Mahara 1.9 upgrade pending

Mahara logo

Update: eWorks is pleased to announce that the TrainingVC e-portfolio feature has been upgraded to Mahara 1.9.2.

TrainingVC is a fast, reliable and low-cost learning management platform that provides users with a seamless learning experience. But our clients do not always unlock the full feature set of the system. This may be due to a strategic focus on a specific set of requirements, or an incomplete understanding of the system capabilities and their value. It’s a little like owning an amazing camera with a bunch of functions that you never use—with just a quick look at the manual you might be surprised by the difference those attributes can make to both your experience and the experience of your clients.

A good example is how often the integrated e-portfolio application, Mahara goes under the radar. Mahara is an extremely powerful e-portfolio system, which offers support to learners in many ways. eWorks’ clients use this feature to:

  • Manage recognition of prior learning (RPL) and assessment evidence
  • Manage learner CVs and resumes
  • Organise wide networks for current learners, staff and alumni
  • Facilitate reflective journals
  • Create group assignment hubs.

Upcoming improvements in Mahara 1.9

An e-portfolio provides the perfect opportunity to add value for your users, and with an upgrade to Mahara version 1.9 pending, the following improvements will shortly be available to TrainingVC clients:

  • Full-text search support for MySQL with Elasticsearch
  • A series of accessibility improvements to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)
  • Feedback feature to give and receive feedback on portfolio pages
  • Profile completion progress bar, to encourage users to provide their full details
  • Spam protection enhancements and improved security in general
  • Support for Creative Commons 4.0
  • Enhanced file sorting function in the Folder block: ascending or descending, with an option to set the default sort order
  • Option to download an entire folder of files as a ZIP file.

We will keep you updated on this upgrade. For more information, please contact us or follow us on Twitter.

At last! A learning management system tailored to the VET sector

Exciting new additions to the TrainingVC learning management system are making grading easier for teachers, simplifying course management for administrators, and improving user experience for everyone.

TrainingVC logo

Teachers can:

  • Review and provide inline feedback by annotating PDF files within browsers
  • Allocate student assignments to different markers, and control when marks are released to individual students
  • Provide improved feedback for learners through certainty-based marking in quizzes
  • Quickly edit course activities and resources across all devices
  • Easily add a single activity course format.

Administrators enjoy:

  • Creating and managing bulk courses more efficiently
  • Simpler course and category management
  • Creating additional name fields
  • Convenient import/export using XML files
  • The option to restore large courses.

Everyone loves:

  • A user-friendly TinyMCE editor with improved file management
  • Easy access to Microsoft SkyDrive files
  • Improved calendar handling with multiple calendar support
  • Simplified username and password recovery
  • Better responsive design across devices.

Times are changing…

Over the past 18 months, a significant shift has taken place in the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Open source software delivered via the cloud has been embraced due to greater recognition of the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of this approach. TrainingVC is the learning management system for the Australian VET sector. It is a powerful integration of the world’s leading open source EdTech applications, including:

  • Moodle
  • Alfresco
  • Mahara
  • BigBlueButton.

And now, as a standard inclusion, it also offers a search-and-deploy integration with the VET sector’s learning content marketplace, VETCommons.

Purpose-built and Australian-designed and hosted, it represents the next generation of learning management systems, offering features that simply are not available in traditional systems. For more information about the new features available, MoodleHQ provides an excellent Moodle 2.6 feature video library.

My eWorks – new administrator portal

eWorks is pleased to announce the release of its new administrator services portalMy eWorks. This site provides TrainingVC administrators with a single point of access to eWorks’ sites and services. In time, the service will be rolled out to all of eWorks’ clients.

Features

The features of the portal include:

  • Direct access to your TrainingVC sites
  • Access to Google Analytics
  • Status overview (active users, data usage)
  • Direct access to the Zone and the support desk.

Additionaly, you will soon be able to access your LCMS dashboard from the portal. This feature is currently being developed and we will let you know as soon as it is released.

To access the Google Analytics feature, a valid email address is required. Please provide this address to us via the support desk, accessible from My eWorks.

For further information, we invite TrainingVC administrators to log in to the portal.

New support desk – Zendesk

As a result of feedback from our 2013 survey, eWorks has implemented a new support desk. Access via My eWorks will make it easier for our customers to log tickets and check the status of their previous tickets.

eWorks is confident that these changes will enhance your experience with TrainingVC, but we would love to hear your feedback. Contact us with any comments, queries and suggestions – or message us through the portal.

BigBlueButton upgrade in TrainingVC

BigBlueButton logo

TrainingVC’s live classrooms just got even better! BigBlueButton, the open-source provider of the learning management platform’s classroom integration feature, has responded to customer requests by releasing a new version with six major features:

  1. Recording: The recording of a session now includes audio, webcams (all of them), chat, presentation, and desktop sharing.
  2. Layout Manager: BigBlueButton now enables users to choose from a number of preset layouts to quickly adapt to different modes of learning.
  3. Text tool for whiteboard: Presenters can now annotate their slides with text.
  4. Accessiblity for screen readers: BigBlueButton adds accessibility by supporting screen readers such as JAWS (version 11+) and NVDA. A list of keyboard shortcuts has been added to make it easier to navigate through the interface using the keyboard.
  5. LTI Support: BigBlueButton is now compliant with the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) 1.0 standard. This means any LTI consumer can integrate with BigBlueButton without requiring custom plug-ins.
  6. Support for LibreOffice 4.0: BigBlueButton now uses LibreOffice 4.0 for conversion of MS Office documents. (Upload of PDF documents is still recommended to provide best results).

BigBlueButton also has a consolidated Users window for easier session management, and a more consistent user interface (including updated skin and icons) to help new users get started quickly.

If you’re looking for a learning management platform with the latest live classroom features and tools, take a look at the TrainingVC.