Happy new year from edX! We’re excited to begin 2016 and we have a lot of new features and updates in store for the year. Before we talk about upcoming features, though, we’d like to let you know what we were up to in December.

New Features

We’ve introduced several new features over the past few weeks.

Office mix showing a lesson about Bayesian statistics

Office Mix

The Office Mix tool, an open source contribution from Microsoft, is now available in Studio. Office Mix extends PowerPoint so that course teams can create interactive lessons—including exercises and narrated videos—and embed them in their courses. All mixes in a course, including videos, can be cached. For more information, see Office Mix Tool in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

Comprehensive Theming

Sites that are running Open edX can now change the appearance of their sites by creating and using themes that include logos, page headers and footers, and other templates and assets. For more information, see Changing the Way Open edX Looks in Installing, Configuring, and Running the Open edX Platform.

Single Sign-In from Campus LMS

Learners who register and sign in to your site with valid campus or institutional credentials, or with a Google or Facebook account, can now sign in and enroll in courses even before they receive an activation link in an email. A reminder message appears on the learner dashboard until account activation takes place.

Feature Improvements

In addition to adding new features, we’ve made updates to improve several of our existing features.

Accessibility Updates

As part of our commitment to making edX courses accessible to as many learners as possible, edX has updated colors for wiki alerts and for staff actions in course discussions according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) specifications.

New, Extensible LTI Component

Using a new LTI component, course staff can now configure LTI components to open in a modal window, in a separate browser window, or directly in a course page. This new version of the LTI component uses the XBlock framework, improving stability and increasing extensibility. The previous version of the LTI component has been deprecated. For more information, see LTI Component in Building and Running an Open edX Course.

Video Updates

We’ve made some changes to make using videos easier for both you and your learners. First, we fixed a bug so that transcripts are now created automatically for both YouTube and HTML5 (.mp4) video files. Then, our design team made improvements to the video player in both user controls and accessibility, including changes to icons and enhancements for screen readers.

File Uploads in Open Response Assessments

A recent Open edX contribution has expanded the types of files that learners can upload to accompany their open response assessment (ORA) responses. Course teams can now allow learners to upload .gif, .jpg, .pdf, and .png files. Additionally, if instructors want to allow additional file types, they can specify a custom set of file formats for learners to upload. System administrators for edX and Open edX sites can maintain a list of prohibited file types. For more information, see Allow Learners to Submit Files in Building and Running an Open edX Course, Submit a File with Your Response in the Open edX Learner’s Guide, or Prohibiting Submission of Specified File Types in Installing, Configuring, and Running the Open edX Platform.

iPhone app showing an assessmentExpanded iPhone App

Learners who use the edX iPhone app to access courses can now view HTML and text components, as well as complete basic assessments including checkbox, multiple choice, and text input problems. For more information, see The edX Mobile App in the Open edX Learner’s Guide. The equivalent version of the edX app for Android is coming soon.


Our docs team recently added a “mobile-ready” note to the Support column in the table of exercises and tools on the Exercises and Tools page, and we reorganized Building and Running an Open edX Course to make the information you need easier to find. Note that some URLs have changed, so you may need to update your bookmarks.

Cleaning House

With the end of the year, edX has deprecated or removed several outdated and unused features. In the LMS, the “legacy dashboard” is no longer available. In Studio, we have removed items including the Checklists option on the Studio Tools menu, the FoldIt protein simulator XModule, and the first version of open response assessments (ORA 1). Existing ORA 1 data is still available, and we continue to fully support ORA 2. EdX has also removed the Psychometrics and Licenses Django apps.

Coming Soon

EdX plans to release some great new features this month.


Learners will soon be able to use a new Bookmarks feature to mark important course pages and return to them easily. Learners can access their bookmarks from the learning sequence bar at the top of a page, or they can access all their bookmarks for the course on a new My Bookmarks page.

Settings for Self-Paced Courses

New settings in Studio will allow course teams to specify whether a course is self-paced or instructor-paced. When course teams select the self-paced option, the course will not include internal content release dates or assignment due dates.