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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

The #1 Brightspace complaint we hear from students is that faculty don't post their grades online. When students don’t receive meaningful and timely feedback about their coursework, they are unable to make the necessary adjustments to improve their performance.

keep calm and let's recap

This week’s "Grade Book and College Readiness" training session focused on 1) why using the Grade Book to provide students with their standing in the course is important and 2) how to setup and enter grades in the Grade Book.

in case you missed it

In case you missed this week’s training session or if you attended the training session and want to recap what was covered, you can review these resources:

a paper that is work in progress; it has a number of corrections on it

The #1 Brightspace complaint we hear from students is that faculty don't post their grades online. When students don’t receive meaningful and timely feedback about their coursework, they are unable to make the necessary adjustments to improve their performance.

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.

Attend next week's Brightspace Grade Book and College Readiness workshop for help in setting up your Grade Book. Visit the CAT+FD events page for more information and to RSVP for the workshop.

ICYMI, check out these CAT FooD blog posts:

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: Work in Progress by Melissa Wall | CC BY-NC 2.0

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 September 2019/20.19.9 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Activity Feed - Inline rendering of remote plug-in attachments

When an instructor attaches a remote plug-in via a Quicklink to a message or assignment post, the plug-in now renders inline as an embedded attachment. This allows users to view the material without navigating away from Activity Feed. Previously, a remote plug-in attachment rendered as a simple web link.

An Activity Feed post with a remote plug-in attachment
An Activity Feed post with a remote plug-in attachment

2) Activity Feed - Message posts now support embed codes

To allow instructors and learners to share more material in a course, users can now paste embed codes directly into the body of message posts in Activity Feed. These embed codes automatically attach and display inline for all users to view and interact with.

An Activity Feed post with an embed code attachment
An Activity Feed post with an embed code attachment

3) Activity Feed - Improved attachment workflow and thumbnail previews

Users can now attach web links to message and assignment posts by pasting them into the body of messages or the instructions of assignments in Activity Feed. The display of link attachments has also been enhanced to show a thumbnail and description, if available. Previously, links could only be added to posts by the Click and Attach workflow and the display was limited to a simple link icon and title.

An Activity Feed post with the new link styling containing a thumbnail preview and description
An Activity Feed post with the new link styling containing a thumbnail preview and description

4) Brightspace Pulse - Activity Feed notifications

To help keep learners up to date on course activity, Brightspace Pulse now displays Activity Feed notifications in the Updates tab, for example, messages and links to course materials and external resources. Tapping an Activity Feed notification displays the post in Brightspace Pulse.

5) Assignments - Grades entered in Assignments and Grade Book are synchronized

When an instructor enters a grade for an assignment submission in the standard or spreadsheet view of Grade Book, the grade also appears with the submission in Assignments. Previously, grades entered in the Assignment tool were passed on to Grade Book; however, grades for assignment submissions entered in Grade Book were not passed to the Assignments tool. This change ensures data consistency between Assignments and Grade Book. Currently Assignment grades are not synchronized when the Assignment tool is updated by the Brightspace API or when Grade Book is exported and imported.

Note: Existing grade data for assignment submissions are not migrated. This synchronization only occurs for new grade entries.

6) Discussions - Grades entered in Discussions and Grade book are synchronized

When an instructor enters a grade for a discussion in the standard or spreadsheet view of Grade Book, the grade also appears with the discussion post in Discussions. Previously, grades entered in the Discussion were passed on to Grade Book; however, grades for discussions entered in Grade Book were not passed to the Discussions tool. This change ensures data consistency between Discussions and Grade Book. Currently Discussion grades are not synchronized when the Discussion tool is updated by the Brightspace API or when Grade Book is exported and imported.

Note: Existing grade data for discussions are not migrated. This synchronization only occurs for new grade entries.

7) Quick Eval – Activities View

In Quick Eval, select Activities to display a list of the assessable activities that have items awaiting evaluation in all your courses. An activity shows up in Quick Eval’s Activities view when there is an unevaluated learner submission, or when all students have not submitted to the activity. This view makes it easy to complete all assessments for one assignment, discussion, or quiz, before moving on to the next task. This feature helps evaluators who prefer to evaluate submissions in the context of an activity. Activities view displays indicators to show the progress on submissions, progress on evaluations, and progress on publishing feedback to learners. It also includes links to the evaluation page, submission page, and a publish all action.

