Skip to content

About Janice Florent

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

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

NOTE: You should see your summer courses in the My Courses widget. If you do not see your summer 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. You can find more information about the updated My Courses Widget sort logic at this link.

As you prepare to teach this summer, you can get started setting up your Brightspace courses. 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 summer 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 spring course.

NOTE: ITC will enroll students in the Brightspace courses at the end of the registration process, usually the night before the start of classes for the semester. If you want to view your class enrollments or email your students before they are enrolled in your Brightspace course, you can do so in Banner or through EAB.

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
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.

Photo Credit: image by inspirexpressmiami from Pixabay

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 is an update in the May 2023/20.23.5 release that was added to our system this month:

1) Awards – Add criteria to awards in compliance with the latest Open Badges standard

Instructors can now specify what a learner must do to achieve a particular award.

This feature complements the use of evidence for awards by adding the new required Criteria field to the Awards tool.

The new required Criteria field on the New Award page
The new required Criteria field on the New Award page.

Availability of Criteria and Evidence fields meets the latest Open Badges 2.0 standard from 1EdTech (formerly known as IMS Global):

  • When instructors manually grant awards, they can now check the award's criteria and enter evidence describing what the learner did to meet the criteria and earn the award.
  • When the award is automatically issued, the release conditions determine if learners meet the criteria.
  • If learners share their award via a public link, both the Criteria and Evidence fields now appear on the Public Award page.
The new Criteria field on the Public Award page
The new Criteria field on the Public Award page.

This feature implements PIE item D6128 (Incorporate Open Badge 2.0 Standards).

For existing awards that do not have explicitly stated criteria, Brightspace treats the Criteria and Evidence fields as the same.

Previously, there was no criteria field available in the Awards tool. When learners shared their awards to Badgr, the same field values were used for both Evidence and Criteria fields.

If you are interested in getting more information about this and all the May Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform May 2023/20.23.5 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
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

celebrate GAAD heading with disability icons

Thursday, May 18th, 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 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 Brightspace Editor, click the accessibility checker icon.
  2. Brightspace 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
Brightspace Accessibility Lab

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: "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 18th, 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

end road sign

As we approach the end of the semester there are a few things you can do in Brightspace to wrap up for the semester.

Release final course grades

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. If you did not choose to enable the automatic release of final grades when setting up your Grade Book, you will have to manually release final grades in order for students to see their final grade.

Export your Grade Book

Student access to courses is removed two weeks after the end of a semester. This process of making the courses inactive allows student work and grades to be visible to instructors but students no longer have access to the course. Courses will remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters before they are removed. You should export (download) your Grade Book to your local computer after you submit your final grades.

NOTE: The export file that is created will NOT contain any student work or instructor feedback. Only the grades in your Grade Book will be exported.

Create a master copy of your course

Courses remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters before they are removed. You can request a Master Course Shell that you can use to develop and maintain your course materials. Master Course Shells will not be removed from the Brightspace system.

Follow these steps to do it.

Instructions are available for releasing final course grades, exporting your Grade Book, and requesting Master Course Shells.

Want more information?

Release Final Grades
Export your Grade Book (video [2:03])
Master Copies of Courses

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.

Photo Credit: "end" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CCO and is a derivative of image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Brightspace calculates final grades for each student based on the grading system and the students' grades that are entered into the Grade Book. If the instructor wants more control over the final grades, perhaps to adjust the final grade for a student that is on the cusp of a higher grade, then adjusted final grades can be used and released to students instead of the calculated final grade.

wrench

If the instructor decides to use adjusted final grades for one student in the course, adjusted final grades must be used for all students in the course. This does not imply, however, that final grades must be manually adjusted for all students.

Adjusting final grades are implemented by the instructor for only the student or students that are deemed to need an adjusted grade. The remaining students final grades would be the final grade as calculated in the Grade Book.

Note: The Grade Book must be configured to use adjusted final grades. If you plan to use adjusted final grades, you should make the adjustments before you release final grades.

Follow these steps to do it.

