Welcome to release 67 of itslearning. The main focus of this release is the new itslearning library: re-engineered from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, and more powerful than ever.
We have added the option to send individual messages to multiple recipients in the new messaging system.
There are also changes to the new itslearning user experience and better support for importing terms from student information systems via IMS-E.
The New Library
Library in itslearning is a place for teachers, schools, and local authorities to share content, pages, files, and resources (often called ‘learning objects’). We have re-designed the library in consultation with our customers with two key aims:
- To encourage more teachers to publish their resources, files, and work to Library
- To improve the search experience so Library is the place for finding content to add to courses
What’s New in Library?
- The Library has been given a new look and feel, improved usability and simplified workflows
- A new search engine (powered by Elasticsearch) which improves the search speed/performance, but more importantly gets more accurate results
- A new landing page with instant access to the Library
- Improved filter and sort options
- It is easier to create and add content
- Improved workflows for inviting colleagues to collaborate on content
- New and redesigned “Your collection” with category-driven navigation and improved workflows for remove/delete
- New preview for learning resources – see what the resources are before adding to the course
The New Library Landing Page
Opening the Library will take you to the new search page. From here you can search the Library and find resources.
You can access the Library directly from the top menu and when adding items to a Course or to the Planner.
A Simpler Search
To make searches simpler we asking you for a few words to start searching. We have moved filters and other options to the search results page. The search works on whole words, for example, if you type 'mathematic' you'll get results with 'mathematic' in the titles, keywords, descriptions, names of learning objectives, but you won’t find items with the word 'math. If you type 'learn math', you'll get results with both words in titles, keywords, descriptions, learning objectives names and also results with words 'learn' and 'math' separately.
Start your search with as many keywords/tags as you want and then use the filters on the results page to narrow the search. You can also add more keywords at any time.
We have improved the search result list. At a glance you can see the:
- Rating / number of ratings
- Publication date
You can also refine the search with filters
- Type of resource
- Learning objectives / standards (you can pick one or many of these)
- Collection (the publisher or collection owner).
- Grade level (slider)
The grade level scale is generic and not linked to a specific country, but assumes that ‘1’ indicates suitable for learners in their first year in school. If also filtering on content language, accuracy will increase on suitable grade level(s). If ‘Grade level’ slider is set from ‘K’ to ‘12’ elements with different grade levels or without grade level will be shown as search results.
Filter by Learning Objectives
You may filter the result list for content associated to specific learning objective(s):
- In the filter section click ‘Add Learning objectives’
- Browse to desired learning objectives
- To select click tick-box in front of learning objectives
- When complete click Select and Close
- You learning objective(s) are shown as filter criteria and the result list is updated accordingly
To remove selected learning objectives, simply click the ‘X’ next to them.
You can sort the result list by:
- Relevance (the default sort)
- Created date
Clicking a learning resource in the result list will open the new resource preview page.
You can see at a glance:
- Description from author
- Rating and reviews
- Associated learning objectives
- Information on intended for, format and grade level.
Depending where you started the search you can add the resource to Your collection, Course or the Planner by clicking the “Add to…” button upper right in the preview. If already added this button will be inactive!
You may also open the resource itself clicking the ‘Open resource’ button in upper right corner. If you are open one of your own resources, you can edit it from this screen.
You can still rate and review content you add from the Library. The average rating and number of reviews appear in search results. When the content is previewed or added, the ratings and reviews are visible in a column on the right-hand side.
Adding Resources from Library to a Course or the Planner
In course click “Add” and select Content from library:
In planner click ‘Add resources/activities’ and then select ‘From Library’.
Your collection is opened by clicking in the Library navigation bar:
Your collection gives you quick overview of the resources that:
- you have found and added from Library search
- you have ‘favorited’
- you have created
- you have created and invited colleagues to co-author
- a colleague has invited you to be a co-author
Note: Only published elements can be added to course or planner from Your collection. So if you can’t find elements that you created in Library, make sure they were published.
If you at some point would like to tidy up your collection you can hover click the ‘X’ to remove items. You will have a message appearing confirming the deletion with the option to Undo. If you want to delete published elements you have created or co-authored, you must first open the element using ‘Edit’ button Delete from the options (cog).
Creating New Resources in Library
You can easily create a new resource directly from Library:
- Click the “Create new” button in upper right corner:
- Select type of resource
- Add a title and any content
- When returning to the Library the resource is found in “Created by me”.
Invite Authors to Collaborate on a Resource
Clicking the “Share” button enables you to invite fellow teachers to join you editing a learning object. Start typing the name of your colleague and when you have found them click ‘select’.
If you want to remove a co-author you can see the option under ‘Can Edit’.
When you view the resource toy can see a sharing icon and the number of authors collaborating on the item.
Publish Content to the Library - Make It Available for Others
If you have a resource you think also is useful for others you can quickly and simply publish it to the Library. It will then appear in the search result for others searching for similar resources. Clicking “Publish” opens a dialog and we ask you to add some information describing the resource.
You can choose who can see the resource and it is always under your control.
Versioning allows an author the create a new version of a published resource, but also gives other teachers that use this resource the choice to either keep using the old version, or update to the latest version. Currently the File, Link and Page tools support it with other tools to follow.
Creating a new version
When an author in the library wants to make changes to a published resource, he or she can choose the action 'Create new version' under the cog. This will create a draft version of the resource that can be edited.
After the changes have been made, the draft version can be published again. At this point the author is asked to describe what has changed or what has been added.
Updating to the latest version
When searching in the library, users will always find the latest version of a resource. However, teachers that have previously added the resource to a course can decide if they want to upgrade to the latest version or if they want to keep using the old one. This does not apply to the author; he or she will automatically get the latest version.
Teachers can read the what the author has changed, but it is also possible to preview the latest version. By clicking 'Update' the latest version will be added to the course. This way, teachers are in control which changes are pushed to their courses.
When updating to the latest version, the user is asked to write a new review (or give a new rating). If the author has made changes, we would like this to be reflected in the rating. When previewing a search result from a search, the user will see the rating of the latest version.
When viewing the resource in the library, the author has the possibility see the reviews for only the current version or view them for all versions.
When viewing the resource in the library, the author also has the possibility to view previous versions.
Note: it is not possible to restore a previous version to become the latest version, but it is possible to create a copy from an older version and publish it as a new resource.
Future Updates to Library
This is the launch of our new Library and we are very excited to share it with you. We are making improvements constantly as there are a few minor known issues - adding elements created outside the Library currently uses the old user interface version for adding descriptions, inviting co-writers and publish to the Library. This does not affect the library and we will resolve soon.
We are pleased to say that later this year we will be adding assignments to Library so you can share these with colleagues. Our plan is to make most resources/tools/features used in itslearning sharable through the library so watch this space for more details.
Improvements to New Messaging
For those customers who have moved to the new messaging system there is a great new update. When a teacher (or other staff user) adds more than one recipient to a new message, they now get the option to send the message as ‘Individual messages.' When choosing this, the message will be sent to each recipient individually and not a group conversation, i.e. the message will appear as a separate conversation between the sender and each recipient.
Improvements to the New itslearning
For those customers who have moved to the new itslearning we have made a few interface improvements, such as a new crumb trail in courses.
Stay tuned for more news!
Posted on Tue, July 19, 2016
by Leslie Ahern