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About Janice Florent

Technology Coordinator in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana

keyboard with accessibility key highlighted

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law was enacted to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content. Statistics show that 12.9% of students have a disability. One in 25 incoming freshmen have some form of cognitive disability. These students have neurological challenges processing information. *

Forty to 60% of undergrads and 9% of graduate students choose not to report their disability and will just struggle through their courses.*

Chances are you will have a student enrolled in one of your courses that has a disability and has chosen not to disclose that information to you.

Accessibility image

Accessibility best practices are built into the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) design and development processes. While Brightspace is accessible to persons with disabilities, uploaded content may not be.

While Brightspace is accessible to persons with disabilities, uploaded content may not be. Instructors should make a conscious effort to make sure content is accessible.

Instructors should make a conscious effort to make sure content is accessible. Even though you may not have a student with a disability currently enrolled in your course, there are a few things you can do when creating content that will save you time later when you do have a student with a disability. This is not wasted time as you will find some students without disabilities will take advantage of accessible content as well. Additionally, if you usually copy content from one course to another you will be one step ahead because your copied course content will already be accessible.

Also for cognitive disabilities it’s important to build flexibility into your courses. This is done by using many modes of information and creating a clutter-free learning environment.

In an upcoming series of blog posts I will provide information on things you can routinely do when you create content and setup your Brightspace courses to make them accessible.

*Source: Accessibility in Education in North America Infographic

grade book page

The Brightspace Grades Tool is useful for providing students with up-to-date information about their current standing in the course. For instructors, it’s useful for assigning and keeping track of student grades. Students can view grade entries and monitor their progress throughout the course.

As an instructor, you can determine how to set up your Grade Book to best reflect your approach to evaluation, including the grading system and grade scheme that is most appropriate for your course. You can select how grades display to learners, how they update in the Grade Book, and how you want to deal with ungraded items. You can create grade items for projects, assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc. to include in your Grade Book, and even associate them with other tools (e.g. Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions).

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links to how-to documents to help you to use the Grades Tool:

Want more information?

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.

Photo Credit: Grade book by David Mulder | CC BY-SA 2.0

growth arrow up

The Class Progress tool helps track student progress in a course by measuring their completion of 9 different progress indicators. The Class Progress tool tracks students' overall progress as a class and individually. Instructors can use the Class Progress tool to do any of the following:

  • Monitor progress for any or all users in the course
  • View user profiles, email users, or instant message users
  • Track when a user accesses the course and downloads course content
  • Track a user's grades, completion of learning objectives, access of content topics, participation in discussions, assignment submissions, quiz submissions, checklist completion, survey responses, and login history
  • Prepare progress reports
  • Set up Intelligent Agents for users who are falling behind in a course

Instructors can customize the Class Progress page to make it easier to track and compare the performance of class participants.

class progress overview

Students can use Class Progress to keep track of all of their course-specific assignments and feedback.

Follow these steps to do it.

To access the Class Progress page, you should:
  1. On the NavBar, click Course Admin.
  2. Click on Class Progress.
  3. Click on a student’s name or one of the progress indicators to get more information about the student's progress.
To email or instant message a student from the Class Progress page, you should:
  1. On the Class Progress page, roll your mouse over the student’s profile picture (avatar) and click on the Send Email or the Send Instant Message button.
To change the Class Progress settings, you should:
  1. On the NavBar, click Course Admin.
  2. Click on Class Progress.
  3. On the Class Progress page, click Settings.
  4. From the context menu of the indicator you want to replace (i.e., the arrow on the right of the performance indicator name), select Replace.
  5. In the Select Progress Indicator dialog box, click on the progress indicator that you want to use as a replacement.
  6. To replace more progress indicators, repeat the previous steps.
  7. From the context menu of a progress indicator, select Move Up or Move Down to rearrange the order in which it appears in Class Progress.
  8. Click Save and Close.

Want more information?

Class and User Progress Quick Start Guide
Track Class progress
Understand and Modify the Class Progress page (video)

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.

Are you overwhelmed by your email inbox? Email overwhelms and irritates most of us. Part of the problem is that most of us were never given any training on email. We were just given an email address and no instructions.

black mailbox with you've got way too much mail written on the mailbox flag

Joanna Stern, of the WSJ, created a short video with 10 time-saving tips to help you master your Gmail inbox. Her video shows you keyboard shortcuts to increase your efficiency, hidden features and tips to turn you into a Gmail ninja.

Note: Tip #3 and #5 in the video refer to a “Labs” tab in the Gmail Settings. The “Labs” tab has been replaced with the “Advanced” tab. You will find the Canned Responses and Preview Pane options in the “Advanced” tab.

