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red tag with the word bonus written on it

There are two ways to give extra credit in Brightspace. The first is to allow the grade item to exceed the maximum number of points for the assignment. The other option is to indicate the grade item is a “Bonus” item.

The differences between the two options are explained here:

  • Can Exceed means in grading an item you are able to add extra credit to the assignment, quiz, or any item in the Grade Book. You indicate this by checking the Can Exceed box.
    • The Can Exceed option can boost student’s score on activity making it feasible to earn more than 100%. For example, on a grade item where the maximum points is 10 and the Can Exceed option is selected, a grade of 12/10 is a perfect score with 2 extra credit points added.
    • When you choose Can Exceed for a grade item in the Grade Book, you should also select Can Exceed for the Category in which the grade item resides.
  • Bonus refers to optional activities. Students are NOT penalized for skipping the activity. Points earned for Bonus activities will improve the student’s grade. Checking the Bonus option means that any points earned will be added onto the Final Calculated Grade.
    • Bonus items appear in the Grade Book with a Star next to them.
    • Bonus grade items are not included in the maximum points for a category or final grade. They are added on top of the calculated grade. Bonus grade items cannot make users' grades exceed the maximum points specified, unless the Can Exceed option is selected.

The Can Exceed and Bonus options can both be selected for a grade item.

bonus grade item

Want more information?

About Bonus Grade Items
Bonus Marks FAQs
Extra Credit
Create a Grade Item (video)
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book

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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: “bonus” by jflorent is licensed under CC0 and is a derivative of image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

why merge road sign

Faculty can request to have two or more of their courses combined into a single course. Combining courses can be useful when you are teaching multiple sections of the same course or when you are teaching a course that is cross-listed. Merging courses allows you to have all the students in a single Brightspace course which can be useful for collaborative work. Merging courses reduces the number of courses an instructor has to manage within Brightspace, especially when each section has identical content.

Once your courses are merged, you can upload your course content and assignments into the merged course; communicate with the students in the merged course; setup collaborative course work; and have one Grade Book for the merged course. You can create groups within your merged course that correspond to the original course sections. This way you can target a particular course section (group) of students for specific things (e.g. send email to a specific group, make content available to specific group, enter/view Grade Book entries for a specific group, etc.)

NOTE: Merging of courses is typically done at the start of the semester before content is added and before students submit course work. You should wait to request your courses be merged if there is a possibility that there will be last minute changes to instructor course section assignments. You can request a Master Course Shell to build your course and then transfer the content into your merged course.

You should carefully consider whether merging courses is right for you. Some disadvantages to merging courses are:

  • Course enrollments for the merged courses will be combined which can make grading student work a challenge. If you create groups for the different sections, you will be able to view your Grade Book by groups to make grading easier.
  • If you decide you want to unmerge courses after students have submitted course work, student work and grades will be lost. Only student enrollments are retained when courses are unmerged.

Follow these steps to do it.

A system administrator will have to merge your courses. Send an email to Yamlak Tsega (ytsega@xula.edu) if you want to merge courses. You should include the course ID (including CRN) for all the courses you want merged together. The course merge process requires that a brand new empty Brightspace course be created that will serve as the primary course for all the merged sections. If you have any course content that needs to be retained in one of the courses to be merged, it will have to be exported and then imported into the newly created combined course. Please include that information with your request to merge courses.

Want more information?

Merge Courses
Working with Groups

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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: "why merge" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is a derivative of merging by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Brightspace Pulse is a mobile app that can help learners stay connected and on track with their Brightspace courses. It provides one easy view of course calendars, readings, assignments, evaluations, grades, and announcement items. The app can help learners make better decisions about how to handle their workload, when to submit assignments, and when to prepare for tests. Real-time alerts can let learners know when classes are canceled, class is meeting in an alternate location, or new grades are available. The schedule view and weekly visualization enables learners to quickly at a glance view what is due today, this week, and upcoming across all their courses.

While the Brightspace Pulse app is designed for the learner, instructors can benefit too.

Brightspace Pulse App on iPhone

While the Brightspace Pulse app is designed for the learner, instructors can benefit too. When instructors enter due dates or end dates for assignments and activities the information is populated in the Pulse app enabling learners to stay connected and on track. Thus, instructors can spend less time reminding and more time teaching.

