Libraries V2 - What's included and what's not

Current State: What’s included in Content Libraries V2? 

  • Authors can create component xblocks in Libraries, independently of the course authoring environment, including text blocks, video blocks and problem blocks. The V2 interface will include the new text, video and problem Editor Interfaces that are already live in the course authoring environment.

  • Authors can reuse components that they create in Libraries in any course, as many times as they want to.

  • Authors can choose whether to randomize problems from a Library, or use any component type from a Library as static content.

  • Authors can update Library content in the Library and push out updates to courses using the content. Course teams can make the decision to accept or reject updates.

  • All former V1 Content Libraries will be auto-migrated to the new V2 Library environment. There is no plan for a phased roll-out.

Limitations of the V2 release:

  • While a Library can be used for either block type - reference or random - there won’t be an easy way to group a subset of content within a library for randomization. So authors will still need to create a stand-alone library for each use of the randomized content block.

  • The reference block and the randomized content block will be implemented in a new combined Library block. However, this was a late-breaking decision during the implementation phase, and there was no UI design work done. There are many open questions:

    • What does the interface on the new block look like?

    • How do authors choose which content they want to reuse from the block?

    • How do they choose to randomize or not?

  • Authors cannot yet do library->library import/export, so that users who have multiple instances of openedx can move content across instances.

Anticipated challenges with the V2 launch

  • Users currently equate “Content Libraries” with the randomized content functionality, rather than robust reuse possibilities. This is a very limited view of Libraries, both in terms of new V2 functionality and the plans for a more robust future.

  • This challenge may be compounded by releasing the new Library block with a confusing UI, and users may not grok that the new release includes expanded functionality to reuse components statically.

  • The fact that users still need to create multiple libraries each time they want to randomize a new pool of content is a barrier to the strategic vision for Libraries as more centralized hubs for content management and content reuse.

  • Migrating all V1 Libraries to V2 in one fell swoop could result in bugs and create more frustration for Library users who are already dissatisfied with the current Library experience.


Messaging the V2 launch

Update as of Dec 2023 - From an Open edX perspective, we may not publicize the release at all, and rather focus on making improvements for a community release in Redwood.

To consider for later product marketing:

  • How can we 1) most effectively get the word out about the new functionality and 2) get users thinking about what they need for future state?

    • Clear messaging about the value of V2

      • What you can do with static component reuse

      • Why you would want to use the reference block

    • Clear documentation

      • How-to guide for using the net-new features of component authoring and static reuse

      • How-to guide for choosing the randomized block

      • How-to guide for choosing the reference block

      • Concept doc: When to use the randomized block vs when to use the reference block

      • Reference guide with some use case examples that demonstrate examples of the net-new features in action

    • Put together a focus group with edx and community users with a usability test with clear tasks that illustrate how to use the net-new features. See if/where there is confusion or excitement.

    • Clear messaging about the soon-to-follow updates and how they build value

      • Component tagging, which will come with the tagging MVP

      • What you can do with component tagging in libraries

  • The current established pattern of usage for Libraries is for authors to create one or more libraries per course, because libraries in the V1 state were only built to create pools of problems to randomize. How do we move users away from this pattern of 1:1 usage toward a pattern of 1:many usage, where a Library can be robust enough to support large amounts of content for use across many courses or use cases?

  • How do we drive enough usage of the new features in the V2 launch to get enough user input to inform where we invest next?

  • Will users be able to get enough value from the V2 launch without any supporting features like content tagging, content search, etc? Do we frame the V2 launch as a soft launch?

  • How do we get away from using “V1” and “V2” entirely and move toward Content Libraries simply being Content Libraries, with plans for future incremental improvements, enhancements and new features?