onCourse Update - August

Hi onCourse users,

Welcome to your August onCourse update!


First things first, I (James) have a new role in ish; I’m very proud to share that I’m now the Product Manager for onCourse. I will still be very much present in and around support for the forseeable future, but this also means that I’ve been empowered to make decisions on the development direction of the product as well as the strategies behind those decisions.

One of these steps includes this very post; this is the first in what will be a monthly update that looks to offer a more transparent view of what our development team are working on in terms of future features, as well as the presentation and collection of new ideas. My entire goal is make onCourse a better tool for your team to do their work as seamlessly as possible, and better communication with you is just one facet of that.

We’re also changing our approach to releases, both in terms of communcation and roll out. In the past, ish has been eager to get new features out the door and into the hands of customers, but often without any significant foresight around the changes and how they could be beneficial. This is something I wholeheartedly understand can be frustrating for everyone, which is why, for any major releases in the future where there are significant changes or new developments, we’ll be putting out helpful materials covering these additions in detail, before the date of release.

For minor releases, where we are only patching minor issues and making small changes, these will still be released as they are today, and release notes will be updated to show any additional changes or fixes.


In terms of significant new onCourse features we are still gathering data and exploring potential avenues of new development, however there are some interesting items we have marked to start researching. A lot of our current time and energy is being taken up by essential internal development, but onCourse will continue to see improvements, and in the near future we hope to be getting back to developing and rolling out new features in line with your needs.

One area we’re already seeking to improve is the interaction between onCourse and your ish website by adding a method of showing a filtered list of classes. This means you’ll no longer be restricted to showing a list of courses only, you’ll also be able to list in the /courses page filtered groups of classes. We’re also looking at making it possible to mark your tutor attendance in bulk.

Right now our main focus is on optimising onCourse as it is in its current state, alongside managing essential updates for third-party services. One example is updating our USI validation to use the new version 5 USI validation service, something we’re currently working on. Anything from making more data available for exporting to removing some of the more tedious and unnecessary validation warnings you might see throughout your use of onCourse, these types of quality of life updates will be our focus for the next few months.

Please feel free to get involved in the conversation by adding your thoughts below. I would love to hear your feedback on what you and your team want from onCourse.

James - ish

1 Like

Congratulations James, this is a great step forward. I’m sure you will suit this role well. Good idea about the major product release staging.

At some point in the future, perhaps an onCourse users forum might be a useful way to get customer input. I’m thinking a two hour video meeting or similar.

Cheers and thanks again.