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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

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 December 2020/20.20.12 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Quizzes – Improvements to the ability to retake incorrect questions in quizzes

Building on the Quizzes - Retake incorrect questions in subsequent attempts | New, there are several improvements to increase the value of the feature:

  • Administrators and Instructors can now identify retaken attempts in the Attempt log.
  • Instructors can now identify a Retaken Attempt while grading a quiz in the Quizzes tool on the User tab and the Attempts tab.
The Attempt log indicates the retaken attempts for the quiz
The Attempt log indicates the retaken attempts for the quiz
The Users tab indicates the retaken attempts for the quiz
The Users tab indicates the retaken attempts for the quiz

2) Quizzes – Improved workflow for creating multi-select questions

As part of the ongoing initiative to improve the quiz creation experience for instructors, this release streamlines the interface for creating multi-select questions, making the workflow simpler and more intuitive.

When instructors initially launch the Question Editor to create a multi-select question, the interface displays the two main components of a multi-select question: the question and potential answers. Selecting a field displays a pop-up toolbar for formatting the text and adding images, links, and graphical equations. As each field is completed, the preview pane displays how the question and answers appear to learners.

Next, instructors can choose to click Options to add the following optional information to the multi-select question: Add Feedback, Add Hint, Add Short Description, and Add Enumeration.

Instructors can then choose to randomize the order of answers, assign points, and determine how points are assigned to blanks.

For determining how points are assigned to blanks, a new grading type is available in the classic and new multi-select question experience: Correct Answers, Limited Selections. For this grading type, points are evenly distributed across correct answers only. The number of selections allowed is limited to the number of correct answers. Learners earn partial points for each correct answer selected.

Question text and answers in the new multi-select question experience
Question text and answers in the new multi-select question experience
Question text in the classic multi-select question experience
Question text in the classic multi-select question experience
Feedback, Hint, Short Description, and Enumeration options in the new multi-select question experience
Feedback, Hint, Short Description, and Enumeration options in the new multi-select question experience
The new Correct Answers, Limited Selections grading type in the new multi-select question experience
The new Correct Answers, Limited Selections grading type in the new multi-select question experience

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the December Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform December 2020/20.20.12 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

I usually get a lot of questions from faculty related to setting up their Brightspace courses. In the spirit of starting the new year with less stress, I offer the following infographic with course design suggestions to reduce your course setup and management stress:

course design zen infographic

Accessible PDF version of Course Design Zen infographic.

Want more information?

Course Design Suggestions
Merging Courses
Setup your Spring Courses
Setup your Grade Book
Use Date Management
Using Quicklinks
Copy Course or Copy Components

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.

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.
  • Only one due date and start/end date can be assigned to an assignment, discussion, quiz, etc. Therefore you will not be able to assign different due dates and start/end dates to the activity (e.g., assignment, quiz, discussion, etc.).
  • 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.

NOTE: When courses are merged, one of the existing courses will serve as the "merged" course. If all the course sections are empty, it won't matter which one is used as the "merged" course. If you have already created content in a course, you should request that the course with the content be the "merged" course. This will reduce the need to copy content.

Want more information?

Merge Courses
Working with Groups

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: "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

Updated: 1/26/2021

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

NOTE: If you do not see your spring 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). If your spring courses are listed when you "View All Courses" but are not shown in your My Courses widget, you should pin the course in order to have it appear in the My Courses widget. Follow these instructions for pinning/unpinning 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.

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, if the spring 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.

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
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: image by geralt 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.

The Orange Room has stories of ways Ms. Monica Pierre and Sr. Juliana Haynes are using Brightspace. You will also find in the Orange Room some helpful Brightspace tips from Sr. Juliana Haynes and Drs. Tia Smith and Elizabeth Yost Hammer.

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.

cookies with hot chocolate in a peppermint mug

Last year the University of Glasgow's Digital Education Unit identified 12 apps they felt would be useful in teaching and learning for online and distance education.

In the spirit of Christmas, I offer their list of apps for you to explore. Here's the list:

Hopefully this will give you some ideas for ways you may be able to use these apps in your teaching and learning. Remember don't use technology for technology's sake. Use technology with intention. The quickest way to become overwhelmed and/or discouraged is to try too many new technologies at one time. I suggest you start small. Find one or two apps that are of interest to you and try using them. Once you master those apps, then try another one. The goal is for the app to help you to work smarter not harder.

Photo Credit: image by TerriC from Pixabay

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
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: image by geralt 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 and screwdriver

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)
Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book

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: Architetto -- utensili chiave e cacci by francesco_rollandin from OpenClipArt

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.

Watch this video for instructions on how to release final grades:

Want more information?

Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book

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: "final grades" by jflorent is dedicated to public domain under CC0 and is a derivative of grade by OpenClipart-Vectors on 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 are a few updates in the November 2020/20.20.11 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Date picker change

This feature updates the date picker component for the new assignment creation experience. The new date picker has a more streamlined design and requires a slight workflow change: to clear a date/time, the X alongside the time field has been replaced by a Clear option inside the calendar.