To adjust final grades for all students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Enter Grades.
  4. In the Final Adjusted Grade section for each student, enter the adjusted grades and then click Save.
  5. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

To adjust final grades for one or more specific students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Enter Grades.
  4. Click on the arrow on the right of the Final Grades and click Transfer All, then click Yes.
  5. In the Final Adjusted Grade section, enter adjusted scores where necessary and click Save.
  6. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

Want more information?

Understanding the Grades Tool (video)
Troubleshoot Final Grades (video)
Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #351: Grade Book

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 webandi from Pixabay

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. When setting up the Grade Book, the instructor can choose to automatically release final grades so that the students can see their final grade throughout the semester. If you did not choose to enable the automatic release of final grades when setting up your Grade Book, you will have to manually release final grades in order for students to see their final grade.

Additionally, you can selectively release final grades for some students now and release the final grades for other students later. For example, you can release the final grades for graduating seniors on one date and release the final grades for everyone else on a later date.

Follow these steps to do it.

To manually release final grades:

  1. On the NavBar, click Grades.
  2. On the Enter Grades page, from the Final Calculated Grade or Final Adjusted Grade context menu, click Enter Grades.
  3. To release grades for all users, on the Final Grades page, from the Final Grades context menu, click Release All. To release final grades for a specific user, do one of the following:
    • Select the check box by the user name and click the Release/Unrelease link.
    • Select the check box in the Release Final Calculated Grade or Release Adjusted Final Grade column.
  4. Click Save.

OR watch this video for instructions on how to release final grades:

NOTE: There is a slight change in the video instructions. The "Enter Grades" option should be used anywhere in the video where "Grade All" is referenced.

Want more information?

Troubleshoot Final Grades (video)
Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #351: Grade Book

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: "final grades" by jflorent is dedicated to public domain under CC0 and is a derivative of grade by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay

The new Discussion creation experience was one of the changes implemented with our April 2023 Continuous Delivery update. The new Discussion creation experience brings create and edit consistency changes from Assignments and Quizzes to Discussions.

D2L’s goal with the redesign is to simplify common tasks for first-time or infrequent users, while giving easy access to the advanced features that experienced power-users love. This first release is at full parity with classic discussions and brings refreshed workflows and improvements to restricting group topics and threads, associating topics to forums, and wording changes to a few settings that you may be familiar with.

The new discussion creation and editing experience
The new discussion creation and editing experience

The primary panel on the left contains the same frequently-used fields as Assignments and Quizzes. These fields are most relevant to learners and are core to discussion topic creation. The right-hand panel provides advanced options such as start and end dates and release conditions. These options follow the same logical groupings as found in Assignments and Quizzes. Other topic-specific settings can be found in the right-hand panel.

Availability Dates and Conditions Accordion
Availability Dates and Conditions Accordion

While the right-hand groupings are collapsed, the summary text provides details about which settings are active so you can see which settings are applied at a glance.

Other Notable Changes

Beyond the restructuring of the topic creation page for consistency, the new experience also includes updates and wording changes to a few settings that you may be familiar with. These changes are designed to simplify workflows and to align more closely with the Daylight patterns. Here's a list of the notable changes:

  • Automatically create a new forum with same name and visibility as a new topic
  • Checkboxes now radio buttons for Allow anonymous posts and Users must start a thread
  • Topic type selector replaced by Manage Restrictions workflow
  • Restricting topic and separate threads
  • Restricting topic using groups and section restrictions
  • Availability Dates consistency

Refer to the Introducing the New Discussion Creation Experience knowledge article for an in-depth look at all the feature and capability changes with this update.

Switch Between New and Old Experience

If you’ve tried the new discussion creation experience, but aren’t quite ready to commit to it, then switch back. Switching back is simple. You can switch between the new discussion creation experience and the old experience by clicking on the arrow in the upper right corner of the create/edit discussion page.

Switch between the new discussion creation experience and the old experience
Switch between the new discussion creation experience and the old experience

Want More Information?

Introducing the New Discussion Creation Experience
Using the Brightspace Discussions Tool

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.

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 April 2023/20.23.4 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Discussions – Introducing the new creation and editing experience

The new discussion creation experience brings create and edit consistency changes from Assignments and Quizzes to Discussions, making it familiar and easy to learn. This first release is at full parity with classic discussions and brings refreshed workflows and improvements to restricting group topics and threads, associating topics to forums, and wording changes to a few settings that you may be familiar with.

