Greetings again from the edX home office! As the temperatures have risen here in Cambridge, we’ve been working on some cool new features for you.
Improvements for Learners
We want your learners to focus on your course content instead of logistical details. To that end, we’ve added the ability to specify local time zones to the Account Settings page. No more mental gymnastics while learners convert from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to their own time!
Additionally, on-the-go learners can stay up to date with the new versions of our Android and iOS apps. Version 2.5.1 for Android and version 2.5.0 for iOS allow learners to participate in course discussions as they move through course units instead of having to go to the Discussions page. These versions also include a bug fix so that learners see the number of votes their posts have received. You can download the edX app from Google Play or the App Store.
Improvements for Course Authors
Course teams who want to hide exams and other content from learners after the due date are in luck! We’ve just introduced subsection hiding, which allows course teams to hide the contents of a subsection after the subsection’s due date has passed—without affecting grades. Learners can still see the titles for hidden subsections in the course navigation, but they can’t access the content. For more information, see Hide a Subsection from Learners in Building and Running an Open edX Course.
Have you ever created a text input problem in the advanced editor and left the answer attribute blank by mistake—so that learners can’t answer the problem correctly? We’ve updated Studio so that it no longer allows course teams to save a text input problem that has an empty answer attribute.
Better data leads to better courses, and we’ve updated Insights so that enrollment information now includes specific numbers for each of the enrollment options for your course: audit, verified, verified with credit, and professional. (Courses that ended before December 2015 might also include honor code enrollments.) For more information, see Enrollment Activity in Using edX Insights.
As part of our commitment to make the edX platform as accessible as possible, we’ve made improvements to the website, the LMS, and Studio. We’ve organized the social media site links in the website footer into lists to help people who use screen readers. We’ve increased color contrast in both the LMS and Studio to make elements clearer. And we’ve updated the edX tabbed component to make navigating pages without a mouse easier and more intuitive.
Improvements for System Administrators and Developers
The edX engineering team has been hard at work, improving performance in loading the learner Progress page by 75% as part of improving the overall performance of computing grades—just in time for the Eucalyptus release. We’ve also made changes to validation in the coupon creation process.
If you’ve been updating your installation of Open edX with each edX release, you may have noticed that we’re transitioning the XBlockDisableConfig model and its associated settings to the XBlockConfiguration and XBlockStudioConfiguration models. This transition is still in progress. When it is complete, we will delete the XBlockDisableConfig model and associated settings. The Eucalyptus release will not include these changes.
We’ve updated our documentation to include information about popular Open edX topics. In addition to instructions for serving course assets from a content delivery network (CDN), now available in Installing, Configuring, and Running the Open edX Platform, you can find information about using the XBlock URL to render an XBlock in HTML without the LMS user interface in two places: Rendering XBlocks with the XBlock URL in the Open edX Developer’s Guide and Rendering XBlocks with the XBlock URL in the Open edX XBlock Tutorial. If you find this content useful, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We’re planning lots of improvements during August—including more updates to coupons and a streamlined About page creation process. Stay tuned!