Uncanny Groups: Empowering Group Leaders

Today’s Uncanny LearnDash Groups 3.5 release is a big update that includes a number of new features and improvements.

Restrict content to LearnDash Group Leaders

There are many ways to restrict content with LearnDash (by role, tag, course, group, level and more) in our plugins and those of others, and even in Uncanny LearnDash Groups we have a shortcode to show content to members of a certain LearnDash group only. What was missing was a way to show content to Group Leaders only.

The Uncanny Groups 3.5 release includes support for this new shortcode:

[uo_groupleader_restrict_content user_groups="7542"]
Only Group Leaders can read this.
[/uo_groupleader_restrict_content]

What that does is show the content inside the shortcodes only to Group Leaders that are set up as Group Leaders for the group with ID 7542. The “user_groups” attribute is optional; if it’s omitted, all users with the Group Leader role will see it. It can also support multiple group IDs separated by comma.

Group License purchase emails

A common question we’ve had from customers is how to get new Group Leaders to the Group Management page and to make onboarding easier. Today’s release includes a completely new email type: New Group Purchase.  This email is sent to purchases of Group License products (i.e. Group Leaders) so that you can provide special instructions about how to use and set up their new groups. Typically this email might include instructions about signing in, how to find the Group Management page, how to start adding users to a group, etc.
Group Purchase Email

Group Leaders can edit users

We know this sounds like a huge and scary change so this one is disabled by default. If, however, you want to let Group Leaders edit user names and email address, even usernames, that is now possible. When enabled, Group Leaders can click a student name in the Group Management page and change information about the student.

Turning it on requires toggling the setting(s) below in the Uncanny LearnDash Groups settings page:

Group Leaders can edit learndash student data

Be careful with this setting. For some sites this will make things far more convenient for Group Leaders, but on others this could be an unwanted risk of exploitation and changing student information without the student’s consent.

Administrators can now use all reports

We really want to discourage WordPress administrators from adding multiple roles to their accounts to switch between functions, so to make things easier, admins can now access everything that Group Leaders can in the Uncanny LearnDash Groups front end. Previously we locked some reports down to users with the Group Leader role, now everything is open to both Group Leaders and admins.  Admins will, however, still need to be explicitly assigned to groups as group leader for the groups to show up in the front-end interface.

The 3.5 release of Uncanny LearnDash Groups also includes a dozen other improvements and fixes. If you’re a user, make sure you check out the full changelog at https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/uncanny-learndash-groups-changelog/

Uncanny Automator is now FREE

The heading is not clickbait and there are no strings attached. Not only that, we made significant improvements before we released the new free version!

You can now get Uncanny Automator from the WordPress repository here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/uncanny-automator/. This free version replaces what we previously called “Lite”, except it’s even better than Lite: we removed the limit of 1 trigger per recipe and we even added more triggers and actions (including several previously only available in Pro).

Releasing Automator for free to the world was a hard decision for our team, but we believe it’s the right one for these 2 reasons:

  1. We want more people to try it. While Automator already has a big install base, we really want to see it grow and for more sites to try it. We’re very proud of the plugin and want to see it add value to more sites.
  2. Another company largely copied Uncanny Automator and released their own version in the WordPress repository. While reusing code isn’t uncommon in the open source world (and Automator does have a GPL license), copying our UI, website, and even name put us in a difficult situation and we wanted to make a big move to reinforce our dominance.

What is Uncanny Automator?

If you’re new to Uncanny Automator (and we know this post will attract a lot of attention from new users), it connects plugins, sites and apps together. It lets you create automations where something happening can make something else happen. These automations are what we call “recipes”. A simple example would be a WooCommerce purchase adding a user to a BuddyPress group. Of course, Uncanny Automator can do a lot more than that. 🙂 Maybe you want a form submission and an associated purchase to enroll the user in a course, register them for an event, and send their manager an email. That’s easy for Automator.

Uncanny Automator can do far more than that though. With Automator on 2 sites, you can have things that happen on one site (like a purchase) trigger things on another site (like user creation). You can also connect your WordPress site to other platforms using our webhooks and Zapier support, so other apps can make things happen on your WordPress site and the WordPress site can pass data to other systems.

Here’s a quick video explaining how it works:

Automator comes in 2 versions: the new free version on WordPress.org, and a paid Pro version (with different licensing options) available for purchase on this site. Pro does come with more powerful tools (check this list for a full breakdown; it also includes anonymous recipe support) but we promise the free version is extremely useful and capable too. We even added some features to the free version for this first public release (like a LearnDash course completion action and webhook actions) to ensure Uncanny Automator could add some value to almost all WordPress sites.

