This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.15

Overlooking Georgian Bay

We released version 1.7.15 of the OpenLab on November 14. This was a very small release that included a few minor plugin updates and two small bug fixes. One corrected an issue preventing members from sending invitations to people who are not already members of the OpenLab. The second fixed an issue causing the subtopics in the Help section to display in the wrong order.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

[Image Source: Jeff S.]

The Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.14

Carved pumpkins on a bench.

Image Source: Macwagen

We released version 1.7.14 of the OpenLab on September 17, which included a few new features and a few bug fixes.

We expanded the ability for members to upload CSV files, so that they can be uploaded in the Files section of a Course, Project, or Club Profile, in addition to the Site.

We also made two small changes to Course creation and cloning. (1) We changed the way that faculty members identify additional faculty who they want to list on their Course Profile. The functionality remains similar, but the Additional Faculty settings section now looks slightly different. (2) We added a few additional instructions to the first step of the Course cloning process.

We added one plugin, Accordion Shortcodes, which allows users to add sections of text or other elements to their site that can be expanded or collapsed.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.13

The Brooklyn Bridge

We released version 1.7.13 of the OpenLab on September 18, which included a few new features and a few bug fixes.

We made CSV files one of the allowable file types that users can upload to their sites. We also added four new plugins. Cite allows users to easily add a box at the bottom of any post or page with citation information that readers can easily copy and paste. Gravity Forms Media Library allows users to automatically import files uploaded via Gravity Forms to the Media Library on their site. Simple Pull Quote allows users to easily insert pull quotes into posts and pages. Simple Drop Cap allows users to change the first letter of a word into a drop cap.

We fixed a bug in the Tiny MCE Comment Field plugin, which was generating an error message when users commented on a site with the plugin activated. We also fixed a bug in the Hypothes.is plugin that prevented users from annotating pdfs in their browser without an additional Chrome extension.

As always, please contact us with any questions

(Image: Jon K. Bernhardsen)

This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.12

We released version 1.7.12 of the OpenLab on August 9. The bulk of the release included updates to WordPress and BuddyPress, the software that powers the OpenLab. These updates will largely be invisible, but there will be a few updates our members may notice.

The release included two new plugins. Admin Commenters Count should be very helpful for faculty who use the OpenLab for student work. It adds the number of comments for each member of the site to the Comments page as well as the Users page on the Dashboard. The other plugin is a survey add-on for Gravity Forms, which provides more powerful options for creating Gravity Forms surveys, such as the ability to add Likert Scale and other types of questions.

We also added a paragraph to the first step of course creation with information about the OpenLab’s Creative Commons license, which is part of an ongoing effort to clarify this for users, as well as create an ongoing conversation around fair use and citation. This is also the subject of an upcoming Open Pedagogy event on September 28.

We made a few changes to the new member sign up page, which should improve the user experience. We moved the first and last name questions to the first section, and we made it more clear that phone numbers are optional, and if included will appear on members’ public profiles. We also changed the appearance of error messages so they are more consistent with those on the rest of the site.

We added links to the three sites run by the OpenLab team to the About page—Open Pedagogy, The Open Road, and The Buzz—to make them easier to find. They’re coming soon to the homepage as well!

Finally, a small but important detail for those who use OpenLab messages: we added the ability to delete messages from members’ profile inbox.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.11

We released version 1.7.11 of the OpenLab on May 16.

This was a very small release, which did nonetheless include two plugins. The PDF Embedder plugin will allow OpenLab members to embed pdfs on their sites without using a third party service and to embed PDFs on private sites. Both capabilities differ from our current document embedder, Google Docs Embedder. The Download Monitor plugin will allow users to manage downloadable files on their site, including tracking downloads.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.10

sprouting leaves with water droplets

Image Source: Seyed Mostafa Zamani

We released version 1.7.10 of the OpenLab on April 17.

