Friday, September 13, 2013

NexPort Solutions 5.0 Provides Improved Customer Support, Faster Performance, Sleek UI

OKLAHOMA CITY – September 13, 2013 – NexPort Solutions Group today released NexPort Campus version 5.0, which includes 320 bug fixes and performance improvements, 17 enhancements and a new writing assignment feature. This release features an easy-to-navigate NexPort Campus with faster loading time and new writing assignments UI to make NexPort more user-friendly and intuitive.

Technical Enhancements
NexPort engineers provided an extensive amount of work toward version 5.0 on technical enhancements, with the main enhancement being that of removing the dependency on Castle:ActiveRecord from the data access layer.

"Castle ActiveRecord is an open source Object Relational Mapper (ORM) that has provided a strong and flexible Data Access Layer for NexPort since version 1,” said Dan Pupek, NexPort Solutions Group Chief Systems Architect. “Two factors have driven our decision to no longer use ActiveRecord. First, ActiveRecord has become an obsolete project and is no longer supported by its community. We were not willing to fork our own version. Second, ActiveRecord was merely an abstraction layer on top of a more robust ORM called Nhibernate. Moving forward, NexPort will use Nhibernate directly."

Engineers also made the transition to Couchbase for data caching. This provides a faster loading time for NexPort Campus.

"Since version 3, we have used Memcached to provide a data-caching layer between NexPort and the database server,” Pupek said. “This data caching speeds up the site by relieving the database server of some of its work. As of version 5.0, NexPort will use Couchbase or caching. Couchbase is a modern 64-bit Memchached implementation that supports higher speed access and simplified clustering.

"Both of these moves from ActiveRecord and from Memcached will keep our technology relevant, allow us to expand more quickly and provide additional performance for future capacity requirements," Pupek said.

Performance Enhancements
Version 5.0 provides performance enhancements to force enrollments and user upload, cutting wait time for both the administrator and the student significantly.

This release also sends users with quicker results for force enrollments on groups with a large number of memberships, with administrators providing enrollments to students more quickly than previous versions of NexPort Campus.

A second performance enhancement provides administrators the ability to be more efficient when executing user upload. Bulk user upload is now processed in the background, meaning administrators no longer have to wait for the upload to complete. Instead, they will receive an email notice when the action has been completed.

General Enhancements
NexPort Campus version 5.0 now allows more functionality and a modern user interface through enhancements to rich text, writing assignments, customer support and student enrollments.

First, assignment titles now support using rich text with a fully functional rich text editor, with question fields of writing assignments being able to be saved as rich text. Both of these provide versatility for administrators and instructors.

Next, this release implements a new look for writing assignments for students and instructors. NexPort furnishes a more polished version of writing assignment, with the ability for requests for submissions and multiple drafts to be submitted from the student, as well as the system producing and distributing emails. Once the student has completed the draft, the instructor will receive an email notification. When the instructor provides feedback, NexPort Campus will generate an email notice to the student.

“The writing assignment user interface changes were brought about because of two ideas: We wanted to improve usability and streamline the functionality to eventually allow administrators to specify their own look and feel for the site,” said Brette Forinash, NexPort Solutions Software Engineer. “The sleek new interface will allow students to focus on their work without being distracted by coloring schemes or awkward alignment.”

NexPort Campus version 5.0 also provides customers with improved technical support. A template for customer service representatives allows NexPort users with the ability to respond to a customer support message that asks specific questions customized to help specifically with their current issue. Customer service can then reply with a more precise response to the user.

A fourth enhancement allows administrators to enroll students directly into a course from the enrollments tab in the user profile, providing a more streamlined process for administrators and other system operators.

Major Bugs Fixes
NexPort users not only received numerous enhancements with this release, but various bugs were resolved and performance improvements were conducted during this release. In the past, the NexPort server had timed-out when adding more than 380 question banks to a NexPort test. This is no longer the case, allowing NexPort users to upload as many question banks as necessary with no glitch in the system.

Users are also able to access manage groups when preferences are corrupted. This was previously a dilemma for NexPort users. Group management preferences now use two specific tables to keep track of preferences and recent groups. Administrators are also able to use the bulk uploading users feature with welcome letters, CC and BCC emails without receiving an error message.

This release was designed to provide quicker results for administrators, and thus, students. It was centered on supplying backend fixes that users do not necessarily see, but they deal with every day in NexPort. This release presents users with a cleaner version of NexPort Campus that is easier to navigate without error, making our users’ experience effortless.

About NexPort Campus
NexPort Campus is a secure, hosted learning and knowledge management system. NexPort Campus also supports interactive engagement within learning communities through the use of videos, organization-wide calendar, shared documents, organization-wide webpages and threaded discussions. Additional system features include data interoperability with external systems, secure digital libraries with subscriber-only access and an integrated Student Information System (SIS).

NexPort Campus also allows clients to provide their learners with customized, on-demand training and education environment. Clients operate within their own branded portals to deliver their unique content and services independently of each other. Customers may subdivide their portals to establish and manage subordinate secure portals for their customers, subsidiaries or divisions. Each portal provides privacy protection and security. Your custom portal can be setup with Secure Sockets Layer technology (128-bit encryption) and a custom domain.

NexPort Solutions Group enables educators and learners to use NexPort Campus to create, organize and hold webmeetings using NexPort Solutions Group’s own NexMeeting. NexMeeting promotes virtual learning, providing users with the ability to share desktops, hold conversations using headset and telephonic audio, survey meeting participants and share videos, PowerPoint slides, photos and documents using the whiteboard.

About NexPort Solutions Group
NexPort Solutions Group is a division of Darwin Global, LLC, a systems and software engineering company that provides innovative, cost-effective training solutions and support for federal, state and local government, as well as the private sector.

Media Contact:
Darcy Delaney
Documentation Specialist
Darwin Global Enterprises
405-217-4060
http://www.nexportsolutions.com/ 

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