4. Open edX Eucalyptus Release

This page lists the highlights of the Eucalyptus release.

4.1. New Features

The following new features are included in the Open edX Eucalyptus release.

4.1.1. Self-Paced Course Configuration

When course teams create a course, they can now select the way a course is delivered to learners. You can set a schedule for the course, including due dates for assignments or exams, or you can specify that the course is self-paced, which allows learners to work at their own pace. For more information, see Setting Course Pacing.

4.1.2. Subsection Prerequisites

Course teams can now control the visibility of subsections based on the scores that learners earn in other subsections. This feature prevents learners from viewing content before they earn a minimum score for previous content. For more information, see Configuring Prerequisite Course Subsections.

4.1.3. Course Navigation

Several changes have been made to navigation options in the LMS.

  • The Home page replaces the Course Info page. The Home page appears first among the page navigation options, and opens automatically when a learner selects a course on the learner dashboard. This page now includes important course dates in addition to course updates and course handouts.
  • Course is the new name for the Courseware page. This page appears after Home among the page navigation options.
  • Learners can now use the left and right arrow buttons at the ends of the unit navigation bar to move to the previous unit or the next unit.

4.1.4. Teams

With the teams feature, a learner can browse a list of topics, and then create a team and invite other learners to take part in group activities relating to one of the topics. Team activities provide opportunities for small group interactions and projects in your course. For more information, see Teams Overview.

4.1.5. Bookmarks

The bookmarks feature allows a learner to add a bookmark to any unit in the LMS so that the page can be found later on the My Bookmarks page. For more information, see Bookmarking Course Content.

4.1.6. Drag and Drop Problem XBlock

A new, mobile-ready and accessible drag and drop problem type is now available. This version replaces the original drag and drop problem type, which is now deprecated. For more information, see Drag and Drop Problem.

4.1.7. Peer Instruction XBlock

The peer instruction tool emulates the classroom experiences of the Peer Instruction learning system. A multiple choice question gives online learners an opportunity to review the answers, and rationales, provided by other course participants, and arrive at a deeper understanding of concepts. For more information for course teams, see Peer Instruction Tool. For more information for learners, see Explaining Multiple Choice Answers.

4.1.8. Completion XBlock

The completion XBlock adds a toggle control that allows learners to mark the associated section of course content as complete. For more information, see Completion Tool.

4.1.9. CourseTalk for Course Reviews

The CourseTalk widget allows learners to post course ratings and reviews that then appear on the course’s About page. When you add the CourseTalk widget to an Open edX instance, the widget is enabled for every course on that instance. For more information, see Adding the CourseTalk Widget.

4.1.10. Configurable Data Storage Services

Instead of specifically referencing the Amazon S3 service for data storage and retrieval, the Open edX platform now uses the Django file storage API. In addition to S3, you can now configure an OpenStack Swift Object Store as the cloud storage provider for certain system features.

For more information, see the Configuring Data Storage wiki page.

4.1.11. Themes for Multiple Sites

With this release, it is now possible to configure themes for multiple sites in a single installation of the Open edX platform.

4.1.12. Staff Grading Options for Open Response Assessments

This release adds the following options for course teams to grade learner responses in open response assessments.

  • In Studio, course teams can now include a staff assessment step as part of the assignment. For a staff assessment, a member of the course team uses the rubric to evaluate every response submitted by a learner .
  • In the LMS, course teams can now override the grade that an individual learner received. To do so, a member of the course team uses the rubric to evaluate the learner’s response. The learner’s grade for the assignment is updated to the grade that results from the staff assessment.

For more information, see Managing Open Response Assessment Assignments.

4.1.13. Learner ORA Response Report

A new report is available for ORA assignments that includes each learner’s response, assessment details and scores, the final score for the assignment, and any feedback provided by the learner about the peer assessment process. For more information, see Generate a Report for ORA Assignments.

4.1.14. Updates to E-Commerce Checkout

This release includes updates to the user interface on the Checkout page that is presented by the the edX e-commerce service. The functionality of this page has not changed, and learners can continue to check out using their credit cards or PayPal. For more information, see Adding E-Commerce to the Open edX Platform.

4.1.15. Badges for Custom Course Events

Open edX instances can now create and award badges to learners for certain milestone achievements. Example achievements include enrolling in a certain number of courses, completing a certain number of courses, or completing a specific set of courses. For more information, see Create Course Event Badges for Your Open edX Instance and Enable or Disable Badges for Your Course.

4.1.16. Updates to Course Discussions

This release includes the following changes to course discussions.

