This Month on the OpenLab: August 2022 Release

On August 18 we released version 1.7.62 of the OpenLab. It was a very small release, since we’ve just updated all themes and plugins, as well as WordPress and BuddyPress, the software that powers the OpenLab. 

OpenLab Gradebook plugin: We fixed an issue causing the scrollbar to “jump” back to the beginning after scrolling to the right side of a gradebook to add grades.

Course, Project, Club, and Portfolio Profiles: We made a change to the ‘See More’ links under the Recent Comments section so that they now link directly to the comment on the site rather than the post. 

We have some exciting new features we’re planning to add during the Fall 2022 semester, so stay tuned here for more details in the coming months!

As always, please contact us with any questions.

This Month on the OpenLab: April 2022 Release

Cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

On April 19 we released version 1.7.61 of the OpenLab. It included one new and one retired plugin, a few minor plugin and theme updates, a small design update, and two bug fixes. 


The Zephyr Project Manager plugin adds some project management capabilities to OpenLab sites, most notably the ability to create, assign, and manage tasks. 

We retired the Expire Sticky Posts plugin because it no longer works with the Block Editor and is not being maintained. It will continue to appear on sites where it is already activated, but won’t be available for activation on new sites.

Design Update

We updated the design of the “Visit Site” link for Courses, Projects, Clubs, and Portfolios to make it more visible. 

Previous Site link
New Site link

Bug Fixes

We fixed a bug in the OpenLab Gradebook plugin that was causing <br /> tags to appear in comments where line breaks were added.

We also fixed an issue with the cloning process where files uploaded via a form created with the Gravity Forms plugin were being cloned to new sites, but couldn’t be deleted because they weren’t uploaded to the Media Library. These types of files are now no longer cloned to new sites. 

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: March 2022 Release

On March 15 we released version 1.7.60 of the OpenLab. It included two new plugins, a few plugin and theme updates, and two bug fixes. 


The new plugins are:

  • Taxonomy Dropdown Widget, which allows you to add a widget with a dropdown listing 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. 
  • List Category Posts, which allows you to easily add a list of posts within a particular category to a page or post on your site. 

We also re-enabled the PublishPress blocks and Highlight Text plugins, which were previously made unavailable for activation on new sites due to issues caused by a plugin conflict, which has been resolved.


In addition to some minor theme and plugin updates, there was a major update for the TablePress Responsive Tables plugin, which provides a few different layouts to make TablePress tables mobile friendly. The update fixed some issues with these displays. 

Bug Fixes

We fixed a bug causing links to be stripped out of the email notifications for site posts.

We also fixed a bug with the OpenLab Attributions plugin that caused the ‘Add Attribution’ window to increase in width when a long attribution statement was added.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: February 2022 Release

Cat investigating a heart sculpture.

On February 15 we released version 1.7.59 of the OpenLab. It was a small release, which included some plugin and theme updates, and a bug fix. 


In addition to minor theme and plugin updates, there was an update for the Wonder Gallery plugin, which fixed an issue with adding videos via URL from platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. We also updated the Gutenberg (Block Editor) plugin to the latest version.

Bug Fix

We fixed an issue with the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin, which was causing the default user permissions settings to be deselected for new Course sites and cloned sites, meaning that admins had to activate these settings before being able to use the plugin. 

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: January 2022 Release

On January 26, 2022 we released version 1.7.57 of the OpenLab. It included updates to all existing themes and plugins, including BuddyPress and WordPress, the two primary plugins that power the OpenLab. 

New Features and Functionality

The latest version of WordPress includes a block-based editor for widgets. Because this is a significant change and we didn’t want to confuse people, we’ve enabled the Classic Widgets plugin on all sites, which keeps the familiar classic editor for widgets in place. If you’re interested in experimenting with block editing for widgets, let us know and we can disable the Classic Widgets plugin on your site.

We’ll be switching to the block-based editor for widgets in the Summer of 2022, with the option to enable the Classic Widgets plugin on a site-by-site basis.

Bug Fixes

Four bugs were fixed in this release:

  1. There was a block editor bug preventing text from being properly pasted into list blocks. This has been fixed with an update to the block editor.
  2. We fixed an issue with the Easy Table of Contents plugin causing the toggle for expanding or collapsing a table of contents on a page or post to be hidden, even if it was set to be shown.
  3. The ‘+’ icon shortcut in the toolbar at the top OpenLab sites allowing site users to create a new post without going to the dashboard was not working on mobile devices. This has been fixed.
  4. We fixed a conflict with the Hemingway theme and the Gravity Forms Quiz add-on that caused quiz questions to appear in white text so they weren’t visible.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: November 2021 Release

Kitten gnawing on stem of a large squash.
Image by guvo59 is licensed under  CC0.

