Do Not Hide "Special Exams" from Mobile App Learners


Hello - At present, the mobile app does not allow learners to complete certain activities, like ORAs or LTIs. Instead, the app redirects learners to the mobile web. That's fine for now and learners can deal with that situation just fine.

But for entire subsections of content, that are either timed or proctored, ALL of that content is completely hidden from the learner's course outline in the mobile app. They don't know it exists! And this is happening in Master's courses where over 50% of learners intend to use mobile first. (UT Austin's Nutrition Master's program)

See the attached screenshots. On desktop, learners can view all subsections in module 3. In mobile app, they are not shown those subsections at all...

Request: Please allow those subsections to be visible in the mobile app navigation, but redirect learners to mobile web, at least.

Thanks! -Ben

Here’s what we’ll be doing as part of this EPIC:

API Change

To get special exams in the Blocks API, add these 3 values to the requested_fields key while hitting the Blocks API:

contains_gated_content, show_gated_sections, special_exam_info

Here’s the current API call:

and here’s how the updated API call should look like:

User Experience

View on Web/Safari screen that we show for unsupported XBlocks in both cases i.e.

  1. empty sub-section due to special exam

  2. OR empty sub-section.


Screen events

  • if: special_exam_info == true

  • else:

Click event

NOTE: No need to send the Browser Launched event in case of the Click event.


Mian Khalid
March 31, 2021, 4:40 PM

this ticket has been converted into an Epic with all the decisions added in its description.

2 tickets have been created for iOS & Android under this Epic and have been placed in the [Axinite] - Product sprint for prioritization.

Colin Brash
March 30, 2021, 12:15 PM

Next steps:

  1. Finalize analytics events names

  2. Convert this to ticket to an epic

  3. Create iOS and Android stories to capture the mobile work

Mian Khalid
March 29, 2021, 8:17 AM

As a learner, if I go Next, Next, Next through the course and land on the prerequisite quiz (the one used to unlock other content), would I be able to unlock other content successfully? If I did that, would I still not be able to see the now-unlocked content when I go Next, Next, Next to that?

we load a course’s content when a user lands on the course’s Dashboard screen and only update it on demand i.e. user has to pull-to-refresh on the Dashboard screen to get the updated course content OR the user has to exit the app and comeback to see the updated content.

So, in this case, even if the prereq got completed somehow and the blocked content was opened, the unlocked content won’t appear until a user comes back to pull-to-refresh or exit & re-enters the app.

Mian Khalid
March 29, 2021, 8:12 AM

In our (Poornima + Colin + Jawad + Khalid) internal discussion on Friday we decided about going with the following:

User Experience

  • View on Web in both cases i.e. empty sub-section due to special exam OR empty sub-section.


Screen events

  • if: special_exam_info == true

  • else:

Click event

p.s. Screen & click event names aren’t final, there are just drafts were for now.

No need to send the Browser Launched event in case of the Click event.

Colin Brash
March 26, 2021, 12:18 AM

am I understanding correctly that the main concern about implementing the optimal experience is the effort required for a backend change? Let’s discuss the effort for the different cases. I don’t have a clear picture of the differences.

I don’t particularly want to spend extra time to get to a sub optimal experience that we know we want to change in the future. If we need to spend some time changing the backend to get the right experience, I’d like to understand how much effort we are talking about before deciding we shouldn’t take that path.




Mian Khalid

Fix versions




Story Points



Ben Piscopo



Platform Map Area (Levels 1 & 2)

Learner Experiences

Platform Map Area (Levels 3 & 4)

Special Exam Tools

Epic Name

Special Exams Mobile