Skip to content

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 October 2021/20.21.10 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Brightspace Editor – Drag/drop and copy/paste images

This feature complements the Brightspace Editor functionality as released in the Brightspace Editor – Improvements | Updated feature released in May 2021 / 20.21.5.

The drag/drop and copy/paste functionality of images is now available in the following areas that contain no user-specific data.

  • Content Module/Topic Descriptions
  • Quiz/Survey/Self-Assessment - Description, Header. Footer
  • Grades - Description
  • Content Course Overview descriptions
  • Discussion Forum/Topic descriptions

Note: Similar to current functionality, image files added to these areas are saved in the root of the Manage Files area of the organization unit the user is currently in.

2) Brightspace Editor – Email notifications for users tagged in discussion posts and threads

This feature updates the Brightspace Editor – Additional functionality | Updated feature released in June 2021 / 20.21.6 and now adds the ability for users tagged in discussion posts and threads to receive email notifications.

3) Brightspace Pulse – Operating system support

The latest version of Brightspace Pulse is supported on devices with iOS® 12+ or AndroidTM 6.0+ (2015 release). Older versions of Brightspace Pulse will continue to work on devices with iOS 11 or Android 5.0, but will not receive any app updates. For an optimal experience, D2L recommends installing the latest version of Brightspace Pulse on devices with iOS 12+ or Android 6.0+.

4) Content - Add Print Button to PDF file types

This feature adds the option to print PDF file types to Classic Content.

The Print button is visible when viewing a PDF topic or the Course Overview as a PDF. This button will also only appear for users with Compile and Print Content permission.

No option to print PDFs was previously available.

Image is highlighting the absence of print functionality in the PDF view before the update
Image is highlighting the absence of print functionality in the PDF view before the update
Image is highlighting the location of the Print button in PDF view in the Content area
Image is highlighting the location of the Print button in the PDF view (in the Content area)

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the October Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform October 2021/20.21.10 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

The 'Observed in Person' assignment submission type is for situations where a learner needs to present something or demonstrate something and an instructor needs to confirm that it was completed. This submission type allows instructors to create assignments for a wide variety of activities and provide evaluation and feedback for these assignments in Brightspace.

assignment submission types

The ‘Observed in Person’ submission type is meant for scoring and evaluation of a learning activity such as demonstration, presentation, lab test, etc.

There are four submission types to choose from when creating an Assignment in Brightspace. The submission types are:

  • File submission: learners upload and submit a file to the assignment.
  • Text submission: learners post text, image, or a link to their work in a text box within the assignment.
  • On paper submission: learners submit a physical copy of their assignment directly to their instructor. No file upload is required to complete the assignment.
  • Observed in person: allows instructors to observe learners as they perform tasks, such as in-class presentations, and evaluate the observation. No file upload is required to complete the assignment.

There are three options to mark an ‘Observed in Person’ assignment as completed:

  • Automatically on due date – Brightspace marks the assignment as completed on a pre-set date.
  • Automatically on evaluation – Brightspace automatically marks the assignment as complete when the instructor evaluates the assignment using any of the assessment methods in Brightspace.
  • Manually by Learner – The student will mark the assignment as complete.

The assignment can be assessed using text/audio/video feedback, Brightspace interactive rubric, or by assigning a grade.

Want more information?

What is an ‘Observed in Person’ assignment?
Create assignments and assess submissions
Brightspace Tip #255: Simplify Assignment Collection
Brightspace Tip #204: Interactive Rubrics
Brightspace Tip #273: Video Notes
Brightspace Tip #233: Video Notes - Closed Captions

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.

Video Note new recording window
Video Note Recording Window

Video Notes is a built-in media recording tool in Brightspace that allows instructors and learners to record short videos (up to 30-minute video recording) with a webcam or up to 1GB file upload. 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.

Instructors can use Video Notes to:

  • Create a new Topic in Content area
  • Add a Description to a Module or a Topic in the Content area
  • Create an Announcement
  • Provide instructions when creating a Submission Folder for Assignments
  • Provide a feedback on students’ Assignments
  • Give a description of a new Topic in Discussions or make a post on a Discussion topic
  • Give students feedback in the Grade Book
  • Post a message in the Activity Feed
  • Anywhere Brightspace editor is available

Learners can use Video Notes in these areas of Brightspace:

  • When adding comments to uploaded assignments in a Submission folder
  • When posting a new thread or replying on someone’s thread in Discussion topic
  • Anywhere Brightspace editor is available

Follow these steps to do it.

To create and insert a video note in the Brightspace Editor:

  1. In the Brightspace Editor, click the Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click Video Note.
  3. Select Record Webcam Video, or Upload File.