  • When learners upload images and links in discussion posts, they can now include descriptions of the images or links. These descriptions are the accessible text descriptions of the uploaded material, and are required unless learners indicate that an image is decorative only. (AC-73 and AC-75)
  • In course discussions, learners can no longer vote for or report their own posts. (TNL-4703)

4.1.17. Other Updates

  • Previously, the course About page included an unnecessary heading labeled overview. This release removes the overview heading. (OSPR-1146)
  • The LMS now supports internationalization and localization of static user interface text in XBlocks. For more information, see EdX Learning Management System as an XBlock Runtime.
  • Learners must now enter or select an answer before they can use Check or Final Check to find out if their answers are correct. This change applies to checkbox, dropdown, multiple choice, and text, numerical, or math expression input problems. (OSPR-1240)
  • In the LMS unit navigation bar, only the unit display name now appears or is read when learners move the pointer over a unit icon. Previously, the display names of the unit and all of its components appeared or were read. (MA-2188)
  • The student profile report now includes columns for city and country. For more information, see Columns in the Student Profile Report.
  • Course teams can now send bulk email messages to one or more of the cohorts in their courses. For more information, see Message Addressing. (TNL-4357)
  • Studio now has a setting that course teams can use to keep timed exams hidden after the exam due date has passed. In the LMS, course team members who view the course as a specific learner see the timed exam content even if the exam is hidden. For more information, see Timed Exams.
  • System administrators can now add custom fields to the registration page for their Open edX instances. Fields can be of different types, including dropdown and text entry. For more information, see Adding Custom Fields to the Registration Page.

4.2. Updates to Analytics Events and Database Tables

4.2.1. New Non-Certificate Statuses

The audit_notpassing and audit_passing statuses have been added to the certificates_generatedcertificate table.

  • audit_notpassing applies to learners who did not earn a passing grade and who have a value of “audit” in student_courseenrollment.mode.
  • audit_passing applies to learners who earned a passing grade and who have a value of “audit” in student_courseenrollment.mode.

No certificate is generated for learners who have either of these statuses. Learners who are enrolled in the audit track see a message on the Progress page that indicates that the audit track does not include a certificate.

4.2.2. New and Updated Video Player Events

Changes to the video player’s controls resulted in the following new and updated events.

  • The button that shows or hides a transcript file on the right of the video was relabeled from CC to ". The video player emits the existing show_transcript/ edx.video.transcript.shown and hide_transcript/ edx.video.transcript.hidden events when users interact with this control.
  • A button labeled CC was added to show or hide closed captions. The video player emits new events, edx.video.closed_captions.shown and edx.video.closed_captions.hidden, when users interact with this control.
  • A menu for selecting a different language for the transcript and closed captions was added. The video player emits the existing video_hide_cc_menu and video_show_cc_menu when users interact with this control. In addition, these events now include name values of edx.video.language_menu.hidden and edx.video.language_menu.shown, respectively, and the video_hide_cc_menu/ edx.video.language_menu.hidden events include a new event member field, language.

4.2.3. New Events

The following analytics events reflect course navigation actions in the LMS.

  • edx.ui.lms.link_clicked
  • edx.ui.lms.outline.selected
  • edx.ui.lms.sequence.next_selected
  • edx.ui.lms.sequence.previous_selected
  • edx.ui.lms.sequence.tab_selected

For more information, see Course Navigation Events.

The following analytics events have been added for the new drag and drop problem XBlock.

  • edx.drag_and_drop_v2.feedback.closed
  • edx.drag_and_drop_v2.feedback.opened
  • edx.drag_and_drop_v2.item.dropped
  • edx.drag_and_drop_v2.item.picked_up
  • edx.drag_and_drop_v2.loaded

For more information, see Drag and Drop Events.

The following analytics events have been added for the bookmarks feature.

  • edx.bookmark.accessed
  • edx.bookmark.added
  • edx.bookmark.listed
  • edx.bookmark.removed

For more information, see Bookmark Events.

The following analytics events have been added for the notes feature.

  • edx.course.student_notes.added
  • edx.course.student_notes.deleted
  • edx.course.student_notes.edited
  • edx.course.student_notes.notes_page_viewed
  • edx.course.student_notes.searched
  • edx.course.student_notes.used_unit_link
  • edx.course.student_notes.viewed

The following events have been added for the staff grading features in open response assessments.

  • openassessmentblock.get_submission_for_staff_grading
  • openassessmentblock.staff_assess

For more information, see Open Response Assessment Events.

The edx.done.toggled event has been added for the completion XBlock. For more information, see Course Content Completion Event.

In addition, documentation for events that reflect interactions with the data:notes feature and with data:timed exams is now available in the EdX Research Guide.

4.3. Accessibility Updates

In keeping with edX’s commitment to creating accessible content for everyone, everywhere, the Open edX Eucalyptus release contains numerous accessibility enhancements and improvements to readability and navigability.

4.3.1. Video Player

The video player now includes closed captions, which are overlaid on the video while it plays. Users can view closed captions and transcripts separately or at the same time. Those who choose to view the closed captioning for a video can drag the captions to a different place on the video. In addition, the video player now includes accessible labels for every control.

4.3.2. HTML Component Templates

To ensure that all headings on a course page in the LMS are rendered correctly by screen readers, the Heading 1 and Heading 2 options have been removed from the opencoursestaff:HTML component visual editor. The Heading 3 option remains available, and Heading 4, Heading 5, and Heading 6 options have been added. All of the examples provided for HTML component options include headings beginning with Heading 3. This release also includes styling and scalability changes to the toolbar icons in the HTML component visual editor.

