WebLearn and TurnItIn report Oct 2013 -Jan 2014


iParadigms suffered a couple of outages of their TurnItIn Academic service during December which provoked outcry amongst  the UK user community. iParadigms have been very apologetic and have promised not to let this happen again; the Turnitin CEO will attend the UK User Group meeting in Birmingham in February. TurnItIn Admissions was not affected.

On a brighter note, it is now possible to obtain originality reports for PowerPoint presentations (both via submit.ac.uk and via WebLearn) and iParadigms have released a very swish iPad app which even allows ‘off-line’ marking – all marks are automatically synchronised once the device comes within range of a wireless network.

Further good news for Turnitin users is that the Originality Report download is now in colour – an enhancement that has been requested amongst the Turnitin community for a long time. There have been other minor enhancements to the submit.ac.uk user interface.


Have you got a suggestion to improve WebLearn? If so you may like to contribute to the WebLearn User Voice feedback service which is also available from the WebLearn Welcome page: “Suggest an Improvement”

There have been two upgrades to WebLearn since the last report (2.8-ox8 and 2.8-ox9). The move to ‘ox8 was a bumper edition with a huge amount of improvements in many areas, however, ‘ox9 was a more modest affair. The highlights are a deployments of new versions of the Sign-up and Tests tools.

Improvements and New Features in WebLearn 2.8-ox8

  • Brand new version of Sign-up Tool
    • notifications setting have been overhauled with the ability to choose which coordinators receive messages
    • ‘Announce Availability’ is now not ticked by default
    • ‘Default Email Notification’ setting on ‘Create Meeting’ page is now not ticked by default
    • there is now a ‘category’ filter on sign-up tool home page
  • Updates to Graduate Training (SES) Tool
    • there is now a Vitae Research Developer Framework view of courses
  • Resources
    • allow a file or folder to be made available to ‘All Oxford Users’
    • there is now a link to the Recycle Bin at the top of the tool (in grey bar)
    • one can no longer zip the root folder
    • a warning is issued if the file submitted to ‘upload new version’ has a different name to the file it is replacing
    • file browser (‘Browse server’) now works on Internet Explorer 10
  • Assignments
    • there is no longer a default Turnitin repository set
    • web pages are rewritten so that non-secure blocked content can be seen
  • Forums
    • web pages are rewritten so that non-secure blocked content can be seen
  • Site Management
    • site redirects can now be hidden from users
  • Home Tool
    • ‘Options’ page is now the correct size so that the WYSIWYG editor is not truncated (and the Save button is visible)
  • ‘My Active Sites’ List
    • ‘mouse-over text’ will display the target URL to allow disambiguation
  • Create / Duplicate Site
    • one is no longer asked to supply the site title for a second time when creating a site from a template
    • permissions within hidden folders are now copied when duplicating a site
    • reading lists are no longer copied when a site is duplicated
  • iPad
    • HTML WYSIWYG editor is now available
    • wiki pages can now be edited
  • Schedule (Calendar)
    • the bug which prevented one from subscribing to Google calendars has now been fixed

Improvements and New Features in WebLearn 2.8-ox9

  • A brand new version of the Tests (Mneme) Tool has been released and offers the following improvements over the previous version:
    • Question pools are now copied during site duplication
    • Inform user about duplicate or faulty questions which make an assessment invalid
    • Many improvements to the UI (user interface)
    • Add ability to “shuffle choices” via test settings
    • Highlight or show in red when an assessment has 0 points
    • Add ability to move one or more questions (in bulk) from one part to another
  • Improvement to Sign-up Tool
    • ICAL (ics) attachments which are sent out when a student signs up for a meeting can now be used with OWA (MS Outlook web access) and Gmail (via web browser)
    • Better performance on sites with a large number of events
  • General Improvements
    • IMS Basic LTI has been extended to work with anonymous logins
    • Graduate Training Tool:
      • Module administrators can now confirm individual module components separately
      • The tree of departments now has less levels  of nesting when a department does not contain sub-subunits
    • HTML pages in Resources can be forced to contain an HTML 4 <!DOCTYPE> declaration so that browsers are obliged to render the page in ‘standards mode’ (as opposed to ‘quirks mode‘). Please note that in the next major release (at Easter 2014) we hope to add this declaration to all HTML pages if it is not already present

Training and Guidance

This term’s programme of training has been announced: http://wp.me/p1K8WQ-Qx

Projects / Plans

Work on the Student Enrolment System (SES) III project has now completed. This project is led by the academic divisions and is funded by SSPB and has made improvements to the Graduate Training (SES) tool within WebLearn.

The much delayed Groups Store project looks like it is just about to start. This project is being carried out by the Identity and Access Management (IAM) team and is due to complete phase 1 by July 2014. WebLearn integration will be forthcoming and at this stage we hope to offer basic integration by Jan 2015.

We plan to move the underlying WebLearn from version 2.8 of Sakai to version 10 of Sakai in time for the next academic year. This will bring many enhancements including:

  • a student dashboard – this will consolidate notifications, due dates, messages and the like into a single place
  • Enhanced ‘Chat’ tool: click on a person’s name and instigate a chat session
  • New IMS LTI 2 tool: “incorporates more sophisticated outcomes reporting and a rich extensions architecture”.
  • ‘Neo-portal’ – a completely redesigned UI within which Sakai pages / tools are displayed. This makes navigation far easier and offers great improvements for students. This would address one of the main complaints raised in the DIGE and WLSE projects. Neo-portal will have to be enhanced to embrace Oxford’s hierarchy / devolved administration work will have to be updated to work with Neo-portal. This represents a significant piece of work
  • Lessons tool: allows a week by week scheduling of activities, see: http:www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5H7Oa2YlNc for a demo. Usage includes:
    • offer structured material by unit or week – Lessons links to quizzes and assignments, and handles common types of content.
    • define sequences of material – this is something that has been missing since the days of Bodington.
    • require certain items to be completed and limit access until pre-requisites are satisfied.
    • OER import from other systems that support IMS Common Cartridge.
  • Improved reading lists with ability to reorder
  • Comprehensive Entity Broker access to virtually all tools providing excellent opportunity for the writing of custom JavaScript pages and mobile apps

We also plan to work with IT Services’ Infrastructure and Hosting team to improve the resilience of WebLearn. When the work is complete this should offer greater service stability and quicker recovery times in the event of an outage.

Posted in Sakai, Turnitin, WebLearn | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “WebLearn and TurnItIn report Oct 2013 -Jan 2014”

  1. […] blog post at http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/adamweblearn/2014/01/weblearn-and-turnitin-report-oct-2013-jan-2014/ describes recent upgrades to WebLearn, as well as new features that will be coming over the summer […]

  2. […] blog post at http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/adamweblearn/2014/01/weblearn-and-turnitin-report-oct-2013-jan-2014/ describes recent upgrades to WebLearn, as well as new features that will be coming over the summer […]