    If Record Webcam Video is selected, follow these steps:

    1. Click New Recording.
    2. Record up to 3 minutes of video and click Stop Recording.
    3. To view the video note, click the play icon.
    4. If you are satisfied with the video, click Next.
    5. Enter a title and description for the video note, and click Next.
    6. Click Insert.

    If Upload File is selected, follow these steps:

    1. Click Choose File and select the file you want to upload from your computer.
    2. File format must be MP4, FLV, F4V, or MOV, and file size cannot be larger than 1GB.
    3. Click Next, and enter a title and description.
    4. Click Next, and then Insert.

insert stuff button

example of insert stuff menu with video note selected
Add Video Note from Insert Stuff menu

Want more information?

Create Video Notes
Create and insert a Video Note in Brightspace Editor
Reuse Video Notes
Spotlight: 3 Video Note Workflows (New York University)
Understanding the Brightspace Editor
Add closed captions to a Video Note
Edit Video Notes closed captions

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.

Customize Your Course Homepage in Brightspace [44:56]

Thanks to those of you who attended this week's Customize Your Course Homepage workshop. The workshop, the eighth in our #LEX Advanced series, helps you to build on the skills you learned in the #LearnEverywhereXULA course. The focus of this workshop was to provide training on how to customize your course homepages to enhance the course experience for your learners.

In case you missed this 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.

power off button

I am writing this blog post as a follow up to Brightspace Tip #267: Use Submission Views to Show Quiz Results. As you may know, Submission Views are created to allow students to go back and review a submitted quiz. The Limited Duration option allows the instructor to choose what information the student sees immediately after completing the quiz (i.e., after the student clicks on the Submit Quiz button).

Additional Views are created with a specified release date and time that allow instructors to determine what students can see when they go back to review a quiz. Currently, there isn’t an option to set an end date for a Submission View. Therefore, a Submission View is active until the system encounters a subsequent Submission View with a later date/time making it the active view.

Better practice when setting up Submission Views is to create a “Shutdown View”. This ensures that quiz questions and answers are not available past the time the instructor plans to have it available. A Shutdown View will eliminate the need for the instructor to remember to delete Submission Views when they are past their usefulness.

Well-structured Submission Views for an exam where the instructor wants students to be able to see the quiz questions and user responses for a limited amount of time could look like this:

Example of an exam that is available for a limited amount of time for students to review
Example of an exam that is available for a limited amount of time for students to review

In the example above, the testing period for the quiz ends on April 3rd at 6 PM. The “After Testing Period Ends” Submission View will be active on April 5th at 6 AM. The Shutdown View will be active April 6th at 11:59 PM. Students will be able to see the quiz questions with their responses in between April 5th at 6 AM and April 6th at 11:59 PM.

Creating a “Shutdown View” with an end of the semester date/time is good practice if you are planning to copy a course with quizzes that have Submission Views into another course. This ensures that a quiz with a Shutdown View will force you to update the Submission View settings in the course you are copying to. Thus reducing the possibility that you have a Submission View enabled before you want it to be. Even if you do not plan on reusing the exam in the future, setting up a “Shutdown View” is a better practice that can prevent future problems.

Example of an exam with an End of Semester Shutdown Submission View
Example of an exam with an End of Semester Shutdown Submission View

Did you know you can use the Manage Dates tool to edit dates in bulk? Also, the Manage Dates tool provides you with a quick way to see which quizzes have Submission Views set. You can edit Submission Views from the Manage Dates tool as well.

Example of quiz with Submission View dates displayed in the Other Dates column of the Manage Dates tool
Example of quiz with Submission View dates displayed in the Other Dates column of the Manage Dates tool

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #267: Use Submission Views to Show Quiz Results
Setting a Submission View
Customize Submission Views (video)
How to view a completed test submission (pdf)
Brightspace Tip #251: Manage Dates

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: "Power button" by Carbon Arc is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

keyboard with a preview key

The instructor’s view of grades is not the same as the learner's view of grades. Did you know you can get a preview of what a learner sees when they view their grades in your course?

To verify what a learner sees when they view their grades, an instructor can Preview the learner's grades.

Follow these steps to do it.

To Preview a learner's grades you should:

  1. On the NavBar, click Grades.
  2. On the Enter Grades page, select "Preview" from the contextual menu associated with a learner name from the table. The Grades will appear in a new pop-up window.

NOTE: If you are meeting with a student and want to hide the grades of the other students, you should use the Grade Book Search to do so.

Want more information?

