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Secure the Testing Environment and Protect the Integrity of Online Tests [1:03:48]

Thanks to those of you who attended last week's "Secure the Testing Environment and Protect the Integrity of Online Tests" workshop. The workshop, the eighteenth in our #LEX Advanced series, helps you to build on the skills you learned in the #LearnEverywhereXULA course and is designed for faculty who want to secure the online testing environment and protect the integrity of students' work.

In case you missed last week’s training session or if you attended the training session and want to recap what was covered, a copy of the workshop recording and resources referenced in the workshop are available. You can find the workshop recording and other resources in support of the workshop on the CAT+FD wiki.

Additionally, if you did not get the opportunity to earn a digital badge for participating in the workshop, it's not too late to earn that badge. We have a corresponding “Securing Testing Environment” module in the #LearnEverywhereXULA (#LEX) course that you can complete to earn a digital badge for this topic. The badge will count towards your #LEX Advanced certification.

three pies

Pi (π) Day is celebrated on March 14th (3.14). Did you know the Brightspace Community has a PIE? Yes, there is a PIE (Product Idea Exchange) in the Brightspace Community. The PIE is a system that allows Brightspace users to share their suggestions on how to make Brightspace better. I invite you to take a few minutes to explore the Brightspace Product Idea Exchange (PIE).

We’ve put together this collection of PIE ideas you can consider upvoting so that we can add our voice to the community to make the Brightspace experience better. To get you started, here are links to articles on baking a better PIE and what makes an idea great. You can also search the PIE for ideas to upvote or submit your own idea to the PIE. Let us know if you submit your own idea to the PIE so that we can upvote it.

Want more information?

How can I access the PIE?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
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: "073/365 - Pi Day Pies, 2012" by Dennis Wilkinson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

grade book page

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.

As an instructor, you can determine how to set up your Grade Book to best reflect your approach to evaluation, including the grading system and grade scheme that is most appropriate for your course. You can select how grades display to learners, how they update in the Grade Book, and how you want to deal with ungraded items. You can create grade items for projects, assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc. to include in your Grade Book, and even associate them with other tools (e.g. Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions).

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links to how-to documents to help you to use the Grades Tool:

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
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.

Photo Credit: Grade book by David Mulder | CC BY-SA 2.0

the word update written on a chalk board

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 some of the updates in the February 2024/20.24.2 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Question Library – Removal of the question mark icon

The question mark (?) icon that appears next to questions in Question Library is removed to prevent visual clutter. However, the folder icon that appears in Question Library next to each section remains.

This change only impacts Question Library and the question mark icon remains in other areas of Brightspace.

2) Brightspace – Branded footer on main pages

With this release, a Powered by D2L Brightspace footer now appears on select pages in Brightspace. The footer appears on the following pages:

  • D2L’s login pages
  • Org and org unit homepages
  • Portfolio
  • Brightspace for Parents and Guardian
  • Discover
  • Manager Dashboard
  • Insights Portal Dashboard

This replaces the footer that previously appeared at the bottom of the login page and removes the corresponding Do not display D2L branded footer setting from the Login Page Management tool.

To learn more, refer to the Powered by D2L blog post in Brightspace Community.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the February Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform February 2024/20.24.2 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
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

young black woman looking at a computer screen

A misconception about 21st-century students is that they are proficient with all technology, even in the absence of clear instructions. Many students know how to use online platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for fun, but have no idea how to leverage them for academic or professional use.

In an article in the Times Higher Education, Elizabeth Losh says universities must stop presuming that all students are tech-savvy. Many educators assume that young people are digital natives and they should know how to use technology. Gen Z may be savvy about using social media personally. However, they are not as savvy about how to use tech tools academically or professionally.

I don't appreciate when professors just assume because we are young we know how to use this stuff...we are learning with y'all. - Anonymous Xavier Student

In feedback from some Xavier students, they stated that their professors assume they know how to use Brightspace when in fact they do not. To better serve our students, faculty should not assume students are digital natives. Instructors can help students learn the basics for the tools that will be used in their course by providing them links to how-to resources.

