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what is ePortfolio word cloud

An electronic portfolio (also known as an eportfolio) is a collection of electronic evidence (artifacts) assembled and managed by a user, usually on the Web. Such electronic evidence may include electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. If the ePortfolio is online, users can maintain it dynamically over time.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) recently published a study on "Fulfilling the American Dream: Liberal Education and the Future of Work." In it, they report:

78% of executives and 81% of hiring managers find ePortfolios useful when evaluating recent graduates, versus 51% of executives and 48% of hiring managers who find college transcripts useful.

Students gain a number of benefits from incorporating portfolios in their learning. Here are a few benefits from an Educational Technology and Mobile Learning article:

  • Portfolios enable students to record their learning and document their growth over a period of time.
  • They provide students with a venue through which they can showcase their learning.
  • They can be used as a tool for self-assessment, self-reflection and personal development.
  • They help students focus on the process of learning rather than the end product.
  • They promote deeper learning as students actively engage in the learning process.
  • They develop students metacognitive skills (reflective practices) and help them take control of their learning.
  • They empower students' voice.
  • They are a ‘method of self-discovery and confidence building’.
  • They help students develop personal and academic identities.
  • They assist students in locating their strengths and weaknesses and plan for future improvement.
  • They invite teachers' feedback and input from peers.
  • They help students develop their writing skills.
  • A portfolio presents concrete evidence of the learner's work and achievements to prospective employers.

A good ePortfolio is both about being a product (a digital collection of artifacts) and a process (of reflecting on those artifacts and what they represent).

collection of ePortfolio artifacts

Our Brightspace system includes an ePortfolio tool that is available to all users. The Brightspace ePortfolio tool is typically used by learners to collect samples of their work ("artifacts"), write about experiences they have ("reflections") and then choose whether to share them with others (like peers, instructors, or even potential employers).

We’ve prepared this ePortfolio FAQ to provide you with answers to questions about the Brightspace ePortfolio tool.

Additionally, if you're interested in learning more about Brightspace's ePortfolio tool or if you want to learn more about ePortfolios in general, you should attend the upcoming CCE: Introducing ePortfolios workshop.

Want More Information?

ePortfolio Introduction video [3:28]
Document and share ideas and achievements
ePortfolio FAQ
ePortfolio how-to documents
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call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

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 August 2018/10.8.4 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Quizzes – Dynamic preview available in question pools

Question pools now include a dynamic preview. The preview displays questions randomly selected from the current question pool. A refresh button allows instructors to navigate through several selections to ensure the question pool is working as expected.

question pool - refresh preview
Dynamic Preview in Question Pool

2) Rubrics - Improvements to rubric feedback for learners

To provide learners with more detailed feedback on activities and apply a consistent look and feel to rubric feedback, this release includes the following improvements:

  • User Progress displays general feedback, score, and a graded rubric for Grades, Discussions and Assignments. Feedback displays to learners as soon as instructors save rubric and overall feedback assessment.
  • Content tool for Assignments displays general feedback, score, and a graded rubric. This replaces the previously displayed Instructor Feedback.

Rubric feedback for assignments progress
Rubric feedback for Assignments Progress in the User Progress tool

Rubric feedback for discussions progress
Rubric feedback for Discussions Progress in the User Progress tool

3) Turnitin - Improvements to Turnitin Integration

The following improvements have been made to the Turnitin (TII) integration:

  • Learners can view GradeMark feedback in User Progress under Grades and in Content.
  • Error and status messages are being improved upon.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the August Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform August 2018/10.8.4 Release Notes.

Additonally, 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
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call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Use due dates in Brightspace to help students stay on track. Students will see due dates when they look at entries in the course calendar.

Due dates and availability dates are generally entered when the instructor creates assignments, assessments, discussion topics and forums, etc. The dates automatically populate into the course calendar.

calendar with due date emphasized

Instructors can use the Manage Dates tool to view, edit in bulk, and bulk offset date availability from one central location. You can also set the calendar status of all content topics and modules, discussion topics and forums, assignment submissions folders, grades categories and items, announcement items, quizzes, checklists, and surveys in their course in the Manage Dates tool.

Course objects display in a grid that you can sort by any of the column headings. You can also use the Type column to sort the Manage Dates page based on the tool-specific order and use advanced filter options to work with smaller sets of objects. If you filter your course objects, any bulk changes you make apply only to the filtered results. This enables you to update multiple availability dates based on specific criteria.

