Do you want your students to take a quiz or test online? Do you have a test that you normally administer on paper and you don’t want to retype all the questions into Brightspace. Learning and Teaching Services at Algonquin College developed a Test/Quiz Question Generator that provides an easy way of creating a collection of questions that can be imported into Brightspace.
Quiz questions have to be in a special format in order to be imported into Brightspace. The Test/Quiz Question Generator allows you to reformat your questions and it will create a CSV file that can be imported into Brightspace. Refer to this question types and formatting guide for information on how to format your questions.
Additionally, the Brightspace Community developed a Quiz Question Converter that you can use to add a bank of questions to the Quiz Question Library. One benefit of using the Quiz Question Converter is that you can add feedback and hints to the quiz questions you are importing into Brightspace. Therefore saving you time in importing quiz questions with feedback and hints into Brightspace.
NOTE: The Assignment Grader app allows instructors to make annotations on assignments. The Assignment Grader app is no longer available for download to new users. Existing users may continue to use the app if they have it installed on their device, but no further updates or support will be made available by D2L and the app is scheduled to be removed from app stores. As an alternative mobile grading option, D2L recommends using the Quick Eval tool.
Rubrics allow instructors to establish set criteria for grading assignments. Using the rubrics click-and-score simplicity saves time when grading. With a rubric you can provide consistent evaluation and contextual feedback to students. You can add additional personal feedback to each criterion, expanding on why you chose that level and what additional work would be required to improve on it.
Audio and video feedback can provide richer and more detailed feedback than may be possible through written comments. Visual or audio feedback also provides a more personal way of giving feedback. You have the option to provide audio and/or video feedback in Brightspace. Use Video Notes to provide short, video-based feedback, comments, or instructions.
Here are a couple of blog posts with more information:
Quick Eval 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.
For more information, refer to this blog post on using Quick Eval.
The Orange Room
Have you visited The Orange Room (Brightspace Educator Share Showcase)? The Orange Room is a community where educators can learn from each other about efficient and innovative ways to use Brightspace. Several of your colleagues shared tips and suggestions already. Here are two contributions that may be of interest to you:
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 2022/20.22.5 release that were added to our system this month:
1) Audio/Video – Manual transcoding option to optimize video files
Depending on the file format of audio and video files, they might not play in a web browser by default. Previously, all uploaded audio and video files were transcoded; now, transcoding only occurs when necessary, All MP3 and MP4 video files are saved in their original form because they can play in a browser without transcoding. Other files, such as WMV and AVI, which would not play by default, continue to be automatically transcoded.
With this update, the new Optimize for Streaming option in the editing tool enables users who want to manually transcode original versions of the files, for example, to reduce the file size or enable multi-bitrate streaming.
Note: This feature applies to uploading audio and video files in Content, Lessons, and Video Note upload. Original versions of videos are used for editing and playback. This feature does not apply to Video Note web cam recordings, which continue to be transcoded automatically.
This feature has accessibility impacts, including:
WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria 1.2.1 Audio-only or Video-only (Prerecorded)
2) Brightspace Learning Environment – Updated default font and color stylings for improved accessibility
This feature introduces a color change to fonts and icons in Brightspace Learning Environment to meet WCAG guidelines.
Previously the dark grey font #494c4e did not meet the 3:1 contrast ratio with the color of our links. The new font #202122 (still grey!) is darker and meets the WCAG link contrast criteria for accessibility. This change is visible in most locations in Brightspace Learning Environment.
This feature has accessibility impacts, including:
Brightspace Instructors (depending on their role definition within their institution) can now use @mention push notifications to direct a message to Learners using Pulse. Originally, @mentions came through Brightspace Learning Environment but were only visible if the user opened Pulse and viewed their Subscriptions tab under Notifications. Now, the new functionality sends a push notification to the user when they are @mentioned.
Note: These notifications are available in the Pulse Notifications > Subscriptions area and are still available in Discussions. @Mentions are currently not supported in Activity Feed.
4) Brightspace Pulse – Updates and subscriptions now align with all update subscription Alerts in Brightspace
In Brightspace Pulse, the Updates and Subscriptions tab is now aligned to show the same items as the Alert Bell and Discussions in Brightspace Learning Environment.
All Brightspace alerts now display within the Pulse Updates and Subscriptions tab. Improved logic in how alerts are sent to Pulse ensures that alerts are no longer sent from courses that are inaccessible (courses that are inactive or past their end date).