For more information, see Use Best Practices for HTML Markup or The Visual Editor.

4.3.3. Other Updates

This release includes a number of improvements to the appearance and accessibility of controls in the edX LMS.

  • When learners who use high contrast mode on their systems select an LMS page such as Course or Discussion, the selected page is now clearly distinguishable from the other pages. (AC-386)
  • The Calculator control has been enhanced so that it appears for learners who use high contrast mode on their systems. (AC-405)
  • The target of the Skip to Content links has been updated so that keyboard and screen reader users can more easily navigate to the unique content on each page. Screen reader users can now use the <main> element as a page landmark.
  • The editing options for circuit schematic builder problems, including the tools to cut, copy, paste, and show or hide the grid display, now include accessible labels. (AC-399)
  • On wiki article pages, the options for an article, including View, Edit, and Settings, now appear next to, rather than in, the shaded area below the article. (AC-474)

4.4. System Upgrades and Updates

  • You can now enable or disable the bulk email feature from the Django administration console, rather than editing different configuration files. For more information, see Enabling the Bulk Email Feature.

    Important

    As a result of this change, the bulk email feature is disabled until you manually re-enable it.

  • The OAuth 2.0 provider library has been updated to version 0.5.0. This update includes support for the client credentials grant.

  • The number of days before OAuth tokens expire for mobile OAuth clients can now be configured. For more information, see Configure OAuth Token Expiration.

  • In this release, Ruby has been removed from the edx-platform repository. As a result, the prereqs paver command no longer installs the prerequisite environment for Ruby, and the edxapp user on new instances of Devstack no longer has rbenv in the search path. However, discussion forums use Ruby, and the forums user continues to have rbenv in the search path.

  • The jQuery JavaScript library has been updated from version 1.7.2 to version 2.2.0. To support legacy API calls, this update also adds the JQuery Migrate library.

  • The JavaScript library Underscore.js has been upgraded to version 1.8.3.

  • A number of CoffeeScript files have been converted to JavaScript.

  • JavaScript tests are now run using Karma rather than JS-Test-Tool.

4.5. Mobile App Updates

The Open edX Eucalyptus release supports versions 2.5.1 (Android) and 2.5.3 (iOS) of the mobile app, and includes the following mobile app features.

  • Course discussions are now supported in the mobile app, including content- specific discussion topics in course units. Discussions can be viewed in landscape mode.
  • Course search. Learners can search for courses using keywords, and filter courses by subject and availability.
  • User profiles. Learners can create and edit limited or full profile information in the mobile app. In discussions, selecting the linked username of the author of a post takes you to that person’s profile page.
  • The mobile app now uses refresh tokens. Learners do not have to sign in again, even after a token expires.
  • Mobile-ready assessments now include the drag and drop and math expression input problem types as well as basic assessment types (checkbox, dropdown, multiple choice, text input, and numerical input).

4.6. Deprecated Features

Several features are deprecated, or deleted, by the Open edX Eucalyptus release.

4.6.1. Deprecated REST APIs

The mobile, course structure, and profile images REST web services are deprecated.

  • Use the /api/courses/v1/courses/ web service instead of the deprecated mobile and course structure web services.
  • Use the /api/user/v1/accounts/ web service instead of the deprecated profile image web service.

For more information about supported and deprecated web services, see Open edX Platform APIs.

4.6.2. Deprecated Tools and Problem Types

  • The randomize component is now deprecated. To provide randomized content in your courses, add randomized content blocks to assign problems from a content library. For more information, see Randomized Content Blocks.
  • The original drag and drop problem type is now deprecated. A new mobile- ready, accessible drag and drop problem type is available. For more information, see Drag and Drop Problem.

4.6.3. Deleted Tools and XModules

  • The graphical slider tool is no longer available. (TNL-3923)
  • The crowdsource hinter XModule is no longer available as a course tool.
  • To improve grade calculation performance for the Progress page in the LMS, support for the always_recalculate_grades XBlock field has been removed. (TNL-4453)
  • The ENABLE_JWT_AUTH feature flag has been removed.

4.7. More Information on Eucalyptus Release Changes

The edX Release Notes contain a summary of changes that are deployed to edx.org. Those changes are part of the master branch of the edX Platform in GitHub.

You can also find release announcements on the open.edx.org website. You can subscribe to have these weekly release announcements sent to your email account.

Changes listed for 13 July 2016 and before are included in the Eucalyptus release of Open edX.

4.8. Patch Releases

4.8.1. 2 September 2016: Eucalyptus.2

  • A problem that caused the Django Debug Toolbar to raise a “process() takes exactly 3 arguments (2 given)” exception has been fixed.
  • Course discussion performance has been improved. (TNL-5173)
  • Learners can now correctly add a comment to a response in inline course discussions. (TNL-5389)
  • Links to vertical blocks have been fixed. (TNL-5003)
  • The install_stack.sh file now creates directories differently.