1 December 2015

The following information reflects what is new in the edX Platform this week.

The edX engineering wiki Release Pages provide access to detailed information about every change made to the edx-platform GitHub repository. If you are interested in additional information about every change in a release, create a user account for the wiki and review the dated release pages.

EdX Studio

New Office Mix Component

With Office Mix, course teams can turn PowerPoint presentations into interactive online lessons that are called mixes. This release includes the new Office Mix tool, which you can use to embed mixes into your courses.

For more information about how you enable this tool and add mixes to a course, see Office Mix Tool in Building and Running an edX Course or Office Mix Tool in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

Start Dates for Web Certificate Courses

Course team members who have the Admin or Staff role can now set the start date for a course that is configured to issue certificates before its certificates are activated.

For more information about setting dates for a course, see Set Course and Enrollment Dates and Times in Building and Running an edX Course or Set Course and Enrollment Dates and Times in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

Transcripts for HTML5 Videos

This release corrects an error that prevented transcripts from being created automatically for HTML5 (.mp4) video files. Now, when you add a video component and then edit it later to identify the YouTube ID of a video file, two different transcript files are created, one for YouTube and the other for HTML5.

EdX ORA (Open Response Assessments)

Open response assessments are enhanced in this release to allow course teams to specify, and learners to submit, additional types of files along with their text responses. To take advantage of this feature, when course teams edit an open response assessment component in Studio to allow file uploads, the following options are now available.

  • Image files in .jpg, .gif, or .png format.
  • The image file formats listed above, and also files in .pdf format.
  • A custom set of one or more file formats, specified by the course team.

To protect learners from the transmission of potentially harmful files during the peer assessment stage, this enhancement also gives system administrators the ability to configure a list of file types that learners cannot upload.

For more information, see the following guides.

EdX LMS

Design Updates to the Video Player

This release includes several updates to the edX video player. These updates are available to your learners immediately, and do not require you to make any changes to your courses.

  • The user interface controls for the player now appear only after a learner selects play for a video, and take up less screen space.
  • New icon designs are now used for the full screen and show transcript options.
  • The language menu, for video with transcript in multiple languages, is now indicated by a drop-down menu icon next to the show transcript icon.
  • To improve accessibility, all options now use an icon font method that streamlines delivery.
  • To enhance the experience of learners who use screen readers, changes that improve spoken announcements and simplify navigation are also included.

The following illustration shows the new video player controls.

Restyled video player controls now available in this release.

For reference, the following illustration shows the video player controls that were available previously.

Video player controls prior to this release.

Gradebook Pagination

For courses with enrollments of up to 200 learners, course teams can review a course gradebook on the Instructor Dashboard. Instead of presenting grades for all enrolled learners on a single page, the gradebook now presents grades for a maximum of 20 learners on each page. A pagination control is available to access other pages in the gradebook.

EdX Insights

The course Home page in edX Insights now includes a link to Studio. The new Studio link opens the Course Outline page, and appears below the links to the Courseware page and the Instructor Dashboard in the LMS.

EdX Analytics

  • The following events are now emitted when learners interact with mixes created from PowerPoint presentations using Office Mix.

    • microsoft.office.mix.loaded
    • microsoft.office.mix.paused
    • microsoft.office.mix.played
    • microsoft.office.mix.slide.loaded
    • microsoft.office.mix.stopped

    For more information about these events, see Third-Party Content Events in the EdX Research Guide.

    For more information about how course teams can add mixes to their courses, see Office Mix Tool in Building and Running an edX Course or Office Mix Tool in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

  • The following events are now emitted to record the votes that users make on discussion posts and responses.

    • edx.forum.response.voted
    • edx.forum.thread.voted

    For more information about these events, see Discussion Forum Events in the EdX Research Guide.

EdX Documentation

Documentation for edX Partners

Building and Running an edX Course

EdX Learner’s Guide

Added information about additional file types that learners can upload to the Submit a File with Your Response topic.

EdX Research Guide

Documentation for Open edX Users

Building and Running an Open edX Course

Open edX Learner’s Guide

Added information about additional file types that learners can upload to the Submit a File with Your Response topic.

Installing, Configuring, and Running the Open edX Platform

Added the Prohibiting Submission of Specified File Types topic.

Open edX

TPA Sign In Without Account Activation

Learners who register and sign in to the edX site with valid campus or institutional credentials, or with a Google or Facebook account, are no longer prevented from signing in until after they activate their accounts. They are now able to sign in and enroll in courses even before they follow the activation link that is sent by email. A reminder message now appears on the learner dashboard until account activation takes place.

A learner who enters an incorrect email address, and who therefore does not receive the activation email message, can correct the email address by selecting the menu next to his username, and then selecting Account.

Command Change for SAML Testing

The recent edX platform upgrade to Django 1.8 required a change to the management command used when installation:testing an enabled SAML identity provider. This command now uses the syntax lms saml --pull instead of lms saml pull.

Upgrade to Django 1.8.7

As a follow up to the upgrade of the edX platform to Django 1.8.5, this release upgrades the edX platform to Django 1.8.7.

For more information, see the Django release notes for 1.8.6 and 1.8.7.