Spring 2018 Updates

Welcome back for another great semester with Visual Classrooms. We’ve got a couple updates we’d like to share.

1) Improved Text Analysis – We’ve moved the word cloud to inside each individual prompt and added a vocabulary list. Click a word in the vocab list and it will filter in the discussion space. Identify what words students are using and in what context.

2) Name Hiding – We introduced “anonymous” posts last semester (students can’t see names on posts) but now it’s easier than ever for instructors to hide/show names.

Watch the 80 second video on Vimeo for a quick demo of the updates:

Informational Webinar

Did you sign up for an account and never get around to trying Visual Classrooms? Did we meet at a conference and you want to know more?

We’ll be holding a webinar on Tuesday, January 23rd, at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. You don’t need to register or install anything to participate:

Join the call: https://www.uberconference.com/visualclassrooms
Optional dial in number: 585-632-5861
PIN: 82396

Fall 2017 Updates

Welcome back for another exciting school year, we can’t wait to be a part of your classrooms again.

Anonymous Posts

We have added another visibility option for discussion and sketch prompts, the option for “Anonymous After Post.”

It follows the same rules as “After Post” so students can’t see peer ideas until they submit, but now student names are hidden (obviously instructors can see names).  The green still shows up so the student/group logged in knows which one was theirs.

Points Based Grading

Instructors wanted to be able to easily hand out points to students as they read posts.  Using the dropdown (three horizontal bars) on the top right of every post, there is a new option for assigning points. These “points” are integrated into our rubric based analytics page for quick and easy auto-grading.

If you choose to set points on discussion/sketch prompts, students can see this on the session overview page. Watch the short 1 minute video to see how it works.


LMS Grading

We are piloting LMS gradebook integration with several institutions this semester but are not ready to roll it out to everyone. We apologize for this delay and if you require gradebook integration let us know and we will prioritize your request.


Thanks again, looking forward to another great school year.

Eric Coopey – CEO & Co-Founder

New Instructor Webinar – Aug 16

We’ll be hosting a webinar for new instructors on Wednesday, August 16th at 3pm EST

The webinar will last approximately 30 minutes with time for questions and answers afterward.  We will cover features for active learning, how to get started, and where to go for help.

There will be another webinar on Thursday, September 7th at 3:30pm.

How To Join

Optional dial in number: 585-632-5861
PIN: 82396

You can use your computer audio or dial in.

Amazon S3 Down – Upload Issues

** Wed March 1st UPDATE **

All services have been restored and operation is normal. Contact support@visualclassrooms.com with any concerns or questions.


Tues Feb 28th, 2:15 pm – User uploads temporarily unavailable

Amazon S3 is down, and they host most of the internet, including our uploads.  Please be patient while service is restored.


** Feb 28 8:00 pm UPDATE ** – We took down the banner warning across the entire site.  Uploads are once again working, but image thumbnails are not being generated.  You’ll need to click the hyperlink to see the image.



Spring 2017 Semester Updates

Welcome back from the holiday break, I hope everyone is refreshed and excited for a new semester.  While you were away we made some great new changes to support formative assessment and generate in-class discussion.

As we’ve working with instructors, they felt that our traditional discussion forum/whiteboard was a great collaboration tool but there were times they just wanted to get a quick read on student understanding. Virtual sections work great to support collaboration in large classes, but auto-graded elements were also necessary.

We’ve introduced two new prompt types to join the existing discussion whiteboard:  Multiple Choice and Concept Maps.  You can now build activities that have elements of true collaboration and clicker-like voting.

Multiple Choice Questions

Ditch your clickers! We know you have them, we know you aren’t crazy about them. Get all of their functionality with our research validated collaboration tools as well.  Options that allow students to see the correct after they submit, and/or cumulative results from the entire class.