Do you want to get to inbox zero? Here are some suggestions from a Washington Post article by Brigid Schulte to help you get there:

In two weeks, I went from 23,768 e-mails in my inbox to zero. Here’s how

If you are looking for more ways to boost your productivity, check out my Keyboard Shortcuts and Type with Your Voice blog posts.

checklist

Brightspace’s Completion Tracking feature allows instructors to monitor whether students have completed or visited/viewed a specific topic in the Content area. This feature can help instructors gauge how effective specific documents, videos, or other learning materials have been, as well as allow instructors to monitor whether students viewed important class materials before completing an assignment.

All content topics are set to automatically track for completion by default. Instructors can change the method of completion for a required activity to be either manual or automatic.

When Completion Tracking is set to automatic, the topic is marked complete when the user clicks on the topic to view it. For some activities, automatic tracking requires users to participate in a discussion, submit a file, or complete an assessment such as a quiz or survey before completion is successful.

When Completion Tracking is set to manual, users select the completion check box beside each content topic to indicate they have completed it. Although users can use manual tracking to indicate that they have accomplished a task before it is completed (for example, selecting the completion check box beside a quiz activity before attempting the quiz at all), this does not affect assessment scores or user attempts counted towards an activity.

Completion Tracking is helpful for students as well. The Completion Tracking progress indicators allow students to monitor their own progress in the course.

Follow these steps to do it.

To view the Completion Summary, you should:

  1. Get into the course where you want to see the Completion Summary.
  2. Click on the Content link in the NavBar.
  3. Click on the topic that you want to review the completion activity for.
  4. Click on the Completion Summary tab. A list of students in the course and information on their activity related to the topic will be displayed.

completion summary

Want more information?

Track content completion (video)
Use completion tracking in content
About tracking content completion and participation
Check completion tracking for a content topic

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.

Quick Eval is a new tool that allows evaluators to see a list of unevaluated learner submissions from all their courses. Submissions from Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions are displayed in one location to improve efficiency when locating work that requires evaluation and providing feedback to learners.

Evaluator view of the Quick Eval list
Evaluator view of the Quick Eval list

Evaluators can sort, filter, and search submissions to prioritize their evaluation work. Sorting can be done using the first or last name of the learner, Activity Name, Course Name, and Submission date. Filtering can be done using one or more of the following categories: Activity Name, Course Name, and Submission Date. Clicking on a user’s name opens an evaluation screen directly from the Quick Eval list where the evaluator can complete their assessment. The search function in Quick Eval allows evaluators to locate submissions for evaluation by searching for a specific user, assignment, quiz, discussion topic, or course.

When learner submissions are evaluated and published, they no longer show up in the Quick Eval list. An empty Quick Eval list gives educators confidence that no learner submissions are pending evaluation.

Follow these steps to do it.

To access the Quick Eval page:

  1. On the NavBar, click Activities, then click Quick Eval.
  2. All ungraded submissions will be displayed. You can sort submissions by first and last name, activity name, course, or submission date. You can also filter results.
  3. Click the learner's name to evaluate the submission.
  4. To return to Quick Eval page, click Back to Quick Eval.
  5. As you complete and publish evaluations they will no longer appear in Quick Eval.

Want more information?

About Quick Eval
Quick Eval submission information
Evaluate submissions using Quick Eval
Grade Submissions Using Quick Eval (video)

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.

You have been using Brightspace for a few semesters now and you are starting to feel comfortable with it. You have mastered the art of uploading files. You create announcements with ease. You have aced using discussion forums. You navigate the Grade Book effortlessly and collecting assignments digitally from your students via assignment submission folders is a breeze.

If you are wondering what to do next, you should consider taking your course to the next level by adding images.

Images can be used to serve many different purposes. Images are powerful because they:

  • Can help tell a story
  • Can explain a technical process
  • Can convey course information in an alternate format
  • Can break up the monotony of “text-only” pages
  • Can increase student engagement
  • Students pay more attention to articles/readings with graphic content
  • Just make the course look better

Below are examples of a Brightspace course that has a module without images and the same module with images and details. Which one looks better? Which course would you rather interact with?

Example of a course module without images or topic details
Example #1 - Course module without images or topic details
Example of a course module with images and detailed information in the descriptions
Example #2 - Course module with images and detailed information in the descriptions

The images used in example #2 are for decoration, but they do add color and continuity to the course. Also, the descriptions provide students with additional information and links to go to for help. Thus eliminating the need for the student to search around the course for help or to find details about the assignment.

You can insert an image anywhere you use the HTML Editor in Brightspace. With a few clicks of your mouse, your Brightspace course can go from boring text only to visually engaging pages of text and images that convey meaning to students in different ways!