Preview Learner Grades
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book
Brightspace Tip #211: Grade Book – Search
Understanding the Grades Tool

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: "preview key" by jflorent is licensed under CC BY 4.0 and is a derivative of "Education Keyboard Button" by GotCredit used under CC BY 2.0

Did you know that Global Cat Day was celebrated this weekend? It is a day when "advocates around the world join Alley Cat Allies as [they] lead the charge to save cats from being harmed and killed." Given that this blog is dedicated to providing CAT FooD (for thought), we thought we'd celebrate in our own special way by having some door blog prizes.*

Global Cat Day 2021 mug

To say thank you to our XULA subscribers, we did a random drawing for a mug. Congratulations to Dr. Patience Obih (Pharmacy) for being our winner! We also want to recognize our newest subscriber, Dr. Chen-Hui Lo (Languages)! We appreciate your dedication to your professional development, and we will be delivering your mugs soon.

Thanks to all our subscribers. We are hope you continue to find this blog timely and useful.

*A special thank you to Dr. Mark Gstohl (Theology), our incoming Associate Director, for having the insight to celebrate Global Cat Day this way.

group of people each with one foot in a circle showing off their colorful socks and shoes

Wednesday, October 20th, is International Pronouns Day. International Pronouns Day is celebrated on the third Wednesday of October and seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. For more information about International Pronouns Day visit pronounsday.org.

ICYMI, read Bart’s “Yes, you should totally tell your students your pronouns” blog post.

Did you know, users now have the option to indicate their pronouns in their Brightspace user profiles? Brightspace user profiles are visible to anyone who shares a course with a particular user, including students, instructors, administrators, etc.

The area under Account Settings, where you can set your pronouns
The area in your Account Settings, where you can set your pronouns

A user profile card with the pronouns displayed
A user profile card with the pronouns displayed

Celebrate International pronouns Day by entering your pronouns into Brightspace and invite your students to do the same.

If you are looking for a good pronoun primer on inclusive teaching, check out this Gender Diversity and Pronouns resource from the University of Michigan.

Follow these steps to do it.

To enter your pronouns:

  1. From your Personal Menu click on Account Settings.
  2. Check the Allow others to see my pronouns box.
  3. Click on the Use different pronouns radio button and enter your pronouns.
  4. Click on Save and Close.

Want more information?

Navigate Brightspace Learning Environment - Account Settings – Learner (video)

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: "Footwear" by Julie Falk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Would you like to 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.

security camera

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.

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:

Want more information?

Intelligent Uses of Intelligent Agents
Intelligent Agents Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create an Intelligent Agent (video)
View and Edit the Schedule of an Intelligent Agent (video)
Delete and Restore Intelligent Agents (video)
Perform a Practice Run for an Intelligent Agent (video)
Manually Run an Intelligent Agent (video)
Brightspace Tip #237: Release Conditions

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: image by Iacopo Grandi from Pixabay

A VoiceThread with a learner's video reflection playing

VoiceThread is a web 2.0 tool that allows you to humanize interactions in an online environment. Instructors and students can share a wide variety of media (images, PDFs, slides, video, and more) and share text, audio, and video comments on that media quickly and easily. VoiceThread transforms stale, text-based discussions by infusing your content and conversations with human presence, just as if students were all sitting in the classroom together, but without scheduling a specific time to meet.

There are some great new features available in VoiceThread assignments! Read on for more information about the new features that were recently introduced.

Separate Close and Due Dates + Late Submissions

When building an assignment, you can now set a due date and a close date. This enables you to continue making the assignment available to students even after the due date passes. It will only become unavailable after the close date.

Example of VoiceThread due and close dates

Additionally, students can submit after the due date has passed, and their submissions will be marked as "Late" on your grading page so you can decide whether to deduct any credit for missing the due date.

Example of VoiceThread grading with a late submission

Replying To Comments after Submitting

After students submit a commenting assignment, you might want them to go back and reply to classmates to keep the conversation going. Now they can use the threaded reply option to continue the conversation even if they've submitted and received a grade. The image below illustrates how a student can make a reply comment even after submitting successfully.

Examplo of a learner's VoiceThread reply to comment after submitting

Slide Requirements

Create and comment assignments can require students to add a specific number of slides before they can submit. Set this requirement in the same place you set a required number of comments.

Example of minimum slides required option

Point Value Grading

Instructors can make VoiceThread assignments worth a specific number of points instead of using percentage grading. You can set the points possible in the "Assessment" section when you are creating the assignment. Previously you had to grade based on a percentage scale.

Example of an assignment with points value assessment

When it's time to grade, just enter the number of points you want to give each student. No more need to convert to percentages first!

Example showing grading of an assignment with points

Want more information?

VoiceThread Instructor Support
Add VoiceThread to your Course
How to use new VoiceThread assignments
Submitting new VoiceThread assignments – Students
VoiceThread FAQ

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.