5) HTML Editor – Improved context link menu supports previewing of quicklinks in Brightspace Editor
This feature implements a new and improved context link menu in Brightspace Editor. The new menu has the same functionality as before – enabling users to highlight text and create a link, edit the link, remove the link, and preview the link – but now also enables support for the previewing of quicklinks that contain replace strings while editing their HTML. The new formatting context menu continues to allow users to highlight text within the editor and apply formatting or create links.
Previously, when a user created a new quicklink within the editor that contains a replace string, this proved not replaceable by the context menu. Clicking to preview the link resulted in a 404 Error.
6) Manage Files – Improved error message when invalid files are uploaded
Building on the Manage Files – Users receive warning message when uploading a file blocked due to security | New feature added in the November 2021/20.21.11 release, this feature adds an improved error message to the File Upload dialogue. When a user attempts to upload a file containing one or more illegal characters in the file name, this message explains to the user the reason why the upload failed.
Previously, users received a generic "Oops! Your file could not be uploaded" message, which did not explain the reason the file upload failed.
Would you like to send your students a welcome to the course email, or congratulate your students for a job well done or give them a nudge when they might need to work harder -- without having to do a lot of extra work to make it happen? The Brightspace Intelligent Agents tool can help automate this process for you.
Intelligent Agents allow instructors to delegate some of the course communication and notification tasks to the system, based on specific triggering activities in the course. Intelligent Agents can be used to both recognize student achievement and warn of potential problems. For example, you can use Intelligent Agents to:
Check for users that have not logged into the course
Check for users that have not logged in within a specific number of days
Notify users with grades below a certain level
Congratulate users with grades above a certain level
Check for users that view a specific content topic
The automatic notifications that are generated when specified course performance criteria are met can be sent to instructors, advisors, and/or students.
NOTE:Last month's Continuous Delivery Update added new features to the Intelligent Agent Create Agent page to facilitate additional scheduling options and frequency options to allow for improved flexibility. Changes to the Create Agent page include:
Two new agent frequency options:
One-Time Run allows instructors to choose a single date and time to run.
Hourly allows instructors to choose a date and time to run between. If no dates are chosen, the Hourly agent runs every hour with the first time being "now" (that is once the agent is saved and enabled).
The existing Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Annually options all now have a Scheduled Time option that users complete to determine what time that the agent will run on the dates scheduled for the agent to run.
Repetitive emails may lose their effectiveness, so use Intelligent Agents sparingly. Consider using Intelligent Agents when there isn't a better way of communicating. Ask yourself,
Would an announcement work better?
Would a personally crafted email work better?
Would a discussion board posting work better?
If the answer is no, then consider using an Intelligent Agent!
Follow these steps to do it.
To create an Intelligent Agent:
On a course NavBar, click Course Admin.
Click Intelligent Agents.
On the Agent List page, click New Agent.
On the New Agent page, enter a name.
Enter a description into the Description field.
If you want to assign a category to the agent, select an option from the Category drop-down menu or create a new category by clicking the Add Category link.
If you want the agent to be active, select the Agent is enabled check box.
Expand Scheduling, and under Frequency schedule how frequently agent criteria is evaluated. Choose a frequency option from the dropdown menu and complete the schedule dates and repetition options as needed.
Expand Criteria, and under Role in Classlist do one of the following:
If you want the Intelligent Agent to be applicable to all roles in the Classlist, select the All users visible in the Classlist check box.
If you want the Intelligent Agent to be applicable to select roles, select the Users with specific roles check box and select the respective roles.
Select your criteria (login activity, course activity, or attach Release Conditions).
Under Actions > Repetition, select how often you want the agent to take action.
If you want the agent to send an email when the set criteria are satisfied, expand Actions, and under Send an Email, select the Send an email when the criteria are satisfied check box and enter your email details and relevant attachments.
Click Save and Close.
NOTE: You can perform a practice run or a manual run of an Intelligent Agent at any time in a course.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted traditional classroom learning experiences and created a situation where flexibility in modes of instruction is necessary. This flexibility continues today.
During the break between the spring and summer semesters, our classrooms (Library rooms 501, 502, and 532A) were upgraded with camera and microphone systems that support hybrid learning formats. This redesign allows students to participate in face-to-face synchronous class sessions in-person (in the classroom) or participate in face-to-face class sessions via video conference (e.g., Zoom).