Activities view in Quick Eval
Activities view in Quick Eval

8) Release Conditions - Release condition for topic completion

The Completed content topic is a new release condition that is met when a user completes a content topic. The method of completing the topic depends on the type, such as viewing a file or submitting an assignment. Similar to the currently available Visited content topic release condition, optional topics can also trigger this release condition.

This release condition ignores exemptions, meaning that if the learner completes the activity, the release condition can be met, regardless of the activity being required, optional, or exempt.

Completed content topic release condition shown in Condition Type drop-down list
The Completed content topic release condition is now available from the Condition Type drop-down list

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the September Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform September 2019/20.19.9 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.

Turnitin document viewer

Last week’s tip on Turnitin Feedback Studio provided information and resources on how to setup and use Feedback Studio. Are you curious to find out how you can take advantage of Turnitin Feedback Studio's features? In a recent blog post, John Hetherington (Turnitin Product Writer) provided some tips on how to get the most out of Feedback Studio. Check out his blog post for his 10 Quick Tips for Getting the Best out of Feedback Studio.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #121: Turnitin Feedback Studio
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 showing various disasters

Course delivery is vulnerable to unplanned events. Potential interruptions to class activities include but are not limited to natural disasters, widespread illness, acts of violence, planned or unexpected construction-related closures, severe weather conditions, and medical emergencies. Whatever the event, an instructional continuity plan will help you to be ready to continue teaching with minimal interruption.

For those who missed our "Preparing to Teach During an Interruption: Strategies for Maintaining Instructional Continuity" workshop and for those who want to learn more about instructional continuity, you will find a link to the workshop recording, PowerPoint slides, and resources discussed in the workshop here:

It's not too late to consider developing an instructional continuity plan for your courses. Visit our Instructional Continuity wiki for resources to help you develop your plan.

image with the wording

Do you have a plan? If so, we would like to hear about it. If you had a classroom disruption and found a way for students to continue to make progress in your course, we encourage you to share it with your colleagues. Please email a brief description of what you did along with your reflections on how it worked for you, and we will post it to our Instructional Continuity wiki resource.

dog stretched out on the curb refusing to walk with handler pulling the leash

As you know, the flipped classroom relies heavily on students being prepared and ready to engage in the learning activities. What do you do when students come to class unprepared? Do you give a quick lecture to recap the pre-class content so everyone is on the same page? Do you give the unprepared students an alternative assignment? Do you kick the unprepared students out of class? Depending on your teaching philosophy and the classroom environment you want to create, you probably want to pro-actively design the learning environment using strategies to promote learning and personal development instead of relying on punitive measures to change behavior.

In a Faculty Focus article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt recommended five things you can do to motivate unprepared students in the flipped classroom. Her recommendations are:

  1. Have a conversation.
  2. Review your pre-class assignment.
  3. Proceed as planned.
  4. Re-think participation grades.
  5. Set up a corner.

You can read more in her article Five Ways to Motivate Unprepared Students in the Flipped Classroom.

Additionally, we have a recording of The Flipped Classroom: Strategies to Overcome Student Resistance and Increase Student Engagement webinar presented by Dr. Barbi Honeycutt in our video library. Contact Carla Simmons if you are interested in borrowing this resource.

1

Turnitin document viewer

Turnitin Feedback Studio is a program that checks student work for potential plagiarism and allows instructors to provide electronic feedback to students through markup, proofing, and rubrics tools.

Watch this short Turnitin Feedback Studio Walkthrough video from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Did you know that Turnitin is integrated into Brightspace? Instructors can choose to enable Turnitin when setting up Assignments in Brightspace.

Want more information?

Simplify assignment collection
Turnitin Feedback Studio Demo
Enable Turnitin Feedback Studio® for assignments
Turnitin Feedback Studio - Instructor
Turnitin Feedback Studio - Student

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.

