Category Archives: product updates

New Features: SMS Integration, Quiz Progress and More

We’ve recently rolled out a few exciting new features that we think you’ll enjoy. The development of GoSoapBox is driven by user feedback so if you ever have any suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me at john@gosoapbox.com

Social Q&A Reply Icon Upgrade

Each Social Q&A entry will now show the number of replies that have been added to it. This allows users to identify when a new reply has been added that they have yet to read.

Quiz Progress Indicator

Instructors are now able to view progress information about their Quizzes. Instructors can now see how many people are currently taking the Quiz, and how many have already completed it.

Re-Ordering Quiz Questions

Instructors now have the ability to re-order the questions within their Quiz. Re-ordering questions can be helpful to fix errors, as well as randomizing the order of questions for different classes.

SMS (Text Message) Integration For Social Q&A

We’re exciting to announce that we’ve now integrated the ability for students to text message in questions to Social Q&A. This assures that every student is able to participate during class, whether they have a ‘smart’ device or not!

Polling and Instant Polling SMS integration will be rolled out very soon as well.

* Due to costs incurred on our end, the SMS functionality is only available for students who have subscribed to GoSoapBox and is limited to U.S. users.

 

COMING SOON: PowerPoint Integration For Polls

Within the next 2 – 3 weeks we will be launching functionality that allows Instructors to embed the result graphs from Polls and Instant Polls directly into a PowerPoint presentation. Students will be able to respond to the Polls via GoSoapBox or SMS and the results will be displayed right on the PowerPoint slide. Instructors will no longer need to exit PowerPoint and open the GoSoapBox window in order to see Poll results.

Integration with PowerPoint has been our most frequently requested feature and we are very excited to roll out the integration. Once our prototype is available it would be great to test it with a few users before we fully launch it. If you are interested in gaining early access to the feature please let us know.

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Performance improvements, bug fixes, and no-refresh-necessary buttons

Over the weekend, we pushed a few updates to GoSoapBox.

Integration with Amazon Elasticache

Amazon Elasticache is a distributed in-memory cache environment. We are using the service to reduce database load, which has been our primary bottleneck. There may be a few bugs yet to work out, but our initial testing indicates that everything is working the way it should be.

Bug Fixes

Two weeks ago, you may have noticed that the comment reply bubble disappeared from the Social Q&A feature. We had to temporarily disable the script that figures out how many replies a Question has received. But that’s all sorted out now and the bubble is back where it should be.

Social Q&A Quick Manage Buttons

Next to each audience-submitted question in Social Q&A are two “quick-manage” buttons.  We call them quick-manage because, prior to their existence, you had to click into a question and then find the “Remove This” link from that page. Quick-manage buttons were added to reduce the number of clicks, but it still meant a page reload, which can take a few seconds if you are on a slower data connection.

We’ve taken this a step further by making the Social Q&A buttons work without a page reload being necessary. The next you click one of those buttons, the question will gray-out and then disappear a moment later. It’s like magic!

The same kind of no-refresh-necessary behavior will be coming soon for quick-manage buttons on other features, so stay tuned.

Monday 5/28 Update: Instant Polling and HTTPS

Every few weeks, we make changes to GoSoapBox. Updates typically include new features, bug fixes, and code improvements for better performance and stability.

On Sunday, we rolled out our latest changes, which are summarized below.

New Feature: Instant Polling

We added a new Polling feature for GoSoapBox, called Instant Polling. Instant Polling acts similarly to some other polling products in that you can take a pre-existing set of questions (perhaps in a PowerPoint presentation) and give your audience a generic set of responses (A, B, C, D, E, etc).

Instant Polling’s graph updates in real time. You can easily change the number of options, or clear the data for a new question.

A Slightly Different URL

The next time you join a GoSoapBox Event, you may notice that the URL is slightly differently. Instead of pointing to app.gosoapbox.com, you will be redirected to a.gosoapbox.com.

Everything will work the same, and we may switch back to app.gosoapbox.com at some point in the future. But for now the application will live on a.gosoapbox.com.

Introduction of HTTPS

In addition to a new URL (a.gosoapbox.com), you will also notice that all our application URLs are using HTTPS, and that they have a nifty lock icon next to them.

HTTPS stands for HTTP Secure, and it is a protocol for encrypting transmissions between your computer and our servers. HTTPS is on its way to becoming a standard for all web applications. You will notice it as a default on other websites like you use, like Google and Facebook.

A New Application Host

Over the last month we have been migrating our application to a new web host, PHP Fog, and this rollout completes that migration. The change was necessary because we want GoSoapBox to be in an environment that can scale to meet the growing demands of our users. With this migration complete, we will be pushing product updates more frequently.

Different Labels on Application Homepage

We have had a lot of people from outside education using GoSoapBox and asking for a version that is not specific to teachers and students. As a first step toward this, we changed the labels on the application to homepage from “Students: Join an Event” and “Teachers: Sign In” to “Join a GoSoapBox Event” and “Sign In”.