Instructors can make their courses Pulse friendly by including due dates or end dates for assignments and activities. When instructors do not enter due dates or end dates, no associated information is available in the Pulse app.

The Pulse app is great for helping students stay on track in face-to-face classes as well. Instructors can set up their face-to-face assignments and activities as events in the Brightspace course calendar. Students will get those date feeds in the Brightspace Pulse app.

Help keep students on track for success in all their courses by including a due date or end date for assignments and activities.

Want more information?

Brightspace Pulse App
Brightspace Tip #112: Due Dates
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for Content (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for an Assignment (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for a Discussion Topic (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for a Quiz (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Availability for a Calendar Event (video)
Brightspace Tip #74: Manage Dates

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
Request a sandbox course
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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.

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 May 2020/20.20.5 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Brightspace Pulse - Pin and unpin courses

To help learners more easily find their current courses in Brightspace Pulse for Android, learners can now pin and unpin courses from the Courses screens. Pinning a course ensures it remains at the top of the screen for easy access. Previously, learners could only pin and unpin their courses in Brightspace Learning Environment and Brightspace Pulse for iOS.

To pin or unpin a course in Brightspace Pulse, do one of the following:

  • From the Courses screen, tap the ellipses (...) icon in a course tile.
  • From the Course Homepage screen, tap the ellipses (...) icon at the top of the screen.

From the list of actions, tap Pin or Unpin. A pinned course is denoted by a Brightspace Pulse pin icon. Unpinning a course removes the pin icon.

The Courses screen displaying an unpinned course tile with the ellipses icon
The Courses screen displaying an unpinned course tile with the ellipses (...) icon
The Courses screen displaying a pinned course tile with the ellipses and pin icons
The Courses screen displaying a pinned course tile with the ellipses (...) icon and pin icon

The Course Homepage screen displaying the ellipses icon
The Course Homepage screen displaying the ellipses (...) icon

2) Calendar - Bulk delete items

To create parity with other tools and improve workflow, the Calendar tool now offers a Delete interface. Previously, it was impossible to bulk delete calendar items. This change enables users to multi-select and delete calendar items using the More Actions menu.

Example of the delete action in the more actions menu
The Delete option appears in the More Actions drop-down menu.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the May Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform May 2020/20.20.5 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
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

backgammon game board

Gamification is making a boring process interesting by using fun elements from games. Gamification is not the same as playing a game. Educators have been using gamification even before there was an official term for it.

Yu-kai Chou (2015) defines gamification as:

The craft of deriving fun and engaging elements found typically in games and thoughtfully applying them to real-world or productive activities.

Why Use Gamification?

Clearly gamification is a motivation tool. So why would you take the time to set-up a gamification component to your courses? In an LearnDash blog post Justin Ferriman lists some benefits of gamification to consider. Those benefits are:

  • Provides Instant Feedback – Learners receive instant feedback on their understanding of the course content. This instant feedback highlights what they need to spend more time reviewing.
  • Prompts Change in Behavior – The ability to earn points and badges reinforces certain behaviors. Cashing in the points and badges for something tangible or real makes this even more true.
  • Better Learning Experience – Gamifiying a course offers the opportunity for learners to engage with the content in various ways.
  • Safe To Fail – Gamification can incorporate the “loss” of a reward instead of earning a reward. Making it safe for learners to fail and to learn from their mistakes.

What is considered as fun in games?

Winning or beating an opponent is an obvious answer. However, pleasure is also derived from activities such as:

  • problem-solving
  • exploring
  • creating
  • imagining
  • collecting
  • role-playing
  • collaborating
  • simply chilling out

What gaming elements can be used in the learning process?