Do you want to see your student's coursework that needs to be graded all on one page in Brightspace? The Quick Eval tool can help.

Quick Eval is a new tool that allows evaluators to see a list of unevaluated learner submissions from all their courses. Submissions from Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes 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
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.

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 August 2019/20.19.8 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Activity Feed – Visual improvements

The following changes are visible in Activity Feed:

  • When selecting between Message and Assignment posts, the chosen option is now underlined to better indicate the post type.
  • Field names have been added to improve accessibility.
  • The post type icon has been removed to provide more authoring space when creating posts.
  • Once a post is published, the new layout makes more efficient use of screen space.

Before and after view of Activity Feed
Before and after view of Activity Feed

2) Assignments – Spell check for annotation notes

When assessing submissions with the built-in annotation tools in Assignments, text within the comment annotation is now checked for spelling mistakes.

3) Brightspace - Improvements to course notifications

To improve the delivery of course notifications in Brightspace Learning Environment, the Notifications option, available from the username on the minibar, includes the following changes:

  • Added a Summary of Activity option for receiving email notifications about the summary of activity for each course. Options include: Never, Daily, or Weekly (default).
  • Removed the following Customize Notifications options: Allow past courses to send me notifications and Allow inactive courses to send me notifications. Learners can now only receive daily email digests for current and future courses.
  • Removed the following SMS notifications for Instant Notifications: Content - content item created, Content - content item updated, and Content - content overview updated.

The new Summary of Activity option in Notifications
The new Summary of Activity option in Notifications

4) Brightspace Learning Environment – Supported browsers

New clients can no longer access Brightspace Learning Environment using Microsoft Internet Explorer. If users attempt to access Brightspace Learning Environment using Internet Explorer, an unsupported page appears. The unsupported page contains links to download supported browsers and a link to the Community End of Life communication. Users cannot log in to Brightspace Learning Environment using any version of Internet Explorer.

When a user tries to access Brightspace Learning Environment using any version of Internet Explorer, a retro pop-up dialog box appears. The text in the retro pop-up dialog box has been updated to include the January 2020 end of life date information. Users who had previously dismissed the pop-up will see it again following the August update if Brightspace is accessed using any version of Internet Explorer. The pop-up can be dismissed again and will not reappear with subsequent updates.

5) Email – Add images to messages

When composing email messages, users can select Insert Image to add pictures from their computer, a URL, or Manage Files. Images are inserted in place, attached to the email, and display in place for the recipient. The Insert Stuff button is no longer shown in Email, as it has several workflows that are incompatible with the external email experience.

6) Intelligent Agents - Release Condition Re-evaluations

Intelligent Agents now re-evaluate the status of release conditions at the moment of triggering to determine whether a user has completed a particular release condition or not. Previously, Intelligent Agents retained release condition information from users, even if users no longer triggered the retained release condition.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the August Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform August 2019/20.19.8 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.

push pin

The My Courses widget (on the My Home page) uses tile-based images to make finding your courses easier. Users can choose which courses they see in their My Courses widget by pinning and unpinning courses.

  • Pinning a course makes it appear in the My Courses widget.
  • Unpinning a course makes it disappear from the My Courses widget.
  • Pinning a course also makes it rise to the top of the Select a Course list and on the My Courses widget.

Search through all of your courses and manually pin and unpin courses to ensure that your most relevant courses are visible on the My Home page.

Follow these steps to do it.

To pin/unpin a course, you should:

  1. From the Minibar, click Select a course (i.e., the waffle icon).
  2. Select a Course

  3. Type the name of the course that you want to pin or find it by searching in the Search for a course field or scroll down to find the course.
  4. Click the Pin icon beside the course. The pinned course will move to the top of the Select a Course list and to the first position in the My Courses widget.
  5. pin/unpin course

Note: To unpin a course click the Pin icon beside the course.

If you want to completely change the order in which your courses are displayed, unpin all of them and then pin them in the order you want them to appear. The most recently pinned course will always appear first.

Want more information?

Pin courses to the top of the Select a Course list
How to Pin Courses (pdf)
How to Reorder Pinned Courses
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.