Category Archives: product updates

New: Quiz Dashboard and improved Quiz performance

Though we originally built GoSoapBox around audience Q&A, real-time polling, and our awesome Confusion Barometer, Quizzes, by far, have been GoSoapBox’s most heavily used feature. Ironically, Quizzes has also been the feature we’ve given the least attention.

Today, we are happy to announce that a new Quiz Dashboard is available to teachers and academics. To access it, make sure you’ve enabled Beta Preview functionality in your Event (accessible via the Moderation Panel), and then click into any Quiz and choose “Beta Quiz Dashboard”.

Here’s an example of what you will see:

Screenshot of Quiz Dashboard

At a glance, you will see how far along in the Quiz students are. And if you’re set correct answers for questions, you can also see how they are doing. It’s hard to imagine anything that could be more convenient for formative assessment.

Even better, this view automatically updates every 20 seconds (in the future it may be more frequent). So you can sit back while student responses roll in.

As always, you can still download an Excel spreadsheet with all of the graded responses.

This new Quiz Dashboard will eventually become the default view when accessing a Quiz, so please give it a try and let us know what you think by emailing support@gosoapbox.com.

Our engineering team has also been working hard at improving overall Quiz performance. We had noticed, recently, that GoSoapBox would lag when Quiz functionality was at peak usage. A few things were causing this, but we found and corrected the problems, so Quizzes should now run faster than ever for students.

 

New: Threaded Discussions

GoSoapBox is happy to announce the release of a much-requested feature, threaded discussions. Discussions have always been something of an oversight on our product roadmap, and have functioned more as an open-ended poll format.

GoSoapBox Threaded Discussions

Like the rest of GoSoapBox, our threaded discussions are clean and simple. With two levels, it’s not designed for a full-on Reddit-esque debate, but gives your classes a better discussion experience than what we have previously offered.

Threaded discussions are a beta feature

Threaded discussions are a beta feature for the next two weeks, giving you an opportunity to preview them and offer feedback before they become the default.

How do I preview a beta feature?

From any Event’s Moderation Panel, choose “Beta Functionality” and then “Enable”.

New: See student replies to Q&A in downloadable spreadsheet

This small improvement is part of our 15 in 15 series.

GoSoapBox’s downloadable Excel spreadsheet for Social Q&A contains a list of all current questions, the number of votes, and who asked what. But, the spreadsheet has never included student replies to questions. Replies are not always used, but when they do, they can include some discussion amongst students, as well as Moderator replies.

Today, we have added replies to each question. You will see the replies, when they have been added, as additional worksheets in the Excel spreadsheet.

Screenshot of export options in Moderation Panel on GoSoapBox

If you are an active user of Social Q&A, give the export button a try and check out the reply worksheets for yourself.

 

New: See names associated with questions in Q&A

This small improvement is part of our 15 in 15 series.

Social Q&A was the original feature of GoSoapBox, before we added Polling and our famous Confusion Barometer (Quizzes and Discussions came much later). We love Q&A because it gives students an opportunity to ask questions and vote for questions, creating an awesome feedback loop for academics to always know what’s on the mind of students.

Though GoSoapBox Events can be set to be entirely anonymous, most Moderators choose to require names when students join their Events. If you’re going to require names, then we want to make that information available to you. However, Q&A has never included name data for questions, either on the web app, or in our downloadable spreadsheets.

Starting today, you will now be able to see a student’s name in two places: directly in the web app, and also in the Excel spreadsheet that you can download via the Moderation Panel.

Screenshot of student name in Social Q&A

One caveat for this improvement: It only takes effect for new questions in Social Q&A. Older questions will not include the name of the students who added them.

And one plug for anyone interested in using Social Q&A outside of an educational context: We also offer Social Q&A as a full-featured standalone product. It’s great for keynote presentations and expert panels, and when we say full-featured, we mean that we have added features and tailored moderation workflow to make Social Q&A the perfect complement for audience Q&A.

New: See the total number of poll responses

As part of our 15 improvements in 15 days series, we’ve added some helpful information for polls. Specifically, we are adding the total number of poll responses, in two places.

First, as a moderator, you can see the number of responses to a Poll directly on your Event Dashboard.

Screenshot of poll responses on event dashboard

This updates in real time, so you know, at a glance, how many people have responded.

Second, you can see the number of responses to a Poll from the Poll results screen.

Screenshot of number of poll responses on poll results screen

Like the notification on your Event Dashboard, this number also updates in real-time along with the poll results.

