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There are a lot of things that set Knewton apart as a company. One of the most important for our customers is our culture of continuous improvement.

Leaving well enough alone? It’s just not in our DNA.

That’s why, since we launched alta in 2018, we’ve been pounding the pavement, asking every student and instructor we can get in front of how we can make their alta experience better. Our goal: making an even bigger impact on learning outcomes by continually optimizing their alta journey.

Of course, improving the experience of students and instructors requires more than just listening. It takes action. That’s why, over the summer, we began releasing a series of features and enhancements that address the feedback we received.

Below, you can find a handy guide to all of the enhancements we’ve made to alta since launch. If you haven’t taken a look at alta over the past few months, perhaps it’s time for a fresh look.

General improvements for instructors

New functionality and product design makes alta more powerful — and useful — than ever.

  • New user interface: Over the summer, we found a way to make alta’s instructor UI even more streamlined and modern, raising the bar for how learning technology should look and feel.
  • Dashboards: We’ve introduced a new analytics dashboard that focuses on students first, providing high-level insight into student performance and engagement as well as easy access to the full history of individual students. We’ve also revamped alta’s coursework analytics dashboard to provide more actionable metrics to instructors.
  • Strict due dates: We’ve given instructors the ability to require students to complete coursework by a defined due date.
  • Courses and sections: During Summer 2018, we gave instructors the ability to access multiple sections of their course from a centralized location, providing better control and analytics.
  • Penalties for late assignments, quizzes and tests: Instructors can now set penalties for late submissions to assignments, quizzes and tests.
  • Bulk editing — start and end dates: Instructors can now edit the start and end dates for multiple coursework items at the same time.
  • Autograde coursework: Instructors can now automatically regrade coursework after adjusting individual due dates.

Enhancements to alta’s LMS integration

Making learning more accessible is one of the key reasons why we built alta. By enhancing alta’s learning management system integration capabilities, we’re taking accessibility to new heights.

  • Canvas-specific course cartridges: Instructors can now use a course cartridge to transfer due dates along with LTI links from alta into Canvas.
  • Preview as a student: Now, instructors can preview coursework as a student directly from their LMS — without having to create a student account.
  • Semester migration tools: It’s now easier for instructors to transition their LMS-integrated courses from one semester to another — without having to manually change any coursework LTI links in the LMS.

(Even better) Service and support

We’re setting a new standard for the customer experience by bringing service and support into the 21st century.

  • In-app live chat with Knewton support: Students or instructors who have questions about alta can now get a quick response through alta’s built-in chat feature, powered by Intercom.
  • Supplements: Instructors can now access supplemental materials — including worksheets, slide decks and labs — to support all alta products.

Testing and assessment enhancements

We’ve made a number of improvements to how instructors prepare and deliver quizzes and exams in alta — and given students new ways to prepare for their exams.

  • Review Center: Students can prepare for higher stakes tests by completing very targeted adaptive assignments in alta’s new Review Center, which launched during Spring 2018. Students completing alta assignments who used the Review Center performed 9% better on tests.
  • Pooled questions: By developing question pools, instructors can reduce cheating on higher stakes tests.
  • Edit assignments, quizzes & tests: We’ve given instructors the ability to edit assignments, quizzes and tests if students have not yet started them. (Additionally, instructors can now edit certain test settings after students have begun a test.)
  • Free response questions: We’ve substantially increased the number of free response questions in alta. We’ve also given instructors the ability to add custom free response questions to a test — and convert a significant number of alta’s multiple choice questions to free response questions.
  • Printed tests: Instructors can now print tests by first marking them as “offline.”
  • Multiple test attempts: Instructors can now grant students multiple attempts at completing a test.

Content enhancements

We’ve made a number improvements to alta’s content with the goal of providing a deeper, more flexible learning experience that leads to better outcomes.

  • More granular learning objectives: We’ve redesigned our ontology and recommendations engine to tailor them to the kinds of skills taught in economics courses.
  • Data-driven revisions: Over the past few months, we’ve created or revised 234,000 content atoms across all alta products based on data we’ve analyzed and feedback we’ve received.
  • Desmos: By incorporating rich, interactive Desmos graphs into many alta assignments, we’ve given instructors the ability to deliver higher-order comprehension and graphing questions.

If you have questions about any of alta’s newest features, you can always reach out to us at A Knerd will get in touch with you ASAP to walk you through what’s new and answer any questions you may have.

Wishing everyone in our Knerd community lots of success in the semester ahead!