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New Features: QMplus July 2018 release

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For: StaffApplication: Design and Build , QMplusTagged: upgrade2018

1 For All Users

1.1 Better calendar management and Drag & drop calendar events

The calendar can display site, course, group, user and category events in addition to assignment and quiz deadlines, chat times and other course events.

Calendar Block

  1. New events may be added either by clicking the New Events button or by clicking on the desired day.
  2. When adding, editing or deleting events, the event displays in a pop-up window.
  3. Those with permissions to edit categories may also add category events

Manually created Events and other activities such as feedback and assignment can be dragged and dropped to different dates. (For activities, the dates will then change in the activity itself when dragged to a different date on the calendar.)

A calendar may be included in a module area or by adding a calendar block or an Upcoming Events block.

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1.2 Private files storage display

Each user has a private files area for uploading and managing a set of files. It is available as a source within the file-picker when selecting files to use in a course or it can be accessed by clicking on the link available in “Private Files Block”.

Filer Picker

Private File Block

  1. To add a file to your private files area navigate to the “Private files block”
  2. Click the link ‘Manage private files’
  3. The file manager will appear.
  4. If desired, create a folder for your file(s)
  5. Click on the Add button to upload from the File picker or drag and drop from your desktop. It will look like the files are already there, but they aren’t until you do the next step!
  6. Click the ‘Save changes’ button

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1.3 Easier activity navigation

‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ links, along with a jump-to menu make navigating around courses easier and more intuitive.

Image for Jump between Activities

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1.4 Completion Progress Block

In previous versions of QMplus we have had the progress bar block which is a fantastic feature allowing staff and students to be able to track their progress through a module. This block has now been replaced by the completion progress block which provides almost identical functionality but is easier to set up than the old progress bar block.

If you are currently using a progress bar block, you should delete it and replace it with the new completion progress block.

See our guide on Keeping track of your students with the completion progress block guide for more information.

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1.5 Image Optimiser

Image optimiser automatically resize large images’ width to maximum allowed (1024 pixels – aspect ratios are preserved). Now course designers and students don’t have to resize images prior to upload. This tools also helps to optimise the page load time.

Image Optimiser

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1.6 Gradebook link for Non Editing Teachers (Grades link for students)

A link to the “Gradebook” has been added in the “Settings” block for Non-editing teachers. (The Grades link is also now available for students.) These were removed from QMplus in July 2017 as a result of changes in Moodle but we have restored them due to popular demand.

Snapshot of Settings Block

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1.7 Accessibility Block

The block allows users to customise Moodle to their visual needs. It supports changing of text sizes and colour schemes. Customisations save to the user’s session, allowing them to persist between pages, and can also be saved to the database allowing them to apply permanently.

The block also integrates ATBar from Southampton University ECS. This provides extra tools and customisation options, including dictionary lookup and Text-to-speech. Visual customisations performed with ATBar don’t currently persist, and can be used as well as or instead of the block’s own customisations.

Accessibility Block

Accessibility Bar

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2 For Teachers

 

2.1 User Accessibility Tools in Text editor

Accessibility Checker: One of the tools available in the text editor is an automated accessibility checker which checks for some common errors in the text and identify the issues which should be fixed to meet WCAG AA guidelines.

The list of problems that the accessibility checker looks for is:

  • Images with missing or empty alt text
  • Contrast of font colour and background colour
  • Whether long blocks of text are sufficiently broken up into headings
  • Whether tables have captions

Tips:

  • Tables should not contain merged cells as they are difficult to navigate with screen readers
  • All tables should contain row or column headers
  • Images should have alternative text and descriptions

snapshot of accessibility checker tool

Screen Reader Helper: Screen reader helper assists the content writers in writing the content which can be supported by the assistive technologies. The screen reader helper provides additional information about the currently selected text (e.g. is it bold), as well as a listing of any images or links in the text.

Snapshot of screen reader helper

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2.2 Snippet Tool in Text Editor

Snippet is simple html/text template tool available in Atto editor. Content designers and students can use this to add text, layouts, buttons and other content from templates directly into editor.

Snippet Image

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2.3 More efficient user management

Course management has been enhanced by combining participants and enrollments screen. Teachers can now enrol, search, filter and bulk edit or delete learners from a new single Participants and Enrolments screen.

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2.4 Marking activities as complete for students

If you are using the activity completion feature to track your students progress through your module, the upgrade now gives you the ability to mark an activity complete on a student’s behalf. This can be done through the activity completion report page.

You will find more information in our guide on Using activity completion to track student progress

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2.5 Specify assignment file types and Helpful file type selector

The teachers can specify the types of file the students may upload to the assignment during the assignment set up.

  • The file types may be added with their file extension such as .pdf, .docx, .png and mp3.  File types are separated with commas.
  • File types can also be added by selecting files from list of suggested file types.
  • Leaving the field blank will allow all file types.
  • If the file types have been restricted, then when students attempt to submit the assignment, they will see a message telling them which files are accepted.

File Types image

File Type Selector Image

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2.6 Set a ‘Grade by’ reminder

When setting up an assignment on QMplus, you can now specify a “Remind me to grade by” date.

Remind me to grade image

Once set, this will create an event in the QMplus calendar and you will see the reminder in the “Upcoming events” widget on your QMplus dashboard, or on the calendar for the module.

See our Setting a grade by reminder on an assignment guide for more information on how to set this date and where the reminder appears in QMplus.

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2.7 Better activity completion management

Course administrators and teachers can bulk edit and update activity completion settings in their courses. The default settings for activity completion can be changed and several activities can have their completion settings updated at once, from the tabs in the Course completion screen.

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2.8 Collapse comments in assignments

Assignment feedback comments can be collapsed to make it easier to read the original text.

Collapsed Comments image

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2.9 Drag and drop media

Content editors can Drag and drop media directly onto the course page. Users can drag and drop files of any file type e.g .pdf, .docx, .mp4, .png (documents, images and videos)

Drag and Drop Media image

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2.10 ‘Stealth’ activities – available but not shown

In this release of moodle “orphaned activities (or resources) have been replaced with “Stealth Mode”. “Stealth Mode” allows course editors or teachers to make hidden activities (or resources) “Available” or “Unavailable” to students.

  • The option to make an activity (or resource) “Available” or “Unavailable” only appears once the user has changed its status to “Hidden” (or the section / topic is Hidden)
  • Once an activity (or resource) is set to “Available”. Students will be not able to see that on course page, but will be able to access that using the embedded URL (e.g. in discussion forums etc.)
  • Once the activity (or resource) is set to “Unavailable”. Students will not be able to see and access that activity (or resource).

Hide Activity Image

Make activity available image

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2.11 “Add Sections” button

Usual + and buttons to add and remove sections (or topics) have been replaced with “Add Sections” (or “Add Topics”) depending on the course format you are using.

Note: “Number of Sections” (or topics) option has also been removed from “Course Settings”.

Add Sections Image

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Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: its-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
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