Hello once again from Cambridge! All of the edX engineers have been hard at work all through January, which means you and your learners are in for some new tools and exciting improvements to existing features.

Note: These new tools and improvements are available in the latest release of the Open edX platform. They are not yet available in a named release.

Video Course in the EdX Learning Series

We know that you work hard to create excellent videos for your course. To make this sometimes daunting task a little easier, the EdX Learning Series has recently launched its newest course! Produced by the edX video team with help from Boston University, Creating Video for the edX Platform has great information and insider tips for helping you plan and achieve informative and engaging course videos. 

Improvements for Learners

We’ve just released several new tools that will help learners find, return to, and understand course content, and build community while they’re at it.

A peer instruction problem showing the review and final answer steps.Peer Instruction Tool

Our partners at the University of British Columbia have contributed the Peer Instruction tool, which allows learners to see answers and explanations that other learners have given as they work through multiple choice problems. For more information about setting up peer instruction problems, see Peer Instruction tool. For more information about the way learners interact with these problems, see Explaining Multiple Choice Answers.


By creating and joining teams, learners can work together in small groups for projects and activities. For more information about enabling teams in your course, see Teams. For information about the way learners on teams work together, see Working on Team Projects and Activities.

Video Closed Captions

Learners can now see closed captions as well as transcripts for videos. Learners can view the transcripts and closed captions separately or at the same time. Currently, closed captions and transcripts use the same file.

Improvements for Course Authors

While learners are enjoying new ways of learning and interacting, course authors will enjoy improvements we’ve made to Studio and the LMS.

The visual editor with the formatting menu expanded to show heading levels starting at heading 3.HTML Component Accessibility

You may have noticed that for HTML components in Studio, the available headings in the visual editor now start at level 3. We made this change for accessibility reasons: Because HTML components are part of a complete page, and heading levels 1 and 2 are reserved for page elements such as the page title, using heading levels 1 and 2 in your HTML components can interfere with screen readers and other tools. For more information, see The Visual Editor.

Changing Course Pacing

Course teams can now easily change the course pacing from instructor-paced to self-paced. For more information, see Setting Course Pacing.

The Android Mobile App

The latest version of the edX app for Android is here! The Android app has all the functionality that the iPhone app, released last month, offers—including the ability to view HTML and text components and complete basic assessments. For more information, see Using an edX Mobile App.

Extended Registration Page

Thanks to a contribution from OpenCraft, Open edX administrators can find out more about their new users by adding custom fields to the registration page. These fields can be text entry fields, drop-down lists, and more. For more information, see Adding Custom Fields to the Registration Page.

Coming Soon

A new version of our Drag and Drop problem type is in the works! This new version will be much easier to set up and will address accessibility issues in the original version. We will eventually deprecate version 1 of the Drag and Drop problem type, so only version 2 will be available in Studio.

And, last but not least, the Dogwood release candidate has been created! We’re testing it now to make sure it’s ready for you, and we plan to release it this month.