If you’re just getting started with Automator on your WP site, make sure you check out our Knowledge Base. It’s where we break down everything about using Automator. There are some video tutorials in there to help point you in the right direction too.

Changes for existing users

If you’re already an Uncanny Automator user (thank you!), things will be a little bit different for you. Lite users are being upgraded to Pro and Pro users are getting more sites (regular Pro users can now use license keys on 2 live sites, Agency will increase from 5 to 10 and 25-site users are upgraded to Unlimited). We recognize the huge role you’ve played in helping Automator grow and become a mature feedback; your feedback has been invaluable.

No manual changes to your plugins will be needed. When you upgrade the current Lite plugin it will automatically point to the WordPress repository version for your subsequent updates.

This is also a huge release

For current Automator Lite (and Pro) users, here’s what’s in the new version of the free plugin:

  • Email field types in form plugins now generate tokens for email type fields in actions
  • A Tin Canny verb can now generate course, lesson and topic tokens
  • Global tokens (for our new users, these are basically variables that you can use in actions) are available for the current date and time
  • Category and tag support is now available for recipes to more easily organize them

And for our Pro users, here’s what’s new in that add-on:

  • A WooCommerce trigger for order status changing to a status you define
  • New WordPress actions for creating new posts, adding new usermeta, and adding new postmeta (for user registrations and developers using Automator these could be gamechangers)
  • A new GamiPress action to revoke all points in a category
  • New trigger support for WooCommerce Subscriptions (the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is required for these triggers)

Set usermeta and postmeta with Uncanny Automator

We have done a lot of testing on these updates, but it’s a big release. Please let us know if you notice any issues.

A full changelog is available here for the new free version and here for Pro.

For any developers out there, not only are we releasing a free version in the WordPress plugin directory, you can now access our repository for the first time and make pull requests. Make sure you check out https://bitbucket.org/uncannyowl/uncanny-automator if you have suggestions or want to contribute.

We could really use your support

While Uncanny Automator is 1.5  years old now, we are are now playing catch-up to the copy released by another vendor. We really hope you will give our Automator plugin a try, and if you do and it adds any type of value to your site, or you like the work we’re doing, please consider leaving us a review, mentioning us on your site or social channels, and following us on Facebook and Twitter, etc. It would mean a lot to us. And in the meantime, we’ll continue producing great products for WordPress and turning Uncanny Automator into the most powerful automation plugin for WP.

If you have any questions about Automator or what we’re doing, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We really hope you like Uncanny Automator and the changes we’re announcing today. 

 

Lectora Support and Front End Tin Canny Reports

As the Tin Canny 3.4 release goes out, the Uncanny Owl team is currently all working from home and sheltering in place. Like many other firms in the LearnDash space, we’ve been swamped with requests and tickets as more education goes online, and we’re doing our best to meet the demand.

Late last week, an agency in the UK approached us about work they were doing with part of the National Health Service. To support onboarding healthcare workers, they needed a way to get Lectora Inspire modules into LearnDash, specifically with Tin Canny. We’ve had a few requests for Lectora in the past, but not enough to justify the development effort (and adding support for new authoring tools does take a fair bit of time). Regardless, we wanted to help if we could, and between Friday and Wednesday of this week we built support for xAPI and SCORM 1.2 Lectora files.

Today’s release of Tin Canny 3.4 includes the Lectora support that we built for the NHS. It’s our first time working with Lectora Inspire but the data tracks well with Tin Canny

Tin Canny now also supports front end versions of the Tin Can and xAPI Quiz reports. Those reports, for Administrators and Group Leaders, make it easy to see records from uploaded SCORM, uploaded xAPI, and H5P modules. And with the customizable columns and filters, it’s now easier to get the right set of data (even when you might have millions of records).

Front End Tin Can and xAPI Quiz Reports

For administrators that don’t want to give Group Leaders access to all of that data in the front end, there are switches to turn the reports on and off when you use the [tincanny] shortcode. Here’s how you can control it:

Controls for Front End reports

Tin Canny 3.4 is a big release, so we’re not done yet. Here’s what else is new that will help Tin Canny site owners:

  • Protection settings for uploaded modules are now available for non-LearnDash post types.
  • Support for Tin Canny uploads when using the Divi Builder
  • Performance of the Hidden and Autoadvance Mark Complete button integration is improved

We hope you find the changes and new Lectora support useful!