Absorb's optional Mercury module is equipped with a News Articles tool. With it Admins can publish articles specifically targeted at select audiences, delivered via the Learner's Dashboard. Once an article is published the Learner can see the item in their News Articles tile, after which they have the option to open a brief summary of the story, and then if they are interested further, continue on to the full article.
How It Works
This Mercury component serves an obvious communications purpose. Creating Learner awareness about the resources available to them (those inside the LMS and beyond) goes hand-in-hand with encouraging greater overall adoption and usage of Absorb. Unless Learners are directly made aware that something exists that can help and/or enrich their learning experience, be it a new course or a learning resource, it is not likely that they will come across it themselves. So this capability to be able to promote specific aspects of the LMS should prove very helpful. As far as the possible uses that this tool can fulfill, that is only limited by the imagination of the Admin in envisioning different ways to apply the News Article. It can be used to inform audiences about any number of issues, initiatives, etc. that make up your learning program and also provide direct exposure to any number of Courses that Learners can access.
News Articles can be added to Absorb by using the News Articles workspace and the following tabs.
|Title||This is what the News Article will be named wherever it appears in the LMS (mandatory).|
|Caption||This will appear in the News Article tile on the dashboard provided it has been added to the dashboard, and there is room in the tile. (mandatory)|
|Description||This is the actual news story material, written by the Admin using the built-in text editor, that will be shown to Learners once they select the link labeled 'Continue Reading' in the News Article preview (mandatory).|
|Article Image||This image will be shown alongside the narrative of the full News Article when the Learner launches the link containing the story|
|This is the name of the Admin that initially created the News Article. It is automatically populated by Absorb but can be changed to any other Admin name that is contained in the LMS.|
|This switch determines whether or not the News Article will become active on the LMS. As soon as the Admin publishes the News Article (by setting the Publication option to 'On' and saving the change) it will be uploaded to the News Article tile on the Dashboard of every Learner that is a part of the intended news audience.|
The purpose of the Availability Tab is to determine which Learners will be allowed to read the News Article by using the LMS's Availability Rules. Similar to other places in the LMS, the Admin can employ as many rule conditions as are necessary in order to create the exact circulation list for the story, that they want.
|Filter||This is the information category that will be the basis of the Rule (e.g. First Name, Last Name, Department).|
|Condition||This is the logical condition that the Rule will have to satisfy (e.g. Starts With, Contains, Equals).|
|Value||This is the value of the Rule which is directly entered by the Admin using the field provided (e.g. 'Marketing', 'Smith', 'New York').|
|Delete||This deletes the Rule|
|Refine Rule||This provides additional Filters, Conditions and Values to further refine the parameters of the Rule. This allows the Admin to make the individual Rule as specific as necessary (e.g. all learners whose name equals "Smith" and who also have a first name that starts with the letter "D").|
|Results||This provides the number of Learners that have matched the created Rule and thereafter will be the individuals that will have the News Article added to their Dashboard once it is published. Admins should refer to the information generated here to make sure they have created the desired group of News Article recipients.|
|Add Rule||This adds an additional and separate Rule that will combine with any previous Rules above it to further refine the News Article audience (e.g. all Learners with last names that begin with "Smi" and have a Department of "Accounting").|
News Articles can also be modified in Absorb using the same News Articles resources.
When working with a previously saved News Article the Actions available for use by the Admin are:
|Edit||This button will relaunch the News Article workspace where any selected News Article from the Report can be updated by the Admin and re-saved.|
|Delete News Article(s)||This button will erase any News Article(s) selected from the News Article Report (which the Admin will be prompted to confirm). Any News Article(s) deleted here is permanently removed from the LMS and cannot be recovered.|
|Deselect||This button will clear any News Article selection(s) made by the Admin in the News Article Report.|
|Save*||This button will save any changes made to an existing News Article and return the Admin back to the News Article Report page.|
|Cancel*||This button will cancel any changes made to the existing News Article, revert back to the last saved version (which the Admin will be prompted to confirm) and then return the Admin back to the News Article Report page.|
|Quick Save*||This button will save the existing News Article without returning back to the News Article Report page so that the Admin can continue working on the News Article they are currently editing.|
|View History*||This button will open a new dialog box containing a detailed breakdown of any and all of the change(s) made to the News Article since it was created - including the date and the party responsible for the update(s), listed in order of most to least recent. This feature can be useful for any News Article that multiple Admins may have worked on and/or to review any previous changes made to the News Article's content or information.|
(* - Action options available after the News Article has been reopened for editing.)
Once the existing News Article is re-saved the Admin can decide to run a filtered report based on the group of News Articles residing in the LMS.
Absorb's News Articles tool will launch using the standard Report layout as its starting point where an Admin can: create a new News Article; work on an existing News Article; and/or, run a custom News Articles Report.
News Article Report
The basic News Article Report can be customized to provide data on any of the following parameters:
|Author §||This column displays the name of the LMS Admin that authored the News Article.|
|Caption||Refer to the definition in the General Tab above.|
|Date Added||This column displays the date the News Article was first created and saved to the LMS|
|Date Edited||This column displays the date the News Article was last updated and re-saved to the LMS.|
|ID||This column displays the News Article identifier automatically assigned by the LMS and can be used in creating deep links in Absorb.|
|Is published §||This column displays the date the Admin switched the Publication toggle in the General Tab to 'On', making the News Article available to Learners on the LMS.|
|Start Date||Refer to the definition in the General Tab above.|
|Number of Reads §||This column displays the number of times that Learners have opened the News Article to view it.|
|Title §||Refer to the definition in the General Tab above.|
(§ - Columns shown automatically as part of the default report view.)