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Software update December 2013

In the last update this year we are happy to introduce usability enhancements for tablets and mobile devices, as well as enhancements to the assignment and test tools, rubric assessment and learning objectives. Read all about the updates below.

Improved user experience and responsive web design

New design for Header and Page functions
We have reduced the amount of white space around the page headers (H1). Page functions – such as adding content blocks to a page or changing permissions in a folder – have been moved to a drop-down menu. We have also removed some graphics to make the page header consume less space.

New design for Page tabs
The tabs in the person profile and course properties and features page are now replaced by a drop-down menu.

New design for Tables
In order to optimise the user experience on touch devices we have removed the boxes and borders from the tables in itslearning and added more spacing. We have also added functionality that will make it easier to present grids in a scalable way on smaller resolutions by removing the less important columns.

New modal window design
You will also notice a new type of modal window that is responsive and works well on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. As of now only the column chooser in My Library and a limited set of other places have this design.

Improved login page
To make the login process smoother, we have made it possible to search for your site in the Site drop-down menu. Users can now click in the site field and start typing the name of the site. The list will automatically filter based on the user input, making it much easier to find the correct site in the drop-down list.

Upgraded rich-text editor
After the last update some of you experienced issues with the rich-text editor, and these are now fixed. In addition, the rich-text editor now works for adding or editing notes and bulletins on tablets and smart phones. We have also updated the look and feel.

Optimised navigation tree for touch devices
In this update we have made several enhancements to the navigation tree for touch-enabled devices, such as increasing font size and padding around elements.

Improvements to the File/Link extension
Based on user feedback and in order to improve usability, we have enlarged the content area and repositioned labels and the menu. Users can also select whether to display the link description.

You will also get notifications when a new file or link is added or updated.

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Saving assignments as draft and anonymous assessments

Many users have requested a 'save as draft' option for assignments and here it is. In addition, we're introducing anonymous assessment of assignment answers, giving teachers a way to assess assignment answers without seeing the name of the student they are assessing. Teachers will (not?) be able to see draft answers, but will be informed of an assignment’s draft status.

Anonymous submission:

Request plagiarism report after submission
It is also possible to request a plagiarism report on submitted assignments that originally did not have plagiarism enabled.

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Test tool and learning objective assessment

Assessing students on their proficiency of Learning Objectives (Standards) is possible through the assignment tool and the custom activity. Now we are also making it possible to assess proficiency of learning objectives using the test tool, by making it possible to tag individual questions with learning objectives.

We are also making it possible to disable test questions once a test has been started.

Upgraded test-mode browser
The test-mode browser has been updated, and all users must install the new version. itslearning checks the version of the test-mode browser that is being used when taking tests, and will prevent users with an old version from taking the test. Unfortunately, it is not possible to automatically update the browsers, so users need to do this themselves. For customers that have pre-installed the test-mode browser, a new version of the test-mode browser will be made available once updated.

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Assessment record

In this update we are continuing to improve the user interface, as well as adding additional support for score as an assessment scale.

Frozen Name columns and Header rows
The top row, containing the names of the assessment items, and the first column, containing the names of the students, are now frozen and will stay visible even when you scroll down the page.

Default grades for custom assessment columns
When adding custom assessments to the assessment record, it is now possible to choose a default assessment.

Better support for score-based assessment

  • The Assessment change log (found in the Personal Report) now also tracks changes to assessments that use Score as the assessment scale.
  • The activities listed in the working portfolio now also show the assessment when Score is used as the assessment scale.
  • The Assignment report has been updated to show Score assessments. The report has also been improved and can now sort assignments by title and deadline, show scores as a raw score or as a percentage, and the average column has also been removed.

Clearer statuses
Previously, all work added to the assessment record has shown up with the status Not taken, even for students that were not supposed to do the work. We have split this into two different statuses: Not taken means that the work is supposed to be handed in, while a dash (“-“) means that the work is not supposed to be handed in.

Criteria-based assessments
In the assessment record, you can now see whether an activity uses criteria-based assessment.

Changing status of summary view columns
In the summary view of the assessment record, columns may be defined to use a Status. The status is either: Not set, In progress or Completed. Each is represented with a colour, so users can quickly interpret which status the assessment has.

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Course templates and course copying

The dashboard is now always included when creating a course based on a template, making sure the new course will have the exact same dashboard as the template.

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Learning objectives and criteria-based assessments

Share and Search for assessment criteria
Teachers can now share assessment criteria with their school, site or the whole itslearning community, but only assessment criteria for learning objectives that have been imported from the repository.

When managing assessment criteria for a whole course or for a specific activity, teachers now have the option to search for ready-to-use assessment criteria.

Learning objective management
In addition to sharing and searching for assessment criteria, we are introducing several small improvements to the way teachers and schools can manage learning objectives in their courses.

  • Learning objectives can now be disconnected more easily from an element by clicking on the 'x' to the right of the element.
  • When a teacher creates his/her own learning objectives in a course, they will now see a folder 'Created objectives'. With this folder available it is possible to have more than one created learning objective on the highest level.
  • When copying activities that use criteria-based assessment from the navigation tree, through the planner or when applying a template to a course, teachers can now choose how to handle criteria that already exists in the course they’re copying to.

Learning objective report for activities
It's now possible to view the report for a specific assessment. On the tab 'Assessments' all activities that used learning objective assessment are shown.

Calculating grades based on rubrics
It is already possible to assess an assignment or custom activity with assessment criteria and a score or grade. Now these two forms of assessment are more closely connected. When using both, a score or grade is automatically suggested based on the criteria-based assessment.

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Content recommendation

In the previous update, we launched content recommendation as a pilot for a small number of sites. We are now preparing to make this available to other sites upon request.

Read more about this in the help.

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Other changes

Improvements to the Planner
Teachers can now copy linked resources and activities when copying plans to another course.

Now, users can also reorder elements within an individual planner lesson via drag and drop. This is possible when viewing the whole planner in the grid, and when editing a single lesson.

Finally, teachers can now rearrange the order of the units (or topics) in the planner by clicking the 'Rearrange unit order' button. By simply dragging a unit to another position the order can be changed.

Decide who will receive service messages
Administrators can now submit one or more email-addresses which will receive service messages from itslearning. This is available under Administration > Edit global settings > Features and security.

Permanently delete content blocks
Content blocks on dashboards can be permanently deleted by clicking the cross in the top-right corner of the content block.

Discontinued features
The following features will be removed from itslearning:

  • Link content block
  • Diglib
  • Explaining sequences
  • Process-oriented documents

All link content blocks have been migrated to rich text content blocks and all licensed Diglib are removed from courses. Unlicensed Diglib content will remain in a course as this is just a simple link. We are currently planning to migrate as much data as possible from process-oriented documents and explaining sequences into the Page tool.

Allow extended data for extensions with Draft status
Previously, extensions had to be approved in order to be allowed to use extended data. Starting from this update, developers are able to access extended data for their own unfinished extensions, while keeping their data private.

New and changed organisational API services
Working with courses in the Organisation API previously required prior knowledge of the exact course IDs and SyncKeys. By removing this limitation, we are separating the initial provisioning of course from the ongoing usage. This will simplify integration with third-parties, allowing them to populate courses with content.

We are also updating the ReadWarningLetter service to retrieve letters that are not directly connected to a course.

Minor Changes

  • Teachers can now rate content from My Library.
  • Teachers can opt-out of receiving attendance notifications.
  • Checkboxes are being retained when making bulk attendance.
  • If you only use messages or only have one email account setup, you no longer need to open a drop-down menu to access your inbox.

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A number of issues have been corrected. Read more about the most important corrections (pdf).

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