Students Staff
University of Essex

October 9, 2013

Email notifications now accepting groups and aliases

Filed under: Bug fix,System Update — Richy @ 9:16 am

Previously the system would only allow users to enter valid email addresses that were linked to an individual user, this however meant that aliases and groups were not accepted as they weren’t linked to anyone.

Aliases are linked to another email, and groups behave essentially like an alias; pointing to a number of different emails.


The system has now been modified to allow for these unknown emails. The way it works is if any email address is entered that the system cannot look-up it will add to the end. This will require you to make sure the email you have entered is correct but should make it much easier to add people to your email lists.

If you have experienced any issues or bugs please email the Learning Technology Team at with full details of the issue.

New design for Submission details selection

Filed under: Bug fix,System Update — Richy @ 9:11 am

We have had some queries with the submission selection dialog that have made us rethink the way that this information should be displayed. It seemed the old design was somewhat confusing, we hope this new design is much more straight forward to use.

New deadline design

With the new design it should be much simpler to select whether your assignment has an electronic submission, a hard copy submission or no submission at all. If there is no submission at all, we have to add a deadline (1st January 1900) in the database, but you won’t see this in FASer and your students certainly won’t see this in their submission deadlines area. However you may see some email notifications withthis strange date, please let us know if that is the case.

If you have experienced any issues or bugs please email the Learning Technology Team at with full details of the issue.

October 1, 2013

Technical Development: Page changes and glow features

Filed under: System Development,System Update,Technical — admin @ 11:00 am

Page changes

Overview page (for everyone)

  1. There is now a box in the centre panel which displays status alerts of the system to all users. This now reads directly from an RSS feed which is linked to our MEFE news blog. The System Alerts are displayed to all users.
  2. There is a further feed below the system alerts which display personalised FASer feed notifications for that individual, such as upcoming deadlines. As we add new features over time, we anticipate that there will be more notifications for both staff and students.

Assignment creation page/edit page (for staff only)

  1. You also now have the ability to save an assessment and set it to unpublished – which means it is hidden from student view until you tick “publish” from the Assignment overview page.
  2. You must now enter the campus for which this assignment is bound to or generated for.
  3. We must supply the broader assessment type for our KIS information responsibilities. However we have also added a more granular level of assignment type which may be useful for the department to collect. These fields are not displayed to the students.
  4. You can select that there is no deadline for this assignment, however if you do not select this, you must enter either a hardcopy or electronic submission deadline. You can select both.
  5. There is a “does not require electronic submission tick box” which you can use for assignments that used to be created on COR for activities like attendance marks.
  6. Notification email, lecturer email and second marker emails. You can now find and add users by their username only and then clicking add. You don’t need to supply their full name, we will find that for you. To remove a user, hover over their name and an “x” will appear.

Assignment overview page (for staff only)

  1. There is now a checkbox for publish/unpublish. This has replaced the notion of “deleting” the assessment in FASer. When you select or deselect this checkbox – your request is saved immediately.
  2. We have added headings at the top of columns.
  3. We have retained the ability to create a new assignment directly from the module section.
  4. There is a new filter at the top “Are not published” which will toggle displaying assignments that have been published and not published.

Glow features and tooltips

When we release a new button or field we will now be adopting a glow feature, highlighting the area to a user. When you click on this feature, you will see an explanation of what it does or requires from you to input; these descriptions are called tooltips. The feature glow will then disappear. This has been set to an accessible colour Green to begin with, but shortly we will be releasing the ability for you to change the colour by going to Help & support on the left hand side, and selecting “system settings”. We will post a new blog post when this is released.

All the tooltips for a page can be reactivated by selecting the “take a tour of this page” in the top right hand corner as previous versions of FASer had. We hope this helps with the transition of understanding lots of new features at once.

Some administrators have been working with the MEFE project team last week to look at the process end-to-end for a user and make sure it is straightforward, as well ensuring we are providing the correct instructions in support materials on screen. Please get in contact with us if you have any outstanding enquiries.

September 25, 2013

Technical Development: New navigation

Filed under: System Development,System Update,Technical — admin @ 1:30 pm

New navigation

As we will be adding new pages and elements throughout the year, we thought it better to adopt a fairly standard left hand navigation for users of FASer. The items you see on this Nav will depend on your user type ie students, academic staff or admin staff. Not all items have remained in the tabbed boxes along the top of your overview page.

  • The Overview link will take you to your homepage; with news feeds and access to current modules.
  • Staff can now add a New assignment directly from the navigation, but can still access this link from the individual module overviews- where it will pick up the module title automatically.
  • Staff can now use the Student search function directly form the navigation.
  • We have added a series of “Back to…” links to other associated e-learning and online resources, like Moodle and  MyEssex for students.
  • We have separated out the Help & Support information, with further link to the test assignment and system settings also under this new navigation item.
  • We have moved the links to Logout and Contact us to the navigation from the right hand side of the page.


Technical Development: Admin permissions reduced

Filed under: System Development,System Update,Technical — admin @ 9:45 am

As communicated to DA’s and admin staff over the previous weeks, today we will be going live with changes to FASer. These changes related to the first 5 items in the “10 things that are changing with FASer” blog post. Some of these changes significantly affect Administrators this week. We will be giving you live updates throughout the coming days.

Firstly this morning, as communicated last week, we have now removed permissions  to be able to create assignments in FASer. We expect these permissions to be returned tomorrow at 10am. We will keep you updated throughout the day. You should be able to continue with other administrative tasks in the system.

July 16, 2013

OCS bug fixes

Filed under: System Development,System Update,Technical — sgswaine @ 3:15 pm

Our new developer, Richard, has been familiarising himself with the current OCS codebase and technical layout to find out how it works and is developed. To test his bedding-in skills, we asked him to make the following changes and amendments to the current Online Coursework Submission system:

  • Fix Bug: Issues with deadlines in week 52; no appropriate warning to users that this could be a bad time to set a deadline.
  • Fix Bug: Where under particular conditions assignments would appear to be duplicated.
  • Enhancement: Create a new “Contact us” form so that users of the system could log queries or problems with the relevant team, the IT Helpdesk, the Learning technology team or the MEFE project team.

The resulting changes to the system have now gone live. All new developments will be forward scheduled so users are aware when things will change.


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