Common Tasks in IMathAS

Purpose of this document

This document will guide you through many common tasks an instructor would perform in IMathAS. This is not a comprehensive guide; please refer to the help file for more detailed information on any process.


Rearranging the Course Page

If the items on the Course Page are not appearing in the order you'd like, you can use the pulldown select box above each item to change its order on the page

If the Course Page is getting cluttered, Blocks allow you to group items together by type, week, chapter, or any other grouping. Create a new block by selecting "Add a Block" from the "Add an Item" pulldown in the grey control panel box. Then use the order select box on course items to select "Into #", where # is the current order number of the block. For example, if your block is currently in position 3, you'd select "Into 3" on a course item to move it into that block. To move an item out of the block, choose "Out of Block" from the item's order select box.

Resetting Lost Passwords

If a student loses their password, select "List Students" from the grey control box on the course page. Next to their name, you will find a "Reset password to 'password'" link. Click that link to reset the student's password to the default password of "password".

Making a Due Date Exception

If a student has a valid reason for needing to take an assessment early or late, but you do not want to make it available for the whole class, you can make a due date exception for that one student.

Select "List Students" from the grey control box on the course page. Next to the student's name, click on the "Make Exception" link. Select the assessment you want to make an exception on. Enter new start and end dates that will apply to just this student and click "Submit"

End of Quarter Cleanup

When the end of the term rolls around, you may want to clean out your classroom in preparation for the next term. Start out by saving a copy of your gradebook, if you need it. Click on "Show Gradebook" from the grey control box on the course page. Click "Export Gradebook" to export a CSV (comma separated values) spreadsheet copy of the gradebook. This file can be opened in Excel or other spreadsheet programs.

To clear out enrolled students, click "List Students" from the grey control box on the course page. Click the "Unenroll All Students" button, and confirm your choice. This will unenroll all students from the course, clear out the gradebook, and remove all regular posts from the discussion forums. Students will still be registered on IMathAS, just not enrolled in your course

You can quickly set up the course dates for the new term if you basic schedule will similar. Click on the "Shift all Course Dates" link from the bottom grey control box on the course page. You will specify the date shift for all items by changing the dates for one assessment. Choose the assessment to base the date shift on, then select whether you want to give a new Available After date, or a new Available Until date. Provide a new date, and click submit. ALL course items will have their dates shifted the same number of days forward

Enrolling Students

IMathAS allows flexible enrollment options. It is most common to allow students to self-enroll in your course by providing them with the course ID and enrollment key. These can be viewed on the Admin page (link from the Home Page) if you forget them, or obtained from your IMathAS administrator if you do not have access to the Admin page.

Alternatively, you can enroll students in your course. If a student is already registered on the IMathAS system, you can enroll them by clicking "List Students" from the grey control box on the course page, then selecting "Enroll student with known username". Then provide the student's username, and they will be enrolled in your course. This is usually not an efficient way to enroll students in the course; it's mainly provided as a way to enroll guest users in the course

Importing Students

If you wish to both register and enroll a larger group of students, it is best to use the "Import Students from File" option on the "List Students" page. To use this, you will need to have at least your student's names in a comma-separated-values (CSV) spreadsheet file. These can be exported from Excel or other spreadsheet programs. Alternatively, if you just have a text file with one student's name on each line, that should work to.

As an example, at my school, we have an on-line "Instructor Briefcase" from which we can access class rosters. I highlight all the data, copy it, and paste it into Excel, then export it as a CSV file. A line of this file looks like:

2, 555-55-5555, Doe Jane R, , UWSS, 253-555-555,

To use this file, I specify that the First Name is the second word in the entry in the 3rd column, the Last Name is the first word in the entry in the 3rd column, the email address is in column 7, and the desired username is in column 2

Overriding Grades and other Gradebook issues

In the Gradebook, you can click on a student's grade to view the version of the test they worked on and the answers they entered.

If you think they deserve more credit than was awarded, replace the given grade with the grade you want. Be sure to click the "Record Changed Grades" button at the bottom of the page when you're done.

If a student went over the time limit on an assessment, an (OT) will show up next to their grade. An overtime grade is not computed in the student's overall grade. To allow an overtime assessment to count towards their grade, click on their grade to view their test, and click the "Clear overtime and accept grade" link.

If a student runs into a problem and you wish to allow them to retake an assessment, click on their grade in the Gradebook to view their test. Click the "Clear Attempt" link to clear their attempt. Note that this clears all scores and attempts records for that student's assessment, including correct answers.

Importing/Exporting Course Items

Course items, including Assessments and full course layouts, can be shared between IMathAS users, both on the same installation and between servers.

To share your course, click "Export Course Items" in the second grey control box on the Course Page. Describe the export in the Description box, then select the items to export. You can export a single assessment, or the entire course. Click the Export Items button to download the course export file. You can then send this file to another user.

To use items sent to you from someone else, click "Import Course Items" in the second grey control box on the Course Page. Click "Browse" to select the file from your computer, then click "Submit". Select the items you want to export into your course.

To make a second copy of a course, follow the procedures above to first export an existing course, then import those items into an empty course

Setting up Assessments

The Getting Started guide explained the assessment options. Here are some other aspects of setting up assessments

Arranging and Grouping Questions

Once you have added questions to an assessment, you can use the pulldown select boxes next to each question to rearrange the question order. This is, of course, not necessary if you select the Shuffle assessment option, which randomizes question order.

In addition to rearranging questions, you can group questions into a "mini-pool". At the beginning of the Questions in Assessment section, change the "Use select boxes to" option to "Group Questions". Then if you, for example, go to the third question in the assessment, and choose "1" for its select box, the third question is grouped with the first. When the assessment is generated for each student, one question in the group will randomly be selected. You can select as many questions as you'd like in each group, and can remove items from the group by selecting the "Ungroup" link next to the question you wish to pull out of the group.

Changing Settings for Individual Questions

Some questions (for example, multiple-choice questions) you may not wish to allow unlimited attempts on, while you may wish to allow unlimited attempts on free-answer questions.

When you add an individual item (by clicking the "Add" link rather than the "Add Selected (using defaults)" button), you will be prompted to enter the question's settings. You can also change settings for already added questions by clicking the "Change" link in the Settings column. You can specify the point value of the problem, allowed attempts, and penalty per attempt for individual questions. Leave the entries blank or enter 9999 to use the assessment default values

Categorizing Questions

After adding questions to an assessment, click the "Categorize Questions" button to categorize the questions in the assessment. Categorization allows you and students to see a score breakdown by question category. The breakdown shows to students at the end of an assessment, and is also displayed in the gradebook when you click on an assessment to view detail.

In the question categorization page, you will see each question listed, followed by a category pull-down. By default, the list contains the names of all libraries containing the question. If you'd like to define a category not in the lists, type in the new category name in the box provided and click the "Add Category" button. The new category name will now appear in the pull-down lists next to each question, and can be selected to assign the question to that category. After assigning all questions to a cateogry, click the "Record" button.

© 2006 David Lippman
This guide was written with development grant support from the WA State Distance Learning Council