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Bulletins - missing features in new layout

I was encouraged to post this in ideas by support, but it's really a cry to bring back old features.

While the new layout of bulletins (in courses) is easily accessible, it lacks several important features of the "old" layout:

1. The lack of formatting possibilities prevents the highlighting of text (bold/italics) which is obviously useful for subjects, headings, important parts of a text and so on.

2. The lack of ability to edit source prevents the addition of hyperlinks, embedded content (other than youtube), etc.

3. It is apparently no longer possible to modify the activation/deactivation date/time of a bulletin. This was really useful if you wanted to add important messages in advance and/or make your bulletin board easier to moderate (by removing outdated bulletins automatically). Now it seems you have to delete outdated bulletins by hand? Not good!

4. Bulletins are now owned by the person posting the bulletin. Meaning that no others can edit the bulletin. The only option left if you discover that a colleague have posted something wrong, is to delete that bulletin and post a new one. Losing all comments along the way. Previously, anybody with the same role or higher, could edit a bulletin. Given that a lot of courses have several teachers/admins involved (at least at our school), the editing rights should be based on roles - like before.

I guess the reason why you've stripped this feature down is to make it easier to quickly post a message? However, getting the message across is also important. Sometimes bold or large letters help. How about bringing the old editor up if you choose to edit your message? It could be similar to the one that still exists if you publish news on the front page.

  • Guest
  • Aug 11 2016
  • Future consideration
Country NO
Category Messages and notifications
  • Sep 22, 2016

    Admin response

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas.

    Based on a lot of user research we have made huge changes to itslearning for back to school this year. itslearning now has a more modern look and feel, a navigation focusing around core tasks, features has been revamped, and features that has been holding us back has been removed.

    We will continue to enhance itslearning, and you will see several changes to the new course bulletins over the next months, e.g. the option of adding resources and pictures.

    1. The new bulletins has been design to facilitate faster and easier sharing of information that can be accessed on all browsers and on multiple devices. Just like many other notification systems, we have focused on content. Bulletins are designed for sharing of small posts. When you create longer texts that needs formatting to be structured in a good way you can e.g. use notes and link to bulletins (coming in one of the next release). That said, we are of course always evaluating how new features are being received so the future is not carved in stone.
    2. Embedding of content works for links. Please try again.
    3. It’s coming this autumn (Q4). Pleases stay tuned.
    4. We are following this closely and evaluating if we should change it. Bulletin posts are however normally short updates, and when something changes you could just as well post a new short message, e.g. like we do on Facebook and twitter. 

    I’ve attached a sketch from one of the next releases.

    UPDATE 21/9-16:

    Thanks for all the feedback! Most of the issues you guys address is commented on in my last admin response.

    As I wrote in August; we’ll add more features to bulletins in the near future. Based on user research and valuable feedback like you guys provide we’ll continue to tweak the bulletin board to make it best suitable for its purpose.  Please note that the bulletins are meant for small short posts, it was never design as a “content repository”. E.g. the Planner is a more suited tool for find learning resources that you’ve previously used.   

    Regarding @Mr Green’s comment #2: embedding of URL’s is supported with the oembed and open graph protocol. Whenever a links is put into a bulletin, we try to embed it using one of these two protocols. It all depends on the 3rd party service, as it will respond with information on how it should be embedded. We’ll take the request for html tag embedding with us in future work.

    UPDATE 22/9-16:

    @Jeff: Q4 :-) 

  • Attach files
  • Admin
    Product Team commented
    17 Feb, 2017 12:42pm


    Pictures in bulletins are comming 27th/28th February :-) 

  • Admin
    Product Team commented
    27 Jan, 2017 10:08am

    Hi guys,

    Linking to resources in bulletins was released in December, and we’re currently working on enabling pictures in bulletins. Post scheduling is next on the list.  We’re planning on releasing both these features in Q1. Pictures in bulletins will most likely be out in a couple of week.

    Sorry this has taken so long.

  • Tobias Strindlund commented
    12 Jan, 2017 11:06am

    A lot of these planned features are also highly requested in Swedish schools.

