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I usually get a lot of questions from faculty related to setting up their Brightspace courses. In the spirit of starting the academic year with less stress, I offer the following infographic with course design suggestions to reduce your course setup and management stress:

course design zen infographic

Accessible PDF version of Course Design Zen infographic.

Want more information?

Course Design Suggestions
Merging Courses
Setup your Fall Courses
Setup your Grade Book
Use Date Management
Using Quicklinks
Copy Course or Copy Components

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You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

As you prepare to teach this fall, now is a good time to get started setting up your Brightspace courses. Our Information Technology Center (ITC) has created the fall courses in Brightspace.

NOTE: You should see your fall courses in the My Courses widget. Our July 2021 Continuous Delivery Updates implemented the updated My Courses Widget sort logic. If you do not see your fall courses in your My Courses widget, you should click on the link to "View All Courses" (located at the bottom of the My Courses widget). Verify that you are listed as the instructor for the course in Banner.

To get started, you can post your syllabus, course documents, announcements, and setup your Grade Book in your Brightspace courses. You can also customize your course homepage and/or course image/banner.

to do list

If you teach a course that is cross listed you will have a Brightspace course for each cross listing. You can combine the cross listed courses into one Brightspace course so that you can post course materials and grades to one combined Brightspace course. Combining courses may also work for you if you are teaching different sections of the same course and would like to have the different sections combined into one Brightspace course so that you can post course documents and grades in the one combined course. The beginning of the semester is the best time to submit a request to merge your Brightspace courses before you add course materials or grades to the courses.

Additionally, if the fall course you are teaching is the same as one of your previous courses you can copy the entire course (or copy components) into your "empty" Brightspace fall course.

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links with instructions to:

Want more information?

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Photo Credit: image by inspirexpressmiami from Pixabay

One of the changes implemented in our system with our July 2021 Continuous Delivery Updates was the end-of-life status for the old My Courses Widget sort logic. The old My Courses sort logic was retired. The new My Courses Widget uses the Updated Sort Logic setting by default.

The Updated Sort Logic is intended to better organize the courses in the My Courses widget. The Updated Sort Logic presents both pinned and unpinned courses in the My Courses Widget, promoting the pinned courses to be displayed first in the widget.

The updated sorting logic in the My Courses Widget does not auto-pin courses, and allows the end-user to pin and rearrange courses in an order that makes sense to them. The updated sort logic tries to populate the widget with up-to 12 courses, starting with the user’s pinned courses, then pulling in unpinned courses by enrollment date until the widget contains 12 courses. The result is that most users get a sensible My Courses Widget with no intervention on their part, while pinning and customization is still available for the users who need it.

Screenshot of the Pinned tab in the My Courses widget
The Pinned tab appears in the My Courses widget when users pin courses

A new Pinned tab now appears in the My Courses widget. The “Pinned” tab displays only the courses that a user has pinned, similar to the old sort logic. The Pinned tab allows learners and instructors to create a curated view of their pinned courses. Clicking on the push pin to the right of the course name in the Course Selector will pin/unpin the course.

An example of pinning a course from course selector
Pin/unpin courses from the course selector

The Pinned tab appears in the widget only after a user pins a course in the Course Selector. The tab remains in view until all courses are unpinned. The My Courses widget remembers the last viewed tab and shows that same tab the next time the homepage is viewed. This makes it easy for instructors and learners who only wish to view pinned courses to see those courses upon login.

NOTE: The Pinned tab only appears when a user has one or more course pinned – tabs are not displayed to the user that contain 0 courses.

The View All Courses navigation drills down into the courses by showing manually pinned courses, followed by current enrollments, then future enrollments (if available and visible to the user), then past enrollments (if available or visible to the user) as the default sort. If the user changes the sort order, the filter does not separate pinned courses from other courses based on sort order, filters, and search terms.

Want more information?

Retirement of the Old My Courses Widget Sort Logic
About the My Courses Widget

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

F1 Help key

As you move forward with teaching and learning, you may have Brightspace questions. Here is a list of Brightspace help resources you can use to get answers to your questions:

Live Chat icon

Additionally, if you are having difficulties using any of the course tools, you can get help from D2L. This help is available 24/7 via Email and Live Chat. You will find links for Email Support and Live Chat Support in the Help menu on the NavBar (inside of Brightspace). You must be logged into Brightspace to access the Email and Live Chat Support links.

Help Menu

Want more information?

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

VoiceThread logo

VoiceThread is a web 2.0 tool that allows you to humanize interactions in an online environment. Instructors and students can share a wide variety of media (images, PDFs, slides, video, and more) and share text, audio, and video comments on that media quickly and easily. VoiceThread transforms stale, text-based discussions by infusing your content and conversations with human presence, just as if students were all sitting in the classroom together, but without scheduling a specific time to meet.

