12 Replies Latest reply on Aug 20, 2009 9:08 PM by joshlyn.foreman

    Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects


      We've been been looking at Assessing Projects to find out if we can improve performance. One change we could make that would improve performance (and, equally important, improve perceived performance) would be to reduce the information that we display when a user is browsing.



      Currently, when a teacherclicks a folder name in the left menu (that is, in the Personal Library or the Assessment Library) the right pane shows the names of all of the assessments in that folder along with a brief description of each. Items in the right pane may be selected and dragged into a personal library. At the same time, the left menu updates with the assessment names as a normal tree display. Assessment titles may also be dragged from here into the personal library.



      This display requires a lot of round-trip traffic to the server. In fact there is a long delay even when a teacher clicks a folder without any assessments (for example, clicking the "Thinking Tools" folder which has only sub-folders as its contents). This is because the application needs to check for assessments each time something is clicked. As I'm sure you have experienced, Assessing Projects seems sluggish because of this.



      The proposed change would be to eliminate the right pane update until an actual assessment name is clicked in the left menu. The right pane would be blank except for a brief message like “Click on an assessment name to preview it.” until the teacher selects an assessment. After selecting, the whole assessment would display in the right pane as it currently does.








      Now for the question... Do teachers use the preview they see in the right pane? Do most of the teachers move an assessment from the right pane or from the menu? Would you trade the preview feature for better performance?


        • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects



          In my experience, I navigate mostly from the lower left pane. I, however, enjoy seeing the descriptions in the right pane. As long as clicking the name brings up the details in the right pane, I do not see a problem for most teachers. From my observance, there are fewer teachers using Assessing Projects than I think would use it if they really understood the options available to them. I see teachers who've taken Intel Teach courses do not have much experience with Assessing Projects. I try to provide opportunities to review the possibilities it provides when assessment is discussed in a training that I do. (I, LOVE using Assessing Projects and sharing it with teachers I work with.)


          To summarize, I recommend:

          1. Go ahead and make the changes discussed.

          2. Perhaps we should consider how to implement Assessing Projects more into Intel Teach trainings.

          • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

            Hi Jim!


            I agree with Glen.  I use the left navigation almost exclusively and having the right navigation can be confusing for some teachers.  The speed of the tool has been an issue for many teachers, so anything you can do to increase productivity is great! 


            I know another feature some teachers have recommended is being able to navigate on the left with choice of assessment - Self-assessment, observations, team meeting plans, etc.  This would help them match assessment tools with the assessment plans they are creating.


            Think of it as you do appetizers - do you want the appetizers of multiple options or just the main course?


            Thanks for all you do.


            • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects


                  I agree with Glen and Dyane.  Go for performance.  I also use the navigation pane in the lower left corner to select catagories and assessments.  Once the assessment appears in the preview pane, I like to export the assessment to word and further customize it to meet my needs with graphics and descriptions that match my project.  Thanks for asking.


              Linda Hunter

              • my two cents' worth
                Bonnie Feather

                While I agree that this would be an improvement in performance and would increase positive perceptions, I hate to give up the previews.  Is there a possibility that a teacher could click to choose whether or not to see the descriptions?  two different views?  Then users could make that choice themselves.


                Users in my courses have pretty easily figured out how to use the previews, but it is perceived as somewhat clunky.  Do I understand that this would improve efficiency of server use as well?



                • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                  Well if the change will increase performance/speed and make it easier for new users, it is fine... but i also like the preview.

                  May be, if possible, the preview is shown when we move cursor from one file to another. When i put my cursor on a file, a box appears with its description something like that.......




                  • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                    Jim,  I agree with Linda, Glen and Dyane.  Go for performance. The assesment tool is one of my favorite pieces of the program.

                    • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                      OK. We'll see how much we can gain by eliminating the initial listing of assessments in a folder in the right pane. We won't mess with the preview that you see after you've clicked on an assessment name -- we'll eliminate only the folder contents listing.


                      While we're on the topic of performance, can you think of any action that takes a particularly long time for the tool to complete? I'm looking for the kind of thing where you click a button or drag an object and think "...it shouldn't be taking that long!".

                      • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                        Greetings everyone!  Great discussions so far.  Just completed a TWT 4 day training last week, and we too had a discussion about the Assessing Projects area.  Teachers did get confused at times whether to click from the left pane or the right pane for a full preview/display of the assessment.  Even though we went through the annotated demo and explained that once an assessment is clicked it turns "grey" first before it is displayed- they still were not patient enough for the preview.  The WI educators I was working with also wanted the option to import their existing rubrics/assessment pieces into their folder area, so they had a place holder for all of their assessments.  They also wanted the assessments that were highlighted in previous pages on assessment strategies to be included in the assessment library.  We did a comparison and the teachers were correct- not all of them were included and some were in a different revised version in the library. The teachers really liked the idea of shraing an assessment with another teacher if they knew their Intel teacher name login- because of this a third conversation started requested a "common shared" folder where teacher could refer to without a login.  Your thoughts.....


                        Naomi Harm

                          • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                            Oh...another important point I left out.  Our WI educators and adult instructors from universities and service agencies requested key assessment pieces to be added that reflect professional development training and personal learning communities for adult learners, and an assessment piece of the Intel TWT and Essential course to continue to reflect on as the training's are being delivered.



                          • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                            I vote for performance. I use the preview pane, but mostly when I want to further explore an assessment. So if the preview shows up after you click on the assessment, it should be fine.



                            • Re: Features v. Performance in Assessing Projects

                              Given that teachers in our trainings have been frustrated from using the site due to its sluggishness, I vote for performance. They love the preview feature, but in the long run, more teachers will use the site with the proposed changes.