The year 2020 has accelerated the adoption of new solutions for online learning and publishing at an unprecedented pace. At ThingLink, the increased demand shows as a sharp 50% increase in new monthly signups. Over 100,000 new users login to ThingLink every month to create engaging visual experiences for their students, employees or customers. For may, ThingLink has become a home for hundreds, even thousands of interactive images and videos. Our new interface offers them improved options for arranging and managing this content.
As well as an updated user experience, we are introducing a new, nature-inspired scheme for naming versions of the ThingLink interface. Each interface will be named after a lake in Finland, ThingLink’s home country. The 2020 interface is called Saimaa, which is the largest and most beautiful natural body of water located in Eastern Finland.
The ThingLink Saimaa interface has been designed to support the creation of and management of large amounts of interactive content. It introduces several features that simplify the routine tasks, saving time and effort in the creation process. These include:
- Bulk upload & Content management
- Improved folders
- Improved user management
- Reworked groups
- New enterprise account features: Forms, Modules, and Organizational Profile page.
(To learn more about the enterprise account, contact us here.)
1) BULK UPLOAD & CONTENT MANAGEMENT
The first functional change is a reworked uploading process, which we’ve striven to make as easy and as fast as possible. It features:
a) Bulk upload: You can now upload multiple items at the same time. Simply click ‘Upload file’ and select all files you’d like to upload:
b) Automatic media type detection: Once you’ve selected your files, we will determine media type automatically based on your upload specifications. You no longer need to choose the media type prior to uploading.
c) Upload files directly into folders: It’s now possible to upload files directly into a folder.
d) Other bulk actions: The previous improvements go hand-in-hand with another major update; you are now able to select multiple files (or all files within a folder) and carry out bulk actions, such as changing privacy settings, deleting your media or moving it into a folder. We expect these changes to save you a lot of time, especially if you are using ThingLink for creating virtual tours, courses or other projects that include large amounts of images and videos.
d) QR code sharing: A small update introducing a new quick way to share interactive experiences instead of sharing an image link/URL. Automatic QR code generation in the sharing dialog also makes it faster to create interactive tours in physical locations such as factories, schools, museums and galleries!
2) IMPROVED FOLDERS
Over the last year we saw a major increase in folder usage and addressed the feedback in this release. Saimaa brings four key updates to those who use folders for collaborating with colleagues, students & peers:
a) Simplified access settings: All settings related to accessing folders are now displayed within one menu. From here, you can share the folder with selected individuals, the whole organization, or specific groups – more on that below.
b) View-only access: You can now permit users in your organization to view a folder and all its content without giving editing rights.
c) Subfolders: You can create folders within folders. This makes it easy to organize images into sets and manage collaboration with colleagues throughout the creation process.
d) Improved sharing options for Classroom and School accounts : All plans that include shared folders will now be able to share them with specific users or groups. This means that the feature is also available on Premium Classroom and Premium team accounts.
3) UPDATED USER MANAGEMENT
With more large organizations using ThingLink, we are introducing two important updates for account owners and administrators:
a) Bulk user management: You can now select multiple users and perform bulk actions, such as deleting multiple student accounts at once (e.g. if you need to remove all students from last year). In addition, we added a few filters to help you find the users you need. Email invitations for Marketing & Editorial and eLearning accounts have been simplified and improved. Furthermore, both account types have access to new ways to add users. You can now assign or revoke admin rights with a single action.
b) New organization settings: We reworked organization settings to make sure that they are easier to navigate. Furthermore, there are two new organization-level settings: “Editor version” and “Default editor language”.
4) REWORKED GROUPS
In addition to improving user management, we also made it easier to manage Groups. These feature updates include the ability to:
a) Assign a group-level access permission to folders: You are now able to give access rights to folders for all members of a group.
b) Easier controls for adding existing users to groups: There is now a simpler way for adding existing users to groups. This works similarly to how you would add users to folders in the current interface:
c) Easier way to join organizations with existing accounts: The prompt to join an organization (or a group) is now permanently visible on the top navigation bar of Saimaa.
5) NEW SET OF FEATURES FOR ENTERPRISE ACCOUNTS: FORMS, MODULES, ORGANIZATION LANDING PAGE
ThingLink leads the development of user-generated visual learning environments that are accessible and affordable for everyone. From individual users and small organizations we have moved to serve large enterprises, districts and cities that have advanced requirements in regards to security, customizability, data collection, content organization and sharing. The following set of features introduces new elements to ThingLink’s enterprise account designed to support learning and skills development in both private and public organizations.
a) Forms: Forms introduces ThingLink’s native data collection framework for measuring learner progress and performance throughout the viewing experience. In the first phase, enterprise or eLearning account holders can create simple questionnaires and checkpoints to check activity and retention. These questionnaires can be embedded to images, videos, and 360 media the same way as other content. The feature also allows simultaneous data collection from multiple sites such as school website or LMS.
b) Modules: ThingLink’s Content Modules are designed for creating personalized learning experiences. They can be assigned to specific users or groups and made visible on the organization landing page. The novelty of this feature lies in the ability to se original files in multiple learning experiences, courses, presentations or tests. ThingLink Content Modules can be published externally on websites and LMS.
c) Organizational Landing Page: Organizational Landing Page is a customizable ThingLink experience for organizations that functions as the signup and landing page for members of the organization . The Profile Page houses all Modules assigned to each learner.
If you have specific questions or interest in ThingLink eLearning, submit a quote here.
Features that are no longer supported in the new interface:
- Courses and Projects on Classroom accounts
Going forward, we will focus on supporting deeper integrations with LMS so that ThingLink images, videos and modules can be directly embedded to courses on 3rd party platforms. Note however that if you have created courses and projects on ThingLink, they will remain accessible in the old interface. Also existing collections will remain accessible, but you won’t be able to create new collections.
How do I gain access to ThingLink Saimaa? This new interface will be available to all users before end of the year, including free accounts. The interface is currently under beta testing, meaning that nearly all features are ready but we are still polishing it for the general release. In this first phase, we would like to invite ThingLink enterprise customers, trainers and Certified Educators to test the new features and give feedback. If you are interested, please submit a request here. When the interface is available for everyone, we will update this post.
What happens to the previous interface? It’s good to remember the ThingLink Saimaa interface does not impact the core editing experience on ThingLink. Most feature updates concern user & content management. There are no immediate plans to deprecate the interface you are currently using, and we will keep you updated on the schedule for permanently transitioning to the new interface. Both interfaces will continue to have documentation in our support center.