Monthly Digital Education Systems Updates
These monthly updates provide an overview of the new features, bug-fixes, and improvements made to Digital Education Systems. DE Systems colleagues work with software vendors to define user enhancement requests which feed into an ongoing development environment for these systems.
Please see Minerva Monthly Updates, for updates to Minerva. For Microsoft 365, we recommend visiting Microsoft's release notes website for the latest updates; only key Microsoft updates are listed below.
Padlet | Slideshow
With one click you can now view and present your Padlet as a Slideshow.
For more information, see Create a Padlet slideshow
Turnitin | Improvements when moving around the assignment inbox,
When you have finished viewing a submission in the Turnitin Feedback Studio, you are returned to your position in the inbox and will no longer return the top of the inbox.
Turnitin | Improved mobile device view
Students can now scroll to locate their Submit button when using a device with a small screen
Turnitin | Changes to default class expiry date
Turnitin have updated the default class expiry date to 12 months (instead of the previous 6 month period).
When a Turnitin assignment is created within a Minerva module, a 'class' is created and the default end date for this used to be 6 months, which resulted in classes expiring sooner than desired. When a Turnitin class expires, though it is still available and visible it, becomes read-only and can only be edited by making a request via the IT Service Desk.
The extended expiry date should improve workflows and work better with our assessment processes.
PebblePad | Page Verification in Nested Workbooks & other updates
The following have now been updated in PebblePad:
- Page Verification in Nested Workbooks
- LTI 1.3 Milestone: Synchronise groups/sets and grades
- Update to the Brightspace LTI 1.3 integration
- Wooclap now supported in embed blocks
You can learn more about all these feature in the PebblePad Release Notes 2023.2
Collaborate | Whiteboard recording improvements.
The January update addresses recording issues that are specifically impacting the whiteboard, such as seeing just “…” in the recording, seeing highly blurred content, seeing greyscale gradient fills, or seeing no whiteboard content at all.
Microsoft 365 | New Chat features. Wikis being retired.
Teams: Create a new chat to send to a group and you can quickly add people to chats using the @mention when typing a message. E
Expanded emoji reactions (very popular!).
Raise hand is also moving to be one of the main items on the toolbar:
OneNote/Teams: Wikis are being retired - OneNote is replacing the Wiki feature in Microsoft Teams as it gives more options and integration. You can export existing Wiki content to OneNote.
Padlet | Set your notification preferences.
You can configure your notifications according to your preferences in your Padlet Settings. You can receive notfications when:
- A post is published on a padlet you follow.
- A comment is added to any post on a padlet you follow and moderate
- A reaction is added to any post on a padlet you follow and moderate.
For more information, see notification settings on Padlet's blog.
PebblePad | Embed Microsoft Forms. New content editor in ATLAS improves accessibility features.
It is now possible to:
- Embed digital badges and micro credentials directly into a page.
- Embed Microsoft Forms directly into a page.
A new content editor in ATLAS improves accessibility features by making it more compatible with screen readers and keyboard-only usage. There are also more text styling options.
You can learn more about the updates in the PebblePad 2023.1 release notes.
Top Hat | Improvements.
Students can now search for content, using the Content Search feature.
Other improvements include:
- Enhanced Image Resolution
- Mobile: Dark Mode for Android
- Mobile: Textbook Questions enhancements
PebblePad | Ability to embed content in a response (to a workbook or template).
A highly requested, and anticipated, feature from educators is to provide a more intuitive way for learners to add extra third party content into a workbook or template response. This might be a video, collaborative whiteboard, data visualisation, map, digital badge, software interface design, music, presentation or something else. In fact, PebblePad supports over 50 embed services to explore using with this new block.
Now anyone completing a workbook or template has full flexibility to add external supported content directly into their response. This will display the content directly in-line within the workbook or template and, by using other blocks, increase opportunities for learners to reflect or evaluate the external content they are adding. Learn more about this feature in PebblePad's release notes.
