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Software update 10 September 2009

We are happy to announce that itslearning was updated on 10 September. The fourth update so far this year introduces new features that we believe will contribute to an even better user experience for teachers and learners.

itslearning now with Gmail

GmailWe are thrilled to announce that itslearning – in partnership with Google – now offers free e-mail accounts for our users. The solution is seamlessly integrated with itslearning and includes 7 GB of free storage space per user.

As part of the Google Apps Education Edition, the e-mail service will be free of all advertising and include functionality such as:

  • Full-text search
  • Labelling and filtering of messages
  • Contact management
  • Powerful spam, virus and phishing protection
  • Profanity filtering
  • POP, IMAP or mobile device support
  • Themes (skins)
  • Group mailing lists


We have implemented the Google message security service (powered by Postini) to make sure a high level of security is maintained. The Google message security service filters all messaging threats including spam and viruses before they reach your network. By routing inbound and outbound e-mail through the Google message security data centres, the administrators can activate robust security policies that keep your organisation secure and compliant.

itslearning have implemented default safety policies with the Google message security service that can be enabled for schools or institutions for restricting communication for learners (eSafety).

Compliant with European Commission's Directive on Data Protection

Google ensure satisfactory information security by handling all personal information in accordance with the Data Protection Act with associated regulations. Being an US based company, Google has ensured compliance with the Data Protection Act and the European Commission's Directive on Data Protection by adhering to the Safe Harbour agreement, more details on this can be found in Google's privacy policy.


In order to have Gmail activated on your site, please get in touch with your itslearning account manager. itslearning will create and administer your e-mail accounts, mailing lists and security management at no cost.

Once Google Apps has been activated on your site you will find a Mail link in the top right corner of itslearning. You will also see the number of unread e-mails in your inbox. The Gmail will open in a new window:


Dashboards: Tailor your start pages

The new dashboard is replacing the current main page and course page. With the new and flexible dashboard both teachers and learners will get a new user experience in it’s learning. Dashboards now allow users at different levels to manage layout, content and structure of the main pages within sites and courses. The idea is to expand the personalised learning environment with customised information dashboards and tailored content for specific groups of users.

Instead of a standard page, the dashboard of a site is managed by the hierarchy administrator who can decide what elements to display, add content with the new content blocks, place them on the page using “drag & drop” and choose layout from a selection of templates. All users also have their personal dashboard where they can put frequently used files, make collections of their favourite links, subscribe to RSS feeds of their own choice etc.

Using the site hierarchy, the administrator can also create different dashboards for presenting information for selective groups of users such as staff, parents, learner years or a combination of such groups. Inside each course, the start page is controlled by the teacher and can be customised in the same way as the other dashboards.



Changing layout

When clicking Change layout in the upper right corner of the dashboard, you can select from three available layouts:

One column All content blocks are displayed under each other on the main page. This set-up is suitable for small screens or screens with low resolution.
Two columns The content is displayed in two columns of equal width. This is the standard setup.
Wide left A wide column is displayed to the left, and a narrow column to the right. This setup can be used when you have, for example, long lists of link collections, RSS feeds, Favourites, or other blocks that require little space. Such content can be placed in the narrow column to the right, thus freeing more space in the main column.

Content blocks

The dashboards are built up by different content blocks. A content block is a piece of content that is located on the dashboard, for example news, RSS, and polls. You can drag and drop the blocks to place them where you prefer on the dashboard, and you can cut and paste them into other dashboards.

Content blocks

New content blocks
Files Upload files from your computer and link to them from the dashboard. You can organise the files in folders, and they appear as a clickable folders and links in the content block.
Images Upload images from your computer, and insert them into the dashboard. The images are automatically resized.
Links Add a list of links to your dashboard for easy access by your users. Remember that you can link to content in My web files, as well as Internet links.
Rich content Add content blocks with text, images, links and other rich content. This block has many of the same features as the note learning tool.
RSS Import your favourite RSS feeds into your dashboard. This allows you to subscribe to blogs, news media, and similar feeds, and receive automatic updates when the RSS feed is updated.
Poll Allows you to add a simple poll and let other users to vote. The poll consists of a question and up to ten alternatives. You can decide whether to show the results for all at any time, after the user has cast a vote, or show the results for editors only. It is also optional to show the number of votes and allow them to change their votes.


Existing functionality converted to content blocks
Task list Your unfinished course tasks.
Activities Lists the tasks from your calendar.
Courses A list of your favourite courses.
Projects A list of your favourite projects.
News The latest news messages from courses and hierarchies.
Unread messages A list of unread messages from your internal messages inbox.
E-mail A list of the unread e-mail messages from your Gmail account.


Please note that this feature is currently only available in a limited beta. For accessing Dashboards in the beta period, please contact your it’s learning account manager.

Pages for collecting course resources

Preparing resources for a topic, the teacher can create a Page and gather all relevant notes, files, links, tests etc. in one place. This will provide better overview and easier access for the learners, rather than accessing everything from the tree menu.

Pages allow teachers to present course material in a context and shift the focus from single elements to themes and topics. You find the Page tool in the “Add page” in your courses.


Make your own tools!
The "Page" tool is built using our software developer kit that is available for all developers. You can also develop applications like this, and include them in itslearning. Visit: developer.itslearning.com.


Please note that this feature is currently only available in a limited beta. For accessing Dashboards in the beta period, please contact your it’s learning account manager.

Register your own domain name in My web files

It is now possible to connect your own domain name to the files in My web files. This means that you no longer have to have an external Internet service provider to host your school's web site. Simply upload your homepage files to My web files and connect the domain name.

Note that we only support static HTML, files and JavaScript. Dynamical content and files such as php, cgi, aspx etc. is currently not supported. Administrators can configure the settings.

New solutions for interoperability and single sign-on

The Netmedia solutions Lynchpin and MyIdentity are now fully integrated with itslearning. Lynchpin automatically creates, amends, populates or deletes accounts in itslearning, while MyIdentity provides one point of log-in to access several different systems, resources and content across multiple locations, eliminating the need for multiple usernames and passwords.

New web 2.0 links

We have added NRK Skole to the web 2.0 content plugins. NRK is a Norwegian resource, and is only available for all Norwegian customers.


Simpler migration

A new solution to facilitate the move from other learning platforms to itslearning. Contact us to know more!

Bug fixes and other improvements

  • Logging out with Firefox and Chrome: When using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to access https://www.itslearning.com/Log_Out.aspx the browser loaded the page several times per second. This has now been addressed.
  • Server error in Test 2.0: If a student had started a test 2.0 with a short answer question, and the teacher inactivated and started editing the question it while the student was taking the test, it resulted in a server error when the question was saved. This has now been addressed.
  • Assessing assignments: Using the "Ok and next student" evaluating function on a test copied from another course gave evaluation access to answers from students from the course the test was copied from. This has now been addressed.
  • Min arena: When using Min Arena to connect to itslearning courses users with internet explorer got a Java script error. This has now been addressed.
  • Short names: It was possible to use the site short name for portfolio short names or folder names. This has now been addressed.
  • Planner: Some of the columns in the planner took up too much space because the text did not break. This has now been addressed.
  • Community and US sites: It was not possible to add a community courses in US sites. This has now been addressed.
  • View as student/teacher: View as teacher/student functionality should now work on us sites.
  • Security: Passing login credentials in the URL has been restricted due to security considerations.
  • Task list: In previous versions inactive elements were shown in the task list. This has now been addressed.

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