Updates to Interact2 and Subject Outline

A number of recent changes have been made to Interact2. These include:

1.    Default landing page

Why have we made this change?
In some cases the ‘Home’ page did not contain much information and did not provide a welcoming introduction for the student. Previous audits of i2 sites have revealed approximately 25-30% of all i2 sites do not contain an adequate landing page when the site is released to students two weeks prior to session commencing. This was confirmed in a recent audit of subjects in the HEPPP-Retention Project, which contained the highest proportion of commencing students. We know that students are now receiving and accepting offers at multiple Universities and as the saying goes “you only get one shot at a first impression”! There is no automated way to track i2 landing page quality; however, there is an automated tracking system of subject outline publication. To avoid ANY student landing on a blank i2 site the default landing page has been changed to the subject outline – but remember, any academic can change this using only 5 clicks when you set up your site (watch this video). 

What is the change? The default interact2 landing page is now the Subject Outline rather than the ‘Home’ page. Staff can change the landing page back to the ‘Home’ page if they prefer. All staff are encouraged to create a high quality landing page (as per previous advice) and then change the default landing page. This process takes no more than 10 seconds (watch this video). Resources on how to make your landing page functional, informative & engaging are found on the CSU L&T wiki.  

 2. Interact2 site merging and Subject Outline publication date

What is the change? You can now set a Publication Date for your Subject Outline. The ‘Set Publication Date’ function allows Authors to set the date that Version 1 of the Subject Outline should be published. Lucy Webster sent a detailed communication about the rationale for this change on 22 October 2019. Click here if you can’t find the email! 

Impact of the change? Subject Outlines need to be published before the corresponding Interact2 sites can be merged. This needs to be considered when setting Publication Dates for your Subject Outlines. The default publication date for Subject Outlines is deliberately set to align with the default date for i2 sites to open. However, if you want to merge your i2 sites you will need to select your preferred publication date from the “date picker” inside the Subject Outline Tool.  This process takes only 4 clicks to complete (watch this video to see how to change the default subject outline publication date). 

 3. Interact2 and Subject Outline template review process

What is the change? Interact2 sites will be provisioned biannually in 2 releases in September and January (rather than annually). Releases allow ~6 months for site preparation for 30 and 60 sessions while still allowing sufficient preparation time for the smaller sessions. 

A template review process has been implemented to provide governance over Interact2 and Subject Outline template changes. Content ‘owners’ have been assigned to various sections/ text pieces in the templates. These staff are responsible for maintaining currency of the content and ensuring an optimum staff and student experience. NOTE: This applies only to sections of the template that are “auto-text” or “editable autotext”. This process has been established to ensure that there is a regular review of the content of these auto-text sections AND to collect suggestions from academics and other stakeholders to feed into future iterations of the template.     

Online change proposal forms have been developed, each with their own tracking page: Subject Outlines Change Proposal; Interact2 Subject Site Change Proposal. Forms remain open year round, with reminders circulating prior to each review cycle cut-off at end-April and end-August. 

Why have we made this change? This change allows for a governance model over suggested changes to the Interact2 and Subject Outline templates facilitating  continuous improvement. REMINDER: This applies only to sections that have “default” text entered into them.

Please contact DLT via the Service Request System or Hotline (x34274 or 02 6933 4274) for support.

Image by Pettycon from Pixabay

Contributed by Dawn Calvert, Manager, Learning Technologies, Division of Learning and Teaching on October 31, 2019.
Updates from Lucy Webster, Sub-Dean Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Science on November 12, 2019.