What have we done for you lately? The Catalyst team is always working to enhance and improve the Web Tools in response to the needs of our users.
You can now add UW Group IDs to your group chooser and use them to provide access to Catalyst Web Tools. The UW Groups Service makes it easier to define and manage the right groups, and then identify and reuse them in many systems and applications via UW Group ID.
WebQ has a new multiple-choice question type: True/False. When you select this question type, WebQ generates a true/false answer pair. You can also change the responses to a different type (for example, yes/no or male/female).
We made usability and accessibility enhancements, and added new features that allow instructors to find class lists and sort them by quarter.
We added a rich-text editor that makes creating and formatting content in course or project workspaces easier.
Students can now submit URLs directly to Collect It drop boxes, letting faculty easily collect Web-based student work.
Google Sites Hub Released
To provide a campus-wide portfolio solution, UW-IT has integrated CommonView and Google Sites, part of the UW Google Apps suite. This integration joins the robust content creation and publishing features found in Google Sites with the security and course management functionality of Catalyst Tools. Click here for more information.
September saw two user-requested improvements to the CommonView tool, Public Views and Custom Appearance.
- Administrators now can make individual views visible to the public, as well as the whole workspace.
- Adding onto the ability to change the color scheme of a CommonView workspace, administrators can now add a custom banner image to further personalize their sites.
Improved Accessibility across Catalyst Tools
UW-IT has improved the accessibility of all Catalyst Tools for those using screen readers, with specific improvements in WebQ and Your Groups.
Catalyst Tools "Your Groups Feature"
This upgrade replaces the previous Group Manager tool with a much more integrated and easy-to-use approach to creating and managing your groups, both on your account page and within individual tools. More enhancements to groups, including using UW institutional groups and viewing photo class lists, will be rolled out later this year. Learn more and see examples of the changes here.
New Catalyst Releases
Throughout April, UW-IT released features that make it easier to do your work with Catalyst Tools. For example, new "static" assignment headers in Catalyst GradeBook will simplify tracking and entering scores. CommonView received a number of updates, letting you do the following:
- Add RSS feeds to your workspace so you can subscribe to the notification "feeds" from other Web sites and see updated content automatically
- Edit all content inline so you no longer need to go to another page to make changes
- Upload multiple files into a single content item and display them using less space and with more descriptive context
- Display Google calendars by week, month, or agenda views.
Course Management Upgrades
UW-IT has been busy in 2009 making a simpler, richer online course management experience. With the new account page and updates to CommonView, you can create a workspace for your class and put class materials online quickly, receive notifications of deadlines and new activity, and integrate with Google and YouTube. GradeBook now lets you import OEA ScorePak and WebQ scores and submit final course grades online. Deeper integration with campus systems brings student photos into Catalyst Tools, more current and complete class lists, and switching to shared accounts without logging out of your personal UW NetID account.
Make your Workspace Public
You can now make your CommonView workspace available to the general public -- no UW NetID needed. Stay tuned for finer grained control over the content in your workspace.
The New Face of Catalyst Web Tools
Goodbye cluttered, wordy list of tools! The all new account page helps you find what you need quickly, and complete common tasks without ever leaving the account page. You can arrange, filter, and sort your tools and course or project workspaces, and star tools you work with often. Create tools through the new graphic menu, and switch between personal and shared accounts without logging out. You'll also experience improved and more uniform navigation across all tools.
Better Graphs in QuickPoll
Improved graphs and bar charts are available in QuickPoll, now in pleasant, soothing colors.
Google Calendars in CommonView Workspaces
Now you can view a Google calendar within a CommonView workspace. Select calendars to include from your UW Google Apps or commercial Google accounts.
Even More GradeBook Enhancements
Use the GradeBook's new conversion calculator to convert total scores to final grades automatically. Enter two percentage scores and their 4.0 equivalent, and the calculator will fill in the rest of the scale for you. In addition, you can now see official student photos in GradeBook, export an improved spread sheet, and select how blank scores are treated when calculating total scores.
More GradeBook Enhancements
You can now import OEA ScorePak scores reports into a grade book assignment.
Online Grade Submission Improved
In response to instructor feedback from Winter quarter, improvements were made to online grade submission for independent study classes, a printable receipt of submitted grades is available, and grade book administrators can now assign grades on the online FGR.
