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Brightspace Tip #235: May Continuous Delivery Updates


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 May 2021/20.21.5 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments – Annotations available for TXT file-based assignments

Previously, annotations enabled instructors to use highlighting, free-hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting to provide feedback to learner assignments of the following file types: DOC, DOCX, RTF, ODT, PPT, PPTX, PPSX, ODP, XLS, XLSX, JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, and GIF. Now, instructors can provide feedback for TXT, in addition to the existing types.

Note: The updates to annotations replaces the Edit a Copy workflow, which is no longer supported in the New Evaluation Experience.

2) Assignments – Download file when using annotations in the New Assignment Evaluation Experience

The New Assignment Evaluation Experience now includes the Download drop-down menu in the Annotations viewer. When using annotations in an assignment, instructors can use this menu to download the original file without navigating to the submission list. Instructors can also download the annotated PDF file.

The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu
The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu

3) Brightspace Editor – Improvements

This feature complements the Brightspace Editor – Replaces the HTML Editor | New and the Assignments – Brightspace Editor in the new Assignment Evaluation Experience | New features released in the April 2021 / 20.21.4 release and includes the following improvements:

  • Copy/paste and/or drag and drop images - You can copy/paste and/or drag and drop images when providing feedback in assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Images are saved in the content folder.
  • External users adding comments in Brightspace ePortfolio now have the new inline limited version of Brightspace Editor.
  • Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio
    Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio
  • Design improvements to enhance use of the Editor on mobile devices and improve general usability.
  • Accessibility improvements – Improved keyboard navigation for keyboard users and toolbar icons are spaced out more in accordance with WCAG standards.

4) Rubrics – Copy rubric criterion

To improve the value of Rubrics and facilitate reusing rubric criteria that have already been created, an action menu next to the criterion name provides Copy and Delete options. When an instructor copies a criterion, the new criterion is added under the original with the criterion name Copy of [name of original criterion].

The Delete function was previously available as a trashcan icon at the end of the criterion row outside the table. The new location in the action menu improves the discoverability of the Delete and Copy options.

The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options
The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options

5) Rubrics – Print or export to PDF

To improve the user experience with Rubrics, instructors can now print or download a PDF of a preview or evaluated rubric. Learners can also print or download a PDF of a rubric from the desktop browser implementation of Brightspace Learning Environment. The Print button displays above the top-right corner of the rubric.

6) Widgets - Work To Do widget

The new Work To Do widget provides learners a summary of assigned learning activities from all their courses that are overdue or have an upcoming due date. The widget was added to the Brightspace My Homepage to aggregate data from all courses, and to the default course homepage to show only due and overdue learning activities from the course.

The Work To Do widget displays the following learning activities:

  • Assignments
  • Checklists
  • Content
  • Courses
  • Discussions
  • Surveys
  • Quizzes

The Work To Do widget organizes course activities by overdue and upcoming due dates so learners can easily prioritize their work and stay on top of their tasks.

Example of the Work To Do widget
Example of the Work To Do widget

Learning activities only appear in the Work To Do widget when the activity has a defined due date or end date. By default, the widget displays activities due in the upcoming 2 weeks, and overdue work from the previous 12 weeks.

The Work To Do widget can be seen by users with the role of student. Instructors will see the Work To Do widget when they view the course as a student.

NOTE: If you customized your course homepage and you want your students to be able to see the Work To Do widget on your customized course homepage, you will have to add the widget to your customized course homepage.

For additional information and frequently asked questions about the Work To Do widget, see the following article in the Brightspace Community: Introducing the Work To Do Widget.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the May Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform May 2021/20.21.5 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

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