Module Name Change
The Announcements module is being renamed to the Alerts & News module. This was done to clarify the purpose of the module. When someone hears or sees “Announcements” – especially within education – they often think of daily announcements. The Alerts & News module can be used for daily announcements, but it really shines when it is used to broadcast stories, important messages, updates, and bragging points – in short, Alerts & News.
Previously, each announcement could only be assigned to a single category. This meant that, in order to get the best level of control, admins would need some level of duplication.
Now, an admin may simply select any combination of categories that a news item should appear in. This makes it so that admins no longer need to set up and maintain “combination categories” where there is a separate category for each possible combination of main categories.
News items may now be assigned a priority to control what order they are displayed in. There are six priorities: Highest, High, Medium, Low, Lowest, and Hidden. Higher priority items will always appear before lower priority items, and Hidden items won’t appear at all. The news items will still be sorted chronologically within their priority bracket.
Existing news items may now be duplicated. The primary use for this is in creating “templates” with pre-built content. Admins may create these templates by creating a news item with either no assigned categories or a priority of Hidden.
To create a clone, in Actions menu for the news item, select Clone.
The connection between the Touch App and the Alerts & News module will continue to function without any impact on existing setups, but the improvements to the main module extend to the app in a couple of ways.
- The elimination of “combination categories” allows for simpler notification settings for parents and community members.
- The first news item (according to the sort priority and start/end times) is automatically pinned to the top of the news feed in the app, unless an item was manually pinned in the app.
- News items are sent to the app immediately. This adds a couple of seconds to the time it takes a news item to save, but it removes the need to wait a few minutes for a sync to run.
The Alert & News module tool has a small content display upgrade that might have mighty results. Now only a portion of the story content will display, with an automatic "Read More" link generated. The additional content, or the full story, unfurls when the user clicks the read more links. This now helps users scroll through your news feed quicker and not miss potential content that ends up pushed down too far on the page.
This display enhancement is for both the main body Alerts & News tool, as well as the right side bar News Tool.