Did you know that we have a list of Brightspace how-to resources for students on our CAT FooD blog? You can find Brightspace how-to resources at the following links:

Additionally, here's an example of how you might include how-to instructions for a discussion forum in your Brightspace course:

example of a Q&A discussion forum
Example of Q&A discussion forum with instructions on how to post to the forum

In this example, instructions for the Q&A forum are provided along with instructions on how to post to the forum as well as a link to a how-to video.

Including information on how to use course tools will go a long way to helping students to be successful in your course.

Image credit: image by Aspen from Nappy

Accessibility Is Not Just for Individuals with Disabilities [1:02:10]

Thanks to those of you who attended last week's "Accessibility Is Not Just for Individuals with Disabilities" workshop. The workshop, the seventeenth in our #LEX Advanced series, helps you to build on the skills you learned in the #LearnEverywhereXULA course and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to create accessible course materials that can benefit everyone.

In case you missed last week’s training session or if you attended the training session and want to recap what was covered, a copy of the workshop recording and resources referenced in the workshop are available. You can find the workshop recording and other resources in support of the workshop on the CAT+FD wiki.

Additionally, if you did not get the opportunity to earn a digital badge for participating in the workshop, it's not too late to earn that badge. We have a corresponding “Make It Accessible” module in the #LearnEverywhereXULA (#LEX) course that you can complete to earn a digital badge for this topic. The badge will count towards your #LEX Advanced certification.

#LearnEverywhereXULA (#LEX) is our Brightspace course that is organized around the eight General Standards for Higher Education set forth in the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric Sixth Edition. The information, activities, and assignments in the #LEX course aids faculty in developing high quality, well-designed, objective-driven courses on Brightspace for Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) students.

hot air ballons

When faculty complete the #LEX course, they have the opportunity to expand their horizons even more through #LEX Advanced certification. With the certification, faculty learn about using design and automation features available in Brightspace to apply better pedagogical practices within their courses by making them more user-friendly, accessible, and efficient.

#LEX Advanced takes a deeper dive into tools like Rubrics, Release Conditions, Intelligent Agents, HTML Templates, Awards & Badges, and more. #LEX Advanced certification also includes topics such as accessibility, academic integrity, securing online testing environment, alternative assessments, online discussions, group work, and video lectures.

A #LEX Advanced badge can be earned for participation in a #LEX Advanced workshop OR for completing its corresponding module in the #LEX course.

Our #LEX Advanced certification has four levels. Faculty can move up a certification level with every fourth #LEX Advanced badge they earn. Complete four modules to earn the #LEX Advanced Level 1 certification. Complete eight modules to earn the #LEX Advanced Level 2 certification. Complete twelve modules to earn the #LEX Advanced Level 3 certification. Complete sixteen modules to earn the #LEX Advanced Level 4 certification.

Faculty can view the badges they've earned by clicking on Activities in the NavBar and then click on Awards within the #LearnEverywhereXULA course.

Are you interested in becoming #LEX Advanced certified? Attend one of our upcoming #LEX Advanced workshops to start earning your badges. Alternatively, you can earn badges by completing modules in the #LearnEverywhereXULA course.

NOTE: Faculty who are not enrolled in the #LearnEverywhereXULA course can request enrollment using this enrollment request form.

#LEX Advanced Certifications

#LEX Advanced certificate

Congratulations to those faculty who have earned #LEX Advanced Certification!

