SoftChalk Cloud & SoftChalk Create

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Software Description: SoftChalk Cloud and Create is software that allows users to create engaging lessons for the web quickly and easily. Faculty can style their lesson for a professional look and/or add many activities and quizzes that promote active learning.

Platform: Windows and Macintosh
Cost: No charge

 

Important Differences between SoftChalk Publish and SoftChalk Create

  • Content is published to SoftChalk Cloud - stored and available from anywhere

  • Content is posted to Blackboard Courses via LTI links - which link to content in the Cloud

  • SoftChalk Create is the new desktop application, replacing SoftChalk Publish 7

     

Quick Reference - Terminology and Functionality

Term or FunctionPrevious version of SoftChalkNew version of SoftChalk

 

Desktop Application

SoftChalk 7 SoftChalk Create
SoftChalk Files and Data Content, Activities or Lessons Content, Activities or Lessons
SoftChalk content storage and access Various - Local computer, network drive, SoftChalk Library (local computer)  and/or Blackboard SoftChalk Cloud - storage location hosted by SoftChalk, available from anywhere via internet access.
Transfer existing SoftChalk content to the new version N/A Migrate - upload existing SoftChalk content to the cloud
Integration with Blackboard Via a system building block (older  programming standard for integrating  learning applications) Via an LTI tool (newer  web-compatible programming standard for integrating learning applications)
Add SoftChalk content in Blackboard Publish activities or lessons to a Blackboard course from SoftChalk 7 desktop application

Post - copy/paste an LTI link in a Blackboard course from SoftChalk Cloud

Publish -  upload content to SoftChalk Cloud (for storage & easy access)
Scoring and Grades ScoreCenter - available in Blackboard; integrated with the Grade Center ScoreCenter - available in Blackboard and integrated with the Grade Center only if LTI link is posted in the course

 

Software Description: SoftChalk Cloud and Create is software that allows users to create engaging lessons for the web quickly and easily. Faculty can style their lesson for a professional look and/or add many activities and quizzes that promote active learning.

Platform: Windows and Macintosh
Cost: No charge

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Do not sign up for a 30-day trial.  VCU has a site license which will be used instead.  Be aware that if you are using a 30-day trial, any content you have created could potentially be lost when the trial ends.  Disregard any mention of “Private SoftChalk Cloud” on the vendor’s website and in their guides--this is not the license VCU has.

Conditions of License

Use of the SoftChalk products included in this license is subject to all of the following conditions:

  • All VCU faculty and staff are licensed to use the product at no cost.

  • The product may be installed on VCU-owned computers and on privately-owned computers.

  • SoftChalk installation media may be used to install SoftChalk on multiple PCs for licensed VCU users

  • The use of the products under this license is restricted to VCU-related purposes ONLY. (Note that this applies regardless of how the installation media is obtained and who owns or uses the computer on which the products are installed.)

  • The products may be used for VCU academic and administrative purposes.

  • When you separate from VCU, you must immediately uninstall the product from all computers on which you had installed them and those on which you had authorized their installation.

  • You may NOT resell this license and/or the product it covers.

Create a SoftChalk Cloud Account

  1. Go to https://softchalkcloud.com/

  2. Click “Join Now” (upper right portion of the screen)

  3. For Account Type select: "Cloud (I have an Activation Key)"

  4. Login to the eLearning system to access VCU’s activation key. (The key is in a Word document and will automatically download to your computer as soon as you log in.  Check your downloads folder or the bottom of your screen to locate the file, and click on the file name.)

  5. Enter the VCU activation key in the SoftChalk Cloud form.

  6. For Organization Website URL, just put VCU’s main URL, “http://vcu.edu

  7. After checking both boxes to agree to the terms, click “Join”

Download and Install SoftChalk Create

  1. Select one of the links below (Windows or Mac). The installation file will automatically download to your computer.

  2. Click on the downloaded file and select “Run”

    • Accept user agreement

  3. Installation options

    • Select the default, “everyone who uses the computer”

    • Select a folder install location or accept the default

    • Click “Finish” when prompted

    • Double-click the blue SoftChalk Create icon on your desktop
    • Sign in once with your SoftChalk Cloud account and start using SoftChalk Create on your desktop/laptop

To Migrate Content from SoftChalk 7 to Cloud Add the SoftChalk Cloud Publisher

This allows existing content to be published from SoftChalk 7 to the Cloud. Once your content is in the Cloud, you can remove the SoftChalk 7 desktop application and begin using the new version--SoftChalk Create.

1. Launch the SoftChalk 7 application from your computer by clicking on the SoftChalk 7 icon.

2. On the top menu bar, click File.

3. Click Publish Lesson.

4. Select the Accounts tab.

5. Click New.

Tip: If the New button option is not available (grayed out), go back to the Publish tab and click Disconnect.

