Nutmeg is the latest Open edX named release. It came out June 9th, 2022. In this post we’ll take a look at some of the newest additions to the Open edX software, highlighting some great features you’ll be excited to have.

Dates Tab Added As Default for All Courses

The main courseware experience now features the “Dates” tab as one of the default tabs. This tab enables learners to see an outline of the full course, with important due dates for graded assignments highlighted. This enables learners to set aside time in advance to complete course content, and helps them stay on track. 

Important note for system operators: this tab will be turned on only for newly-created courses. To turn the tab on for existing courses, the backfill_course_tabs management command will need to be run. See the release notes for more information.

Course Goals Weekly Update

This feature adds a new Weekly Learning Goal widget to the course home page. Goal setting and planning supports learner success. It also supports learners’ time management efforts and accountability. By prompting learners to set their goals when beginning a course and subscribe to helpful reminder emails, you can increase engagement and completion rates.

To use it, learners use the Weekly Learning Goal widget from the right side of the course home page to select a weekly learning goal: 

Choosing one of the goal options automatically subscribes the learner to goal reminder emails, which look like this:

The weekly reminders continue until the learner completes their course and/or their audit access ends. Learners can modify/cancel their goal and reminder settings at any time from the widget or via links in the email. When a goal is completed, a success email similar to the following will be sent:

Important note for system operators: to enable this feature, you will need to set a flag as well as run a management command. Please see the documentation for more information.

Updated Course Progress Page

This change was included in Maple, but never got a highlight! The Course Progress page is fully revamped to give learners a solid visual understanding of their progress through the content as well as their current grade. It features many elements:

The top element shows the percentage progress through all course elements – including videos, text, and problems. The Grades section shows the learner’s current calculated grade against the course passing mark, as well as a drill-down summary of how they’re doing on different types of assignments. A breakdown of grades per section follows. Finally, the right hand sidebar gives additional links that can assist the learner in managing their time so they can succeed in the course.

Instructor-facing Changes

Standardized Course Tab Order: In order for learners to have a more consistent experience course-to-course, course tabs have a new, standard ordering. When reordering static course tabs in a course, this ordering will be enforced. Default pages (Course, Progress, Dates, Discussion, Notes, Teams, and Wiki) are now followed by custom pages and textbooks. 

In the above example, Notes, Teams, and Wiki are unused and custom pages for “Course Schedule” and “Supplements” have been added to the course.

There are lots of other, less-frequently used tabs. To view the full course tab hierarchy, click into the following expand box:

  1. courseware
  2. course_info
  3. progress
  4. dates
  5. discussion
  6. external_discussion
  7. lti_discussion
  8. edxnotes
  9. teams
  10. wiki
  11. syllabus
  12. static_tab
  13. external_link
  14. lti_tab
  15. textbooks
  16. html_textbooks
  17. pdf_textbooks
  18. instructor
  19. ccx

Higher Grade Cutoffs: Previously, the minimum grade cutoff that could be set in grading policies was a 97. It’s rare that a course team wants to set the grade range for passing higher than 97, but in Nutmeg, it is now possible to set a minimum grade cutoff up to 99.

Enhancements to LTI Support

The LTI XBlock, which is the part of the Open edX platform that supports the LTI integration, passes various parameters from an Open edX instance to the LTI tool provider. There are various optional parameters that could be passed, but to keep the XBlock simple, many were omitted during development. However, it can be useful to pass some types of parameters to some LTI tools in order for them to work better.

In Nutmeg, it is now possible to define static & dynamic custom parameters to send to the LTI Tool Provider when the LTI tool launches. Configuration of these parameters is done at the instance level by a system operator; instructions can be found here.

Additionally, mobile support of LTI tools is now possible. The Open edX mobile application will now open the LTI tool in the mobile browser so the learner can engage with it.

Micro-frontend (MFE) Updates

The Learning MFE, which is the default way of serving course content, now supports right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. Additionally, when an XBlock fails to load (render), the users will now see this error message: “An unexpected error occurred. Please click the button below to refresh the page.”

The Account Settings page, where users can see and update their personal information, is now served by the Account MFE by default. There is no behavior change, but visual styles may differ.

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