In addition to managing dates, you can open each course object in a new window by clicking on its name. This launches the object's edit page where you can edit additional properties for that object without leaving the Manage Dates tool.

The Manage Dates tool can be very useful after a course copy. For example, if you copied content from one course into another course, you can use the Manage Dates tool to easily adjust dates after the course copy. Additionally, if you've entered dates on items in your course and later need to adjust dates in bulk, try using the Manage Dates tool.

Follow these steps to do it.

To edit dates in bulk:

  1. Get into the course you want to change the dates of course objects.
  2. On the NavBar (of the course you want to change dates in), click Course Admin.
  3. Click Manage Dates.
  4. Select the check box of the items for which you want to bulk edit dates.
  5. Click Bulk Edit Dates.
  6. In the Bulk Edit Dates dialog box, update the due dates and availability dates.
  7. Click Save.

Want More Information?

About Manage Dates
Bulk edit dates in Manage Dates
Offset dates in Manage Dates
Manage Dates - Offset Dates (video)
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Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
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call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

G Suite Apps

Xavier provides all faculty, staff, and students with a G Suite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education) account, which includes Mail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms.

With the Google Apps integration into Brightspace, you can upload files from your Google Drive into Brightspace. Google Drive is a service for storing, syncing and sharing files.

Before you can take advantage of the Google Apps integration, you must authorize Brightspace to access your XULA Google account. The authorization will link your Google and Brightspace accounts so that you can upload files from your Google Drive into Brightspace.

Follow these steps to do it.

To enable Google Apps integration:

  1. Login to your Brightspace account.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the main landing page (the "My Home" page) and locate the Google Apps widget.
  3. Click on the Link to your Google Apps account and follow the prompts.
link to Google Apps

To upload a file from your Google Drive into Brightspace:

  1. Click on the Upload/Create button and then choose the Upload Files option.
  2. From the Add a File window choose Google Drive and follow the prompts.
Upload/Create button
Upload/Create button

Want more information?

Getting Started with Google Apps
Google Apps integration
Add a Google document to Brightspace
Adding Google documents to Brightspace - Learners
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Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
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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.

A Quicklink is a way for instructors to insert a direct link to content that is inside or outside of their course.

insert link in HTML Editor

Quicklinks are useful because they allow instructors to provide students with a direct link to content in the course. For example, instructors can create an announcement or email for students with links that take students directly to specific content files or assignments inside of the course.

Instructors should take advantage of Quicklinks, they are useful for pointing students to specific content in the course!

Follow these steps to do it.

Watch this short video for instructions on inserting Quicklinks:

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #43: HTML Editor
HTML Editor Quick Reference (pdf)
Making Use of the HTML Editor (video)
Format HTML course content
HTML Editor Basics
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Continuous Delivery release notes
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call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

push pin

The My Courses widget (on the My Home page) uses tile-based images to make finding your courses easier. Users can choose which courses they see in their My Courses widget by pinning and unpinning courses.

  • Pinning a course makes it appear in the My Courses widget.
  • Unpinning a course makes it disappear from the My Courses widget.
  • Pinning a course also makes it rise to the top of the Select a Course list and on the My Courses widget.

Search through all of your courses and manually pin and unpin courses to ensure that your most relevant courses are visible on the My Home page.

Follow these steps to do it.

To pin/unpin a course, you should:

  1. From the Minibar, click Select a course (i.e., the waffle icon).
  2. Select a Course

  3. Type the name of the course that you want to pin or find it by searching in the Search for a course field or scroll down to find the course.
  4. Click the Pin icon beside the course. The pinned course will move to the top of the Select a Course list and to the first position in the My Courses widget.
  5. pin/unpin course

Note: To unpin a course click the Pin icon beside the course.

If you want to completely change the order in which your courses are displayed, unpin all of them and then pin them in the order you want them to appear. The most recently pinned course will always appear first.

Want more information?

Pin courses to the top of the Select a Course list
How to Pin Courses (pdf)
How to Reorder Pinned Courses
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Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
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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.

copy stamp

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.

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:

  1. Get into the course you want the content copied into.
  2. In the NavBar (of the course you want the content copied to), click on "Course Admin".
  3. Click on the "Import/Export/Copy Components" link.
  4. Click on the "Copy Components from another Org Unit" radio button.
  5. In the Course to Copy option, click the "Search for Offering" button.
  6. 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.
  7. Click on the radio button to the right of the course you want to copy content from and then click on "Add Selected".
  8. Verify your selections are correct before proceeding.
  9. At the bottom on the browser window you will click on either "Copy all Components" OR "Select Components" and follow the prompts.