There are two new features available in VoiceThread assignments! Read on for more information about the new features that were recently introduced.

Prerequisites

If your course has a number of VoiceThread assignments, you might want to ensure that students complete those assignments in order. You can already set open and close dates, but this isn't always the best option, especially for self-paced courses. Now you can ensure that a previous assignment was completed before a student can even view the next one. It's a great way to keep students on the right track even if you have multiple assignments open at once.

Just click the "Select a prior assignment" button on the last page of the setup process and choose the assignment(s) students must complete first.

An example of the "Select a prior assignment" button in the Assignment Builder
The "Select a prior assignment" button in the Assignment Builder

Reconnecting Assignments

Have you ever built an assignment in your course and then wished you could re-link it in a different place? You're in luck! There is a new feature that empowers you to re-link an assignment so you aren't stuck with that one-time setup.

When you go into the Assignment Builder, you'll have a 4th option labeled "Reconnect Previous Assignment". When you select this option, you'll see a list of all assignments you've already built in this course, and you can choose the one you want to use. This will move the assignment from the old link in your course to the new location. The old link will no longer take students to this assignment.

An example of the "Reconnect Previous Assignment" option in the Assignment Builder
The "Reconnect Previous Assignment" option in the Assignment Builder

Want more information?

Other recently introduced VoiceThread features
VoiceThread Instructor Support
Add VoiceThread to your Course
How to use new VoiceThread assignments
Submitting new VoiceThread assignments – Students
VoiceThread FAQ

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model gives us regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes with no downtime required for our Brightspace system.

Our Continuous Delivery update occurs on the 4th Thursday of each month. D2L provides release notes to help users stay up-to-date with the changes.

Here are a few updates in the July 2022/20.22.7 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Brightspace Platform Requirements - Receive browser update alerts

The supported browser list is updated to reflect browsers that need to be updated. Users will receive the message “Your browser is looking a little retro” that prompts users to update their browser. Legacy Browsers are also updated. All users of Legacy Browsers receive the message “Unsupported Browser” either before or after logging in. There are no changes to the ability to access Brightspace.

Browser update prompt in Brightspace Learning Environment
Browser update prompt in Brightspace Learning Environment

2) Grades – Copy grade items only copies unique or in-use grade schemes

This feature updates the Copy Course Components functionality in regard to copying grade schemes to prevent unnecessary duplicates.

When a grade item is copied, any grade scheme associated with the item is also copied. If a grade scheme is not associated to a grade item within the course offering, the scheme is only copied if the grade scheme is unique (i.e., there are no duplicates which match on name, and ranges).

Previously, unassociated grade schemes were always copied over with the grade items, causing numerous unnecessary duplicates.

3) Turnitin – Rearrangement of options for the Turnitin integration

The Turnitin integration options layout and feature names are changed with this release. The option changes can be viewed on the Turnitin Integrations options page.

GradeMark is now Online Grading and Originality Check is now Similarity Report. Instructors can enable features for Online Grading and Similarity Report separately within the Turnitin Integration options page.

Turnitin integration with updated options for Similarity Report and Online Grading
Turnitin integration with updated options for Similarity Report and Online Grading

4) Turnitin - Restrict files to file types supported by Turnitin with the updated panel

Previously, Turnitin similarity check only supported specific file types while Turnitin grading check accepted any file type.

Instructors can now restrict file types to those supported by Turnitin. If an invalid type is submitted, an error is reported with no other side effect.

File type options for Turnitin submissions
File type options for Turnitin submissions

The updated side panel now indicates which Turnitin services are enabled. The text on these indications reflects the new Turnitin feature names for Similarity Report and Online Grading.

Updated side panel showing which Turnitin services are enabled
The updated side panel shows which Turnitin services are enabled

5) Turnitin - Turnitin feature names are now reflected in Brightspace Learning Environment’s user interface

In Brightspace Learning Environment, the submission view now reflects the new Turnitin feature names that match Brightspace’s user interface styling and text. The column titled Turnitin Similarity is now Turnitin® Similarity Report. The column titled Turnitin® GradeMark® is changed to Turnitin Online Grading.

There is no change in the functionality of submission views.

The new Turnitin submission view in Brightspace Learning Environment
The new Turnitin submission view in Brightspace Learning Environment

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the July Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform July 2022/20.22.7 Release Notes.

Additionally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about current, past, and to preview upcoming continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by geralt from Pixabay

[Camtasia Logo]

This just in: Xavier's faculty site license for Camtasia has been extended for a few years, and Camtasia 2022 has now been released!

For those just tuning in, Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. A common use for teachers is to record short lectures.

In addition to the software, we have access to TechSmith's tech support as well as extensive training materials, which are quite frankly excellent.

So what are you waiting for? Yes, you can download and install Camtasia now. Here's the link.