Instructors can find the date picker in Due Date, Start Date, and End Date fields on the Create and Edit Assignments page.

Old date picker component on the Create and Edit Assignments page

Old date picker component on the Create and Edit Assignments page
New date picker component on the Create and Edit Assignments page

New date picker component on the Create and Edit Assignments page

2) Content – Enhancements to course content statistics

To provide instructors with additional insight about their courses, statistics in the classic Content experience now include more information.

To view course content statistics, as an instructor, navigate to Content, and then select Table of Contents > Related Tools > View Reports.

From the Reports page, the Content tab includes the following changes:

  • The summary panel uses less vertical space, enabling instructors to view detailed information more quickly.
  • A new Available To column that displays the number of users (from the class list) that the content is available to. This value takes into account the following: release conditions, special access (assignments and quizzes), group access (assignments and discussions), availability dates, hidden/visible state, and if the module parent is "available."
  • For modules, the following information displays:
    • Available To - the number of users that the module is available to.
    • Users Visited - the number of unique users who visited one or more topics within the module.
    • Average Time Spent - the average time spent in each topic within the module.

From the Content tab on the Reports page, clicking a value under the Available To or Users Visited columns for a module displays a new Module details page, which includes the following information:

  • Available - indicates if the module is available to the user.
  • Last Visited - the last date the user visited a topic within the module.
  • Number of Visits - the total number of visits across all topics in the module.
  • Total Time Spent - the total time spent in each topic within the module.
  • Average Time Spent - the average time spent in each topic within the module.

From the Reports page, the Users tab displays a new Content Topics Available column, which includes the number of content topics available to each user.

From the Users tab on the Reports page, clicking a user displays the following information on the User Details page:

  • Content type and availability icons now display, ensuring consistency with the Content Statistics - By Content view.
  • For modules, the following information displays:
    • Available - a new column that indicates if modules and topics are available.
    • Visits - the total number of visits across all topics in the module.
    • Average Time Spent - the average time spent in each topic within the module.
    • Last Visited - the last date the user visited a topic within the module.

In addition, the Class Progress tool now displays an icon to indicate if a topic or module has release conditions associated with it for the specified user.

New content statistics that display on the Content tab of the Reports page

New content statistics that display on the Content tab of the Reports page
The new Available column that displays on the Module details page

The new Available column that displays on the Module details page
The new Content Topics Available column that displays on the Users tab of the Reports page

The new Content Topics Available column that displays on the Users tab of the Reports page
New content statistics that display on the User Details page

New content statistics that display on the User Details page

3) Grades - Display total points in Manage Grades

To improve usability of the Grades tool and reduce calculation errors, Manage Grades now includes total points for grade categories and Final Calculated Grade. Previously, there was no indicator of the total points while users were managing their grade book, and instructors were required to manually add up the points from all grade items to check if the total matched their syllabus.

For weighted grade books, the total weight is displayed in addition to the total points. For formula grade books, the manually-entered max points is displayed instead of the total points. Totals do not include bonus grade items and do support grade item dropping.

4) Quiz Builder - Quiz preview

Instructors can now view a preview of their quiz from Quiz Builder. Clicking the new Preview button on the Add/Edit Questions view of the quiz opens a quiz preview attempt in a new tab for a complete view of how the quiz appears to learners.

The Preview button appears in Quiz Builder

The Preview button appears in Quiz Builder

5) Quizzes - Retake incorrect questions in subsequent attempts

This feature introduces a new option for Quizzes Attempt settings that allows students to only retake their incorrectly answered questions from previous quiz attempts. Instructors can select this new option in the Assessment tab of a quiz. When the Retake Incorrect Questions Only check box is selected for subsequent quiz attempts, each learner only sees the questions they had previously answered incorrectly in the same order as the initial attempt (including quizzes with random sections and random questions).

When grading a Retake Incorrect Questions Only quiz attempt, the instructor can only provide a score for the questions answered on this attempt.

A learner's score for a Retake Incorrect Questions Only attempt remains at minimum, the score they had on the previous attempt. Correctly answered questions on the Retake Incorrect Questions Only attempt add to the learner's attempts score. The Quiz Overall Score is calculated using the existing Highest/Lowest/First/Last/Average aggregation functions. The "Average" aggregation function can be used to give the student partial marks for questions that were not answered correctly on the first attempt.

The Retake Incorrect Questions Only option can be selected when setting Attempts Allowed

The Retake Incorrect Questions Only option can be selected when setting Attempts Allowed
A learner view of a Retake Incorrect Questions Only quiz attempt

A learner view of a Retake Incorrect Questions Only quiz attempt

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the November Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform November 2020/20.20.11 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