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How important is guest access to your school?


After our Saas migration a strange thing has appeared.  Our system no longer allows guest access.  It appears, with Ultra navigation, this is by design to Original or Ultra courses.  The guest URLs now redirect to the login page instead of starting a guest session.  As a result, guests are unable to view guest allowed content.


This may be a bug related to article 000043671 or another issue, but for now we are given a workaround to modify guest URLs.  An example of a URL that should work as guest: 


The workaround calls for encoding the original url and adding it as new_loc in a new URL.… 


Notice action=guest_login and new_loc=...


Hopefully this will be resolved soon as most instructors expect guest content to be available via the same URL as logged in users.  However, for now we have a URL generator that will take your old URL and encode the URL to create a working link.



Guest Link App 

As I mentioned in my May blog post, we will be replacing the New Box View experience for Inline Assignment grading for both the Original and Ultra experiences.  If you haven't read my previous post yet, I recommend reading it first and coming back.  Over the last several weeks, we’ve continued the technical review of a replacement tool that compared building our own in-house tool and various 3rd party technologies.  We have decided on the direction of the New Box View replacement and will be partnering with a vendor to bring richer functionality and new features to the Inline Grading experience.  This not only will bring the experience more in line with the features that Crocodoc had available, but also delivers additional features that will be beneficial to the grading workflow.   


You might be asking why we decided to embark on a partnership with another vendor.  With this integration, we will have complete ownership of rolling out upgrades, fixes and improvements.  Their sleek design, ease of use and expanded feature set were key factors to filling in the gaps for much needed functionality. There is flexibility for us to extend the feature set and layer additional customizations on top of the user interface at a much faster pace as well.  I would love for your first experience with the replacement tool to be through a Learn environment, so I won't be sharing the vendor's name yet.  In the mean time, I can confirm enhancements you will be seeing with then new solution.  While I could easily create a top 20 list, here are the top 10 annotation capabilities you can expect to see with initial release.  


  1. Users can add a comment and then customize the color or icon associated with the comment.  
  2. Text can be added directly on the page and modified to use different colors, size and font.  
  3. There is a sidebar summary view that lists the type of annotation by page, text from a comment, and the ability to delete an annotation.  
  4. When highlighting or freehand drawing, there are different color and size selections. 
  5. Annotations can be edited, moved or deleted easily. 
  6. There are options to strikethrough text and users can underline with either a straight or squiggly line using different colors.  
  7. Freehand highlighting and drawing can be erased.  
  8. When downloading or printing, the annotations are automatically built into the document. 
  9. There is a thumbnail view for each page in the document. 
  10. The menu is responsive on smaller screen sizes and users can seamlessly switch between touchscreen and a mouse on a device.  


While we needed to complete a technical review for the replacement, we are continuing the technical due diligence to ensure the migration is not only seamless but ensuring clients have enough time to prepare and plan for the release.   We are looking to make it generally available without any downtime requirements and need to make sure all the pieces are in place to make that happen.  Additionally, we understand a major shift during the middle of a term is not ideal so we will be gathering client feedback to identify an optimal time for the release.   


A lot of clients have already expressed interest in how they can help with testing and feedback, so there will be several options to provide input.   We plan to have a Technical Preview Program ahead of the release and will have several opportunities starting next month as well.  The first will be at BbWorld where we will continue to provide more details about the replacement tool.  After BbWorld, I will be attending various meetings, such as the weekly Admin Office Hours, to dive further into the new features, discuss change management and gather feedback.  


A big thank you to everyone who has shared recommendations and feedback so far.  If you have any questions, feel free to post them below or send me a direct message.