Gamification strategies include elements such as gamifying grading, incentivizing students with rewards and adding competitive elements such as leaderboards. From the non-exhaustive list of gaming components and mechanics, here are a few from a Bright Classroom Ideas blog post by Savas Savides, which can be particularly useful to educators:

  • Narrative - Nothing can beat a well-told captivating story, whether you are a child or an adult. Text, audio, video, cartoon, they all have the same denominator: a storyline.
  • Progression - Learners need to know they are acquiring skills and getting better. Student portfolios and ‘can-do’ statements help them reflect on their own learning.
  • Challenges - Tasks should be easy enough to tackle, but hard enough to challenge and motivate. And, following the previous point on progression, they should have a gradually rising level of difficulty.
  • Competition - Motivates students to perform better. Through competition, students not only do what is required to accomplish the required goals, but also do the best they can do. Competition allows the students to come forward with better ideas and clearly highlight their skills in front of their teacher and classmates. Competition is closely linked to rewards.
  • Cooperation - Apart from competing against each other, students also like working together. Never miss an opportunity to form pairs or groups to work on a project. It is more fun than working alone.
  • Rewards - With tangible rewards there is always the danger that they may substitute for the intrinsic motivation. It is better to use intangible rewards (e.g. points). Remember that the game is ultimately its own reward.
  • Win States - When the outcome is a winner.
  • Achievements - Create tangible things that serve as proof of student achievement. They can be certificates, posters, photos, videos etc.
  • Badges - Another tangible proof of individual achievement. They can be stickers, stamps, even your own drawings on the board.
  • Leaderboards - A classification of all learners-participants according to their performance. A really powerful motivational tool.
  • Points - Instant intangible rewards that help create leaderboards.
  • Teams - Either working with each other in a team or cooperating to beat another team, students can overcome shyness and benefit immensely.

A well-designed gamified course can grab and keep students’ attention, improve students’ knowledge retention, and improve students’ overall success in the course. Gamification may not suit everyone. But for those who use it, the benefits of gamification can be substantial.

For more information on gamification, check out these resources:

Image credit: image by Al Buettner from Pixabay

Orange Room logo

The Orange Room is a community where educators can learn from each other about efficient and innovative ways to use Brightspace. The Orange Room is a place where educators can share tips, suggestions, knowledge, and expertise to help colleagues use Brightspace to improve their teaching and to inspire the next generation of learners.

Our latest contribution to The Orange Room is Ms. Monica Pierre's story about how, with the switch to remote instruction, she used Zoom to invite a guest speaker into her class. Inviting industry leaders to her classes to expose her students to real-world experiences and assignments is something she often does. The integration of Zoom into Brightspace makes it easy to setup virtual class meetings and invite guests.

screenshot of Ms. Monica Pierre's educator share story

You will also find in the Orange Room some helpful Brightspace tips from Dr. Tia Smith, Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer, and Sr. Juliana Haynes.

Are you doing something innovative? Have you discovered a handy tip? We invite you to share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Want more information?

The Orange Room
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

celebrate GAAD heading with disability icons

Thursday, May 21st, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD aims to get you talking, thinking, and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different abilities and talents.

Accessibility is about everyone. It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content.

Video Notes is a built-in media recording tool in Brightspace that allows instructors and learners to record short videos with a webcam. This makes it easy to personalize the learning experience with short, video-based feedback, comments, or instructions. Video Notes can be added where video attachments are supported and when the HTML Editor’s Insert Stuff option is available.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on captions and subtitles to understand video content. But there are a lot of other great reasons for using captions. For example, you may have some learners who choose not to use the sound or they cannot use it without disturbing those around them. You may have some learners who are not native in your language or who have trouble understanding you. Closed captions and subtitles will allow these individuals to receive your message and understand it.

Did you know you can generate automatic closed captions for newly created Video Notes AND you have the ability to manually add or edit closed captions for all previously recorded Video Notes?

Follow these steps to do it.

To generate automatic captions:

  1. Select Add Video Note from the Insert Stuff option in the HTML Editor.
  2. Click on New Recording, click Stop Recording when done recording.
  3. Click on Next
  4. Enter a title and description for the Video Note.
  5. Choose the audio language.
  6. Check the "Automatically generate captions from audio" box.
  7. Click Next and follow the prompts.
  8. After video processing, you can view the closed captions using video player controls.
example of automatically generate captions from audio checkbox
Video Notes - automatically generate captions from audio

Note: As with any automatically generated captions, you should verify the accuracy of the automatically generated captions.