Important:

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.

Want more information?

Copy Course Components
Import/Export/Copy - Copy Components video [1:31]
About Copying Course Components
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Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
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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.

Announcements are a great way to communicate a lot of details around an event or schedule, but announcements do not have a way for learners to engage with the content of the announcement that you posted; that's where Activity Feed comes in!

activity feed

The Activity Feed provides a central location for instructors to post messages and links to course materials, web links, and files on Google Drive. It gives learners the ability to quickly access links to important materials, and comment on messages made by instructors and classmates.

Both Announcements and Activity Feed are great ways to share information, but sometimes one tool is a better fit than the other. To get a better understanding of how to use these tools effectively consider these examples of how instructors can use the Announcements tool and the Activity Feed tool.

Activity #1 - Post a News Article for Learners to Read and Comment On:

Reason: Instructor wants to share a news article about a recent event for learners to comment on. The news article the instructor wants them to read was not originally part of the curriculum, but is a real world example of what they are working on in the course.

Action: Instructor uses the Activity Feed tool to post a quick note about the article, including instructions to read and comment on the article. The instructor attaches a link the website the article is published on.

Result: Learners are able to read the article and ask questions, share thoughts, and read comments from their peers.

Activity #2 - Create an Automated Quiz Deadline Reminder:

Reason: Instructor wants to remind learners that they have two days remaining to complete a quiz before the deadline, but doesn't want to remind those who have already completed the quiz.

Action: Instructor creates an announcement that includes a text reminder of the quiz deadline, and adds a quicklink to the quiz in the announcement. In addition, the instructor adds a release condition to the announcement to share the quiz reminder with learners who have not completed the quiz.

Result: Using a release condition along with the announcement will target learners who have yet to complete the quiz, but won't clutter the Announcement tool with irrelevant messages for learners who have completed the quiz.

Activity #3 - Share Content from Google Drive:

Reason: Instructor wants to share something that was saved on their Google Drive.

Action: Instructor can create a post in the Activity Feed or in Announcements, then select the option to share the desired item from Google Drive. Both tools now have the ability to share from Google Drive, so the instructor gets to choose the interface he/she prefers.

Result: Instructor is able to quickly share something from their Google Drive for learners to see by choosing the tool they like most!

Are you interested in using Activity Feed? Keep This in Mind:

Typically, a course homepage would contain either the Announcements widget or the Activity Feed widget. Instructors should choose one of the two tools that is a better fit for their course. The default course homepage contains the Announcements widget. Instructors who decide to use the Activity Feed widget will have to modify the course homepage to include the widget.

If you are the instructor for the course, you can customize your course homepage to add/remove widgets. Information on customizing course home pages can be found in this Brightspace tip on customizing your course homepage.

Want more information?

Activity Feed Widget for Instructors Video Playlist
Homepages and Widgets
Design a Course Homepage with Widgets (pdf)
Google Apps Integration
Announcements Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create an Announcement (video)
Quicklinks
Getting Started with Release Conditions (pdf)
Best Practices for Creating Release Conditions
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Continuous Delivery release notes
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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.

The first page students see when they enter your course leaves a lasting impression. Use this first look to orient students and convey important information.

course homepage
Example of a Brightspace Course Homepage

Instructors can personalize their course with a banner image. A course banner is an image that appears in the My Courses widget and at the top of the course homepage.

Instructors can use Replace Strings to personalize Brightspace. Replace strings allow instructors to customize course content and communications in Brightspace by incorporating the intended learner's personalized information, such as their name, automatically.

Instructors also have the option to customize their Brightspace Course Homepage Layout to suit their needs. Brightspace course Homepage Layouts are frames (panels) that contain Widgets. Widgets are sections of content that provide information and links to tools, courses, and personal settings. Widgets are placed within the frames in the Homepage Layout. Both the course Homepage Layout and the Widgets are customizable.

Want more information?

Change Course Image
Change the Name of Your Course
Using Replace Strings (pdf)
Teaching Tip - Use Replacement Strings for Personalization (video)
Homepages and Widgets
Design a Course Homepage with Widgets (pdf)
Place Twitter Feed in Custom Widget
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.

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.
  • 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. The course merge process requires that a brand new empty Brightspace course be created that will serve as the primary course for all the merged sections. If you have any course content that needs to be retained in one of the courses to be merged, it will have to be exported and then imported into the newly created combined course. Please include that information with your request to merge courses.

Want more information?

Merge Courses
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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.