Auto-grade student responses from the Session Analytics page:

Concept Maps

The concept map is still somewhat experimental, but we felt like the only way to get great feedback was to turn it on and see how teachers used them and what information we could give to them.  So please send me your thoughts and ideas for improvement – eric@visualclassrooms.com

Here is how it works – as the instructor, you define the values of the nodes and links, and the students connect them. Cumulative totals of the linkages across the entire class are displayed.  The ability to bring up individual maps for in-class discussion will be there soon.

Here is the video of the Concept Map in action:


As always, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your classroom, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Eric Coopey


Fall 2016 Webinars

Forty-five minute demonstration and discussion on using Visual Classrooms to support active learning instruction.  Flip your classroom, implement social homework, support collaborative labs, crowdsource exam review and more.
Jump-start in-class discussions by bringing virtual student work directly into the dialog.

August 26 – Friday – 1pm EST
August 30 – Tuesday – 2pm EST
September 6 – Tuesday – 3pm EST

How To Join – No login required, works best with Chrome browser

RSVP appreciated but not required to Dr. Leslie Schnieder –leslie@visualclassrooms.com


New Features: Multiple Instructors and Virtual Sections

The final update of the summers is out.  While we have tested and tested there could still be some issues that pop up, please email support@visualclassrooms.com with any problems or suggestions.

Multiple Instructors For Group

You can now have multiple instructors for a single group.  From the groups page, click on icon for Managing Instructors ( https://visualclassrooms.com/images/add_teacher_20.png ), and on the popup simply enter the other instructors email.  If they don’t have an account, we’ll ask if it is OK for us to email them an access link.

We modeled it after Google Docs sharing, so there is also a link you can share with people that gives them instructor access.


Virtual Sections

We originally developed Visual Classrooms for smaller hybrid/blended classes, where the number of students kept the amount of discussion manageable.

Aimed at larger class sizes, virtual sections lets you break your class up into online cohorts that work together on collaborative homeworks, virtual labs/simulations, and real world data collection.

Just set the desired size of each section when creating your group, and new sections will be automatically added as students join.

You can assign specific TA’s to specific virtual sections.  Watch the short Vimeo video below to get a better understanding.



First Summer Updates

The first of our two major summer updates is out with some exciting new features.

Sharing Activities

You can now create and edit activities collaboratively by directly inviting other instructors.  It is modeled after Google Docs, where you can give an instructor access by entering their email or by sharing a link that gives them editor access.

1 minute video:

Video Capture From Browser

You’ve been able to capture videos from mobile devices for a while, but from desktops you could only upload an existing video.  Now students can directly capture video right from their browser.

Chrome and Firefox are currently the only browsers that support this new HTML5 standard (no flash), but other browsers will eventually build this functionality in as well.


Set Post Color

Giving everyone another way to group and classify posts was a requested feature, and you can now set the header color of specific posts. You can access the color option from the Options dropdown on every post.


February 2016 Updates

Save and Export Rubric Grades

The student table has two new columns, a “Final Grade” and “Notes” columns.  This allows you to adjust the automated grade more easily after reviewing the student’s work.

Grades are now saved automatically any time a change is made, but there is a save button as well.  Students do not currently see their grade or notes, we are working to pass this information back to your LMS and will have that functionality in a few weeks.

Release and Due Dates

When creating a session, you are now required to set a release date.  This allows you to schedule sessions to be visible at a date in the future.  Students won’t have access to the session until midnight local time on the release date.

There is also a Due Date that is optional.  Students can see the due date, but are still able to post after that date has passed.  We are working on an option in the rubric to break out posts that took place after the due date.


Download All Posts

Some teachers (and researchers) want to download all the posts for a given session for classification or analysis.  From the Session Overview page, go to the List View (top right), and there is a new button called “Download All Posts Excel” which will export all the text of the posts for the session.


Sketch Pad Updates

The sketch pad you already love just got a lot better.  We’ve completely updated the layout and functionality to make it easier for students to capture and annotate their work.

New Features

  • Sketch on Anything – any images you capture (upload, camera, copy/paste) can be sketched on
  • Shapes – Straight lines, squares, circles
  • Students can now upload an image to be the background
  • Works on any mobile device

Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com/151410156