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Monday, October 19, 2020

itslearning Update – Notes on Release 76

itslearning just released some exciting new features in its latest version Release 76.  Check out the list below and read further to learn more.

  • We have added Gooru content!
  • We’re introducing several improvements to instant messages and prepare to start piloting search in messages.
  • We’re improving the filtering options in the library, and include more useful information in the search results.
  • It is now possible to add course content to bulletins, and we’re giving the bulletin design a small makeover.
  • Users can now search for courses in course dropdown, making it easier to navigate to their courses.

Gooru Content

Gooru Content now on itslearning
Click to enlarge

One of most exciting enhancements to itslearning with this release is Gooru content has been enabled. To check it out, just go to the Library or your Course and put in a key idea or topic. I searched for Cell for example.  Notice the 5832 results in the image on the right.

The Gooru content has been vetted for quality and is free for your use.

Instant Messages

Look up Information on Other Users

We are continuing to improve and extend messaging system based on feedback from our users. In this release, we introduce several smaller changes which will be released for all customers, and we are ready to start piloting the new Message Search, which we intend to release to all customers during the first quarter of 2017.

Users can now look up more information on recipients and conversation participants. This is helpful for instance when the user needs to distinguish between different users with the same name.

The new “miniature profile card” includes information about the relation between the user and the person they are looking up. It displays when clicking a person’s name within a conversation, or by clicking the information-icon to the right of the name when adding recipients.

Storing Started Messages

In the next release we plan to add “Extra information in lists” (an existing field that can be populated by customers), and the miniature profile card will also have a link to the full profile card.

Previously, users would lose the message they started on if they closed the message dialogue before sending. Now, we ensure the message stays in the input field until it’s sent. This means a user can start writing a message, leave the dialogue, and continue later. The message is stored locally in the user’s browser, so users can’t start in one device and continue in another. For browsers who do not support local caching, we show a warning if the user leaves the dialogue with text that has not been sent.

Other Improvements

  • Previously it was only possible to add a single attachment when sending a new message, now users can add multiple.
  • We’re improving the error message which is shown when trying to attach illegal files.
  • Hovering over a timestamp now shows the full time of the message.
  • We’re making some changes to the push notification API. System messages from the instant messaging system are now translated to the user’s selected language, and the we’re making it possible for the client (e.g. our native apps) to interpret the message and display it better in the client. Changes to our app will be described in the app release notes.

Bulletins and Stream

The new itslearning bulletin board makes it easier for teachers to publish information to their students, and for their students to comments, allowing the dialogue to continue outside the classroom. This summer, we released a new, simpler way of creating bulletins, making it possible for teachers to quickly write texts and embed content like Youtube videos directly in the bulletin.

We know that our users have been missing the option to embed course content in the stream, and from this release we’re making it possible to quickly insert course content like files, assignments and pages directly into the bulletin.

By clicking on the “Resource” link, the teacher will get a modal window with the course content, and can quickly insert one or more elements into the bulletin, which will add to a nice list below the bulletin text.

Library Filtering and Search Options

  1. Information in the search results, so that it is easier for the user to make quick judgement calls on the relevance of the search results.
  2. Clear grade filter, so it is clearer from and to which grade you are filtering on.
  3. Replacing the old Type filter with two new filters: ‘Assessment types’ and ‘Resource types’. All types with results (activities with at least simple assessment, such as the new Assignment tool or Test 3.) are for example shown in the ‘Assessment types’ filter. All other, including activities without results (such as Crossword) are shown under ‘Resource types’. When Gooru is enable for a customer, the options Gooru resource and Gooru playlists also appear in the ‘Resource types’ filter.
  4. Filter section hidden by default on small screens, allowing the user user to get a full overview of the search results. By clicking on the Filter button, the filter opens allowing the user to filter the results.
  5. On desktops and laptops, user can see additional metadata when hovering over a result.
  6. Easier to drill down a search. When using a filter option, the search results will be updated and all filters that will now no longer give a result are disabled. Note that this does not happen within the same filter category (e.g. Resource types) as this would prevent a user for search for more than 1 resource type at the same time.

Other Changes


The new assignment will use ‘simplified submission statuses’. Previously a teacher could use one of the statuses in a pull down list, but in practice we saw that this step often was forgotten when assessing an answer. Also, the submissions statuses became a mix of ‘assessment’ and status (e.g. ‘Satisfactory’ and ‘Not satisfactory’ both indicated that the assignment was completed).

The option to create or manage submission statuses under Course settings is also removed when simplified submission statuses are used. The old assignment tool still has the pull down list to set the status. As a fall back scenario for customers using the new assignment tool, there is a site setting to enable to old submission statuses again.

Grade Book

In the course grade book, teachers have the option to create custom assessment columns. These can be used to quickly register activities and assessments which happen outside itslearning. It is now possible for teachers to decide if/when these columns will be visible for their students. The visibility can be changed when adding and editing the assessment and directly when entering a grade.

Course List

While course list dropdown gives users instant access to all their courses, the new search field gives users the option to quickly search through courses and will instantly update the course list to match your search criteria.

– See more at: Release 76 Notes (no longer available)

Posted on December 17, 2016

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