It’s time for us to lift the curtain on some major changes here at Pressbooks! We’ve spent a lot of time over the last month doing some much-needed maintenance across the platform, including theme improvements and changes to the user experience for institutions using single-sign on technology. These past weeks also included important work on
If you have a PressbooksEDU Silver plan, or were considering one, you may be excited to hear that all PressbooksEDU plans now enable you to produce Thin Common Cartridge exports with web links.
This means that you can more easily display links to all of the chapters of a public book within a learning management system (LMS) without using an LTI connection. It also means that instructors at other institutions can also use this Thin Common Cartridge file to quickly add the book to their LMSes for use in teaching if you have enabled these exports to show on the homepage of your public webbook.
When books are uploaded to a learning management system via Thin Common Cartridge import, the various parts and chapters of a book are brought in as structured modules and discrete links. This allows you to use the Pressbooks content as the backbone of a course and add other LMS-specific activities between the imported Pressbooks chapter links.
The ability to produce Thin Common Cartridge exports with weblinks is optional and can be activated at the network level by a network administrator. When using these Thin CC files with weblinks, no institutional data is ever transferred between your institution’s LMS and Pressbooks.
The biggest advantage to using Thin Common Cartridges is that this method uses links to live content rather than packaged files. This means that any changes or edits to the live Pressbooks webbook itself will be immediately visible without any need for re-packaging, exporting, uploading, or editing content inside of the LMS.
While we’re excited about offering more users Thin Common Cartridges with weblinks, these files are not the same as Thin Common Cartridges with LTI links, which are made possible by our Pressbooks LTI Provider plugin and which are available as part of our Gold plans. When activated, the LTI Provider plugin enables a secure, seamless integration between any book on your PressbooksEDU network and the LMS(es) you’ve connected to your Pressbooks network. With the full LTI integration on Gold plans:
- Pressbooks content is loaded securely in the LMS via LTI. Learners have a better overall user experience, particularly because they don’t have to leave the LMS the way they often do when opening “external links.”
- Pressbooks navigation can be suppressed in the LMS, allowing learners to use the LMS navigation to move between pages/activities. When content is loaded via LTI, learners experience it as though it were native to the LMS, lowering cognitive load and the likelihood that they’ll become lost or confused by extraneous navigation choices.
- User accounts are provisioned for instructors and students on the Pressbooks instance serving the content.
- You can display private books or private content within books made on Pressbooks in the LMS.
In other improvements released today:
- We added an option to our LTI Provider plugin (available on our Gold plans) that requests user authentication before linking an existing account to one created via LTI. This authentication prompt will only appear the first time an existing user follows an LTI link, and can help to verify that the LTI user and existing user are in fact the same person before associating the LTI ID with the user’s metadata.
- We updated our Leonard and Adunis themes to include several additional user-friendly theme options. This brings our total to 14 out of premium 20 themes which now feature these powerful and easy-to-configure customization settings.
PressbooksEDU offerings continue to evolve. We’ll keep you posted as new enhancements become available. If you have questions about these new features or would like to explore a Silver system, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.