Other notable changes
- Improved wording of external account / assessor email to make their first few steps even clearer for creating a new account and setting a password.
- Resolved an issue with passwords where previously users who were setting a new password with a space in were being told their passwords were not valid.
- Resolved an issue for printing PDF versions with assets or files containing identical filenames caused an error to occur.
- Adding a Resource button and the Asset and Resource store filters all now correctly announce their name and status to a screen reader.
- PDF exports now contain the most relevant feedback for capability blocks.
- Resolved issues with exporting when there are submissions with the same name in different cases (e.g., 'Year 1 Workbook' and 'year 1 workbook'), where a submission has multiple copies of a file attached, and when the submission title has diacritic marks (e.g., ñ, ö, é, ľ).
- Increased the export size support for assets larger than 2GB.
- Reports will show date/time information in a consistent format based on your language preference.
- When an assessor hasn't added their First or Last name to PebblePad, the Workbook Page report will now show their username.
- Active and non-active manager roles will now be correctly announced to a screen reader.
Users can now unsubscribe from notification emails.
Top Hat | New purpose built assessment creation tool. Mobile offline mode retired.
There have been a number of new features, feature improvements and retired features. The key ones are:
New Assessment Space
The Assessment Space is a new, purpose-built assessment creation tool that makes building and managing exams and quizzes easier. In the Assessment Space, instructors can:
- Create new questions
- Import questions from other areas of their course
- For select titles, access a cataloged bank of pre-built questions that can be filtered by criteria such as chapter, difficulty, Bloom’s taxonomy level, and other factors
- Protect the integrity of their assessments by randomizing and renumbering questions for easy exam versioning
- Delete and adjust question point values in bulk
Changes to the account registration process
The email verification flow has been changed, users are now required to verify their email addresses during the account registration process.
Mobile Offline Mode to be retired
The mobile offline mode was developed as a solution to concerns about connectivity challenges in some classrooms and how this might impact students’ ability to participate in Top Hat classroom sessions.
However, in light of low offline usage rates and user feedback regarding the feature, Top Hat have decided to retire offline mode until they can release an alternative that better meets the needs of users.
For more information see, Top Hat's December release notes.
Gradescope | Improvements to time limits.
There are now additional options for student extensions for individual students. Instructors can also remove a time limit or set an absolute time.
Padlet | Changes to navigation bar and new backgrounds.
- The navigation bar in Padlet has been moved from the top of the screen to the right hand side of the screen.
- Users will notice new background choices.
PebblePad | Workaround for adding Microsoft content.
It is not possible to use the embed block to embed Microsoft content (e.g. Word documents). The current workaround is to upload the document instead where possible through the media picker block (this is only available on Portfolios if you are trying to add this to a Resource to be viewed in teaching materials you would need to use a file upload).
Top Hat | New user interface for Non-Monitored tests.
Users of Top Hat will notice a new look user interface when creating Non-Monitored tests, along with the new creation space.
Other updates include:
- Dark Mode for Mobile: To take advantage of dark mode, students must download or update to the latest version of the Top Hat app.
- Bulk adjustment of question scores within a test.
Turnitin | Inbox now displays 100 rows.
The assignment inbox now displays up to 100 rows on a page, helping users with larger cohorts to move between pages quicker.
Microsoft 365 | Enhancements to Polls & Teams Meetings.
Microsoft Outlook: The FindTime add-in will now be a native feature called Scheduling Polls. Scheduling Polls will be enabled by default for all Outlook users. People can use Scheduling Polls to choose specific time slots and share those with people inside and outside their organisation so they can schedule a time with them. This is rolling out to users now.
Sign Language experience in Teams Meetings: Microsoft are introducing a new Sign Language experience in Teams Meetings to help meeting participants who use sign language to prioritise interpreters and other sign language users so that they remain visible in in a static, central location on the meeting stage with higher video quality. Specific sign language users inside the organisation – such as regular interpreters – can be prioritised across all meetings by adding them to a prioritised signer list under Settings > Accessibility in the Teams app. Sign language view is a personal, user-level setting, and is visible only for those who have turned it on. It will not be shown to the rest of the meeting participants. Microsoft will begin rolling out early December to the Teams Desktop application and expect to complete by mid-December.
