On August 14, we released version 1.7.34 of the OpenLab. It included new features, new themes, updates to all themes and plugins, and updates to WordPress and BuddyPress, the software that powers the OpenLab.
New Features and Themes
There were a number of new features and themes included this release:
A new portfolio features allows any OpenLab member with a portfolio to turn on an “Add to My Portfolio” button, which appears on any post or comment they have created on an OpenLab site. This makes it easier to add work from courses, projects, or clubs to a portfolio. You can see step-by-step instructions for this new feature in OpenLab Help.
Another new feature created for portfolios is the ability to export the contents of a portfolio site, which can be imported into another site. This makes portfolios much more portable, and means they can be moved from one OpenLab community to another (for example, from BMCC’s OpenLab to City Tech’s OpenLab).
We added two new portfolio themes, which work especially well for the display of a visual portfolio.
- Hamilton is described as “a clean WordPress portfolio theme for creatives. It displays posts in a beautiful image grid that can be set to either two or three columns, which makes it a perfect fit for photographers, illustrators or graphic designers looking for a theme for their portfolio.”
- Koji is “a clean and lightweight theme for bloggers. It features a masonry grid on the archive pages, a beautiful and minimal design,” and more.
We also added a theme designed for Open Educational Resource (OER) sites on the OpenLab, although it can be used for any type of site. Built using the theme Education Pro, we’ve customized it to improve the design, to ensure accessibility, and to include styles that would be useful for an OER.
Improvements to existing features
We made an improvement to the WP Grade Comments plugin, which allows instructors to assign grades without comments. Previously, grades had to be accompanied by a comment.
A number of enhancements were made to the OpenLab Gradebook plugin, including:
- Instructors can now add assignments and/or grades to their gradebooks using a pre-formatted CSV file that can be edited and uploaded to import new data.
- The text on the About page has been improved to include more helpful information about the OpenLab Gradebook plugin with a link to the plugin’s help page.
- A bug was fixed that prevented instructors from accurately pasting numeric grades.
- The display of tables on mobile devices was improved.
We made a few improvements and additions to the Print this Page functionality that was introduced in the June release. We changed its appearance on pages and posts from a text link to a button. The button is now turned off by default. In addition to the ability to turn it on within each individual page and post, there is now a site-wide control, which will enable or disable it for the whole site.
We also improved the print formatting for two additional themes. Twenty Nineteen and Hemingway are now better formatted for printing.
One of the potential privacy settings available to OpenLab members is to have a hidden group with an open site. While this is not a common setting, if someone was viewing the site but was not a member of the group, they would get a “Page not Found” error if they clicked on the group profile link in the site’s navigation menu. Now, this link won’t appear, except for members of the group who are logged into the OpenLab.
We made a few improvements to the layout and design of the Related Links List settings in a group’s profile settings, making them easier to understand and manage.
We improved the accessibility of the create/edit screen for a group’s Docs, including fixing some missing form labels and improving the color contrast for some of the links and other text.
As always, please contact us with any questions!