The new Discussions creation and editing experience
The new Discussions creation and editing experience

The primary panel on the left contains the same frequently-used fields as Assignments and Quizzes. These fields are most relevant to learners and are core to discussion topic creation. The right-hand panel provides advanced options such as start and end dates and release conditions. These options follow the same logical groupings as found in Assignments and Quizzes. Other topic-specific settings can be found in the right-hand panel.

Refer to the Introducing the New Discussion Creation Experience knowledge article for an in-depth look at all the feature and capability changes with this update.

2) Quizzes – Confirmation dialog for learners exiting a quiz

This feature introduces a confirmation dialog to learners closing in-progress quizzes. The dialog is context-based, providing additional information about the impact of exiting the quiz (such as whether a learner will be able to return to their quiz after exiting).

An example of a confirmation dialog displayed to learners closing in-progress quizzes
An example of a confirmation dialog displayed to learners closing in-progress quizzes

Previously there was no dialog or warning to learners who exited a quiz accidentally or on purpose.

Note: The dialog only appears when the learner selects the X [Close this Quiz] for the quiz. Closing the browser window or tab does not display the confirmation dialog.

This feature implements the PIE item D7289 (Close/Exit Quiz errors correction).

The X (Close this Quiz) button appears to a learner attempting a quiz
The X (Close this Quiz) button appears to a learner attempting a quiz

The message shown when a student tries to exit a quiz depends on the time limit and end date settings for the quiz. In every scenario after exiting a quiz, learners are directed back to the Quiz Details page.

The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes with no time limit, no end date, or a time limit that expires before the end date
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes with no time limit, no end date, or a time limit that expires before the end date
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes with a time limit and no end date
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes with a time limit and no end date
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes with an end date, no time limit, or an end date that will arrive before the time limit expires
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes with an end date, no time limit, or an end date that will arrive before the time limit expires
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes that have an end date in the past
The Exit Quiz confirmation dialog for quizzes that have an end date in the past

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the April Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform April 2023/20.23.4 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

window with bars

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, Kevin Gannon wrote about what he describes as grading jail. He found that he would enter his grading jail around the 13th week of the term. After a career of repeat offenses against efficient and timely grading of student work, he saw that he could only blame himself. He described himself as a hopeless recidivist.

The hard time he served was enough to rehabilitate him, and turn him into a productive member of the grading society. He shared what he learned, hoping to save others from the same fate. He acknowledges that providing students with prompt feedback is a better practice. But too often this does not happen.

Kevin’s three strategies to better manage grading workflow are:

Pre-semester calendaring. Before classes start lay out a calendar for every month of the term. Then using different colors for each course, plot out the due dates for every assignment that you will give throughout the term. A cluster of different colors in a three-day span is a quick visual cue that you should reconsider some due dates.
Rubrics — done well — are your friend. A well-constructed rubric involves a significant investment of time on the front end, but once designed, using it to assess student work will cut grading time. The time saved allows you to concentrate on providing more meaningful individual feedback. Having specific criteria and clearly defined benchmarks provides consistency in grading.
Speech-to-text and voice comments. Using speech-to-text to transcribe comments in real time is one way to provide substantial feedback on a large amount of student work without getting writer's cramp. However, it is even more meaningful to record comments and then share them with individual students via an audio file they can listen to on any device.

Kevin says these three strategies are the academic equivalent of your “get out of jail free” card.

get out of jail free card

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in Kevin's “How to Escape Grading Jail” article.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #346: Simplify Grading and Giving Feedback
Brightspace Tip #329: Simplify Assignment Collection
Brightspace Tip #349: Assignments
Brightspace Tip #204: Interactive Rubrics
Formative Assessments and Fitness Bands
Dictate Your Documents in Word
How To Speech-to-Text in Google Docs
Tip: Audio Notes in Brightspace
Brightspace Tip #299: Video Notes
Brightspace Tip #320: Video Notes – Closed Captions

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 Credits:
Image by patrick489 from Pixabay
"Get_Out_of_Jail_Free_Card" by Mark Strozier is licensed under CC BY 2.0