Padlet | Enhancements to help your workflow.
You can now clean up your recents list by click the 3-dots button and selecting Remove from recents.
Other improvements include:
- New wallpapers
- Each Padlet will now display an action bar which hosts all the Padlet action buttons. The action bar will appear to the right side of your desktop window, or bottom of your mobile device screen.
PebblePad | A number of minor fixes.
A minor release in October addressed a selection of smaller fixes and changes across PebblePad.
- Fixed a Google Drive paging issue so users can view and select any file from all of their external files for synching.
- Minor fixes and improvements to the Dutch language pack across the platform.
- Reducing timeouts with account deletion and purging for large volumes of data.
- PDF exports no longer show a blank space for approval status when there has been no capability feedback set.
- LTI 1.3 improvements to resolve issues with a single user across multiple domains.
- Resolved a progress tracking synchronisation issue between ATLAS and nested workbooks.
Top Hat | New Features.
Top Hat have introduced some new features and enhancements this month:
- URL Content IDs: Every content item within a course now contains a content ID in its URL.
- Mobile Notebook & Highlighting: Students can easily access a record of their highlights and notes in their Notebook.
Class Teams | Create a Minerva Class Team directly from within a Minerva module.
Staff can now create Microsoft Class Teams directly within Minerva modules and organisations. This has replaced the method of requesting Class Teams for modules through the IT request catalogue.
Instructors in Minerva can create their own Class Teams on demand at the click of a button, and directly within Minerva. Enrolments will be automatically managed based on the enrolment status within the Minerva module/organisation and are updated immediately in the relevant Team.
Learning resources and assessments must continue to be held in Minerva. Where Microsoft Teams is used to enrich the student experience, this should primarily act as an additional learning space for communication, interaction, and collaboration, and not as a repository of learning resources.
Why has this change happened?
The previous method of creating a Class Team was on request, had a lead time and didn't allow for students that weren't officially taking the module in Banner to have access to the Class Team.
The ability to create Class Teams via Minerva will bring a better, more integrated experience, where staff and students can access Class Teams directly from their Minerva module (including merged modules) and introduces the ability to create Teams based on the programme of study, or on a year-based faculty/school basis.
How will this impact me?
If you have previously requested Class Teams for modules via the IT request catalogue you will no longer need to do this. If you are an instructor on a module in Minerva, you will be able to create the Class Team yourself.
Where should I go for support?
Guidance for staff on how to enable and activate a Class Team is available on this site. If you have any issues with the process or require further support with Class Teams, you should log a ticket with the IT Service Desk.
- Class Teams can only be created in Ultra Course View. You won’t be able to create a Team from within Original modules or organisations (2021/22 or earlier, or non-year based organisations that haven’t been converted to Ultra Course View e.g. a school or faculty).
- Class Teams that have been created for previous years will no longer be updated with changes to student enrolments.
- Only staff enrolled as instructors will be able to create a Class Team. They will be assigned as an owner. Assistants and module builders are assigned as members of the team and cannot create Class Teams.
- Non-teaching staff enrolled on a module (eg SES staff) will be added to a Class Team as a member of that team. Where access is not necessary, staff can hide these from their list of teams by clicking the three dots to the right of the Class Team name and selecting Hide. Staff will also receive invites to Class Team Meetings if utilised. We advise staff to decline these invites.
- If you require a non-synched Team which doesn’t relate to a taught module, merged module, or programme of study you should continue to request these via the IT request catalogue.
Collaborate | Download names improved.
Users who download content from within Collaborate will notice improved naming conventions.
Learning Analytics StREAM@Leeds | Dashboard changes to include student photo and marks.
Staff can now navigate the StREAM@Leeds dashboard to see photos and 2021/22 assessment marks for their students when logged in either on campus or when using the virtual windows desktop.
