With this release, we see the first important step in our move towards a great user experience on tablets and mobile phones, with the introduction of a new responsive top menu. We are also happy to introduce the Custom Activity, A new course element for tracking activities outside itslearning and several additional enhancements, such as the ability to embed video files from ‘My files’, improvements to the assessment record and the working portfolio, the ability to apply course templates to existing courses and several other improvements.
The update with all the new and exciting features will be made available to all users by Monday September 30th. Here's what you can expect:
New Responsive Top Menu
itslearning’s vision has always been to be a learning platform for all teachers and students, regardless of the hardware or software they use. itslearning is working to become an even better experience on any screen size or device – big or small, and we have started our work on redesigning itslearning to make all content available in the best way we can, making the experience consistent between devices and sizes.
This is a long-term project where we will introduce changes over time. Some of these changes will be very visible to our end users, while other changes will be in the background, but represent important steps towards our vision of a one-web, responsive itslearning. We started this project in early 2013, and the first step was to remove the itslearning frameset. In this release, we are introducing a new header menu and main navigation that will respond to the screen size of each user. We are still planning many changes and improvements in the next year, but the new responsive header marks an important milestone towards a new responsive itslearning.
Right now, you will see that the main navigation is improved and adapts to the device you are using. This includes new and responsive top menus, personal menus and an enhanced quick navigation bar.
The Main Menu contains the main navigation bar in itslearning, providing access to the main feature areas, e.g. Courses, Projects, Calendar and My Library. This menu is now responsive, and will adapt itself to the size available by the browser. When viewed on desktops or any other device with a high resolution, the menu will look similar to what it does today, but when viewed on smaller screens it will automatically adapt to the available space:
We are also making some changes to the personal menu. This contains information and settings related to the active users, as well as the search field. This menu has been consolidated and has a new design. The user’s profile, settings, help and logout fields have been moved into a dropdown list, the inbox has a more prominent and visible position together with the search field. The menu is also responsive, and will adapt itself to the available screen size.
This is just the first step in our move towards a responsive web design, and we are planning several major improvements to give you a great mobile itslearning experience!
The Custom Activity
The Custom activity is a new tool in itslearning, and it is made for teachers who want to plan and assess activities in itslearning that are performed outside the learning platform (for example, lab exercises, oral exams and so on). It behaves similar to other activities, such as assignments and tests; appears in task lists, lists of completed activities and various other reports. However, it differs from regular activities in that students cannot submit or hand-in via itslearning – it is only the teacher who will set the assessments (similar to custom assessments in the assessment record).
The Custom Activity allows teachers to access activities that take place offline on itslearning. To illustrate this process, we will use the example of an oral presentation, a common offline classroom activity.
Applying Course Templates to Existing Courses
In the previous release, we introduced the option to create course templates, as well as the option to create new courses based on templates or existing courses. We are now making it possible to apply these templates toexisting courses, allowing teachers who get pre-created courses (e.g. courses created through an integration) to both benefit from course templates, as well as easily reuse courses from previous years.
Watch a video demonstrating course templates
Improvements to the Working Portfolio
We have made several improvements to the workflow of portfolio tasks, including the task list, the tasks tab and some changes to the characteristics of the tasks.
Task created in the working portfolio will now also appear in the task list of the student, showing them both in the Tasks content block as well as in the calendar. This will give the student a more complete overview of their to-dos.
We’ve also made several improvements to the overview of the working portfolio tasks for a student, amongst others now offering filtering on task status, showing the description of a learning objective on hover and showing colour codes for tasks statuses for quick recognition.
Working portfolio tasks that can be edited by the student are now limited to tasks created by him/herself. For tasks created by the teacher they can now only change the status of that task, such as setting the status from ‘In progress’ to ‘Completed’.
You can now connect elements – such as a file, link or even an assignment - to a working portfolio task. For each of these elements, both the student and the teacher can see their status. This offers the possibility to assign one or more elements to an individual student, wrapped in a description to give it context. Ideal for students that have missed some classes, are struggling with specific learning objectives or are looking for more challenging content.
Finally, when clicking on working portfolios in the Status and follow-up menu, the teachers will now see two tabs.
The first tab – Participants – gives access to the working portfolios of the different students. This tab contains the same information as before.
The second tab – Task overview – gives an overview of all working portfolio tasks for the students in this course. This way, the teacher can quickly see the status of these tasks and see if assistance or intervention is needed.
Embedding and Previewing Videos
The video player for embedded videos is now updated with better user experience and cross-browser support. Existing videos must be embedded once more for the new player to be used.
Watch a presentation of the new player
We have also introduced a new option for sizing the video, Auto,which will automatically adjust the size of the video to the available space when viewing it. This is convenient since users will view the video with different screen sizes and resolutions. It is, of course, still possible to set a fixed size of the video.
The new player will also be used for flash video and when inserting recordings.
itslearning in Polish!
itslearning jest już dostępny w języku polskim!
Polish speaking users can now use itslearning in their native language by changing the Language setting to Polish in your person profile (My settings > Configure itslearning). Please note that the help system is not currently available in Polish.
Extraction of Compressed Files
It is now possible to extract a file archive directly inside itslearning. You can choose to overwrite existing files or extract the contents of the .zip to a new folder.
Video: Extract a compressed file in My files
The extract-action is available as an icon to the right of the compressed file in from My files.
itslearning can extract compressed files in the following formats: *.zip, *.gz, *.gzip, *.tar, *.tar.gz, *.tgz, *.tar.gzip
Improvements to My Library
We are also introducing some improvements to My Library. First of all, it is now possible to add multiple content items directly when searching for content. We are also making it possible to add content to early learner courses.
Next, it is now easier to search for contents in the library. All users will now have the possibility to search for most popular content as well as recently updated and created resources. We have also introduced quick sorting links, which allow everyone to get searches based on desired criteria using just one click.
Finally, when adding content to a course, it is possible to preview the content before adding it to the course.
A number of bugs and issues have been resolved. Read more about the latest bug fixes(pdf, in English only).
Posted on September 30, 2013
by Kristine Lango