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Software update May 2013

Starting on 2 May 2013, the second update so far this year contains some long-anticipated features. Based on feedback from users and submissions in our idea portal, we're happy to introduce a brand new file uploading system and the possibility for copying courses with all its content and making course templates.

The update also includes criteria-based assessment – also known as rubrics – in addition to many other changes and new features. As usual, all sites will be upgraded within a week – so don’t worry if you can’t see the changes right away.

Create courses from a template

Do you have courses with content that is reused from one term to the next? When adding new courses, you can now use an existing course as a template and copy the content from the old course over to the new. In addition, administrators can create course templates filled with content that can be shared with the site or organisations within the site.

Read more about the course copying and templates in the help.

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File uploading made easy

We admit that the file uploading feature in itslearning has not kept up with the expectations for a modern web application. Now we are now happy to introduce a brand new file uploader that utilizes drag and drop to upload files (you can use a browse button too). Other features include thumbnail previews and a progress bar for monitoring upload progress.

Multiple file uploads are available from My files and Course files and the Assignment tool.

Note that the newest browsers on Windows and Apple OS X support drag and drop, but the drop zone will be unavailable for some non-supported browsers. Check if your browser supports drag and drop here: http://caniuse.com/#feat=dragndrop

See how it works:

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Criteria-based learning objective assessment (rubrics)

In this update we enable criteria-based assessment criteria for learning objectives. As well as offering a guideline to teachers during assessment, criteria-based assessment also helps clarifying for students what is expected from them and helps them use the teacher's feedback to improve.

Criteria-based assessment involves using scoring guides that are used to measure a student’s learning outcome. Enabling teachers to divide standardised learning objectives into smaller parts, the rubric, or scoring guide, is used to evaluate a student's learning based on a range of criteria – not just a single numerical score. If the assessment rubric is presented to the students before they start working on assignments, they are aware of the criteria on which their work will be assessed and can reflect as they go.

In itslearning, a teacher's own assessment criteria can be added to learning objectives that has been imported to, or created in, a course. This is possible from the learning objectives page or when editing an assignment with learning objectives connected to it.

Read how to use criteria-based assessment in the help.

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New tool for adding links and files

Before this update you could add links and files to courses from two separate tools called 'Add link' and 'Add file'. Now you can add files and links from a new tool called 'Add file or link'. The files and links created with this tool can also be shared in the library (see below).

Read more about files and links in the help.

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Share files and links in the library

In addition to pages it's now possible to share links and files in My library. This means that you can share these elements with yourself for easier reusing in your courses, or with your colleagues at your school or even with all itslearning users across the world.

To start sharing files and links, click the My library tab, click Add and then Add file or link. Click the Sharing link in the top right corner if you want to share what you add with other users.

We've also made more metadata fields that make it easier to search for elements in the library. You can now connect learning objectives to what you add, as well as specifying whether you are adding audio, video, images or text-based content.

When you add content from a course using Add content from 'My library' you can now select which format to search for, for example, if you want to search for images of Elvis Presley you simple tick the 'Image' box and search for 'Elvis Presley'.

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Improvements to the planner

The planner is getting increasingly popular and in this update we have several interesting updates. To provide a better overview and make it easier to find out what's happening in your courses, a new Planner tab in the calendar now shows an aggregated view in which you can browse the plans for all your courses.

The interface for adding resources has been improved too, with options to add resources from the library and create elements from an add menu similar to the course add menu.

In addition we've improved the presentation and management of dates and added a separator between lessons in the planner content block.

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A number of issues have been corrected, and these are the most important:

  • Events are now ordered by date and time when parents open their children's event content block on the parent's dashboard. This goes also for learners’ and teachers' views.
  • The timestamp of not completed test attempts is no longer changed when students re-enter the test after the deadline has passed.
  • Special characters, such as "", are now allowed in assignment answers comments. This ensures that the comments display properly in the Personal report.
  • A line space issue for text with different styles and fonts in the planner has been addressed.
  • Default term is now automatically set to the current term (based on dates).
  • It's now possible to download 'avi' files from Internet Explorer 9.
  • The assignment overview now contains correct when the table is filtered on 'Not submitted'.
  • Several fixes and improvements have been made to improve manual test assessment.
  • Sorting and listing of participants in tests has been addressed.
  • The crossword extension now works on iPads.

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