New comments interface, other improvements

Welcome back

Happy New Year and welcome back to school! I hope you had a relaxing break and are recharged for 2017. We are! Our focus in 2017 is on improving the user experience for both students and teachers. A full-featured platform like NoodleTools is far more useful when it is student-friendly, efficient, and full of teaching opportunities. So without delay, let’s take a look at the update going in tonight…

Comments interface improved!

Thanks to all of you that provided feedback about the comments interface over the past few months — we’ve incorporated many of your requests and suggestions. I’ll describe the main changes here so that you’re ready to jump right in.

A comment under a source

Comments under citations and notecards

Comments can now be viewed and written directly under the associated citation/notecard (similar to how it worked last year). For teachers, this makes writing comments on all of a student’s citations and notecards much more efficient!

To-do notification and button

“To-do” or “Done”

When a teacher writes a comment on a student’s project, that becomes a “to-do” item for the student. There is no longer a concept of “read” and “unread” comments, which was never very useful (the fact the student read the comment doesn’t mean he did anything in response). A “To-do/Done” toggle beside each comment thread makes it easy to scroll through and view feedback awaiting a response (to-do’s are displayed in red as shown).

A to-do list on panel

Comments panel = To-do list!

The comments panel now just cleanly displays your “active” conversations (items where there is a comment you haven’t responded to or marked “done” yet). Click “View notecard/source” to navigate to the notecard/citation (and then respond either in the panel or under the notecard/citation itself). The status will change to “Done” and the item is removed from your “To-Do/Active Conversations” panel. If a written response is not necessary but you wish to mark the item complete, just click the To-do/Done toggle to mark it “Done.”

Teacher option: Require response

If you are a teacher, a “require response” option can be checked when you write a comment. The student who receives that comment will only be able to mark it done by writing a response (the option to just click the To-do/Done toggle is unavailable).

Teacher option: Edit comments

If you are a teacher, you can now edit comments if you make a mistake. The option to delete comments is coming soon too.

Show/hide all comments

If you aren’t adding or reading comments, all comments can be hidden on the Sources or Notecard Details screens, so that they don’t distract.

Recent comments on dashboard.

Recent comments on Dashboard

A new “Recent comments” section at the bottom of the Dashboard screen displays a chronological list of the project’s comments — one section with the “general project comments” thread followed by all the source and notecard comments (most recent at the top). So if you need a quick way to see the most recent comments and responses, you can check there.


We’ve added some new tutorials covering the interface and functionality changes:


What's next?

Additional updates are going in gradually over the next few weeks, with a focus on continuing to improve the feedback interface in NoodleTools. For example, this week we’re hard at work on things like:

  • Ability for teacher to delete comments
  • Inbox Navigator updates, including nicer interface and fixing the sort order
  • Exposing project contributor names on main screen (not within blue “i” button)

We look forward to working with you all this winter and spring!

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