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March 2017 Open edX Product Update

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Happy March from edX headquarters! We're excited to share with you the changes we've made over the past month. 

Improvements for Learners

A multiple choice question with the correct answer outlined in green and with a green check mark.

Exams can be stressful enough without worrying about whether you've submitted your work correctly or when your results will be available. We've improved messaging around proctored exams so that learners now receive an email when they've submitted a proctored exam that lets them know their exam has been received, as well as when to expect scores. This email also provides information about whether the learner has passed or failed proctoring and why.

To make correct answers even easier to discern after learners select Show Answer, we've added an indicator to checkbox and multiple choice problems: The correct answer not only appears in green, but has an accompanying check mark. Meanwhile, for open response assessment (ORA) problems, deadlines now correctly appear in the learner's time zone.

We've also released new versions of the edX mobile apps for iPhone and Android. Android users can now manage their video downloads outside the edX app, relying on the native Android downloads functionality instead. We've fixed some problems with video closed captions so that they now render correctly. And, for screen reader users, we've added more screen reader text to the learner profile controls, so you'll always know what actions are available.

Improvements for Course Authors

The Move dialog box with a list of different units where the user might want to move the component.

Have you ever wanted to move a component to another part of your course? This new capability is due to land in Studio very soon. On the unit page, you'll see a Move icon next to the View, Copy, and Delete icons on the component, and you'll use a dialog box to specify the new location for the component. We hope this new feature will make developing your content easier!

Data Improvements

Insights has a new look! As soon as you sign in, the new Courses page shows you important information about your courses at a glance. You can see top-level enrollment data, including current enrollment and changes in enrollment over the past week. You can also use the search box to find a specific course by course name or course ID. From the Courses page, you can select any course under Course List to go to the Course Home page. For more information, see Courses Page in Using edX Insights.

The courses page with one filter applied and one course highlighted.

 

Accessibility Improvements

We've made quite a few accessibility improvements to course discussions in the last month. For learners who use high contrast mode, we updated the post type option buttons so that learners can more easily discern the selected post type. We added asterisks to required fields in new posts so that learners have visual reminders of which fields are required. And for screen readers, we updated our tagging to more clearly identify headings and corrected a problem that incorrectly set the focus when learners added responses and comments to posts.

In addition to the course discussion updates, we've added a visible field label to the wiki filter control, and we've made sure that the screen reader no longer announces the course tools area—the one that contains the Notes and Calculator tool—if no tools are enabled for the course.

Improvements for System Administrators and Developers

Ficus is here! The newest release of Open edX was released on February 23, and includes dozens of updates to Studio, the LMS, accessibility, and the platform. We hope you find this new version more powerful, more flexible, and easier to install and use.

We've just merged an initial version of the web fragments library and updated the platform to start using this new functionality. This change allows developers to modify the LMS user interface via plugins instead of having to make changes to the platform's code. This initial release of the web fragments library is found in the edx/web-fragments repository. For more information, see OEP-12: Pluggable User Interfaces.