Syllabus Refresh Fall 2017

Please see the FAQ section at the end of this article for official Syllabus Geek answers to actual (no fooling!) client questions about the syllabus refresh. 

 

November 23, 2017-It's an exciting time. The syllabus refresh has been completed as planned.

Enjoy the new look and capabilities!

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November 13, 2017-The stage is set. The syllabus refresh will be moved to production systems over the week of November 20th.

So far we heard an overwhelming number of positive reactions, and we've addressed a few reported bugs and inconsistencies. We've also responded to questions and concerns, some of which are included in the FAQ section at the end of this article.

But we haven't heard from everyone, so please take time now to look at syllabi in your sandbox and get  back to us about what you are seeing that we may have missed.

Thank you to everyone and we look forward to next week.

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October 27, 2017-The syllabus refresh has officially been deployed to client sandboxes. Listed below are some of the changes clients can expect to experience. We will continue to provide information as we work through this project and deploy the refresh to production systems. Please check back often as we will continue to update this article as new details emerge and questions are asked and answered related to this upgrade. 

Highlighted Changes:

  • Added logical heading structure to every page
  • Added numerous accessibility controls and labels
  • Added themed category icons
  • Improved width and balance of syllabus view and edit
  • Improved white space balance and font sizing gradient
  • Improved appearance of printed syllabi
  • Improved presentation and consistency of native and copied tables
  • Improved treatment and layout of lists
  • Improved text and control contrast for accessibility
  • Improved mobile and tablet experience
  • Removed advanced controls for tables
  • Removed font variation

Deployment and Timing

These are the current targets each phase of deployment:

  • Sandboxes updated week of October 23, 2017.
  • Update production in mid-November.

Concourse Power Users will be notified via email in preparation for each phase of deployment, and this document will be updated to reflect more precise dates.

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October 17, 2017-This article provides background and outlines what users can expect as we roll-out significant improvements to the viewing and editing of syllabi. Please check back often as we will continue to update this article as new details emerge and questions are asked and answered related to this upgrade.

 

Motivation and Goals

The goal of this project is to modernize the presentation and authoring of syllabi. Much has changed in the years since we first introduced the current experience in terms of client requirements, content consumption, devices and browsers, legislation, and other best practices. For this project we have focused on:

  • general readability and consistency,
  • accessibility and screen reader compatibility,
  • handling "advanced" content like tables,
  • and yes, even printing.

 

What's changing, and what's not...

First of all, let's talk about what is NOT changing. The actual written content of each syllabus will be preserved, so users should not expect to find that any syllabus item information is different than before. In addition, these enhancements will not affect:

  • authoring behavior,
  • integration,
  • reporting,
  • feed processing,
  • permissions,
  • course creation,
  • templates, or
  • audit.

Now, on to what IS changing. Users will primarily notice changes in the look and feel of each syllabus, specifically the:

  • width and balance of presented syllabi,
  • font sizing, indentation, variations, and headings,
  • color and size of editor buttons,
  • table, list, and comment styling,
  • dozens of accessibility improvements, and
  • various other fixes.

And what MIGHT change? The vast majority of syllabi will immediately look much more awesome. However, it is possible that those who have used advanced or irregular styling on their syllabi (e.g. tables with additional properties, empty spaces for alignment, etc.) may not mesh with these new styles perfectly. So as we introduce these enhancements, we encourage you to spot-check recent syllabi and let us know if anything now appears to negatively impact the comprehension of the content.

 

Deployment and Timing

These are the current targets each phase of deployment:

  • Update sandboxes in mid-October.
  • Update production in mid-November.

Concourse Power Users will be notified via email in preparation for each phase of deployment, and this document will be updated to reflect more precise dates.

 

FAQs

Q. When do you expect to deploy the updates to production systems?
A. Our goal is to deploy the refresh to Concourse production systems during the week of Thanksgiving, or November 20-24, 2017.
 
Q. How much downtime can I expect while the refresh is being deployed to production?
A. We are happy to report that we expect no downtime at all during deployment to Concourse production systems. 
 
Q. What should I communicate to users/stakeholders regarding the refresh?
A. Based on our consultation with a few of our clients and our own internal testing, we do not expect that any sort of retraining of users will be necessary. We expect that most users will notice the system enhancements but should not require additional assistance moving forward. That said, we recommend any campus-wide messaging reinforce the fact that the refresh ensures that Concourse is not only more efficient and intuitive for users but is also compliant regarding accessibility.
 
Q. What will happen to existing syllabi?
A. Existing syllabi will remain in each system, with all syllabus content and access preserved. We do expect that some users will notice that formatting may look different, particularly with spacing and tables. But most will likely welcome the improvement.
 
Q. Can I choose when to update our production system?
A. The deployment of these changes has been carefully planned, tested, and staged. At this time we do not anticipate scheduling alternate deployment dates and times, but we will share more details about production timing after we evaluate performance and acceptance in the sandboxes.
 
Q. What if my institution doesn't want to adopt the changes?
A. We understand that the announcement of changes to any system can be concerning. However, we anticipate that the majority of users will welcome the improvements, while others may not even notice a difference. The updates we are working on are entirely intended to improve the user experience, particularly for those with impairments.
 
Q. Is there anything I'll need to do to get ready for the deployment of these changes?
A. We will notify you when the changes will be applied to your sandboxes. At that time, we will request that you review syllabi to see how they look and explore the enhanced functionality.
 
Q. Who should I contact if I have any questions or concerns?
A. We always recommend clients contact our support team or write us at support@campusconcourse.com. If you are referencing a particular syllabus example, do be sure to include the link.
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