In 2019, rooms 501 and 502 were redesigned to support active learning. An active learning environment is a flexible space that can be reconfigured quickly for a wide variety of teaching methods. An active learning environment supports student-centered learning and works best when you have furniture that allows students to easily shift from independent work to group work to class discussions and back again—without wasting valuable class time. For more information, refer to this Active Learning Classrooms blog post.
Accessibility is about everyone. It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content.
Video Notes is a built-in media recording tool in Brightspace that allows instructors and learners to record short videos with a webcam. This makes it easy to personalize the learning experience with short, video-based feedback, comments, or instructions. Video Notes can be added where video attachments are supported and when the Brightspace Editor’s Insert Stuff option is available.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on captions and subtitles to understand video content. But there are a lot of other great reasons for using captions. For example, you may have some learners who choose not to use the sound or they cannot use it without disturbing those around them. You may have some learners who are not native in your language or who have trouble understanding you. Closed captions and subtitles will allow these individuals to receive your message and understand it.
Did you know you can generate automatic closed captions for newly created Video Notes AND you have the ability to manually add or edit closed captions for all previously recorded Video Notes?
There are a some situations where you may want to copy components of a Brightspace course OR copy an entire Brightspace course into another one. For example,
You have a course from a previous semester and you would like to copy the course contents into your empty course shell for the current semester.
You have a Master Course Shell that you input content into and would like to copy the course contents into your empty course shell for the current semester.
You are teaching multiple sections of a course, you created all the content in one Brightspace course section and want to copy the content into the other sections.
You created content in one course (e.g. rubrics, discussions, quizzes, etc.) and would like to copy that specific content from one Brightspace course into another.
Copying an entire Brightspace course OR copying components of a Brightspace course into another Brightspace course is not hard. As long as you are the instructor for both courses, it is a simple process you can do.
Notes About Copying Between Courses
Here are some things to consider when copying a course or copying components of a course.
Overwriting and Duplicating Items
In general, course components already in the destination course will not be affected by copying course components. The only course component that can be overwritten is a course file, i.e., HTML pages that have been created in the course site or files that have been uploaded to it. A course file is overwritten if one of the files being copied into the course has the same name as an existing file.
If copying components from the same source multiple times, be careful not to copy the same items more than once, or this will create duplicates that may be visible to users in the course.
Student data is not copied from one course to another; only the course structures are copied. For example, if a Discussion topic is copied, only the prompt and discussion settings are copied, not the individual student posts.
Links and Associations between Components
If copying linked or associated components, e.g., files attached to an Assignment Submission folder or the HTML files for pages that have been created, all of the related components must be copied at the same time. To do this, be sure to select the "Include Associated Content" checkbox when it appears. As long as that box is checked, all associated components are copied and the links between them are retained.
If the course copy contains any VoiceThreads, they will need to be "re-linked" in the destination course. After the copy, go into the destination course and click on the VoiceThread links and re-select the VoiceThread.
Respondus LockDown Browser (RLDB) Settings
Copied courses that have tests/exams with RLDB enabled require instructors to access the Respondus LockDown Browser Dashboard once after the copy to update the RLDB settings in the destination course. This has to be done before students will be able to take exams that require RLDB.
When you copy course components from one course to another, confirm that all settings are configured for the Turnitin-enabled assignments in the destination course.
Turnitin PeerMark Assignments
Our Turnitin integration does not support copying of PeerMark Assignments. You will have to recreate your PeerMark assignments in the destination course.
Follow these steps to do it.
If you want to copy an entire Brightspace course OR copy components from a Brightspace course into another course, you should:
Get into the course you want the content copied into.
In the NavBar (of the course you want the content copied to), click on "Course Admin".
Click on the "Import/Export/Copy Components" link.
Click on the "Copy Components from another Org Unit" radio button.
In the Course to Copy option, click the "Search for Offering" button.
Click on the magnifying glass in the "Search for" field OR enter the name of the course you want to copy from in the search field.
Click on the radio button to the right of the course you want to copy content from and then click on "Add Selected".
Verify your selections are correct before proceeding.
At the bottom on the browser window you will click on either "Copy all Components" OR "Select Components" and follow the prompts.
Double-check to make sure that you are in the course you want the content copied into AND that you have selected the correct course you want to copy content from. There is no way to reverse the copy process once the wrong course is selected and the copy request is submitted.
Thursday, May 19th, 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.