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April 2018 Open edX Product Update

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Greetings from all of us in Cambridge! We're switching things up this month, shifting our focus to coming attractions and then turning to the features we've recently released. We hope you enjoy the changes!

Coming Soon for Course TeamsThe new Add or Edit Image dialog box, showing an error message and additional UI changes.

Adding Images in HTML Components

Images are a vital part of any course, so we want to make them easy to add! We started by updating the FIles & Uploads page so that you can drag files, including images, directly onto that page. As a next step, we're working to replace the current Insert/edit image dialog box in HTML components with a new Add or Edit Image dialog box that will show a preview of the image, include more specific instructions and links to documentation, and provide clear, actionable error messages. Additionally, you'll soon be able to browse and add images directly from HTML components instead of having to add them to the Files & Uploads page first. No more copying URLs from one browser window to another! 

Recently Released for Learners

Mobile 2.13The mobile app open to the page from which the learner can download all course videos at one time.

Version 2.13 of the edX app for iOS and Android is now available! This latest version allows learners to download all the videos in your course at one time, and introduces navigation improvements that help learners access your courses and find additional courses.

Visible Discussions

Sometimes small changes yield dramatic results. An erstwhile hackathon project that shows inline discussions expanded by default—a change that led to a threefold increase in discussion participation—has become a permanent feature. Learners who participate in course discussions are significantly more likely to remain engaged and complete the course. And, by the way, we welcome members of the Open edX community who want to participate in our quarterly hackathons. The next one is coming up in June. Watch this space for more information!

Recently Released for Course Authors

Files & Uploads Page Improvements

We hope you're enjoying the new Files & Uploads page! To make this page even easier to use, we've recently added the ability to search, as well as a Hide File Preview option. By hiding previews, you can keep the page nice and compact, even if you have a lot of tall images. 

Improved ORA Problem Editor

Our friends in the Open edX community have added a valuable feature to the editor for open response assessment (ORA) assignments! When you create an ORA problem, a new interface offers the same formatting options for the prompt that are available for HTML components. You no longer have to create a separate HTML component above the ORA assignment!

Feature Spotlight: Weekly Course Highlight MessagesThe Course Outline page with a callout for the option to add highlights, with an overlay of the Highlights dialog box.

This month's spotlighted feature is a fairly new addition to the platform: Weekly course highlight messages that can encourage learners to remain engaged with self-paced courses. Specify a few highlights for each section, and the platform sends out a weekly email message that lists these highlights, piquing learners' interest in the course. 

Adding highlights is a simple procedure on the Course Outline page. For more information, including step-by-step instructions and example highlight messages, see Set Section Highlights for Weekly Highlight Messages in Building and Running an Open edX Course