Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

University upgrades CTools to version 2.7.1

CTools version 2.7.1 was released to the U-M community on Dec. 28. A significant upgrade,the new version includes new features in existing tools, improvements in ease-of-use and navigation, and bug fixes.

Linking to a Parent Site is a new feature that allows users to link one site to another site to allow quick and easy navigation between the two sites. Linking the sites doesn't affect the behavior or content of the two sites, but users who are members of both sites and have permission to view both sites will see menu links or breadcrumb navigation between the sites. A parent site can have many child sites pointing to it, but a child site can have only one parent. This feature is found in the Site Info tool.

Two import processes in the Gradebook tool have been merged into one, the loading dock. Also in the Gradebook tool, users can now change the order of Gradebook items, and can upload or download the spreadsheet template for importing grades.

In CTools 2.7, when a user opens the Forum tool for the first time, a forum and topic already will be set up. Users can then customize the forum and topic. Topics in forums now inherit changes, such as permissions changes, made to forum itself.

In Resources, permissions capabilities have been expanded to include group-based permissions. It now also is possible to clear permissions and to undo changes that have not yet been saved.

Several smaller enhancements also have been made, including changes to the Announcements creation page that make the hiding option more clear. In Assignments, instructors have a "clear grade" option. In the Wiki, navigation breadcrumbs have been replaced with a "Recently Visited" dropdown menu. In 2.7, a module that has neither a start nor an end date is never open, unlike in CTools 2.6 modules.

Important note regarding the Discussions tool

At the time of the 2.7 upgrade, the Discussions tool was removed from the list of selectable tools. CTools has been offering both the Discussion tool and the Forums tool for a number of years, but new development has focused on the Forums tool. Our goal in removing it from the tool selection list is to direct all new site owners to Forums.

The Forums tool supports the W3C accessibility guidelines and is compatible with mobile devices. These capabilities are essential to provide equal opportunity for participation by all CTools users, and to support the expanding use of mobile computing. Current Discussion users are strongly encouraged to use Forums instead.