6. From the "Account Type Selection" list, select SoftChalk Cloud. Click OK.

7. Enter your username and password.

Note: This is not your VCU eID and Password; this is the username and password you created when joining the SoftChalk Cloud website.

8. Click OK.

9. Click Close.

Publish/Upload Existing SoftChalk 7 Content to SoftChalk Cloud

1. Open SoftChalk Publish 7 (the older version of SoftChalk.) Click File from the tool bar and select Open.

2. Locate and click on the file you are trying to open. Select the Index option.

3. Go back to File and select Publish Lesson.

4. Click the Publish tab and make sure your "<user account> (Cloud)" appears in the Account dropdown menu.

5. Click Connect. If it automatically connects and the "<user account> (Cloud)" is not selected, click Disconnect, select the correct option and then click Connect.

6. Enter the Item Name.

7. In the right-hand panel, select the folder you would like to publish to within Cloud. Note: If you have not logged into the Cloud and created folders, then you will only see the default folder "My Lessons & Courses".

8. Click Publish.

9. Once finished, you will get a "Your lesson has been published" pop up. Click OK. You should now see the lesson listed in the right-hand panel as well.

10. Click Close.

Once you have created a SoftChalk Cloud account and migrated all of your existing SoftChalk 7 content to SoftChalk Cloud, you should remove the old SoftChalk 7 application from your computer.

 

To Create New Content

Launch the SoftChalk Create application on your computer or Login to SoftChalk Cloud

My Content

Click Create Content (1)

Follow the instructions found in the SoftChalk Create Guide.

 

To Edit Existing Content

Launch the SoftChalk Create application from your computer.

Select File and click Open From SoftChalk Cloud.

Select the packaged content that has been previously published to the Cloud and click Open.

Modify the content as desired.

Select File and click Save To SoftChalk Cloud.

Leave the Item Name as is to replace the file or change it to create a new file with the edits. Click Save.

 

To Manage Content

From My Content, and select Lessons (2).

This is the default folder for storing your content.

Use the Actions menu (3) on the right-hand side to create additional folders, etc. Once you have published lessons to the cloud, they will appear here.

When selecting Create Content (1) users will launch the desktop app.

When selecting the Edit icon (4), users will open the content item within Cloud. 

To edit, click the "Open in Create" link in the top right-hand corner. Once opened in Create, right click the question and select the "Modify QuizPopper" option or just click Insert to add a new question.

 

When clicking on the Lesson name (5), users will be opening the lesson in the Cloud in order to preview and format the activities.

 

Important Tips

  1. Before posting a SoftChalk LTI link to your eLearning course, decide if you want to collect scores from your students or if you want your lessons to be “practice” lessons (no scores).  

  2. Be sure to assign points to each QuizPopper and Activity in SoftChalk.

a. In the main editing window of your SoftChalk lesson, right-click on the QuizPopper or Activity and choose “Modify QuizPopper” or ”Modify Activity”.

b. Go to the Options tab and use the Points dropdown menu to assign points.

Add an LTI link in your eLearning (Blackboard) Course

1. Login to SoftChalk Cloud.

2. Select My Content and click Lessons.

3. Click on the Lesson Name.

4. Scroll down and locate the Lesson Actions area on the bottom right. Highlight the entire LTI Link, right click, and click Copy.

5. Go to your eLearning course, enter the course for which you would like to publish your SoftChalk Lesson.

6. Within a content area, select Build Content and click Web Link.

7. Enter a Name and paste the LTI Link in the URL box.

8. IMPORTANT: Be sure to select the "This link is a Tool Provider" box.

9. If you would like this lesson scored and linked to the grade center, select YES beside "Enable Evaluation."

10. Enter the Possible Points for your lesson and select the settings desired for the other evaluation options (visible to students and due date.)

11. Continue to scroll down and select any other desired settings (description, attachments, etc.)

12. Click Submit.

Learning Systems in Academic Technologies maintains the integration of SoftChalk with VCU’s eLearning environment (Blackboard), while the vendor provides end-user support and troubleshooting.  

  • For assistance with SoftChalk Cloud: login issues, questions and other requests related to the Cloud interface - please contact SoftChalk support directly

  • For assistance with SoftChalk Create: installation issues, questions and other requests related to the desktop application - please contact SoftChalk support directly

  • For assistance with downloading SoftChalk Create, or posting SoftChalk content to Blackboard, issues downloading Create, the application license key, or posting/viewing your SoftChalk content in VCU’s eLearning environment, please submit a help request ticket for Learning Systems.

 

Additional Details and Step-by-Step Instructions