This release included a few improvements that will be noticeable to OpenLab members. We have added a new feature to Project and Club Profiles, which is the ability to add a contact person (or persons) for the Project or Club. This can be found in the Settings on a Project or Club’s Profile page, or during the creation process for new groups.

In addition, we added an email notification letting admins of a public Course, Project, or Club site know when someone joins your group.

We also added the OpenLab’s Creative Commons license in the site footer. Any content that an OpenLab member creates or posts on the OpenLab is automatically protected under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Share-Alike 3.0 license. However, any OpenLab member is free to choose other copyright conditions for any content that they create or post on the OpenLab by specifying the particulars on their own site.

Finally, we added the plugin Folders to the OpenLab. We think it may be useful for anyone who wishes to be able to categorize and organize posts, pages, and/or media library files on their site.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.9

abstracted image of grassy field

Image Source: Brian Wolfe

We released version 1.7.9 of the OpenLab on March 15.

This release included improvements for two themes. In the Pilcrow theme, child pages didn’t appear in a dropdown menu in a site’s top menu navigation, as is standard with most themes. We made a change to Pilcrow so that they do. The Sliding Door theme requires the Page Links To plugin to make the sliding images link to pages on the site. Now when users activate Sliding Door, the plugin will automatically be activated.

We also fixed a bug in the first page of Portfolio creation causing department checkboxes to not display properly.

Finally, we added two plugins. Cardboard allows users to display 360 degree video and photos. Another plugin, which is automatically activated on the entire OpenLab, meaning that our members don’t need to activate on their own sites, allows users to upload .tex files to their sites.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

The Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.8

a series of 10 abstract images of flowers

Image Source: Torbakhopper

We released version 1.7.8 of the OpenLab on February 15, which included mostly behind-the-scenes updates.

The only change that will be noticeable to members of our community was another improvement to the WP Grade Comments plugin. Last month we updated the plugin to hide grades by default when viewing a graded post, in case a faculty member is logged into the course site in class or another public setting so as not to accidentally reveal a student grade. The same functionality now applies to comments as well. To view a comment or grade, click the link that says “Show” and the comment or grade will appear.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

The Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.7

a cartoon animal wearing a ski hat and scarf waving

Image source: Alexas Fotos

We released version 1.7.7 of the OpenLab on January 17. The bulk of the release included major updates to WordPress and BuddyPress, the software that powers the OpenLab. These updates will largely be transparent to users, but we did also include a few noticeable changes in the release.

We added CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) to our list of departments, so that CLIP courses can be correctly categorized, and CLIP students and faculty can add this designation to their profile. You can find it under School: Other > Department: CLIP.

We made two important changes to the WP Grade Comments plugin. One was to hide grades by default when viewing a graded post. This helps avoid accidentally revealing a student’s grade in cases where a faculty member is logged into the course site in class or another public setting. To view the grade, users will now just click a link that says “Show” and the grade will appear. The second was to ensure that faculty receive email notifications if students make a private reply to a private comment or grade.

We also hid a number of plugins that are no longer being updated, including TaskFreak and Featured Content Gallery. We also decided to retire AN Gradebook and continue to look for a better Gradebook plugin.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

This Month on the OpenLab: 1.7.6

winter in the woods

Image Source: Ingvild Hunsrød

We released version 1.7.6 of the OpenLab on December 14, which included a few behind-the-scenes updates, a few bug fixes, and some web accessibility improvements.

There were a few plugin issues, including one with Gravity Forms causing it to prompt users for a license key when activated for the first time. We also fixed a bug in the plugin WP Post to PDF, which displayed an error when uploading images to posts, and put in another fix for Screencast video embedding.

We also addressed a bug causing a blank screen to display at the end of group creation, and a very obscure issue causing an error when a project profile used a file uploaded to the Files section of the project as an external site.

We made a subtle change to the teal color on the site in a few places, to a teal with a contrast ratio that is accessible. For more information about color contrast, see our help post on accessibility.

As always, please contact us with any questions!