Are you looking for images to use in your courses? Here are a few helpful resources:

Follow these steps to do it.

To insert an image in the HTML Editor:

  1. In the HTML Editor, place your cursor where you want to insert the image and then click the Insert Image button.
  2. Follow the prompts.

Want more information?

Understanding the HTML Editor
HTML Editor – Insert Image
HTML Editor – Edit Image Properties
HTML Editor – Adjust Image Description and Sizing

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.

1

Would you like to congratulate your students for a job well done or give them a nudge when they might need to work harder -- without having to do a lot of extra work to make it happen? The Brightspace Intelligent Agents tool can help automate this process for you.

idea

Intelligent Agents allow instructors to delegate some of the course communication and notification tasks to the system, based on specific triggering activities in the course. Intelligent Agents can be used to both recognize student achievement and warn of potential problems. For example, you can use Intelligent Agents to:

  • Check for users that have not logged into the course
  • Check for users that have not logged in within a specific number of days
  • Notify users with grades below a certain level
  • Congratulate users with grades above a certain level
  • Check for users that view a specific content topic

The automatic notifications that are generated when specified course performance criteria are met can be sent to instructors, advisors, and/or students.

Follow these steps to do it.

To create an Intelligent Agent:

Want more information?

Intelligent Agents Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create an Intelligent Agent (video)
View and Edit the Schedule of an Intelligent Agent (video)
Delete and Restore Intelligent Agents (video)
Perform a Practice Run for an Intelligent Agent (video)
Manually Run an Intelligent Agent (video)

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.

You can easily insert images, videos, and other media into your Brightspace course using the "Insert Stuff" option within the HTML Editor. Insert Stuff allows you to embed or link to content items and place them within your Brightspace course. Insert Stuff is available anywhere in the course where the HTML Editor is available. This includes content item descriptions, announcements, discussions, assignments, quizzes, surveys.

insert stuff window

Depending upon your needs, Insert Stuff allows you to upload and insert media in the following ways:

  • Upload a file from your computer
  • Insert a file from within your Course Offering Files
  • Insert a file from within your Brightspace ePortfolio
  • Create and insert a Video Note (webcam recording)
  • Insert a Youtube video via Youtube Search within Insert Stuff window
  • Insert an image file via Flickr Search within the Insert Stuff window
  • Enter a URL where your media file exists
  • Insert a media file by using the Enter Embed Code option
  • Insert media via a Mediasite Lecture Capture search

The next time you are contemplating using media in your courses, try inserting stuff.

Are you looking for images to use in your courses? Check out my Free Image Sites and Tools for Educators blog post.

Follow these steps to do it.

To insert stuff:

  1. In the HTML Editor, place your cursor where you want to insert the media and then click the Insert Stuff button.
  2. Choose the media type you want to insert and follow the prompts.

insert stuff icon shown on HTML Editor toolbar

Want more information?

Create a File and Insert Stuff (video)
Brightspace Tip #43: HTML Editor
Brightspace Tip #102: Video Notes
Free Image Sites and Tools for Educators

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.

Video Notes is a built-in media recording tool in Brightspace that allows instructors and learners to record short videos (up to 3 minutes) 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.

Instructors can use Video Notes to:

  • Create a new Topic in Content area
  • Add a Description to a Module or a Topic in the Content area
  • Create an Announcement
  • Provide instructions when creating a Submission Folder for Assignments
  • Provide a feedback on students’ Assignments
  • Give a description of a new Topic in Discussions or make a post on a Discussion topic
  • Give students feedback in the Grade Book
  • Compose an email inside of Brightspace
  • Anywhere HTML editor is available

Students can use Video Notes in these areas of Brightspace:

  • When adding comments to uploaded assignments in a Submission folder
  • When posting a new thread or replying on someone’s thread in Discussion topic
  • Composing an email inside of Brightspace

Follow these steps to do it.

To create and insert a video note in the HTML Editor:

  1. In the HTML Editor, click the Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click Video Note.
  3. Select Record Webcam Video, or Upload File.

    If Record Webcam Video is selected, follow these steps:

    1. Click New Recording.
    2. Record up to 3 minutes of video and click Stop Recording.
    3. To view the video note, click the play icon.
    4. If you are satisfied with the video, click Next.
    5. Enter a title and description for the video note, and click Next.
    6. Click Insert.

    If Upload File is selected, follow these steps:

    1. Click Choose File and select the file you want to upload from your computer.
    2. File format must be MP4, FLV, F4V, or MOV, and file size can be no larger than 5.00 MB.
    3. Click Next, and enter a title and description.
    4. Click Next, and then Insert.

insert video note window

Want more information?

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

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.