Nexus 4.x New Features For Instructors

 Image: Nexus logo

Nexus 4.1 has some changes you'll want explore!



On This Page:

Optimized Navigation
     Course Index
     Settings Bar
Backup, Restore, Import, Copy, and Reset
Notify Learners of New or Updated Content
Improvements to Question Bank
Clearer Activity Requirements
Activity Completion Improvements
Assignment Improvements

Optimized Navigation

The updated navigation features are the most obvious change in this upgrade. We liken this to rearranging your kitchen. Though everything you moved is now in a place that makes more sense, it will understandably take some time to retrain your muscle memory. This section of this article is designed to assist you with that process. 

The following video is a brief overview of where navigation features and settings were located previously, and where they're located now. 


Course Index

The Navigation Drawer on the left side of your site previously held a bit too much. This single column was the location of:

  • Course Area Links, including Participants, Grades, Competencies, and Badges.
  • Course Content Links, including all section/topic headings
  • Site Area Links, including Dashboard, Calendar, and Private Files

The Site Area links have now been moved to the Navigation Bar at the very top of your site. The Course Area links have been moved to the Settings Bar at the top of your course (some options are in the More menu located there). That leaves just your course content. The image below is a visual representation of these shifts in location between 3.11 (what we are on now) and 4.0 (what we are upgrading to this summer). 

animated gif of course index changes


The Course Index

With the extra navigational links shifted to other areas of the page, the Navigation Drawer has evolved into the Course Index. This collapsible column now exclusively contains links to all of your course content, not just the section/topic headings. Each section can be collapsed or expanded for easier navigation. 

animated gif of Course Index

Course Index also comes with additional functionality for both instructors and learners. 


Course Index for Instructors

With editing turned on in the course, Instructors can use the Course Index to quickly rearrange course content, including entire topics/sections.

animated gif of course index for instructors


Course Index for Learners

If you assign Activity Completion criterion or criteria to your course activities and resources, your learners will see a visual indication of whether or not they've met your completion requirements for course content. Activities that are complete will have a small green circle preceding them. Activities that still need to be completed will have a hollow gray circle instead. 

screenshot of course index for learners


Settings Bar

Course settings that were previously split between the Navigation Drawer and the Actions Menu (gear/cog icon in the top-right corner of the course) have now been consolidated into the Settings Bar at the top of each course. 

screenshot of settings bar

The Settings Bar has dedicated links for course settings, the Participants page, Grader Report, and course-level reports (Activity Completion, Course Completion, course logs, etc.). 

The Settings Bar is also the home of the More menu, which contains links to course areas like the Question Bank and Recycle Bin. 

screenshot of more menu dropdown tab


Course Backup, Restore, Import, Copy, and Reset

The interface to create a course backup, restore a course backup, import content from another course, copy the existing course, and reset user data in a course has now been combined into a single interface called Course Reuse. The Course Reuse link is located at the bottom of the More menu. After accessing the Course Reuse interface, use the dropdown menu on the left side of the page to select which action you'd like to perform (Import, Backup, Restore, Copy Course, or Reset). 

screenshot of course reuse option integration


Notify Learners of New or Updated Content


Send Content Change Notifications to Learners

Instructors can now optionally choose to notify learners when course content is created or updated. This optional feature can be triggered by checking the box next to "Send content change notification" at the bottom of any resource or activity's settings page. 

screenshot of content change notification option

This generates an email and notification to every enrolled user who can currently view the content. If the content is hidden, or has been configured to only be visible to some users (e.g. using Restrict Access settings to limit visibility to members of a specific group), the notification will not go to the users who cannot view the content. 

Note: Users are able to control which notifications they receive, and may opt to not receive emails or notifications when you use this feature. 

The generated email includes a link to both the updated content, and your course. 

screenshot of example email students receive

The generated notification, accessed by clicking the notification icon (a bell) in the Navigation Bar, will also include a link to both the course and content. 

screenshot of new content notification


Improvements to the Question Bank

The workflow for using the course Question Bank to create questions and organize them into categories remains the same. But this upgrade adds several long-requested features that dramatically improve the value and functionality of the Question Bank. These include:


Draft and Ready Status

screenshot of question bank draft

Questions that aren't ready for deployment in your quizzes can be put in a Draft status. Questions with a Draft status will not appear in the list of available questions when adding questions from the Question Bank into a quiz. 


Version History

Each revision you make to a question creates a new version, and stores the previous version(s). This feature allows you to review all previous versions of a question. 

animated gif of question bank version history

If you add a question that has multiple versions into a quiz, the default quiz setting is to always use the most recent version. You can manually select a different version of the question to use while editing the quiz. 

animated gif of question bank quiz version



Like a shared Word document or Google Doc, the Question Bank now supports commenting. Any role that can access the Question Bank can leave comments on individual questions. This feature is especially helpful in courses where multiple instructors are collaboratively building course questions. Comments are persistently attached to the questions, and will be included if the course is imported. 

animated gif of question bank commenting


Question Performance Analytics

Though the Quiz activity will contain additional statistical analysis of your questions' performance, the Question Bank now displays key analysis of your questions to help you determine if a question may be too easy, or too hard. 

screenshot of question bank analytics

The Facility Index metric shows the average score all users have received on that question in your course. An exceedingly high score near 100% may suggest the question is too easy. Discriminative Efficiency is designed to suggest the opposite. This metric helps you identify questions students get wrong, despite performing well on the quiz itself. In other words: Do students who do well on the quiz also tend to do poorly on this specific question? A lower value for this metric may suggest the question is too difficult, or possibly has a miscoded correct response. 

