We are thrilled to announce that Redwood, the latest Open edX release, is now live! Redwood contains a number of improvements for learners and course teams, including multiple new marquee features. In this post, we’ll highlight these new features and demonstrate how to use them together to achieve powerful results.

A huge thanks to the Open edX community engineering, product, and testing teams who have contributed to making this release happen.

To see all the new feature notes, see: https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/feature_release_notes.html 

To see the Operator notes, see: https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/dev_op_release_notes.html 

Introducing Aspects, a new data and analytics system

Redwood includes a brand new reporting and analytics system for course delivery teams and site operators. Aspects Reports features interactive charts and tables, which provide access to near real-time course and instance data. Course teams can leverage Aspects to track progress and success metrics at both the course and individual learner levels. 

Highlights include: 

  • Course-level Dashboards that display enrollment, engagement and performance information for all learners in a course
  • Individual and At-Risk Learner Dashboards that surface activity data for learners at risk of not completing a course
  • Interactive report tools such as hover states, filters, and cross-report filters

Aspects is not installed by default with Redwood; operators should visit the Operator Release Notes for instructions on how to install. Going forward, Aspects will be the recommended analytics system for Open edX instances, with options for using standard out-of-the-box reports or for customizing reports according to specific needs.

For more information about the feature, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/aspects.html

For more information about the configuring this feature for your installation, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/dev_op_release_notes.html#researcher-data-experiences

Introducing Content Tagging

With the new Content Tagging feature, course authors and instructional designers are able to add tags to their course content. Instructional designers can align courses, or content within courses, to skills or competencies required for achieving certifications. Content tagging also improves content authoring and content reuse workflows by making it easier to find content and reuse it. 

Highlights include:

  • A tagging tool that lets authors add tags to full courses, as well as to content within courses, including individual text, video and problem blocks, units, subsections and sections
  • Support for any third-party taxonomy, empowering course teams to choose their preferred taxonomy or to create their own

The new Content Tagging feature is available by default. If your system is not yet running the Course Authoring MFE, talk to your operations team to enable it. 

For more information about the feature, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/content_tagging.html

For more information about the configuring this feature for your installation, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/dev_op_release_notes.html

Studio gets a facelift

The Studio authoring environment has been redesigned and enhanced, with a number of new features that significantly improve authoring efficiency.  The redesign revolves around a sleeker, modernized UI. Every page in Studio* has been converted to the Paragon design system. This platform-wide system ensures cohesion and consistency across every authoring workflow. 

*excluding the Unit Page, which will be delivered in Sumac

Highlights include:

  • Search bar and filters on Studio Home, making it easier for course teams to manage large numbers of courses
  • Full text editors with complete suite of word processing tools on the Course Updates and Handouts page
  • Improvements to app configurations on the Pages & Resources page
  • Bulk actions and improved asset info and metadata on the Files page

The new Studio experience is enabled by default in Redwood. 

For more information about the feature, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/studio_facelift.html

For more information about the configuring this feature for your installation, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/dev_op_release_notes.html

Re-introducing the in-course sidebar navigation

The new navigation experience allows learners to navigate through course material linearly or non-linearly via a new UI element on the side of the page that displays the user’s current course section, subsection, and unit. The sidebar lets learners move freely through the course, without having to navigate away from the course content. This helps them to remain in-context, while keeping track of upcoming course material or referencing past material for review.

Highlights include:

  • Full course outline display alongside course content
  • Next and previous buttons that enable learners to navigate linearly
  • Non-linear navigation pathways
  • Progress indicators

Site operators can choose to enable the sidebar.

For more information about the feature, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/sidebar_nav.html

For more information about the configuring this feature for your installation, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/dev_op_release_notes.html#learner-instructor-experiences

Introducing Beta Course Search

Course Search enables course authors to conduct searches within a course, or across courses, to find content. Course Search makes it easy and quick for authors to find content that they may wish to edit or reuse. This is particularly helpful for authors who are staff members on multiple different courses, or on courses that have been built by multiple authors.

Highlights include:

  • Ability to refine searches to a single course or to search across all courses
  • Results at the block, unit, subsection and section level
  • Filter by tags and by content type

While it is in Beta, Course Search is not enabled by default, but Operators can choose to enable it.

For more information about the feature, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/course_search.html

For more information about the configuring this feature for your installation, see: 

https://docs.openedx.org/en/latest/community/release_notes/redwood/dev_op_release_notes.html#learner-instructor-experiences

Leveraging these new features for powerful authoring outcomes

When used together, Content Tagging, Course Search and Content Copy/Paste are powerful tools for course teams to easily find content, manage content, and reuse content, all contributing to authoring efficiency and velocity.

The content tagging feature enables authors to add tags to course content. Authors can tag individual course components like videos and problems, or full units, sections and subsections.

The copy/paste feature enables authors to copy any part of the course and paste it into any other course. Authors can copy individual course components like videos and problems, or full units, subsections and sections.

The course search feature enables authors to quickly search for any content contained within a course.

Taken together, content authors may wish to find all of the videos in their courses that cover the subject of “factoring binomial equations”. When all of the relevant videos are tagged for “factoring binomial equations”, authors can conduct a search and easily find this content. If they wish to reuse a particular video, they can then copy it and paste it into any other course.

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