Happy new year from edX! We hope that you’re enjoying 2017 so far, and we’re excited to share with you some of the updates that we made to the platform in December.

Improvements for Learners

The post listing view, showing a list of post titles and first lines.Vibrant course discussions contribute significantly to good learner and course team experiences, so we’ve made them easier to participate in. On the Discussions page, on the Teams page, and in inline discussions, the new post listing view reveals a list of post titles with the first line of each post. Learners can review the titles and first lines of each post to decide which posts they’d like to explore, then select a post to open the post in the new post details view. In this view, learners see the original post together with the comments and responses for the post. To get back to the post listing view, learners select All Posts at the top of any post details view.

For more information, see Inline Discussion Improvements on the Open edX portal.

Improvements for Course Authors

Want more autonomy over your course certificates? Or perhaps you’d like to delegate tasks to other course team members? Users with the Admin or Staff role can now activate and disable course certificates in Studio with the click of a button. We’ve also expanded permissions for the Staff role so that these users can now modify grades for individual learners. Users with the Admin role continue to be able to access and modify grades for all learners. For more information, see Administrative Team Roles and Setting Up Course Certificates in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

Additionally, to improve your experience creating courses on edX, we’ve added a notification on the Video Uploads page. If you upload a file that isn’t in the required .mp4 or .mov format, you now receive an error message.

Accessibilty ImprovementsThe video player in high contrast mode with the volume slider visible.

While we’ve been working on improvements for learners and course authors, we’ve also made several accessibility updates. We’ve updated the structure of the behind-the-scenes code on the course Home page, using heading levels 1-5 in a way that screen readers can more easily process. For custom JavaScript problems, we’ve added a title attribute inside the jsinput tag that is used to orient non-visual learners. We’ve also made the video playback and volume sliders visible when learners view videos in high contrast mode, and we’ve made the visual chart on the Progress page more accessible to learners who use keyboards and screen readers.

Data Improvements

The best data leads to the best courses. For course staff who view the grade report and the problem grade report, we’ve added the “Not Attempted” and “Not Available” values, indicating whether learners attempted a problem or whether the problem was available. For data czars, we’ve added five grading events: edx.grades.problem.submitted, edx.grades.problem.rescored, edx.grades.problem.state_deleted, edx.grades.subsection.grade_calculated, and edx.grades.course.grade_calculated.

For more information, see Generate a Grade Report for Enrolled Learners (All Courses) in Building and Running an Open edX Course and Grading-Related Events in the EdX Research Guide.