 

15 Improvements in 15 Days (March 2014)

Over the last few months, we have received many great suggestions for improving GoSoapBox. Some of the ideas are small, others are huge, but each and every suggestion is read and considered by our development team.

Unfortunately, many of the tiny ideas slip through the cracks. It may take only a few minutes to make a small, useful update, but when we’re working on bigger picture features, those little changes tend to be placed on the back burner.

We recently looked at our back burner and realized it is overflowing with these smaller ideas. And we are going to do something about it.

Starting on Thursday, March 20, we are going to begin a series of smaller changes while also working on more substantial items. We call it “15 Improvements in 15 Days”. Every day we will knock out a small change and deploy to our cloud application, then detail the improvement here on our blog.

If you have any suggestions that would fit the criteria of a simple improvement, please drop us a line at support@gosoapbox.com.

We Asked Teachers What New Features They Want for GoSoapBox

Over the last week, we have been running a simple one-question survey on teacher’s account pages. The question: “What is the #1 feature you want to see added to GoSoapBox?”

We have received a lot of responses! Nearly 200 as of this post, and we’re going to share some of the common themes here.

qualaroo-responses

Before jumping into the ideas … we should mention that every last comment submitted by teachers has been reviewed by our team. We greatly appreciate the feedback!

“Better functionality for quiz response analysis; more than a spreadsheet download”

Quizzes are barely two years old (we added quizzing after building the other core features), but nevertheless they have been incredibly popular. Teachers love online assessment, and on GoSoapBox they have collected millions of responses from students.

The point is, we never intended to compete with Socrative in the quizzing space. Frankly, that’s their entire business and we have no interest in building out that level of quizzing sophistication. That being said, we are planning substantial improvement for quiz result analysis. In addition to downloading a spreadsheet (like you always have), you will soon be able to review grades directly on GoSoapBox.

We are also going to be adding functionality to quiz-taking, so if you have suggestions, feel free to drop us a note at support@gosoapbox.com.

“Export poll results and discussions directly to a PDF”

We assume this request comes up when teachers want a simple way to share the feedback that comes in through polls and discussions. Automatically creating a PDF is a bit harder than it sounds; to create fancy charts and graphics, we need to programmatically draw a PDF object.

One strategy we have taken with other products is to create an HTML version of a report, and make it easy for visitors to capture this as a PDF (rather than having our server render directly to a PDF).

“Add SMS capability so that students may text their answers in”

Unfortunately, this is not something anywhere on our development roadmap. Our vision has always been to build for a future state where every student has a powerful web-enabled device. We can do so much more with a browser than we can with a text message. Additionally, SMS has a real, fixed cost, and would add layers of complexity to our interface.

“When students are confused, allow the teacher to see exactly who has chosen the confused status.”

This functionality was available prior to our Version 2 update. It didn’t make the initial cut for Version 2 (for performance reasons), but we have been working to bring it back.

“Allow teachers to clear out quiz results so that students can re-take an assessment.”

We hear you loud and clear. A LOT of people have asked for this feature, and our development team will have it available in 1-2 weeks.

GoSoapBox Version 2 Has Launched

Over the weekend, we deployed a significant update to GoSoapBox, our web-based student response system.

Before you run over to app.gosoapbox.com to see what changed, you should know this was mostly a behind-the-scenes deployment, with the major change being an overhaul of GoSoapBox’s real-time architecture.

Our old architecture had occasional delays in the data passed between students and teachers, sometimes taking up to five seconds for a vote to be added, or a question to be removed. With our new architecture, all real-time changes should occur in less than one second.

What else will you notice in Version 2?

  • Redesigned confusion barometer.
  • Discussion replies can now be hidden from the audience.
  • Updates to button styling.

Coming Soon: A New Confusion Barometer

GoSoapBox most talked-about feature is the Confusion Barometer. When media outlets write about our award-winning, easy-to-use student response system, they are drawn to this widget.

The Confusion Barometer is a simple concept. When students join your GoSoapBox Event, they are automatically assigned the status “I’m Getting It”. As you are teaching, they can change this status to “I’m Confused”, and when they do it sends a signal to your teacher view.

Despite the name, the Confusion Barometer has never resembled, well — a barometer.

Photo Of The Old GoSoapBox Confusion Barometer

See what we mean? There’s a lot of information AND the look is boring. This has bothered us for a while, but we’ve been busy with other soon-to-be-announced functionality projects. Continue reading