Pressbooks Product Updates [December 2021]

Happy New Year from all of us at Pressbooks! We released several updates and product features in December, including significant updates to our Results for LMS product and accessibility improvements to our webbooks, themes, and PDF exports.

Results for LMS Update

The biggest changes we released in December were for our Results for LMS product. Pressbooks Results for LMS is an optional LTI add-on for hosted EDU networks which allows instructors to seamlessly record the results of student attempts on interactive Pressbooks content directly into a learning management system LMS gradebook based on the configured settings. The improvements we made in this latest release responded directly to user feedback from two semester-long pilots with instructors from a variety of North American institutions.

First, we have overhauled the LMS grade reporting user interface to make it easier for instructors to configure the graded activities in their chapter. Instead of adding activities one at a time by their unique ID number, the interface now displays all activities in a given chapter in a single view, along with check boxes to include them in the score report, as well as an ‘include all/remove all’ global option. We also added direct links to allow instructors to quickly view (and attempt) each activity, so that they don’t have to remember the specific content for a given activity and can more quickly update activities and their max score in a given chapter.

We’ve updated our guide with details on using these new configuration options.

Second, we added new book-level settings to make it easier for instructors to quickly set and change the grade configuration for multiple chapters in their book. When Results for LMS is enabled, the book-level LTI settings page will now include a ‘Results for LMS defaults’ section where users can set a default grading scheme, designate content as assignments (Canvas only), and set the points possible (Canvas only). In addition to setting book defaults, the book administrator can also apply these default values to all existing content in a book if they want to quickly change values everywhere.

Accessibility Changes and Bug Fixes

We also released a handful of smaller accessibility changes and bug fixes in December.

First, we improved the bookmark structure for digital PDF exports so that front matter, back matter, parts, and chapters are all correctly nested. The book’s table of contents and all front matter, back matter, and parts will now be displayed as level 1 bookmarks. Chapters inside visible parts will be displayed as level 2 bookmarks, and as level 1 bookmarks when the part is invisible. In addition, when two-level table of contents are enabled for a book, all top-level headings within chapters will be displayed with the corresponding bookmark level (level 2 when the chapter is a level 1 bookmark, and level 3 when the chapter is a level 2 bookmark).

Second, we added underlining to body links within the Aldine theme so that links are indicated by more than just colour:

We have also added a link to Pressbooks Directory to the global footer and improved the visibility of the show more/hide indicators for webbook metadata and book information in mobile views.

Finally, we fixed a number of small bugs, including restoring character encoding declarations to EPUB exports, removing empty arrays from the Pressbooks API, and ensuring that the ‘bulk delete book’ method works as expected for network managers on hosted EDU networks. For more details about these and other updates, please consult the release notes for Pressbooks: Releases · pressbooks/pressbooks · GitHub, Pressbooks-book: Releases · pressbooks/pressbooks-book · GitHub and Aldine: Releases · pressbooks/pressbooks-aldine · GitHub.

Upcoming Product Updates

Our next product update webinar will be held from 2-3pm ET on Thursday, January 27th. The meeting agenda and Zoom link can be found at Pressbooks Product Update Agendas - Google Docs. Hope to see many of you there!

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