#LEX Advanced Level 1 Certificate Awardees

  • Ayyad, Dr. Ahlam
  • Bailey-Wheeler, Dr. Janel
  • Bellone-Hite, Dr. Amy
  • DiMaggio, Dr. Stassi
  • Earls, Dr. Martha
  • Edwards, Dr. Andrea
  • Farudi, Dr. Giti
  • Gaudin, Dr. Wendy
  • Gstohl, Dr. Mark
  • Helm, Dr. Amanda
  • Laborde, Dr. Katheryn
  • Ma, Dr. Timmy
  • Manley, Dr. Elizabeth
  • McFerrin, Dr. Harris
  • Nguyen, Dr. Nam
  • Plaisance-Meyers, Dr. Sierra
  • Ratnayaka, Dr. Harish
  • Rousselle, Dr. Elizabeth
  • Salm, Dr. Steven
  • Sirohi, Dr. Sunil
  • St. Julien, Dr. Danielle
  • Taylor, Dr. Ashley
  • Todd, Dr. Jason
  • Verma, Dr. Abha

#LEX Advanced Level 2 Certificate Awardees

  • Ayyad, Dr. Ahlam
  • Bailey-Wheeler, Dr. Janel
  • Earls, Dr. Martha
  • Edwards, Dr. Andrea
  • Gstohl, Dr. Mark
  • Ma, Dr. Timmy
  • Todd, Dr. Jason

#LEX Advanced Level 3 Certificate Awardees

  • Ayyad, Dr. Ahlam
  • Edwards, Dr. Andrea
  • Ma, Dr. Timmy
  • Todd, Dr. Jason

#LEX Advanced Level 4 Certificate Awardees

  • Ayyad, Dr. Ahlam
  • Todd, Dr. Jason

Updated: 21 May 2024

Image credits:
image by PDPhotos from Pixabay
"#LEX Advanced Certificate of Completion" by jtodd1 | CC BY 4.0

the word update written on a chalk board

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 January 2024/20.24.1 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments & Discussions – Improved tooltip for unsaved changes to evaluations

In the Assignments and Discussions evaluation experience, the tooltip for reporting evaluation errors is updated to include clearer language. The tooltip appears when a user enters over 300,000 characters into the Overall Feedback field or enters an invalid grade into the Grade field.

The new tooltip reads "There is one or more errors in the information entered". Previously, the tooltip read "There are invalid grades on this page", excluding various errors that may have caused the tooltip to appear. The new language makes the types of errors clearer as it encourages users to review the entire evaluation.

2) Awards – Export achievements as digital credentials

Learners can now export their earned awards in a standards-compliant format using the new Export Digital Credential option. This feature allows the download of certificates or badges as an industry-standard Open Badges 2.0 compliant Badge for their own record keeping or sharing.

Badge Baking is the process of embedding digital credentials within the badge image. This approach ensures that the user has legitimately earned the badge by including a verification link used to check the integrity of the embedded information. To learn more about Badge Baking, refer to Open Badges Baking Specification.

For Baked Badge, the supported format in Brightspace is PNG only, and the recommended pixel size of the badge should be no smaller than 200 px x 200 px.

Note: Not all applications support Open Badges 2.0 Badge Baking. Some third-party applications strip meta-data from images, causing baked badges to be non-compliant with Open Badges 2.0.

To download an award, learners must navigate to the My Awards page, select the desired award, click Share, and then click the new Export Digital Credential button. In the opened window, learners must provide their email address to link to their award and ensure verification, and then click Export.

Exporting a digital credential downloads badges or certificates as a .png file with the award data embedded in the image.

Click the new Export Digital Credential option in Awards.
Click the new Export Digital Credential option in Awards.

Previously, awards could only be exported as a public URL or through the LinkedIn and Badgr integrations.

This feature implements PIE item D6128 (Awards: Incorporate Open Badge Standards).

3) Brightspace Editor – Insert Stuff uses new file picker when uploading from users' computer

This release updates the Insert Stuff > My Computer file picker with the version currently used in the Insert Image workflow, which allows drag-and-drop file uploads from the user's computer.

Previously, the Insert Stuff > My Computer file picker used an older file picker that did not support drag-and-drop of files.

Users can drag-and-drop files using the new Insert Stuff > My Computer file picker.
Users can drag-and-drop files using the new Insert Stuff > My Computer file picker.