To edit/update Video Note captions:

  1. Select Video Note Captions from the Admin Tools. Admin Tools are accessed from the cog icon in the top right corner of the page.
  2. Locate the Video Note you would like to review the captions for.
  3. Select the Video Note from the list.
  4. Edit the captions in the Captions Editor.
  5. Click on Save Captions.
Video Notes captions option shown on Admin Tools menu
Video Notes captions
Example of Video Notes captions editor
Video Notes - update automatic captions

To add Video Note captions:

  1. Select Video Note Captions from the Admin Tools. Admin Tools are accessed from the cog icon in the top right corner of the page.
  2. Locate the Video Note you would like to add captions to.
  3. Select the Video Note from the list.
  4. For automatic captions, select the audio language and then click Generate OR to upload a caption file, click Choose File, locate the captions file, click Upload.
  5. After video processing, you can view the closed captions using video player controls.
Example of adding captions to Video Notes
Video Notes - add captions

Reminder: As with any automatically generated captions, you should verify the accuracy of the automatically generated captions.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #102: Video Notes
Create Video Notes
Create and insert a Video Note in HTML Editor
Reuse Video Notes
Understanding the HTML Editor
Add closed captions to a Video Note
Edit Video Notes closed captions

View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

Image credit: "celebrate GAAD" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is adaption of "disability symbols" by National Park Service in the public domain

The following event is sponsored by our friends at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. We are sharing here because we think this timely topic may be of great interest to Xavier faculty and staff. For more information, and to register, please visit the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

A virtual retreat with Ruth King and Kamilah Majied
Broadcast live via Zoom on Sunday, June 7th
3:00 – 5:00 pm EDT

We are painfully living through what the emerging data confirm: that Black people are dying at disproportionate rates and experiencing more negative economic, legal, health and safety consequences due to COVID-19 and the ensuing Shelter in Place mandates. This is having a profound impact on our communities and on each of us personally and professionally. We also know that the causes and effects of these difficult times are deeply rooted in generations of injustice and neglect. Yet, our well-being depends on our response as leaders. It is time that we gather as Black practitioners, educators, artists, activists, and leaders and share the wisdom of our beautiful collective community.

We invite you, our beloved Black community, who do so much holding, caring, and leading, into a space of learning about how meditative practices can help us awaken to and sustain our physical, emotional, social, and communal wellness.

All the practices offered in this 2-hour session will seed your capacity to further nurture wellness in the Black communities you practice and lead in, thus enabling you to feel more fortified in guiding your respective communities towards surviving and thriving through the pandemic and beyond.

Join us for this pre-Juneteenth celebration of Our Black Lives as we learn together how to liberate and nourish our well-being and that of one another.

For more information, and to register, please visit the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

celebrate GAAD heading with disability icons

Thursday, May 21st, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD aims to get you talking, thinking, and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different abilities and talents.

Accessibility is about everyone. It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content.

The Brightspace HTML Editor has a built-in accessibility checker that makes it easy to check for issues or offer suggestions to fix identified accessibility issues.

Follow these steps to do it.

To check for accessibility issues:

  1. After you add content to the HTML Editor, click the accessibility checker icon.
  2. HTML Editor accessibility checker icon

  3. The checker indicates if the content is free of accessibility issues, or offers suggestions to fix them.
  4. accessibility issues detected

Want more information?

Brightspace Accessibility Checker
Improve Your Course with Brightspace Accessibility Checker

View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

Image credit: "celebrate GAAD" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is adaption of "disability symbols" by National Park Service in the public domain

GAAD logo

Thursday, May 21st, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.

While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.

The key to embracing accessibility – whether online, in the classroom, or on campus is realizing that taking the time to address an issue doesn’t just help a handful of individuals; in the end, everyone benefits.

Participants in global accessibility awareness day are encouraged to attempt to go an hour without using a technology most people take for granted – such as not using a computer mouse, attempting to navigate a website using a screen reader, or enlarging all of the fonts in a web browser to 200 percent, to see how functionality may be lost when accessibility isn’t taken into consideration in the design.

Whether you participate in an organized activity with others or not, join in and take an hour out of your day to experience digital accessibility first-hand.

Image credit: "Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo" by Mindymorgan licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0