user opens a help call directly from a course page, that page and its course name are automatically populated in the form’s fields.
Individuals who have a more general question or want to contact the help desk directly can still reach the CTL help desk by opening a help call on the form. If faculty team members reach out to CTL Help and they have also been working with an instructional designer, it is recommended that the instructional designer be copied on any emails.
JHED (Login) Support
The majority of CoursePlus users will need to sign in with their active JHED ID (Johns Hopkins Enterprise Directory identification) and password. If there is any difficulty logging in with the JHED ID, users must contact the University’s IT Help Desk or by calling 410-955-HELP (410-955-4357).
To add a JHED ID to an existing CoursePlus account, see the instructions for merging accounts on the CoursePlus Help Guide.
Instructional Designers and Technologists
The CTL instructional design team, which includes instructional designers and instructional technologists, can also assist with many CoursePlus questions for faculty teams. While the team may not be equipped to address every CoursePlus issue, they are familiar with the functions and behaviors of the platform. For pedagogical queries (for instance, “will this tool be appropriate for collaboration?” or “what is the best way for students to sign up for their groups?”), the instructional design team is the right place to start.
Faculty who are not seeing the courses they expect when they log into CoursePlus should check their status with their department’s academic coordinator. If they are working with an instructional designer, they should also contact the instructional designer. CTL may be able to give the faculty access in a role other than “Faculty of Record.”
Students who are not seeing the courses they expect should contact the registrar’s office as a first step. Sometimes there is a financial hold; other times it may be a matter of synchronizing registration systems, etc. CTL will not give students access to a course site.