This feature implements the following PIE item:

  • D10875 (Drag and Drop Option for Files in Insert Stuff)

4) Brightspace Virtual Assistant – Enhanced user interface and experience

With this update to Brightspace Virtual Assistant, clients who are subscribed to End User Support (EUS) Services can now enter their search string or question in the new text field at the bottom of the tool. Previously, users would need to select the I have a different question option to have access to a freeform field where they could then type in a query to receive Brightspace Community resources.

Type Brightspace-related queries in the textbox to receive recommended resources from Brightspace Community.
Type Brightspace-related queries in the textbox to receive recommended resources from Brightspace Community.

5) Quizzes – Written response questions remain as pending evaluation until being manually graded

When instructors grade quiz attempts, any ungraded written response questions remain as pending evaluation until the instructor manually grades them. Previously, when instructors clicked Publish or Update for a quiz attempt, the written response question's pending evaluation status would be removed.

If a written response question is not graded, the status shows a pending evaluation message for both the learner and instructor view. In the learner view, learners always see the message "This question has not been graded" until the instructor grades the question. The instructor view displays the message "not auto-graded; a default value of 0 was assigned" until they grade the question.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the January Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform January 2024/20.24.1 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
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

Instructors can now set up quizzes that start and end at the same time for ALL learners with the new synchronous quizzing option. This feature was introduced with our September 2023 Continuous Delivery updates.

The addition of synchronous quizzes enables instructors to set up a quiz where the quiz timer starts on the start date for all learners rather than when the learner launches the quiz (asynchronous). The quiz timer then ends for all learners at the same time. This facilitates quizzes where the instructor requires all learners to take the quiz at the same time similar to in classroom learning and supporting medium-high stakes quizzing.

Example of settings for a synchronous quiz
Example of settings for a synchronous quiz

A synchronous quiz starts at the Start Date and ends when the time limit has lapsed, regardless of any action taken by the learner. For example, if a learner clicks "Start Quiz!" 15 minutes after the start date on a 1-hour quiz, they only have 45 minutes left to complete it. To indicate when a quiz becomes available, learners have a countdown timer on the Quiz Information and Start Quiz pages. The Start Quiz! button becomes available when the start date and time is reached.

A countdown timer on the Start Quiz page
A countdown timer on the Start Quiz page

Note: If no start date and time is set for the synchronous quiz, the No Start date set alert appears under the selected option, and you cannot save the quiz. The Due Date option is disabled for synchronous quizzes because students do not choose the time frame of when to take the synchronous quiz, therefore there is no need to set a due date.

To ensure that learners are aware of upcoming synchronous quizzes, instructors should create instructional or manual solutions. For example:

  • Make a synchronous quiz visible in the calendar:
    • Instructors should use the Start Date parameter when setting up a synchronous quiz and leave the End Date field empty.
    • Instructors can select Add availability dates to Calendar or set up an event showing the whole time.
  • Create an announcement with information about the synchronous quiz.
  • Set up an event and give a link to the quiz to provide more context.

Note: Instructors must modify or review quizzes one-by-one to avoid accidentally modifying quiz availability dates for synchronous quizzes.

Instructors should provide learners with information about a synchronous quiz before it starts. Learners can also access information about synchronous quizzes in the Quiz Information page.

Follow these steps to do it

To set up a synchronous quiz:

  1. From a quiz page, expand the Availability Dates & Conditions accordion.
  2. Set Start Date and Time.
    NOTE: Leave the End Date field empty.
  3. Expand the Timing & Display accordion.
  4. Click Timer Settings.
  5. In the Timing dialog, under Quiz Start, select Synchronous: Timer starts on the start date.
  6. Click OK.

Want more information?

Quiz Timing Improvements
Quizzes FAQ: Hot Tips and Workarounds
Brightspace Tip #254: Tests and Quizzes
Resources for the Quizzes Tool

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
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.