Microsoft 365 | Embed Stream on SharePoint content. Edit meeting transcripts.
The ability to embed content (via an embed code) and the ability to edit meeting transcripts is now available in the new Stream on SharePoint (a feature which has been requested by multiple academics to be on feature par with Classic Stream).
Microsoft are planning to release a pilot migration tool by the end of this year which we will begin working to plan a pilot test once available.
Padlet | Changes to collaborating with Padlet's.
Now instead of being automatically added to a Padlet for collaboration, you will be sent an invitation that you can either accept (opt-in) or ignore.
PebblePad | New Features.
PebblePad's latest release introduced some new features:
- Select user language within ATLAS - switch available your User Settings.
- Asset store - simplified 'order by' menu - less clutter.
- New embed object -Datawrapper- a new third party tool for embed blocks.
To learn more about these new features, see PebblePad's 2022.9 release notes.
Top Hat | New Features.
- Mobile: Push Notifications (iOS & Android) - New mobile push notifications deliver timely reminders to users of our iOS and Android app, letting them know of upcoming due dates for graded assignments in Top Hat. This includes pages assigned as homework, as well as tests.
- On-the-Fly Whiteboard Sketch - You will now be able to create an on-the-fly whiteboard sketch at anytime during your presentation.
- Assessment Space: Quick Add - quick-add feature to quickly and easily add questions or text.
To learn more about these new features, see Top Hat's September release notes
Athena | New System.
Athena TDM is Blackboard's Training & Development Manager. It allows non-Leeds staff and students to access courses (e.g. pre-sessionals).
Athena TDM has now been set-up, users can now self-sign-up via a custom login page.
LeedsforLife APT Systems | Changes to the LfL workbook & LfL systems.
Since the new LeedsforLife systems (PebblePad, StREAM@Leeds and Microsoft Bookings) were launched in autumn 2021, many of you have been in touch to tell us about some changes you’d like to see.
The LeedsforLife project team, colleagues in the Digital Education Service and OD&PL, as well as the team at PebblePad, have been working hard to resolve the challenges you identified.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve achieved so far:
Workbook content is overwhelming for tutors to review
All information a tutor needs to facilitate a one-to-one tutorial is now available within a single ‘My APT’ section. This makes a distinction between the APT meeting agenda and the wider workbook resources which students can use, consider and submit (if and when) appropriate to them and you.
I can’t access a student’s workbook unless they submit it
To ensure that tutors can access workbooks for all their tutees PebblePad has launched a new feature called ‘Assessor Submissions’. This allows tutors to open workbooks regardless of whether a tutee has already viewed it.
We would like to see our tutees arranged by year of study
Each tutor will now have a separate and easy to find workspace for each of their tutee year groups for the start of the 22/23 academic year.
I need a tool to help me easily arrange a meeting with my tutees
Microsoft Bookings – Book with Me has recently had a visual refresh and has been redesigned with simpler scheduling in mind. These changes make it much easier for tutors to use the tool to arrange and manage their meetings through Office365.
I would like to be able to view the following student data: a photo of my tutee, their course and year of study, their ratified module marks
The student profile page within StREAM@Leeds will allow tutors to view all this information.
Gradescope | New look for the Create Assignment workflow.
The user interface for the Create Assignment workflow has been given a new look.
Create Assignments has moved to a separate page to provide instructors more screen space and allow more space for upcoming section management features. Gradescope guidance has been updated to reflect this change.
In addition to this change, users will also find:
- New base image options for code autograders
- New test case status settings for code autograders
PebblePad | Bug Fixes.
PebblePad language support now includes Dutch.
There are also a number of other bug fixes, for more information see PebblePad's 2022.9 release notes.
Top Hat | New look for the navigation header. Course Archiving.
Top Hat has updated the navigation header that runs along the top of the screen. The functionalities of the old header remain, this update is for a fresh new look.
