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New features added to HuskyCT course software

by Sherry Fisher - March 31, 2008

An advanced version of HuskyCT, the University’s course management software, will be available for faculty in time for their summer classes.

HuskyCT allows faculty to post lecture notes, assignments, and grades, and to deliver messages, and allows students to contribute to online discussions or submit their work to instructors.

The enhancements include new features such as journal and roster tools, a citation checker, grading rubrics, and an institutional repository. More than half of all faculty have HuskyCT sites for a total of some 3,000 classes, sections, and labs.

“I think people will be excited about some of these new tools,” says Kim Chambers, director of educational technologies.

“There’s a tool that allows a faculty member to display a roster of students in the class. The nice thing is that students can attach pictures to their names, so faculty can associate a name with a face.”

Other tools allow students in the class to create blogs and journals.

“We’re very excited about the citation checker, called Safe Assign,” Chambers says.

Safe Assign allows students and faculty to check to make sure that proper citations are being made. If a student submits a paper, a professor can check it against others on the Web, journal articles, and papers written by other students.

“We hope this software helps teach proper citation and reduces plagiarism on campus,” Chambers says.

The Instructional Resource Center is conducting workshops on how to use Safe Assign.

They are set up through April, and additional ones will be organized for May and the summer months. Those interested should go to the web site.

An institutional repository is another feature of the updated HuskyCT. This tool lets departments, schools and colleges, and library departmental liaisons put files in the system that faculty can access.

“If, for example, the psychology department had tips for psychology students or information about societies in the field of psychology, they could put those files in the psychology folder,” says Chambers.

“Any psychology faculty member using HuskyCT could then link to those files.”

Another advantage of the enhanced software is the ability to upload multiple files without having to use the zip feature.

In the past, faculty had to upload one file at a time.

A calendar rollover feature will save time for faculty who have already taught a course and will be reusing a class web site. Assignments already in the calendar won’t have to be retyped if the same web site is being used, because the date rollover feature enters them automatically.

After this summer, the enhanced version of HuskyCT will be used for the upcoming academic year and in the foreseeable future.

Chambers says the software is continually improving.

“We continue to try to ensure that HuskyCT is easy to use and more intuitive,” he says. “We will continue to add tools that will help with teaching and learning.”

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