We are happy to say that ABC has successfully installed the latest version of Open edX named Hawthorn.

“We have been using Open edX Hawthorn to train our sales team online for a little over a month now. My team is enjoying the layout of Open edX courses and find it easy to use. Our company has already saved money by working with ABC as we have cut down on travel expenses now that ABC run our training online with automated testing in Open edX! Thanks to Dean and Terry for getting our Open edX platform to this level of professionalism.” – Marianne Lomberg, Commercial Director at K2 Medical

Hawthorn, released by Open edX in August after a year in development, comes with many enhancements from the earlier version named Open edX Gingko. The LMS and CMS have both been updated, and the ABC team feel that Hawthorn is super user-friendly, but then again so was Gingko. Either way, we love the updates, it feels and looks new but has remained the same at its core, which is great! Let’s hear what the good people over at edX have to say about Hawthorn.

Ned Batchelder, who heads up Open edX says “Installation on Ubuntu is the same as with previous releases. Devstack is now based on Docker rather than Virtualbox.”

Matt DuBose of edX gives us a thorough overview of Hawthorn and what changes have been made since the previous release Gingko. “This is our eighth Open edX release, and we’re excited to share it with our community,” he said. “The Hawthorn release includes a number of enhancements to the Learner profiles, the ORA component, the Files and Uploads page in Studio and many others. In addition, given many changes to privacy laws around the world (for example, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this release also includes privacy-related updates such as a user retirement feature that removes data in response to user requests for deletion.”

Enhancements to the LMS:

    • We’ve enhanced the learner profiles so that they now include the date a learner joined the platform and any course credentials they have received. This links to social media accounts and helps learners share information with one another.


    • Learners now have the ability to purchase all the courses in a program in just one transaction. This avoids the hassle of having to enter payment information multiple times.


    • New discussion notifications now send an email message the first time a learner’s post receives a comment. The message contains the comment and a link back to the course discussions for easy access.


    • Inline discussions are expanded by default. This change has led to a threefold increase in discussion participation.​



Enhancements to the Studio:

    • Course teams now have the ability to override learner scores for individual problems. This can be done through a setting on both the instructor dashboard and the Staff Debug viewer.


    • Course Reviews can now be viewed and added by learners from within the course experience. Open edX system administrators can configure a reviews provider such as CourseTalk to allows learners to leave reviews for a particular course.


    • Proctored exams have been improved, enabling course teams to add specific exam instructions in the Studio proctored exam settings.


    • The Files and Uploads page has been updated to significantly simplify the experience of adding all types of files to a course. This includes the ability to search and a Hide File Preview option.


    • Weekly course highlight messages can now be sent to encourage learners to remain engaged with self-paced courses. Specify a few highlights for each course section, and the platform sends out a weekly email message that lists these highlights. Courses on edx.org that enabled weekly highlights had higher verification rates than ones without.


    • The HTML components have been updated to give you even more easy formatting options such as aligning your text the way you want: aligned to the left or right, centered, or fully justified. Images to HTML components can be added right inside the HTML component itself, without having to upload files beforehand.


    • The ORA problem editor has now been improved. A new interface offers the same formatting options for the prompt that are available for HTML components. You no longer have to create a separate HTML component above the ORA assignment.


    • The Video Uploads page is enabled by default, course teams who partner with 3Play Media and cielo24, transcripts—including translations of transcripts—are added to Studio automatically.​​


Enhancements to Insights and Analytics:

    • Learner grades are now included in weekly data packages. In addition, the “Passing Learners” column has been added to the table on the Courses page in Insights so you can easily see how many learners are currently earning passing grades in your course.
    • We have overhauled the EdX Research Guide, improving the organization and updating the topics.


Source: https://open.edx.org/blog/all-about-hawthorn

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