On November 16, 2021 we released version 1.7.56 of the OpenLab. It included updates, a new plugin, and a few bug fixes.


On Course, Project, Club, and Portfolio sites, we removed the small icon next to the Profile link in the menu because it didn’t appear consistently across all themes. Now, you’ll see brackets around the link text. For example: [Course Profile] 

The ‘Acknowledgements’ widget that appears on a site after it is cloned via shared cloning was not visible in Dashboard > Widgets on non-cloned sites. We made it visible on all sites, so if you have acknowledgements on your group profile that you want to display on the site, you can activate the widget.

We applied minor updates to a few plugins.

New Plugin

We added a new plugin called Top Authors, which allows you to activate a widget listing all authors on your site. This may be especially useful for course sites, to provide an easy way to access the archive of posts for each student. 

Bug Fixes

Hemingway theme: We fixed a few issues with this 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. We changed the highlight color so it is visible.
  3. We fixed an accessibility error caused by a recent update.

Acknowledgements: There were a few minor inconsistencies in the way acknowledgements appeared on course vs. project and club profiles.

Watu Pro Plugin: Previously created quizzes were not appearing properly in the ‘Quizzes’ section of the plugin Dashboard.  

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: October 2021 Release

Rabbit in between two pumpkins.
Halloween Bunny” by johncatral is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

On October 19, 2021 we released version 1.7.55 of the OpenLab. It included a new quiz plugin, updates to existing plugins, and a few bug fixes. We also added .docx and .xlsx files to the types allowed for upload on OpenLab sites (.doc and .xls were already permitted).


The new quiz plugin is called WatuPro, and has many features, including the ability to:

  • Use images in questions and answer choices
  • Use LaTeX in the questions and answer choices
  • Mix graded and ungraded questions
  • Show a progress bar for quiz takers
  • Randomize the question order
  • Show correct/incorrect answers on results page or after each question
  • Export to CSV

OpenLab help documentation is coming soon! In the meantime, the plugin site has a thorough user manual.

In addition to the usual minor updates, we updated Gravity Forms and all Gravity Forms add-on plugins. The Gravity Forms updates fixed some issues in the Quiz and Dropbox plugins caused by the outdated versions.

We also retired Gravity Perks, and its associated GP Media Library plugin. These will still be visible on sites where they’re activated, but we recommend that you deactivate them because we’ll no longer be able to apply updates, and over time this may cause issues.

Bug Fixes

We fixed the following bugs:

  • In OpenLab Gradebook, sometimes after creating a new gradebook and attempting to add all users, only a single user called “John Doe” was added.
  • The Akismet plugin (used for spam prevention) was showing an error message on certain sites.
  • Some site admins were experiencing an issue with duplicate comments being submitted on their sites. The fix included in this release should address that problem.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

WeBWorK Q&A: New WordPress plugin for community-powered Math homework help

We’re excited to announce the release of WeBWorK Q&A, a free WordPress plugin that creates a community forum where students can get help with WeBWorK problems.

WeBWorK Q&A brings together two powerful free and open source platforms: WordPress’s publishing software powers 42% of sites on the internet, and WeBWorK is a widely-adopted platform used to give online assignments in math and science courses. 

The plugin is based on work that’s been happening here on the OpenLab for a while as part of the Opening Gateways project. Some of you may have used the OpenLab’s version of the software on the WeBWorK on the OpenLab site. 

Now we’ve packaged up this software and made it available for anyone in the world to use! 

To find out more, check out the official announcement on the project website.

This Month on the OpenLab: September 2021 Release

Vole sitting on a branch eating apples.
Apples Galore” by Sue Cro is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

On September 15, 2021 we released version 1.7.54 of the OpenLab. It was a small release that included a few bug fixes and some minor plugin updates.

We fixed a bug causing acknowledgements to appear on portfolio profiles, when they should only appear for Courses, Projects, and Clubs. We also updated the acknowledgements widget that is added to cloned sites. The widget will now include changes we made to the format of acknowledgments on group profiles, added in the August release. It will show any additional group creators added, as well as any additional text. In a future release, we’ll make the widget available on sites for non-cloned groups that include acknowledgments.

As always, please contact us with any questions!