A warm hello from the edX office! As many in our edX community gear up for the beginning of a new year, we’re happy to announce some new features we’ve been working on.

Improvements for LearnersThe left pane of the Course page with an assignment due date and time visible.

We want your learners to think about the content of your assignments, not worry about whether they’ve made a mistake about the due date or time. For learners who haven’t specifically selected a time zone in their edX account settings, the LMS now uses the time zone that their browsers specify for the dashboard, content in the course body, the Course Home page, and the Progress page. To avoid am/pm confusion, times appear in military time and are followed by a time zone indicator: for example, Sept 5, 2016 20:00 IOT. This change is also visible on the Course Info tab on the Instructor Dashboard.

The navigation pane on the Discussion page, showing a line of text under each topic title.We know that your learners are more likely to participate in course discussions when they can easily find what they’re looking for. We’ve added a line of preview text under the title of each post in the navigation pane on the Discussion page to help learners find the posts that they’re the most interested in.

Additionally, learners who use screen readers have reason to be glad: We’ve reorganized the HTML structure of the Progress page, making it more accessible!

Improvements for Course Authors

The Course Outline page with call-outs for the section, subsection, and unit Duplicate buttons.Copying content in Studio just got a whole lot easier! In addition to duplicating components, you can now duplicate units, subsections, and even entire sections by clicking the Duplicate button. The Duplicate button for sections, subsections, and units looks just like the Duplicate button for components, and is available on the Course Outline page. For more information, see Duplicating Existing Sections, Subsections, or Units in Building and Running an Open edX Course​.

The Previous Uploads list with a call-out for the Remove this video option.Is your Video Uploads page looking a bit… cluttered? Perhaps you uploaded the wrong video, and now the Previous Uploads list shows not only that video, but all its different formats—making it hard for you to find the video that you want. The Video Uploads page now includes an option that allows you to remove video entries from the Previous Uploads list. Note that this doesn’t remove the video from your course—if you remove a video entry from the Previous Uploads list, your learners can still see the video in the course—so you don’t have to worry about accidentally changing your course content.

Improvements for Researchers

Weekly Student Engagement chart with a call-out for the Participated in Discussions metric.We know that course discussions are essential for online learning, so we’ve added a “Participated in Discussions Last Week” metric that lets you know how many users have interacted with the course discussions in the last seven days, both as a number of individual learners and as a percentage of currently enrolled learners in the course. This new metric appears on both the Weekly Student Engagement chart and the Content Engagement Breakdown report in Insights. For more information, see Engagement Activity  in Using edX Insights.

Improvements for System Administrators and Developers

Following the November 1, 2016 Django security release, we have updated the edX Django version from 1.8.15 to 1.8.16. End users will not see any changes.  For more information, see the Django 1.8.16 release notes page or the Django security releases issued: 1.10.3, 1.9.11 and 1.8.16 page.