Import WebQ Scores to GradeBook
No more downloading of Excel spreadsheets -- now you can import WebQ quiz scores directly into your online grade book. In addition, student numbers are now included in Catalyst GradeBook to make grading more efficient and accurate.
More Access Options in CommonView
The security settings in CommonView have been enhanced to include "Any UW NetID", so you can make your workspace available to the entire campus community. You can also add collaborators by selecting one of your Catalyst groups.
New and Improved Text Editor
Catalyst Tools now use the Yahoo! UI rich-text editor to enable WYSIWYG formatting of content.
So Long, Old Friend
We have decommissioned Peer Review after a year-long phase-out process and communication effort.
Online Grade Submission
Instructors of record can now use Catalyst GradeBook to submit final course grades to Graduations and Academic Records online.
Accessibility and Performance Improvements
We reduced clutter for screen readers and made some forms more accessible. We also improved performance for high-traffic GoPost discussion boards and for large classes using GradeBook.
The Catalyst Web Tools server cluster received updated hardware to handle more traffic, faster.
Updates to GradeBook
Now instructors can export a grade sheet to Excel in order to analyze, print, or archive the grade book, and copy a grade book for reuse. In addition, GradeBook received performance improvements to make it faster for classes of all sizes.
YouTube and Custom Colors for CommonView
Now you can embed YouTube videos directly into your CommonView workspace and give it a custom look and feel by using one of the color schemes provided, or selecting a custom color.
Fresher Class Lists
Thanks to the collaborative effort among UW Technology, the Office of Information Management, and the Registrar, class list data will never be older than 12 hours, and our engineers are working to reduce this time lag even further.
Increased support for LaTeX
The rich-text editor for the Catalyst Tools received updates to support additional LaTeX functionality.
Catalyst released its newest application, GradeBook, on September 10, 2008. With GradeBook, instructors can easily record, track, and publish students scores online, and calculate class grades.
CommonView now allows instructors to quickly add a link to their workspace, directly rename files in their workspace, and copy a workspace for reuse.
Improved Support for Web Services
Solstice, the open-source application framework that supports the Catalyst Tools, received improved support for RESTful Web services.
New Features for WebQ
WebQ has been enhanced to increase downloading capabilities and to make printing the content of your survey for your review more convenient.
CommonView Enhanced -- Already!
Enhancements to navigation and messaging make a good thing even better.
Improvements to database transatcions at the Solstice level result in better performance for users.
Enhanced browser support improves the experience of users posting to GoPost discussion boards with Firefox.
Upgraded RAM in the database server and performed regular maintenance on the Catalyst database.
Use CommonView to quickly create a course or project workspace and provide students and collaborators with online access to resources including files, links, images, announcements, and Catalyst Web Tools. Learn more.
More Speed for GoPost
GoPost has been re-engineered behind the scenes for significantly speedier performance.
Web Tools Faster for Firefox
Enhanced browser support for Firefox means improved page load times throughout the tools and particularly when opening WebQ surveys.
WebQ Printable Results Improved
Printable versions of WebQ statistics views and print previews have been improved for users of Internet Explorer 6 and 7.
Revamped Collect It Interface
The Collect It interface has been revamped with new icons, reorganized management options, and a drag and drop feature for reordering assignments.
Improved Search Performance
The search function available in GoPost and Sharespaces has been enhanced for speedier searches.
Our First Web Services
Web services have been added to a handful of tools to allow web applications outside of Catalyst to access data collected using Catalyst tools or to manage Catalyst items. Learn more.
GoPost and ShareSpaces Made Searchable
With the initial search indexing process complete, these tools are both fully searchable.
EPost and E-submit Retired
The phase-out process for EPost and E-submit is complete and these tools are no longer available. If you haven't already, take a look at GoPost and Collect It.
Enhanced Browser Support for File Uploading
Updates to the Catalyst tools upload widget allow Mac users with Safari to upload .c and .h files.
Improved Server Performance
Changes to the Catalyst server settings allow fast and snappy performance even at times of high user load.
Enhanced LaTeX Capabilities
A number of new features have been added to LaTeX to further enhance your typographic options in the rich text editor of many Catalyst Tools. See examples of linguistic typesetting.
