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July 2017 Open edX Product Update

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Hi again from edX headquarters in Cambridge! The month of June has been busy here, with all of our teams working hard to create improvements for you and your learners. 

Improvements for Learners

Live Course Page Breadcrumbs

A page in the course, showing the name of the section, subsection, and unit as links above the course navigation bar.To help orient learners inside courses, we've made more improvements the Course page: we've added live "breadcrumbs" that learners can select from any course page to return to the course outline. We hope learners will find this new feature useful!

HLS Video Playback

At edX, we want to provide learners with access to education all over the world—no matter the learner's location or Internet connection quality. Because videos are integral to our courses, but can be difficult to access, we have updated our video player to use HTTP live streaming (HLS) when YouTube videos aren't available. HLS causes the player to continually check each learner's internet connection and adjust video playback, so that learners are always viewing the highest quality video possible for their Internet connection. 

Improvements for Course Authors

Enrollment Track-Based Content

Many course teams have asked us about creating different content for learners  based on enrollment track. We're excited to announce that course teams can now create different content—including discussions—for learners in the verified and audit enrollment tracks. Settings for different content groups are found in individual components and on a new Discussions tab in the instructor dashboard. For more information, see Offering Different Content to Different Learner Groups or About Divided Discussion Topics in Building and Running an Open edX Course

Additional Course Author Improvements

We've made some other improvements too. On the instructor dashboard, the table on the Open Responses tab now includes a "Waiting" column to differentiate between responses that are waiting for staff grading and those that await peer grading. To make adding course videos easier, we've updated video components so that course teams can now upload transcripts for non-YouTube videos right from the Basic page. And we fixed a bug that caused a problem with grading in subsections that change from ungraded to graded.

Data Improvements

Just how many learners have enrolled in your course, anyway? And which learners are still enrolled? We've added an Enrollment Status column to the grade report that's available from the instructor dashboard. For more information about the grade report, see Interpreting the Grade Report in Building and Running an Open edX Course. Additionally, research data packages now include a table that provides information about learners who are eligible for course credit. (This table is included in all data packages, but is blank for non-credit courses.) For more information, see Credit Eligibility Data in the edX Research Guide.

Coming Soon

All our teams will continue to work through July to bring course teams and learners even more improvements. Soon, course teams will be able to upload a "thumbnail" image—the still image that appears in the LMS before video play begins—to accompany each video. Additionally, course teams will soon be able to change an individual learner's score on a specific problem on the instructor dashboard, and we're adding settings to Studio that will make certificate generation automatic. Stay tuned!