There are a number of features and plugins that have been included in the monthly OpenLab updates over the 2021-22 academic year that may be of interest for OERs. 

New Features and Functionality

Favorites: The “Favorites” feature allows any OpenLab member to save Courses, Projects, Clubs, or Portfolios to a list of Favorites, which is easily accessible in the toolbar that includes invitations, friend requests, and messages. This will allow you to access any of the items in your favorites list more quickly, from anywhere on the OpenLab. One caveat is that it doesn’t work on mobile, but this functionality will be added in a future release.

My OpenLab Sorting: In the My Courses, My Projects, and My Clubs sections of My OpenLab, there is now a dropdown that will allow you to sort by last active, alphabetical, and newest. This helps to improve findability when you have many different groups in My OpenLab.

Block Editing for Widgets: The latest few versions of WordPress include a block-based editor for widgets. Because this was a significant change, the Classic Widgets plugin was enabled on all OpenLab sites, which keeps the familiar classic editor for widgets in place. If you’re interested in experimenting with block editing for widgets, let the OpenLab team know and they can disable the Classic Widgets plugin on your site.

The OpenLab will be switching to the block-based editor for widgets in mid-August, with the option to enable the Classic Widgets plugin on a site-by-site basis.

New Plugins

OpenLab Export / Import is a custom-built plugin that allows members to export a site on the OpenLab that can be imported on any other WordPress installation that has added the plugin (such as BMCC’s OpenLab). Since cloning can’t be done across installations, this is a way to provide easier sharing of materials like OERs. The plugin has more features than the regular WordPress exporter, and packages up all the site contents together with a readme file to provide context for the person importing the site contents into their own. It also includes an attribution statement for the site that was exported. 

List Category Posts allows you to easily add a list of posts within a particular category to a page or post. 

Posts by Tag adds a widget that allows you to display posts from different tags of your choosing.

Quiz Maker Pro replaces WP Pro Quiz, which was retired in June. It provides an easy way to add quizzes, with many different options for customizing. 

The Taxonomy Dropdown Widget plugin allows you to add a widget to your site, with a dropdown including the categories or tags on your site. It has a number of options for customization, so you can include or exclude certain categories or tags, and list them in different ways. 

Bug Fixes

There was a major update for the TablePress Responsive Tables add-on, which provides a few different layouts to make TablePress tables more mobile friendly. The update fixed some issues with these displays. 

A bug in the Block Editor was preventing text from being properly pasted into List Blocks. This has been fixed with an update to the Block Editor.

There was an issue fixed with the Easy Table of Contents plugin causing the toggle for expanding or collapsing a TOC on a page or post to be hidden, even if it was set to be shown. 

A few issues were fixed in Hemingway theme: 

  1. The sidebar was not appearing on mobile devices, meaning that anything in a sidebar widget was not accessible. The sidebar is now appearing at the bottom of the screen on mobile.
  2. When highlighting text in a comment box, the highlight color was nearly the same as the background color of the box, making it difficult to tell what text was highlighted. The highlight color was changed so it is visible.
  3. There was an accessibility error caused by a recent update that was fixed.

You can always contact the OpenLab team with any questions about these features or other OpenLab-related questions.

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