Product Updates: April through June 2019

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Here are the latest updates we've made across the Code.org website and platform! Updates from previous months can be found at the bottom of this article.  

Platform

  • We added a new help button! This should help students and teachers alike to more easily find documentation and report problems. We also already made a few tweaks to improve its visibility:

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  • We added “My projects” as top option in the user menu, when clicking on your name in the top right corner.

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  • The projects count on the projects dashboard just got more specific - Instead of showing the project count rounded to the nearest million, if you’re on the Project Dashboard, you can see the precise number of projects created.

    • As of today, over 51 million projects have been created!

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  • Fixed a bug where sometimes student progress on an assessment wasn’t reflecting accurately in the teacher dashboard progress tab.

  • We fixed a bug where “Choose two” questions that were left blank by students would still show up as correct in the Assessment tab.

Teacher Features

  • Teachers and students can now see which levels are recommended assessment opportunities in CS Discoveries and CS Principles on unit overview pages, the teacher dashboard, lesson plans, and from the inside of levels. Assessment opportunities are marked in with a purple circle + white check-mark overlay and they are filled in with purple when they are completed so it’s easy for teachers to scan and see where they need to check student work.

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  • In CS Discoveries, for levels with mini-rubrics, students will also be able to see the complete mini-rubric and the key concept that rubric evaluates under the “Key Concept” header. The goal of this work is to (1) help teachers understand where and how to best check student work, so they don’t feel like they need to evaluate every bubble, and (2) give students clarity on where and how they might be evaluated by teachers.

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  • We launched mini-rubrics! Mini-rubrics are small, embedded rubrics that evaluate a single key concept and are tied to select programming levels. They provide details about the level’s key concept, outline ways students can demonstrate their understanding of that concept, and let teachers quickly evaluate a student’s performance on the level.

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  • If a teacher fills out the mini-rubric for the student and clicks “save and share,” this feedback will be automatically available to that student in the Feedback tab on the level. Teachers can update mini-rubrics and teacher feedback as many times as they want so students can make corrections to their work and resubmit it for teacher review.

    • Mini-rubric details cannot be edited by teachers, but you can use the teacher feedback box to provide additional context or details to students if you wish.

    • You can read more about how to use rubrics and the courses they're available in, in this article. 
  • We added sorting by student name in responses!The “text responses” table in the assessment tab can now be sorted by student name which will make it easier for teachers to grade student responses! Prior to this fix, the text response tables couldn’t be sorted.

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  • Grading navigation improvements in the teacher panel! When teachers wanted to evaluate a level for their entire class, they had to specifically click on a student’s name from the teacher panel, one-at-a-time to view each students’ work. This was cumbersome and required them to scroll in the teacher panel when names of students passed below the fold. Now teachers can click an “iterator arrow” next to the currently selected student’s name to move automatically to the next (or previous) student in the list. Our hope is this makes evaluating student work easier and more fluent for teachers!

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  • We fixed a bug to maintain student selection in the teacher panel when grading. When viewing student work in a given lesson, if a teacher switched to a different lesson via the “More” drop-down, the teacher panel would reset to show the teacher their own work instead of the work of the student they had previously selected. This would require the teacher to scroll through the student list and find the student’s name again, adding an extra, annoying step to the grading process. 
  • We added features to allow teachers to share our Parent Letter and Student Privacy notice in three different ways.

    • Teachers can now share the student privacy notice on code.org/privacy/student-privacy by email, print, or Remind.com, an online communication platform for classrooms. 

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App Lab, Game Lab, and Sprite Lab

  • We added over 1300 sounds to the sound library! This will give students much more room for creativity and self-expression. Check them out in Sprite Lab, App Lab, and Game Lab.

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  • Students can now open external URLs in App Lab. Using the ‘open()’ instruction, students can now pop up pages in a new tab. If they link to a site outside Code.org, we first run it through a web safety checking service, and prompt the user for confirmation.
  • We’ve added a new text display area in Sprite Lab that displays text using a “print” block. This is used prominently in the new CS Fundamentals curriculum, in which students create an interactive poster to share with their classmates. 

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  • We improved reliability of Color LEDs in Maker Toolkit. Between 15-20% of our CS Discoveries students are using Chromebooks, and were experiencing unreliable color LEDs on their Circuit Playground boards in Unit 6. We made a fix to the way we queue up and send instructions to the board to improve the reliability of this significantly.
  • We added an interrupt dialog when projects fail to save.
    • We occasionally get reports of missing progress, and we believe that could be due to students not noticing the red “project failed to save” banner that appears next to the Lesson name, and they keep working when they are offline or otherwise not saving correctly to the server.
    • To test this, we built a blocking dialog that appears when they fail to save three times and warns them about it. Our hope is this will help students recognize network issues and not keep working if their work can’t be saved.pasted_image_0__10_.png
  • Sprite Lab was updated with a new interface and block options. To reflect these changes we re-did the Sprite Lab videos

  • Continued bug fixes and quality improvements in all Lab environments:
    • App Lab: Duplicating a screen now also duplicates the background color.

    • Sprite Lab: Text Display Area no longer overlaps code/costume buttons.

    • Maker Toolkit: Now detects when boards are disconnected and reconnects automatically.
    • If you had a question mark in the filename of an uploaded asset, this broke the project remix option. This is now fixed!

International

  • We added dubbed videos in Latin American Spanish! Dubbed videos provided by our Chilean partner Kodea are now live for the 2017-18 versions of Courses A-D. Users that selected “Espanol - Latin America” from the language selector dropdown are automatically shown the dubbed version of the video. 

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  • Dubbed video titles are translated! The media player display name and YouTube titles of dubbed videos show a translated title, which helps users confirm that they are watching the Spanish-language version instead of the English one.

Professional Development

  • Online PD course videos now include a "show notes" feature, which users can access if they are having trouble or choose not to use the video player.

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Previous product updates can be found here:

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