  • Caroline Coster commented
    23 Dec, 2016 09:36pm

    Apparently there is now no date for the reinstatement of the date feature of the bulletin - despite it having been promised for last Autumn.  The lack of listening by Its learning development to its current customers (particularly those in the UK) is the major reason for my termination of our school's contract with its learning.

  • Jeff Thornton commented
    20 Sep, 2016 05:30pm

    Is there a date for this feature to rollout?

  • Mr Green commented
    15 Sep, 2016 10:36am

    I agree with all of the comments thus far - we urgently need this functionality back; it was present in previous releases and why it has been removed dies logic. Certainly I can never remember being asked if functionality I have used on a daily basis should be removed in a future realease

    Regarding the feedback from "admin" above

    1. Many/most students skim read text, so the ability to highlight things is a key feature allowing teachers to get the important points over. Of course, we could use a note, but unless we can link to the correct one, we cannot guarantee that students will read the correct one. Most systems with a common look and feel (e.g. Facebook) allow this highlighting/linking. We need this ability to be reinstated.

    2. Please give specific examples of how to embed content. Thus far, despite concerted efforts, I have been unable to do this (e.g. HTML tags do not work for me).

    3. We had the ability to set activation/deactivation dates.  Without these we cannot set work in the future to cater for staff absence. We cannot plan ahead - a significant problem for any teacher. This is a MAJOR problem for us and is unnecessarily increasing workloads and stress.

    4. All teachers with access to the course MUST be able to edit any bulletin. When people are off sick, those who are covering the lessons, need to be able to edit the other teacher's messages if necessary, Again, we could do this in the past - we need this feature back.

    In short, the over-simplification of the bulletin board, has reduced the usefulness of It's Learning as a teaching tool, it's primary function. If we want Facebook or Twitter, we will use those platforms. What we want is a configurable VLE that supports us, rather than hinders us, in out work as teachers. 


  • Sally Belcher commented
    8 Sep, 2016 11:48am

    I am also very frustrated by the changes made to bulletins and other features, particularly messages. The changes have made a severe impact on how our school community communicates with each other. Changes like this, implemented to impact the start of the school year,  have made our lives more difficult not easier as we are trying to assimilate the changes at an already very busy period. 

  • Magnus NIsson commented
    31 Aug, 2016 01:59pm

    I am desperate to get back the possibility to post fi clips on the bulletin board. That is an important part of the pedagogy on my online courses. So, please, please change this!

  • Ellen Andenæs commented
    26 Aug, 2016 11:42am

    Agree with Guest, totally disagree with the admin response. A bulletin board without headings or formatting  is not much use when people look for something specific. Please bear in mind that teachers and students alike normally engage in several courses; we cant possibly remember all 'updates' posted on each during a term.

  • Guest commented
    16 Aug, 2016 01:34pm

    The Number 1 is extremely important. Several teachers at my school used these features and they really help to communicate with the pupils. In It's learnig app the course tree is minimized and the pupils don't see the content. For us it is important that the pupils can see important information before they come to school. More andvanced formatting, embedding links and pictures is really necessary.

  • Michele Eaton commented
    15 Aug, 2016 01:32pm

    @Jeff, I like that idea. A small arrow to show a simplified toolbar otherwise hidden.  I like the simplified look of posting directly to the page and the ability to automatically see comments.  

  • Jeff Thornton commented
    11 Aug, 2016 02:02pm

    This is quickly becoming one of the most frustrating things about the new user interface. Teachers do not want to use this feature in any meaningful way when it is so limited. The ability to edit previous posts and have the rich text editor would solve this. Perhaps a simple editor with some basic formatting by default would be great. There could even be a button to expand the editor to the full text editor available everywhere else in itslearning. Would LOVE to see this updated as soon as possible!

  • Mari Berg¨ commented
    11 Aug, 2016 09:20am

    I just logged on and realized many of the things you commented on. Frustrating!

  • Guest commented
    11 Aug, 2016 08:43am

    I have recently been having the same conversation with support and back everything posted above.

    Simple features that allow for better formatting would go a long way in improving the bulletin system, encouraging more staff to use it as a communication tool