Please note: You will need a Camtasia License key to unlock the software beyond the free trial period. To get the key, please contact me, Bart Everson. You can send me an email: bpeverso at you-know-where.

update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model gives us regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes with no downtime required for our Brightspace system.

Our Continuous Delivery update occurs on the 4th Thursday of each month. D2L provides release notes to help users stay up-to-date with the changes.

Here are a few updates in the June 2022/20.22.6 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments – Save time by copying assignments to other courses

Instructors who teach several courses and have the new Assignments > Copy to Other Courses permissions are now able to copy assignments between their courses. The copied assignment includes the following key assignment properties:

  • Assignment folder and properties, including instructions, assignment category, and visibility
  • Assignment properties including description, attachments (direct file attachments, uploaded from Google Workspace or OneDrive, and audio and video files), and category
    Grade item and grade category
  • Availability dates
  • Submission and completion information, including the Optional Grade item and the course scheme if used.
  • Rubric(s) associated with the assignment. When copying an assignment that uses a shared rubric, instead of linking a copied assignment to a shared rubric, the rubric is also copied. The copied assignment links to the copied rubric. If an assignment uses a rubric that is archived, the rubric is copied and retains the archived state in the destination courses.

The following attributes are not copied:

  • Instruction quicklinks and attachment resources created with the Attach link to existing activity action.
  • Instruction images added using Insert Image that were saved to course files.
  • Availability Release conditions and special access settings.
  • Submission and completion information including group assignment designation.
  • Evaluation and Feedback information including Turnitin associations, competency, and outcome associations.
  • Content topic associations (for example, if the assignment is linked from content).

NOTE: In some cases, references to links and images that are not copied may result in broken links.

The Copy to Other Courses option appears in the context menu of assignments.

The Copy to Other Courses menu item highlighted
The Copy Assignments dialog enables you to select the associated rubrics and grade items and choose destinations.

In the Copy Assignment dialog, you can select any rubrics and grade items associated with the selected assignment to include them in the copy package. The Choose Destinations area enables you to search by keyword or semester to find the destination courses for the assignment. Only course offerings for which a user has the Copy to Other Courses permission appear in the Choose Destinations list. By default, the maximum number of courses you can select is 10.

The Copy Assignments dialog box showing checkboxes for rubrics and grade items
The Copy Assignments dialog enables you to select the associated rubrics and grade items and choose destinations.

After you have completed the Copy Assignment dialog, the progress page indicates the status of each destination course and any issues. If you navigate away from the progress page, a minibar notification in Brightspace Learning Environment indicates when the assignment has been copied to all the destination courses. You can click the notification to open the progress page to review the status and logged issues.

This feature partially implements PIE item D6762 - Post the same assignment to multiple courses, and D5754 - Export assessments to multiple courses.

2) Brightspace Pulse – Pulse App now only supported on Android 6 / iOS13 and above

With this release, the Brightspace Pulse App is now only supported on the following mobile operating systems:

  • Android 6 and above
  • iOS13 and above

This ensures that mobile level support is consistent across all D2L Apps, rather than being on a per-app basis; and consistent with Android and Apple policies concerning operating system support.

Previously, Brightspace Pulse was supported on Android 6 and iOS12 and above.

3) Classlist – View user pronouns next to names to further personalize learning

Classlist can now display users' pronouns next to their names. Users with the existing Set My Pronouns permission enabled for their role can choose whether to display their pronouns to other users in the Account Settings > Pronouns menu. They must check the Allow others to see my pronouns check box for their pronouns to display in Classlist. Users must have the existing See Pronouns permission enabled for their role to see their classmates' pronouns in Classlist.

Previously, the only location where pronouns displayed was in a user's profile card. Refer to Brightspace Tip #270: Pronouns for more information.

Classlist showing pronouns highlighted to the right of the name of a learner
Pronouns display in the 'Last Name, First Name' column of Classlist, to the right of the user's name, in parentheses. User name text is blue, pronoun text is grey.

This feature implements PIE items D5207 (Preferred Pronoun field in Classlist) and D8232 (Display Pronouns in Classlist).

4) Quizzes – Create engaging assessments quickly with the new quiz creation experience

The new quiz creation experience brings create and edit consistency changes from Assignments to Quizzes.

Quizzes tool shown in the new quiz creation experience.
The new quiz creation experience.

The primary panel on the left contains common, frequently used fields that are always displayed. These fields are most relevant to learners and are core to quiz creation. The add/edit question workflow has been brought into the primary panel, giving users the ability to easily modify quiz questions without the need to navigate to a separate interface.

The right-hand panel organizes additional, more advanced options such as start and end dates, release conditions, and special access. These options follow the same logical groupings as found in Assignments. Other quiz-specific settings can be found in the right-hand panel including creating a password protected quiz, applying IP restrictions, adjusting quiz timing, setting display options, managing attempts, and altering evaluation and feedback settings.

