January 2013―Greetings! While everyone else was relaxing in the Keys and celebrating the New Year this past month, the Syllabus Geeks were hard at work making improvements to Concourse in advance of your next semester. Everything you see below is now in production for you to start enjoying.
Deprecated Features: Sectional Content and Pending Registrations
So, let's start with the "bad" news. Given a lack of integration support by the major SIS providers, complications with bulk creating courses from master templates, and frankly something that unnecessarily confused users and cluttered the interface, the ability to associate select syllabus items with only a subset of sections has been removed.
Now, that doesn't mean sections are no longer a part of our tool. In fact the concept of sections is still alive and well in Concourse, but not for the purposes of selectively presenting syllabus content. From here on out every course syllabus will show the same content to every section associated with it. In other words, depending on how you create your courses, you can determine if a course syllabus belongs to one or more sections at a time, all of which will see the same syllabus.
In addition, a remnant of the freemium Concourse offering of years ago has been removed: Pending Registrations. For now, registration is still a part of our tool though groups can now either be set to Deny or Allow for open registration; no longer Ask.
New Features: Flexible Schedules and Context Label LTI Option
Here comes the more exciting news. We rolled out one highly anticipated (and long awaited) syllabus editing upgrade, flexible schedule entries. Now you can create schedule entries that no longer require dates and times (Awesome!). Building out a schedule based on days, weeks, modules, or any other time frame is easy.
For instructors who are still interested in using iCalendar integration to synchronize syllabus appointments on their online calendars, all they need to do is simply hit "Include Appointment" with their schedule entry and they can enter the time and date information as before.
In other news, we've extended the LTI course identification options to include context_label. This is particularly helpful when integrating with Moodle as this is currently considered a unique identifier, and depending on your LMS setup, may be advantageous to you as well.
Among all the feature work of the last few months, we also upgraded two core plugins of our system, jQuery for visual enhancements, and TinyMCE for rich text editing. This makes Concourse more stable, reliable, and faster than ever before.
The upgrade to TinyMCE is of particular importance as this fixes a number of bugs associated with syllabus formatting and support for browsers, especially when cutting and pasting from Word. This also fixed the rogue less-then sign issue.
The other notable bug we went after was a fix for the lack of support for the Select All shortcut in IE9.
Well, that's a wrap on the work we did this holiday season. We hope you're all off to a good start this year and keep enjoying Concourse!