The Olive release contains many features, enhancements, and improvements. Some are the subject of their own blog posts: Discussions and Studio Editor Improvements. In this post we’ll run through a number of other interesting additions to the platform, with brief descriptions of what they are.
Resets for Randomized Content Blocks
Randomized content blocks now have a “Reset” option, allowing learners to prepare themselves for exams by answering a series of questions at random from a predetermined problem bank (similar to flashcards). This video demo of the feature shows the learner experience of being able to answer some questions within the Open edX LMS and then clicking a “Reset” option to get a new set of unanswered questions.
To enable this feature, create a Randomized Content Block in Studio and set the Show Reset Button option to True.
Note: before you can add randomized content blocks to your course, you must add a Content Library in Studio. Once you’ve done that, you can add the randomized content block by clicking the “Library Content” button when adding a new Component to a Unit. See the next section for instructions on how to get a test library.
Open edX Test Course & Test Library
The Open edX project now provides a testing course & testing library with the aim of exposing as many Open edX Studio & courseware features as possible. The test course provides example usages of various block types and by enabling various features through Advanced Settings, and also exposes usage of the test Content Library. You are free to use these in your installation; it is useful both to see how a problem type behaves in the LMS as well as how to set it up in Studio.
Install the course or library by creating a new, blank course or library in Studio. Then, from the Tools menu, select “Import”. Upload the correct file (test-course.tar.gz or test-problem-bank.tar.gz), and you will be all set.
This course is new as of the Maple (June 2022) release, and is tested to work on both Maple and Nutmeg; it’s a bit sparse at the moment, but will be continually updated over time. Currently, the test course contains at least one usage of all advanced block types that come pre-installed in the Open edX release. Some of the block usages aren’t yet configured; for example, the LTI Consumer block usage exists with instructions on how to use it, but it isn’t actually set up to consume an LTI tool yet.
We are looking for contributions to make this course better! If you’re interested in contributing, here are some things we’re looking for:
- Actual tool launches for various configurations of lti and lti_consumer blocks.
- Use of content groups for units and sequences. Currently, content groups are only tested at the component (sub-unit) level.
- Use of custom Python in Advanced LONCAPA problems.
- Examples usages of start/end dates, beta-released content, etc.
- Handouts, static tabs, and other advanced uses of the Course Home.
Pages and Resources View
Olive contains a new micro front-end (MFE) called course authoring, which enables an overhaul of the Pages and Resources view. This is a page within your course’s configuration in Studio that allows you to easily turn features on and off; applications and tools that previously required fiddling with advanced course settings can now be set up in a few clicks using the Course Authoring MFE.
Clicking the gear icon on “Progress”, “Wiki”, and “Calculator” creates a pop-up that allows you to quickly enable or disable the feature for the course. We’ll cover the various options available when choosing the Discussion option in a future post.
Authentication Micro-frontend (MFE)
A new MFE has been added in this release, known as the Authentication (or “Authn”) MFE. This provides a streamlined registration, sign in, and Forgot Password experience. During the registration process, a set of available usernames are suggested, based on the full name entered; if an entered username already exists, the user is notified and given some similar, available suggestions.
Some brief operator notes: you can set the LOGO_URL MFE setting (which you should be able to do via dynamic configuration in Olive) to add your logo to this page. There are also instructions for installing a custom brand package in an MFE in the tutor-mfe README. If you’d like to revert to the legacy experience, running tutor config save –set MFE_AUTHN_MFE_APP=null would be the simplest possible way, as instructed in the tutor-mfe README.
Other Small/Operational Changes
- The Molecular Structure Problem type was removed.
- The Learning Micro front-end is now required and the legacy learner view has been deprecated. This means that if your instance hasn’t been using the Learning MFE, it will now, and you may notice some slight visual changes.
- Grades are now persistent, meaning that they are stored in MySQL database tables for fast access and improved performance anywhere grades information exists. This has been optional since Hawthorn but is now required. For technical information about the upgrade, visit this wiki page.
- Android app support is currently limited to Release 3.0.2 of the edx-android-app codebase. The only noticeable impact here is that there may be new features in the iOS app that are not in the older version of the Android release.