Old Top Hat Header:
New Top Hat Header:
The biggest change to note is the location of Course Settings and Add Educator buttons, these no longer sit under your name on the far right hand side, they now sit next to the join code.
Visit the Top Hat Success Center for more information on the new Top Hat Navigation Header.
Users who have courses that were created prior to 1st January 2019 will see a notification banner alerting them that their course(s) will be archived.
Zoom | Shared/Project accounts no longer able to login.
Users will no longer be able to log-in to Zoom with a shared/ project account. Zoom was moved to Azure authentication, which requires DUO multi-factor authentication. DUO multi-factor cannot work with shared accounts by default.
To find out more about other Zoom updates, see Zoom Desktop Client release notes.
Collaborate | Improvements.
- Advanced features powered by Chime – breakout groups and polls
- Enhanced noise reduction with Chime
- Now possible to pause breakout groups without closing
- Now have the option to anonymise chat mentions in recordings
Labster | New simulation labs released.
New simulation labs have been released this month covering organic chemistry and anatomy and physiology.
New labs released include:
- Identification of an Organic Compound by Spectroscopy: How fast can you escape?
- Aromatic Compound Nomenclature: Naming benzene’s derivatives
- Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution: Mechanisms and resonances
- Synthetic Polymers: Discover their impact on everyday life
- Introduction to the Male Reproductive System: Dive inside the duct system!
- Introduction to the Central Nervous System: Explore your body’s command center!
- Skeletal Muscle Movement: Build your own muscle system
- Body Planes and Sections: Locate a chimpanzee’s injuries
More information on the new simulations is available from Labster.
Gradescope | Improvements.
- The Gradescope website has been localised into French.
- There are now new base image options for code autogrades.
- The Mobile app for Gradescope has been released and is currently being piloted.
Microsoft 365 | Upload PDF or Word based quizzes into Microsoft Forms.
Convert Word/PDF document to a Quiz in Microsoft Forms. Users will now be able to upload quizzes into Forms directly with a document that is in PDF or Word format, rather than duplicating each question manually into Forms, saving more time (should be rolling out to all users by end of July).
Speaker Coach in Teams: Learn more about Speaker Coach
Improvements to Teams Web Client: For users who use Teams via the web browser (Edge and Chrome only), there are improvements to the experience including improved pre-join, dynamic view, and updated control bar (should be rolling out to all users by end of July)
Padlet | Prevent others from copying your Padlets. Hide/Show Padlets on your dashboard.
It is now possible to turn off remakes for Padlets. Remakes for Padlets can be disabled in the settings.
You will also notice three new dashboard tabs, click on the links to go to Padlet's blog learn more about each one:
- The Shared tab has been relocated and redesigned to contain only the padlets you are a collaborator on.
- The Recents tab has been relocated and redesigned to contain every padlet you’ve visited in the last thirty days.
- The Bookmarks tab will help you manage and organize all the padlets you want to keep track of.
As part of the changes to the dashboard:
- You can decide if you want to hide or show Padlet's on your dashboard.
- Users can also hide Org wide Padlet's from their dashboards.
PebblePad | Setting a banner across an entire workbook/portfolio. Submission Viewer 2 is the new default.
This update brought a number of welcomed features and enhancements:
- Submission Viewer 2 is now the default for new assignments. Submission Viewer 2 will now have the full functionality of Submission Viewer 1, plus the superior user experience that enables navigation from one submission to the next. All NEW assignments (as of 29th) should be set up using Submission Viewer 2. PebblePad are retaining Submission Viewer 1 functionality (for now) so there is no requirement for assignments currently on this to switch over.
- You can now set a banner across an entire workbook or portfolio, rather than having to set Banners at individual page level.
- New Banner images available.
- Easier sharing options.
For more information on these updates and notes on other smaller enhancements, see PebblePad's 2022.6 release notes.
Zoom | New Whiteboard.
A new whiteboard has been introduced. Guidance on Zoom's support website provides more detail:
To find out more about Zoom updates, see Zoom Desktop Client release notes.