School's out for summer, but when you return we'll have some nice updates waiting for you. This time we have focused on giving students easier access to information, created a more streamlined login process and facilitated sharing in the library, in addition to many other changes. Read all about the updates below.
To view videos detailing the latest release, please visit our itslearning Vimeo channel.
Note: Some articles within the itslearning helpdesk will not be updated until the actual release date in August.
A new home for students
Previously, students had to go to several different locations to find relevant information. To improve the information flow, students are now presented with a new landing page when they log in. Here we have gathered the most used features, such as the assessment record, behavior and attendance overviews, individual learning plans, ePortfolio and files. Pages and overviews that were available in the person profile, 'Your Files' and 'ePortfolio' are now available directly from the Home page. The page also features improvements to the task and event content blocks. This new page replaces the 'ePortfolio' tab and is accessed by clicking the home icon.
Read more about the Home page.
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Meet the new login pages
Have you noticed anything different about the login page? The new page is streamlined and allows you to access itslearning with alternate logins if your site uses them. If you forget the URL to log in directly to your itslearning site, the new welcome page will allow you to quickly navigate to your site. Site news and links to important itslearning resources remain on the simplified page, and in addition, site owners are now allowed to replace the itslearning logo with their own.
Read more about logging in.
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Create, share and use in the revamped Library
Sharing and reusing content saves time. To facilitate this, we have revamped the Library and added a couple of new features. First, we have changed its name from My Library to Library and made it possible to search for and use files, links, pages and crossword puzzles from other users, as well as third-party tools (if they are available in your country). In addition, we have made it possible to collaborate on a resource by adding teachers from your organization as co-authors. You can also create new versions of someone else's content – if the original author(s) allows it.
Read more about how to use the Library.
What happened to the old Library?
If your organization still has access to the old lesson library but no longer uses it, (system) administrators can uncheck the user right Lesson Library for the relevant profiles. This will hide the 'Looking for the lesson library' message in the new library.
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More features in the calendar
The last release included a major update of the calendar, and now it has even more features. We've added a list view in addition to the day, week and month views. It gives you a quick overview of upcoming events from the current day to the following week, including any lesson plans connected to the course.
We've also made it possible to check the availability of resources during scheduling. When searching for a resource you will see when and by whom the resource was booked.
Finally, parents can now view their children's calendars by clicking the 'View Calendar' link on the child’s dashboard, or by selecting it from under the 'Your Children' heading in the calendar. Parents can see course related events, but personal and project related events will not be visible to them.
Read more about the calendar.
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Assignment: View deleted answers and submission receipts
Have you accidentally deleted an assignment answer or felt the need to see a previous version of an answer? We know some of you have, and that's why we've made it possible to view deleted assignment answers from the 'Show' drop-down list in the assignment overview. (Answers that were deleted before this update will not be visible). Students can view their deleted answers, too.
When students submit mandatory assignments it may be useful to get receipts to confirm the submissions. These types of submission receipts are now available, but the feature is turned off by default. However, the site administrator can configure the setting in Admin >> Edit global settings >> Features and security >> Send a submission-receipt to students when answering a mandatory assignment.
Changes to the user interface
As part of our effort to improve navigation and structure we have introduced several concepts and enhancements to help you work more efficiently in itslearning. The most important changes are:
Consolidated top menu (limited release)
We have introduced an option to replace the old header banner with a new, streamlined top menu. The personal menu and site links are located on the main menu. Who's Online? has been moved to the personal menu drop-down.
We are offering this option to selected customers as a pilot. If interested, please contact us.
Personal notifications and alerts
Highlighted in the top menu with a bell icon, the new personal alerts icon notifies students of new assessments or feedback on assignments/custom activities, and when behavior remarks have been added or edited. More notifications will follow in future releases.
Send messages from anywhere
It's now possible to view, reply to and send messages from anywhere in itslearning by using the new 'message' drop-down. Available from the messages icon in the top menu, this new feature gives you instant access to your messages, and makes it possible to quickly compose a new message. You can easily add a recipient, subject and message all within the message drop-down.
New Go to menu
The Go to (Favorite) menu contains users' favorite courses and projects, as well as information about changes since their last visit. This area has received a makeover and now shows the date each course or project was last updated.
Goodbye process-oriented documents, old tests and itslearning.mobi
To prevent spending time and energy on maintaining features that don't receive much use, we have chosen to discontinue some of them. In this update the following features have been removed:
- Process-oriented documents: This feature will no longer appear in the 'Add Overview' in courses. Existing process-oriented documents have been converted to file elements.
- Test 1.0: Six years ago we launched a new test tool. In 2010, we disabled the option to create new elements using the old test tool, and in 2013 we removed the option to make copies of existing test elements. In this update, the old test tool has been completely removed from the user interface – including all elements of the test tool in existing courses.
- itslearning.mobi: Our old mobile version predated smart phones and was tailored for the now outdated WAP standard. We have therefore decided to discontinue this feature. Instead, the entire itslearning platform now has a responsive design for a great user experience on any device.
Based on feedback, we have made some changes to the way learning objectives are connected to content. We now show the description to make it easier to distinguish between objectives, pagination is removed unless a page contains more than 25 items and an unnecessary breadcrumb has been removed.
Custom activities: Rate the workload
It's now possible to rate the workload connected to an activity in the Custom activity tool. The rating is used to prevent teachers from burdening students with too much work within a particular space of time. If a teacher tries to add a new activity, any previous workload rating becomes visible in the students' calendars. This happens when the date picker is opened and the workload rating is indicated with a yellow (low), orange (medium) or red (high) color.
Note: if you want to use the workload feature, it needs to be enabled by the system administrator under Edit global settings >> Features and security.
Rich-text editor: Preview video and play audio files
It's now possible to preview video and play audio files from the editor by right clicking on the recording and clicking Preview in the context menu. The context menu is also available for touch devices: simply click and hold for one second.
Media recording: Upload existing recordings
The interface for inserting a new recording has been enhanced with an option to upload existing recordings.
Messages: Forward to email
Administrators can now ensure that messages received in itslearning are automatically forwarded to a fixed email account by editing the profile settings. The flexibility has been added to the profiles (and policies), so that it can be configured for some users only (for example students and parents, but not staff).
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Minor changes and corrections
In addition to a few minor changes, we have also corrected a number of issues. Read more about the most important minor changes and corrections (pdf file, English only).
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Posted on August 2, 2014
by Øyvind Flatnes