What's new in our latest release
Over the past academic year we have piloted the new test tool (Test 3.0) to all teachers. It is easier to use, works well on mobile devices and is being extended far beyond the old test tool (Test 2.0). In fact, customers that have joined itslearning recently have only had access to the new test tool and can ignore this update. From this summer the new test tool will be the default testing tool in itslearning. This means that when teachers create a new test it will be in the new tool. Existing tests made with the old tool can still be copied and used, but can no longer be created. We are continuing to improve the new test tool to make it even better.
Over the past academic year we have piloted the new planner to all teachers with great feedback. From this summer the new planner will be the default planning tool in itslearning. This means that when teachers or admins create a new course, the new planner will be used. We will not enable the new planner for existing courses. For the next academic year, teachers can use the toggle in plan settings to switch between new and old planner. For a small number of customers we will make this switch later in the year.
New Student Play Plan
In the new planner we have made many improvements to the students view of plans. We have made it easier for students to see know how much progress they have made, and to know what plans they have completed. A new progress bar shows how much work in a plan has been completed.
To start working on a plan, a student can click any resource or activity. The side menu can be used for quick navigation. If a student wants to fully focus on an activity, they can choose to hide the side menu by clicking the "hide" button at the bottom of the side panel.
When opening the plan card, students will see all plan details. All resources and course material are grouped together and put into context. In order to give students a better overview of their progression, they will see check marks next to their resources and activities. Resources will automatically be marked as read once a student opens it. Activities will be marked as read after it has been submitted. Teachers will also get a side menu when opening a plan, so that they can easily navigate from one resource to another. Please notice that this side menu will not show on any iOS devices in this release. When opening a resource or activity, iOS users will have a “back to plan” link. This will be addressed in a future release.
Students will also see a progress bar on all their plan cards. If a student was ill or missed school, they can go to their past plans to check what plans they need to complete.
New Planner Enhancements
Teachers do not always have time to add images to plans, so there are now automatically added dynamic placeholder images based on the topic colour. The teacher can replace these at any time.
We have also reduced the number of clicks for teachers and they can now activate/deactivate a resource or an activity from single plan page.
Course templates are often used in combination with the planner. To be able to support more practices, organisations can now decide whether or not they want plans to be duplicated when templates are used. By default this will not be the case. During the process of pushing updates from a template, users can choose whether to overwrite previously copied plan content, in which case only new topics or plans are copied. If they uncheck the new setting 'Prevent topics and plans from being copied again' then a plan or topic is always copied regardless if it has been copied before.
New Day View in Calendar
To give students and teachers a better overview of their agenda, we have combined list and day view in the calendar. In this new day view we list everything happening on that day, regardless of whether it’s a task or an event. The new day view is accessible and works well with both screen readers and keyboard. Teachers must click the three dot menu to edit or delete an event.
New Notification Panel
To make it easier for students and teachers to get an overview of all their notifications, we are introducing a new notification panel. When users click the notification bell we show a panel in which users can see all their notifications. Unread messages have a different background colour and are marked with a tag saying "Unread". This panel is designed to be more accessible.
Note that this will be enabled a few weeks after the main release.
Reporting Based on Plans
The Resource summary in the 360 reports has a new option to show progress of their students based on the structure of their plans. Each plan is listed separately in one report.
Good security is critical for any online teaching system.
In this release we are giving your administrators more options to increase the length and complexity of passwords. However, existing passwords will not be affected. Our recommendation is to have the highest complexity settings, especially for staff. However, it will be up to each administrator to choose when to update the minimum password length and communicate to all teachers and students. We allow different complexities and rules for staff and student passwords, so local administrators have flexibility to manage how this is rolled out in their organisation.
From this release we are also giving customers the ability to turn on two-factor authentication for local administrators (it is already compulsory for system administrators). Two-factor authentication is used by many banking apps and websites. We use a free app that can be installed on Apple or Android devices to generate a unique log on number that is used along with your password to log on. It will be up to your administrator to decide when/if this is used.
• In calendar we have moved the setting “Show weekend” to the side panel to clean up the interface.
• In Pages that are using tablets can now reorder their content by using drag and drop when using iOS, iPadOS and Android devices.
• For 3rd party tools that support "deep linking", the side panel is now hidden when the teacher is picking a resource. This leaves more space for the content during the selection process. After a resource is selected, the side panel appears.
• When time spent on course resources is enabled for a site, we now also give an indication of the time spent on an 3rd party tool linked via LTI. For resources that are opened in a new tab, time spent is counted from the moment the student clicks on a resource card until they navigate away from the resource in a course.