New EDU features

New Features Coming to Pressbooks EDU in Q2!

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We’ve heard a lot lately from Pressbooks’ educational users about what they’d like to see in PressbooksEDU networks. And we’re responding at lightning speed!

So far in Q1, we’ve redesigned the look and feel of webbooks and introduced the new customizable network theme (Aldine). (This work was done with Ryerson University, funded through an eCampusOntario grant.)

We’ve also added two new book themes designed for academic use (McLuhan and Jacobs), added a new contributor management feature, support for chapter-level cloning from Pressbooks, and added graceful support for interactive elements (audio, video, phet, and more), as well as supporting the H5P plugin. (A big thanks to eCampusOntario for supporting these developments.)

With this first batch of work wrapping up, we’re now looking ahead to the next three months and will once again be ticking off many more of your requests. Keep reading for a preview of what’s to come.

In addition, we’ll be looking at popular enterprise integrations for Pressbooks, including LTI and various single sign-on (SSO) methods, with the goal of ensuring that Pressbooks better supports these integrations.

Also coming soon is an easier way to import content from OpenStax, one of the major creators of open textbooks, using BCcampus’ OpenStax Importer for Pressbooks plugin. This will make it easier for those on Pressbooks networks to adapt open textbooks in a range of subjects. We’ll also review options to support Common Cartridge import and export to ensure first-class support for this format.

Those creating or adapting mathematical texts will be pleased to hear that QuickLaTeX is also on the way, to improve the quality of formulae in PDF exports.

In addition, we plan to improve the functionality and display of our tables with the addition of the TablePress plugin.

In late February, we applied a new theme, Aldine, to networks, which includes a customizable home page and a standalone catalog page. That will continue to get refinements, as will the new webbook. This will also entail continued work to improve accessibility, with input from the Inclusive Design and Research Centre.

We’re also continuing the process of converting all of our themes to offer the same user-friendly theme options currently available in Clarke, Asimov, McLuhan, and Jacobs themes. Keep an eye out, as we’ll be releasing the converted themes regularly as they are completed.

But that’s not all! As part of a new approach to our development process, we will be doing research into future features that will make PressbooksEDU even better for educational use. These include:

  • Tracking adoptions of open textbooks
  • Book and network analytics
  • Mathematics support improvements across formats (beyond Quick LaTeX)
  • Network-level default book settings
  • A process for handling premium plugins and plugin feature requests
  • Improvements to media management and image uploading
  • Implementing a new markup for books, based on HTMLBook
  • Broken link checker tools
  • Support for the forthcoming WordPress Gutenberg editor

As part of our research we will likely be reaching out to existing EDU users to get on-the-ground input on what these features should look like and how they can best work for you. Any specifics you can offer will be helpful before we move forward with development; so keep an eye out for our email!

Have questions about any of these upcoming additions? Want to explore a PressbooksEDU network with these new enterprise features? Contact us!