Expanded Access to GoPost
Anyone you like can join the discussion on your GoPost boards now that access to GoPost is available with a free ProtectNetwork ID. So far access is available only for GoPost, but expanded access to more tools is on the way!
Hidden Conversations in GoPost
Need a place for conversations in GoPost that only owners, administrators, and moderators can see? We have enhanced GoPost to allow you to make a discussion area "hidden" so that you can communicate behind the scenes.
Faster Page Loading for GoPost
To keep page loading speedier on even the largest GoPost discussion boards, we have added pagination for conversations with more than 20 posts.
Copy Features for GoPost
Ready to set up your next discussion board? You can reuse that GoPost board from last time. GoPost offers a copy feature so you can retain the structure of your board for reuse. GoPost also offers a download feature so you can get a copy of your board with all the conversation and post data.
Streamlined Collaboration in WebQ
When you copy a survey or quiz to another account the recipient no longer clicks into a second interface. They can accept or decline right from the home screen.
Faster Database Performance
The beginning of Fall Quarter brought record-setting usage to the Catalyst servers. To handle the high load and improve performance, we migrated to InnoDB, which allows our database servers to handle higher levels of concurrent use.
New Updates to GoPost
In response to GoPost user feedback and our latest round of design studies, we have revised the board management screen and added more status messaging options to keep users better informed of what is happening on their boards.
User Interface Improvements for Portfolio
Following data on Portfolio user work flow and process gathered by the Catalyst research team, we have improved interface usability.
A Faster Solstice Framework
Catalyst developers have made improvements to our Solstice framework to increase page load speeds for Catalyst Web Tools users. Even more speed is on the way!
Enhanced Browser Support for WebQ
For users of less mainstream browsers, we have released improvements to the WebQ survey experience.
Plain Text Editor for Faster Page Loading
All Catalyst Tools offer the option to turn off the rich text editor and use a plain text editor that loads more quickly.
GoPost No Longer in Beta
GoPost, Catalyst's new discussion board tool, is packed with features, highly stable, and ready for heavy use.
EPost Becomes Read-only
With GoPost in place for online discussions, we are in the process of phasing out EPost.
E-submit Becomes Read-only
With Collect It in place for paperless assignment handling, we are in the process of phasing out E-submit.
Expiration Notice for Timed WebQs
We have added a notice of expiration date and time that appears when users select the "save for later" option while taking timed WebQ quizzes and surveys.
Improved SimpleSite Upload Handling
We have enhanced the upload widget in SimpleSite so that it will replace invalid characters in file names and offer users a valid file name for approval.
Default Setting Change in WebQ
The "review responses" option in WebQ is set to "off" by default. We made this change due to the number of participants who mistakenly stop short of submitting a survey after arriving at the "review your responses" page.
Enhanced Browser Support for GoPost and Collect It
For Internet Explorer users, the attachment uploading widget in GoPost and Collect It no longer requires users to reload the page to attach files to consecutive postings.
New Version of ShareSpaces
We have disconnected ShareSpaces from File Manager, made it faster, and added versioning, notification, and comments to the list of features.
Enhanced Browser Support for SimpleSite
For Internet Explorer users, the file upload widget in SimpleSite will disregard double clicks on "Next" to prevent unnecessary repeat uploads.
Improved File Naming in Collect It
We have improved file naming in Collect It to include assignment names in the zip files generated when users download entire assignments.
Interface Improvements for Collect It
Participant names listed in the Collect It assignment matrix will be truncated to keep the table readable.
SimpleSite Style Editing Streamlined
The "edit style sheet" process in SimpleSite has been streamlined with the removal of an intermediary page.
Collect It Released
Catalyst's new tool, Collect It, includes all the same paperless assignment handling features as E-submit and adds an enhanced interface, improved reliability, and new, user-requested features.
GoPost Editing Enhanced
We have enhanced editing in GoPost with the option of adding attachments.
Enhanced Browser Support for Group Manager
For Safari users, the Group Manager widget will display a scroll bar for long membership lists.
Catalyst Servers Upgraded
The Catalyst Web Tools servers have been upgraded from Apache 1.3 to Apache 2.2 to enhance performance.
All New QuickPoll Released
Completely redesigned on the Solstice framework, the new QuickPoll boasts a cleaner interface and new graphical formats in which to view results.
Enhanced GoPost Scheduling
Users can schedule multiple future events on a single GoPost board.