If either metric is out of range, there will be a note in the Needs Checking? column. 


Question Usage

One of the best upgrades to the Question Bank is the ability to review how many quizzes a question has been added to, including links directly to those quizzes, and a running total of the number of learner attempts that included that question. 

screenshot of question usage


Clearer Activity Requirements


Special Note

Activity Completion was significantly improved in the 3.11 release, so much of the following may be a review for you.

Activity Completion

Prior to the 2022 summer upgrade, an activity or resource you assigned activity completion criteria to would have a checkbox icon displayed next to it on the course home page. This upgrade changes the activity completion indicators to a series of labels that more clearly communicate your expectations and requirements to learners.

Special Note: Mark as Done Buttons

As the instructor you can configure course content so learners can manually mark activities and resources as complete. If you set "Mark as Done" as your activity completion requirement, you will see the Mark as Done buttons in your course. However, you will not be able to click or interact with these buttons. Only users with your site's Student role in your course can interact with these buttons.

Activity Completion Settings

You can also require your learners to accomplish specific goals before an activity is marked complete. For example, a Quiz can be configured to be marked complete once the learners:

  • View the activity
  • Receive a grade for the activity
  • Receive a passing grade for the activity

All three requirements must be met for that Quiz to be marked as complete. 

As a note: You'd need both "Receive a grade" and "Receive a passing grade" because having a passing grade is dependent on a grade being received.

screenshot of activity completion requirements

These requirements will change from "To Do" to "Done" for learners as they complete them. Keep in mind that it's possible for a learner to complete some, but not all requirements. For example, viewing the Quiz referenced above would update the view requirement from "To Do: View" to "Done: View". But the learner would still need to both receive a grade, and receive a passing grade for the Quiz to actually be marked as complete.

screenshot of activity completion in progress

These requirements now appear inside the activity or resource as well, and will be listed at the top of the page. If you're viewing an activity with a due date, such as an Assignment or Quiz, that date will also appear at the top of the activity page. 


Clearer Due Dates

This upgrade also includes a new course setting that will display due dates for all activities like Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums, on the course home page. 

To enable this setting:

  1. Open your course settings (this process depends on which theme your site is using)
  2. Scroll to the "Appearance" heading, and click to expand it
  3. Set "Show activity dates" to Yes
  4. Save 

screenshot of show activity dates

Enabling this setting will display all due dates beneath the title of the activity, and above the activity completion criteria labels on the home page of your course. 

screenshot of show activity dates


Activity Completion Improvements

The descriptive Activity Completion labels introduced in 3.11 have moved from a line beneath the name of the activity or resource to a list on the right side of the page. 

Activity Completion Labels in 3.11

screenshot of activity completion in 3.11


Activity Completion Labels in 4.x

screenshot of activity completion in 4.x


Require a Passing Grade for Completion 

In 3.10 and 3.11, a passing grade could only be added as a requirement for activity completion in the Quiz activity. It can now be set as a requirement on any graded activity in your course. This includes (but is not limited to) Assignment, Database, Forum, Glossary, H5P, Lesson, Quiz, Wiki, and Workshop. 

screenshot of requiring a passing grade for completion


Special Note

Enabling the requirement of a passing grade is dependent on two additional settings:

  1. A value must be added in the Passing Grade field (under the Grade heading in the activity's settings)
  2. The checkbox next to "Student must receive a grade to complete this activity" must be checked

If only one (or neither) setting is enabled, you will not be able to select "Student must receive a passing grade to complete this activity". 


Assignment Improvements


Activity Instructions

Instructors can now add specific instructions for Assignments rather than using the Description field or an attached file. Instructions will only appear on the Submission page, where learners create new (or edit existing) submissions. 

screenshot of assignment activity instructions


Timed Assignments

Faculty can now set a time limit (timer) for users to complete Assignments. The process of creating an Assignment submission will remain the same for learners whether you use a timer or not. The Time Limit setting is located in the Availability section of the Assignment settings. 

screenshot of assignment timer


Key Points for Timed Assignments

If you have configured your Assignment to use a time limit, the following will be true:

  • The Grading Summary page will display the time limit (this is the page learners see before they create a submission).
  • Learners can submit their assignment after the time limit expires, assuming the Assignment cut-off date (if enabled) has not been reached. 
    • Submissions created after the time limit expires will be visually marked as late for the instructor when grading. 
  • The "Add Submission" button will change to the "Begin Assignment button", though the process for creating and submitting an assignment submission remains the same. 
    • When learners click the Begin Assignment button, a confirmation prompt will remind the learners of the time limit.
    • The time limit begins counting down once the learners click the Begin Assignment button in the confirmation prompt. It cannot be paused once it has started.
  • To reiterate a point from the Activity Instructions section of this page: If the instructor has added Activity Instructions, the learners will not see these instructions until they click the Begin Assignment button in the confirmation prompt. 

screenshot of assignment timer confirmation notice





If you are having difficulty or you have unanswered questions, please contact the Help Desk through the ITS Service Catalog or call (518) 388-6400.

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Article ID: 153764
Tue 2/14/23 12:11 PM
Mon 7/24/23 4:01 PM

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