Open edX Ginkgo Release: What's New? - Appsembler

Open edX Ginkgo Release: What’s New?

Open edX Ginkgo has arrived!

We’re excited to share that Open edX has recently announced their 7th and latest major release  – Ginkgo.

The previous release, Ficus, rolled out new features including improvements across the board to the LMS and to data reporting. You can learn more about those Ficus updates from Open edX’s blog.

Ginkgo has a bunch of new features packed into it and the new updates can be split into four major categories:

  • LMS
  • Studio & Course Author Tools
  • Insights and analytics
  • E-Commerce

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Smoother LMS Experience for Students

Right away, you’ll notice updates to the UI of the LMS which streamline the learner experience. For example, the new course home and page design opens to a course outline. The course outline is full-page, listing all sections and subsections. Learners no longer have to use the sidebar on course content pages to access sections and subsections. This change reduces potential distraction for learners, and pushes them to focus on progressing through their course.

The new course page design includes breadcrumb navigation, so learners can navigate to the course outline from any course page. Additionally, the outline page contains search functionality.

Another great feature is that the video player uses HLS (HTTP-Live streaming) video playback in the event that YouTube videos are unavailable. This helps streamline the user experience by continually monitoring the learner’s internet connection and adjusting playback so learners can view the highest quality video possible.

Whenever learners submit a proctored exam, they’ll now be able to receive an automated email to say that their exam has been received, when to expect their scores and whether they passed or failed and why.

Also, learners can now sort discussions by number of votes, most activity or recent activity.

In keeping with the commitment to creating accessible content for everyone, Open edX is now compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA.  A number of accessibility improvements such as easier navigation using keyboards, screen readers and other assistive technology has been implemented.

Updated Studio and Course Author Tools

Ginkgo brings some new features to Open edX Studio which provides course authors with an even smoother authoring experience. For example, we love that course teams using cohorts can now preview LMS content from the learner’s perspective.

A highly requested update that’s been rolled out is an update to bulk email – staff can now send bulk emails to learners based on their enrollment track, and they can reach all verified or audit track learners at any one time.

The Video ID field is available on the basic tab as well as the advanced tab of a video component, and transcripts for videos not hosted on Youtube can be uploaded on the basic tab.

“Peer assessment”, the problem component for open response assessments on the instructor dashboard, has been renamed to “Open Response Assessment”. This helps instructors locate and access open response assessments to view data about learners’ progress in completing responses and peer assessments.

Lastly, instructors can now use the ‘show results’ setting to hide problem results, such as exam scores, from learners either temporarily or permanently, until the exam due date; or request answers to surveys without revealing responses.

Deeper Insights and Analytics

The insights feature displays enrollment information about all courses in aggregate as well as detailed information about enrollment for each individual course.

Aggregate enrollment counts provides top-level metrics across all courses such as:

  • How many current and past enrollments there are across all courses
  • The current number of students enrolled in all courses
  • The net increase or decrease of enrollments across all courses in the past week.
  • The number of enrollments in the verified enrollment track across all courses.

In addition to viewing course metrics in aggregate, you can now look at the metrics of individual courses. Also, you can see the aggregate enrollment metrics plus: course name, course ID, total enrollment, and identify which learners have a passing grade for each individual course.

Course Summary reports can also now be downloaded as a (CSV) file.

Improved E-Commerce

The platform now only supports the integrated Otto receipt page. The redirect to LMS/shopping_cart is no longer in use.

Security has also been improved. Open edX now supports only the Secure Acceptance Silent Order POST integration for CyberSource. In order to use this integration, users must create a new profile in the business center.

The Course Administration Tool has been updated to use the user account associated with the OAuth credentials rather than individual users’ accounts.

The user associated with the OAuth credentials must have full create/read/update/delete permissions for the following models on LMS.

  • commerce.CommerceConfiguration
  • course_modes.CourseMode
  • credit.CreditCourse
  • credit.CreditRequest

Learn More

As you’ll see, Ginkgo packs a punch with over 30 new features and updates. To learn more, read the official Ginkgo release notes. If you’re an Appsembler customer, look forward to an email from us outlining when we will be upgrading your site. If you’re not, keep in mind that one of the benefits of being an Appsembler customer is that we’ll take care of these upgrades for you.

New to Open edX and want to learn more? Check out this blog post, Open edX: What it is, and Why You Should Switch Your LMS.