See the Welcome to the New Quiz Creation Experience knowledge article for an in-depth look at all the feature and capability changes with this update.

5) Rubrics - Quickly determine a Rubrics state with archived tags and selection list descriptions

To provide consistency with other Rubrics experiences and build on the value of the Rubrics tool, there are several improvements in this release.

Archived Rubrics now appear with an archived tag

The Archived tag enables users to update rubric versions while keeping the existing evaluation records available for instructors and learners to review. Previously, when you changed a rubric, previous evaluations were removed. Now, if you change the status of a rubric to Archived, there are no effects on the alignment of rubrics to any assessment activities or previous evaluations that were completed using the rubric. Rubrics that are changed to an Archived status after the initial alignment to the activity continue to display and can be used for evaluation. There is a new Archived tag that appears on rubric tiles in activity creation and activity evaluation workflows to provide information to instructors and course developers that a rubric previously aligned to an activity is now archived. The Archived tag appears in both full-screen and pop-out views of the rubric in Grades, Competencies, and in the Consistent Eval experience. In addition, it appears in rubrics results pages and during evaluation for instructors in collapsed, expanded, and full-screen view. You cannot add archived rubrics to assessment activities and new rubric alignments - this behavior has not changed.

Note: The archived state tag is not visible to learners. If you have been evaluated using an archived status rubric, the learner can see those evaluations and feedback.

Rubric descriptions now appear in the Rubric picker list

The Rubric selection dialog window now includes the first two rows of the rubric description to enable instructors and course designers to better identify the version of a rubric when its name is being reused for a current rubric.

The help description for Status in the Rubrics tool now more clearly explains the interaction of archived status rubrics

The help text icon now appears next to the Status column heading, and the Archived Status text now more accurately reflects the available interactions with archived status rubrics. Specifically, it expands the description to indicate that archived rubrics do not appear in default search results and cannot be added to activities; however they can be evaluated. Further, archiving a rubric does not remove it from activities or published feedback.

The Archived tag appears under the Rubric title.
The Archived tag appears under the Rubric title.

The new location of the help icon in the Rubric Status column.
The new location of the help icon in the Rubric Status column.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the June Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform June 2022/20.22.6 Release Notes.

Additionally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about current, past, and to preview upcoming continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by geralt from Pixabay

Hey folks! Hope you're enjoying summer break and this record-breaking heat. Hopefully it will be a little cooler when this event rolls around in the fall. We're posting this in support of our faculty in the Division of Business, aiming to spread the word and get on calendars. Download the flyer in PDF.

The Catholic Business Leader: A New Orleans Symposium
Save the Date - September 29 through October 1, 2022
With Keynote Speaker, Cardinal Peter Turkson
Sponsored by Xavier University of Louisiana and Loyola University of New Orleans

clipart of iPad screen with an online assessment

A common question in online learning is “How do we keep students from cheating in online exams?” A shift from traditional means of assessment (quizzes, tests, exams) to authentic and alternative assessments is critical in virtual settings.

If faculty try to assess their students the same way they did in a face-to-face setting, they will most likely find themselves frustrated, as well as frustrating their students.

In a Faculty Focus article, Laura McLaughlin, EdD, and Joanne Ricevuto, EdD, provided some recommendations to improve the use of assessments in virtual environments and decrease concerns regarding cheating. Their recommendations are:

  1. Allow choice in assessments: Let students decide how they will demonstrate their learning.
  2. Authentic and stackable assessments: Students should be told why they are assigned a particular assessment, and why it is relevant to their learning.
  3. Trust students: Provide alternative assessments (not quizzes and tests) where the concern of cheating is off the table.
  4. Frequent feedback and communication: Provide feedback that helps learners improve their learning.

Teaching in a virtual environment creates an opportunity to rethink your practices, try something new, and embrace deeper and more engaging ways of assessing students without using lockdown browsers or worrying about students cheating.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in this Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t need that Lockdown Browser! article.

Did you miss our (Re)Thinking Exams workshop? If you want to learn about ways you can challenge your students to demonstrate what they've learned while teaching in an online environment, watch this (Re)Thinking Exams workshop recording. In this workshop, Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer and Dr. Jay Todd discussed and demonstrated ways that focused active learning activities can be used in place of more traditional methods of assessment like quizzes and tests.

The sudden shift to remote learning led to concerns about new opportunities for students to engage in unauthorized shortcuts. During spring 2021, three academic integrity and STEM professionals from the University of Maryland Global Campus, a primarily online institution, shared research on academic integrity in online courses, strategies for promoting integrity in remote learning environments, and examples of how content learning is achieved in any setting designed for online education. ICYMI, here's a link to the Proactive Approaches for Academic Integrity in Remote and Online Learning workshop recording.

Image credit: "online assessment" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is a derativie of image by coffeebeanworks and image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay