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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

celebrate GAAD

Today 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
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery Updates
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.

GAAD written in the clouds

Thursday, May 17th 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.

whiteboard with light bulb inside a thought bubble

Now that you have one semester of using our Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) behind you, you may be thinking it would have been helpful if I had known this about Brightspace beforehand.

An article in the Brightspace Community provided insights on what professor Lori McIntosh-Belanger wishes she had known about Brightspace when she got started. In the article she provides insights on using Quizzes and Question Libraries, Discussions, Widgets, Rubrics and Marking Assignments. If this has piqued your interest, you should read the article, “What I Wish I Had Known as a Brightspace Instructor”.

crane lifting the letter G into place in the word change

Occasionally, you may want to overwrite a file with a newer/updated version. It is easy to replace or overwrite files in your Brightspace courses.

Follow these steps to do it.

To overwrite an existing file, you should:

  1. From the context menu of the topic, select Change File. This will prompt you to upload a new file.
  2. Drag and drop the new file into the upload space or click Upload to browse for the new file.
  3. If you would like your students to receive a notification of the updated content, check the Notify students that the content has changed button. Students must have notifications turned on in their personal settings to see the notifications.

Change File

Want more information?

Update a File
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery Updates
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.

Taking an online course can be an isolating experience for students, but it doesn’t have to be. Humanized learning increases the relevance of the course content and improves students' motivation to log-in to the course week-after-week.

buffet

Are you looking for ways to humanize your online course? Check out this Humanizing Tool Buffet developed by Teaching and Learning Innovations at CSU Channel Islands. In the buffet, you will find a collection of emerging tools just right for humanizing your online course. Peruse the buffet, click on the links, and sample what looks intriguing and helpful to you!

As you prepare to teach this summer, now is a good time to get started setting up your Brightspace courses. According to our Information Technology Center (ITC), summer courses will be created in Brightspace this week.

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.

checklist

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, Master Course Shells are available for faculty who want to get a head start on building their courses before the actual summer courses are created. You can copy the Master Course Shell contents into your “empty” Brightspace course once the course becomes available. Alternatively, if the summer course you are teaching is the same as your spring course you can copy the entire spring course (or copy components) into your "empty" Brightspace summer course.

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links with instructions to:

Want more information?

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery Updates
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.

Often instructors are looking for images to use in their courses because images can liven up the course and help students understand the course material.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it might also be worth a thousand dollars if your school gets hit with a copyright violation claim. —Eric Curts

There are many high quality pictures that can be used without any licensing concerns. These can include images that are released under creative commons, or are in the public domain, or simply are copyright-free.

Eric Curts compiled a list of free image sites and tools for schools that you may find helpful in your search for free images.

free image sites for schools

Additionally, you may find an image you want to use, but you would like to make changes to it. You can find image editing software suggestions in the Xavier University Library Digital Humanities Toolbox. Just make sure the image copyright gives you permission to modify the image.

ICYMI, read my blog post on Digital Copyrights for copyright information.

in case you missed it

In case you missed the Brightspace training sessions or if you attended one of the training sessions and want to recap what was covered, you can review these resources:

Additionally, here's a link to my Brightspace Tip #16: Help Resources blog post.

**NOTE: Brightspace Tip #23 has additional/updated training information on the Grades Tool.

classroom with empty chairs

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. During this process all Grade Book records are deleted. 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. The grades in your Grade Book are 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
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery Updates
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.

Photo Credit: Classroom/Learning/Lecture | CC0

keep calm and let's recap

This week’s "Get Your Game On: Gamify Your Brightspace Courses" training focused on how using gamification can engage and motivate students. This training session also covered how instructors can selectively release content to students using release conditions.

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:

  • Homework that was to be completed before the workshop
    • Gamification Learning Challenge*

*NOTE: The Gamification Learning Challenge and the hands-on workshop activities are available. If you are interested in getting access to the challenge and activities you must be enrolled in the Brightspace Instructor Training Course. Xavier faculty who are not enrolled in this course can email Janice Florent and ask to be enrolled in the course.

To access the challenge and workshop activities, Xavier faculty should:

  1. Login to Brightspace
  2. Select the Brightspace Instructor Training course
  3. In the NavBar, click on Content
  4. In the Table of Contents, click on Workshop Hands-on Activities and then
  5. Click on Gamification Workshop. (You will find the activities in this module.)

Our Brightspace training will continue next fall. Please visit our events page for workshop details and to RSVP for upcoming Brightspace training sessions.

Want more information?

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.