Monday 4/23 Update

Over the weekend we rolled out a truckload of updates which we think you’ll enjoy. As always, we’re going to continue rolling out new updates, so continue sending us your feedback!

 

  • Everything on the Event Page now refreshes in real-time.
  • New styling for buttons.
  • Students can now review and change their Quiz responses before submitting their final answers.

  • Discussions can now be locked/unlocked on demand.
  • “Quick Manage” lock / unlock  buttons have been added for convenience (you no longer have to click into a poll or quiz to lock / unlock it).

  • Images can be optionally added to Polls and Quizzes.

  • Histogram display format option added for Polls

  • High-resolution icons added for the benefit of teachers and students using retina display iPads.

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New Features On GoSoapBox

We’ve been rolling out some new features and improvements to GoSoapBox over the past few days, and we want to keep everyone updated. We will continue making development additions, so keep the feedback coming!

New Homepage Design

We’ve revamped our homepage (gosoapbox.com) with some additional company and product information. We think the design looks a bit cleaner as well.

Check it out and let us know what you think: gosoapbox.com

Spreadsheet Export Improvements

The exportable spreadsheet now contains each student’s grade on any quiz. Each quiz tab now has a column displaying the % grade for each student’s responses to multiple choice questions within the quiz.

We’ve also added a tab to the spreadsheet containing any ‘open’ questions from your event. The spreadsheet will show you what question was asked, who asked it, and how many votes it received among the class.

 Improved ‘Email Me Questions’ Feature

You have the ability to have GoSoapBox send you an email with a list of all of the ‘open’ and ‘answered’ questions from your event.

We’ve updated this email to now include any replies to those questions. This can be a really simple way of sharing a FAQ or study guide from your event.

Discussion Reply Names Now Visible

Teachers (or event managers) are now able to see the name of the author of each discussion reply. All replies still remain anonymous among students or audience members.

Pause, Archive, or Remove Events

You now have the ability to Pause, Archive, or Remove an event that you created. To do this, go to “Manage this GoSoapBox event” and scroll to the section titled ‘Status Settings’.

Pause an Event: This will essentially put a lock down on your event momentarily. Your students (or audience) will still be able to access the event but will not be able to interact with any of the features.

Archive an Event: This will pause your event, and move it to an ‘Archived’ events section on your account dashboard. This allows you to keep an event for an extended period of time, without cluttering up your account dashboard. You can ‘Un-Archive’ an event at any time.

Remove an Event: This will permanently delete your event completely.

Thursday 3/1 update: Copy Quizzes, Quiz grades, and a faster Confusion Barometer

We pushed some changes to app.gosoapbox.com last night.

Copy Quizzes

You can now copy Quizzes from one Event to another. This is very handy if you have multiple classes and multiple Events that need to use the same Quizzes. To copy a Quiz, go to the target Event, click/tap “Add a new Quiz”, and then select the Quiz you would like to copy from one of your existing Events.

Note that this only applies to active Quizzes. Once a Quiz has been removed, it falls off the list of copy-able Quizzes.

Copy Polls and Copy Discussions are coming soon.

Faster Confusion Barometer

The Confusion Barometer used to run more slowly than other features, but we have made some performance tweaks that will allow it to refresh more frequently. There also used to be some oddities where Confusion presses would not show up immediately — those should be resolved in this update.

Quizzes show grades to students

GoSoapBox Quizzes allow for two kinds of questions: Multiple Choice and Short Answer. Multiple Choice questions give teachers the option of selecting an answer that is correct, and when students answer questions we track whether or not they got it right. When teachers later export the Quiz data, they can easily see who got what right or wrong (this is not yet available for Short Answer questions).

We have modified GoSoapBox Quizzes such that when possible, we show students what their grade was on the Quiz.

More noticeable links in header

You will probably file this one under “Who cares?!” but for reference, you will eventually notice that the Account Dashboard and Student Name links in the header of an Event are more noticeable.

We also increased the limit on Student Names lengths from to 45 characters (from 30 characters). This change was made because someone left feedback asking us to increase the limit. Hopefully a 50% increase is enough for now.

 

Monday update: Pausing, archiving, and removing GoSoapBox Events

This morning we rolled out some minor changes to GoSoapBox.

  • Closing an Event is now Pausing. Paused Events are accessible to your students, but students will not be able to take any action.
  • You can now Archive your Events (you can access Archived Events, but your students cannot).
  • You can now permanently remove unwanted Events (to clean up your Account Dashboard).

You may also notice a ‘Refresh’ button occasionally pop up on your GoSoapBox Events. Events that have not been used in a while will stop real-time updating after a while. You and your students can re-activate real-time updating by clicking ‘Refresh’. This will only impact you if you have left your GoSoapBox Event open in a browser.