An additional release of Totara LMS is scheduled for the end of October 2015. This earlier than expected release signals the end of tight adherence to the Moodle release schedule as in previous versions.
In other news the Totara development team have indicated that future versions will diverge from the base Moodle code so that new features for the core Totara marked of corporate elearning and improvements to the user experience can be implemented with greater freedom.
Please see below for the 2.9 release highlights from the official Totara press release.
- Totara Connect - Totara Connect is a single-sign-on and user identity solution for multiple Totara instances. Connected sites can share user accounts and logins allowing for either all users or selected audiences to navigate between the connected site seamlessly using single sign on technology. It is now possible to connect your multiple Totara LMS or Totara Social sites to a single Totara LMS site that will act as an identity server.
- Global Report Restrictions - Global report restrictions allows you control what a user is able to see when viewing a report, allowing you to limit it to records relating to just users in selected audiences, positions, hierarchies, or even individual users. Restrictions are applied to all reports by default, but can also be enabled or disabled on a report by report basis. Uses include:
- Let an organisation view one or more reports but only see the records that belong to users of that organisation.
- Limit access to records belonging to a subset of users (such as all suspended users) to a specific group (such as site administrators), without having to modify each individual report.
- New Report Builder export plugin types and better performing plugins - A new plugin type has been introduced, Report Builder Exports. All existing export types have been converted to this new plugin type and at the same time performance of exports as a whole has been improved.
- New ability to clone report builder reports - It’s now possible to clone a Report, taking a copy of the report, its source, columns, filters, and settings. Take a report, clone it and then make the changes you need. You can quickly make different versions of a report suitable for different purposes or people without needing to start from scratch.
- New Program completion block - Let your users see their progress in a program on any screen with this handy block. The block can be limited to select programs.
- New options to disable adding / removing of users from dynamic audiences - Audience management is now easier thanks to two new settings that can be specified on each dynamic audience. You can now set a dynamic audience so that users will be added when they meet the condition but not removed when they no longer do. You can also set it up so that no new users will be added as members regardless of meeting the conditions, however if a current member no longer meets the conditions they will be removed.
These settings can help avoid unexpected changes in audience memberships, or serve to lock a dynamic audience so that users are frozen with no users being added and none being removed.
- New ‘fixed date’ custom field type - The fixed date field differs from the current date field in that it is not affected by timezones. The new field type is suitable for uses such as birth dates, anniversaries, employment dates, and other universal events. It is designed for sites that have users in multiple timezones to reduce confusion that can arise when a user sets a date value in one timezone, and for which the value changes depending upon the timezone of other users viewing it. Sometimes it’s necessary to make it a universal fixed event.
- Accessibility improvements - There are dozens of accessibility improvements, and staying abreast of WCAG 508 compliance needs is an ongoing focus area.
- Performance improvements - Programs, audience assignments, and scheduled reports among others have received performance improvement patches.
Anyone who is currently on Moodle 2.9 or below and wishing to switch from Moodle to Totara LMS will be able to do so via a normal upgrade via Totara 2.9. If you have any queries, or would like to switch to Totara LMS, please get in touch here.