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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 and in the Pulse App.

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.

Follow these steps to do it.

To add availability and due dates in Content:

  1. Get into the course you want to add availability and due dates to course objects.
  2. On the NavBar (of the course you want to change dates in), click Content.
  3. On the Table of Contents page, click Bulk Edit.
  4. For any topic or module that you want to add availability or due dates to, click Add dates and restrictions.
  5. Do any of the following:
    • Click Add start date. Enter your start date details.
    • Click Add due date. Enter your due date details.
    • Click Add end date. Enter your end date details.
  6. Click Update.
  7. Click Done Editing.

Want More Information?

Add availability and due dates in Content
Manage Dates
Pulse App
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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.

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.

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 June 2019/20.19.6 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Discussions - Save feedback in draft state when associated with rubrics

This feature provides instructors the option to save feedback as a draft on discussions associated with rubrics before publishing it to learners. Now, when instructors add feedback for discussions with rubrics, the Save Draft and Publish buttons display. This feature extends existing Save Draft and Publish options available in other assessment tools to discussions that are only associated with a rubric.

Note that if a discussion topic is associated with more than one rubric, then both the rubrics are now visible in the same pop-up dialogue. Previously, the rubrics had to be opened individually to complete evaluation.

2) Quick Eval – Improvements to Quick Eval list

To improve the Quick Eval experience, the following updates are now available:

  • A Draft icon displays in Quick Eval for discussion posts that have feedback in draft status
  • Evaluators only see discussion posts and quiz attempts from learners in sections they are enrolled in. This matches the behavior of assignment submissions.

3) Quizzes - Arithmetic and significant figures questions round up from .5

Arithmetic and Significant Figures questions in quizzes now round up from .5 by default. Previously these types of questions were rounded down from .5.

4) Rubrics - Consistent assessment experience for Discussions

When instructors use the updated rubrics grading experience with Discussions, the following workflows present the same assessment experience:

  • if a rubric is attached to a discussion that is not associated with a grade item
  • if a rubric is attached to a discussion and associated with a grade item, but the instructor clicks on the rubric name to assess instead of topic score

In these workflows, the same assessment screen displays, with the details, score, feedback, post information, and all rubrics available to grade.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the May Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform June 2019/20.19.6 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
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.

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keyboard with accessibility key highlighted

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law was enacted to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content. Statistics show that 12.9% of students have a disability. One in 25 incoming freshmen have some form of cognitive disability. These students have neurological challenges processing information. *

Forty to 60% of undergrads and 9% of graduate students choose not to report their disability and will just struggle through their courses.*

Chances are you will have a student enrolled in one of your courses that has a disability and has chosen not to disclose that information to you.

Accessibility image

Accessibility best practices are built into the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) design and development processes. While Brightspace is accessible to persons with disabilities, uploaded content may not be.

While Brightspace is accessible to persons with disabilities, uploaded content may not be. Instructors should make a conscious effort to make sure content is accessible.

Instructors should make a conscious effort to make sure content is accessible. Even though you may not have a student with a disability currently enrolled in your course, there are a few things you can do when creating content that will save you time later when you do have a student with a disability. This is not wasted time as you will find some students without disabilities will take advantage of accessible content as well. Additionally, if you usually copy content from one course to another you will be one step ahead because your copied course content will already be accessible.

Also for cognitive disabilities it’s important to build flexibility into your courses. This is done by using many modes of information and creating a clutter-free learning environment.

In an upcoming series of blog posts I will provide information on things you can routinely do when you create content and setup your Brightspace courses to make them accessible.

*Source: Accessibility in Education in North America Infographic

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 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.

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

growth arrow up

The Class Progress tool helps track student progress in a course by measuring their completion of 9 different progress indicators. The Class Progress tool tracks students' overall progress as a class and individually. Instructors can use the Class Progress tool to do any of the following:

  • Monitor progress for any or all users in the course
  • View user profiles, email users, or instant message users
  • Track when a user accesses the course and downloads course content
  • Track a user's grades, completion of learning objectives, access of content topics, participation in discussions, assignment submissions, quiz submissions, checklist completion, survey responses, and login history
  • Prepare progress reports
  • Set up Intelligent Agents for users who are falling behind in a course

Instructors can customize the Class Progress page to make it easier to track and compare the performance of class participants.

class progress overview

Students can use Class Progress to keep track of all of their course-specific assignments and feedback.

Follow these steps to do it.

To access the Class Progress page, you should:
  1. On the NavBar, click Course Admin.
  2. Click on Class Progress.
  3. Click on a student’s name or one of the progress indicators to get more information about the student's progress.
To email or instant message a student from the Class Progress page, you should:
  1. On the Class Progress page, roll your mouse over the student’s profile picture (avatar) and click on the Send Email or the Send Instant Message button.
To change the Class Progress settings, you should:
  1. On the NavBar, click Course Admin.
  2. Click on Class Progress.
  3. On the Class Progress page, click Settings.
  4. From the context menu of the indicator you want to replace (i.e., the arrow on the right of the performance indicator name), select Replace.
  5. In the Select Progress Indicator dialog box, click on the progress indicator that you want to use as a replacement.
  6. To replace more progress indicators, repeat the previous steps.
  7. From the context menu of a progress indicator, select Move Up or Move Down to rearrange the order in which it appears in Class Progress.
  8. Click Save and Close.

Want more information?

Class and User Progress Quick Start Guide
Track Class progress
Understand and Modify the Class Progress page (video)

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.

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.

checklist

Brightspace’s Completion Tracking feature allows instructors to monitor whether students have completed or visited/viewed a specific topic in the Content area. This feature can help instructors gauge how effective specific documents, videos, or other learning materials have been, as well as allow instructors to monitor whether students viewed important class materials before completing an assignment.

All content topics are set to automatically track for completion by default. Instructors can change the method of completion for a required activity to be either manual or automatic.

When Completion Tracking is set to automatic, the topic is marked complete when the user clicks on the topic to view it. For some activities, automatic tracking requires users to participate in a discussion, submit a file, or complete an assessment such as a quiz or survey before completion is successful.

When Completion Tracking is set to manual, users select the completion check box beside each content topic to indicate they have completed it. Although users can use manual tracking to indicate that they have accomplished a task before it is completed (for example, selecting the completion check box beside a quiz activity before attempting the quiz at all), this does not affect assessment scores or user attempts counted towards an activity.

Completion Tracking is helpful for students as well. The Completion Tracking progress indicators allow students to monitor their own progress in the course.

Follow these steps to do it.

To view the Completion Summary, you should:

  1. Get into the course where you want to see the Completion Summary.
  2. Click on the Content link in the NavBar.
  3. Click on the topic that you want to review the completion activity for.
  4. Click on the Completion Summary tab. A list of students in the course and information on their activity related to the topic will be displayed.

completion summary

Want more information?

Track content completion (video)
Use completion tracking in content
About tracking content completion and participation
Check completion tracking for a content topic

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.

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.

Quick Eval is a new tool that allows evaluators to see a list of unevaluated learner submissions from all their courses. Submissions from Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions are displayed in one location to improve efficiency when locating work that requires evaluation and providing feedback to learners.

Evaluator view of the Quick Eval list
Evaluator view of the Quick Eval list

Evaluators can sort, filter, and search submissions to prioritize their evaluation work. Sorting can be done using the first or last name of the learner, Activity Name, Course Name, and Submission date. Filtering can be done using one or more of the following categories: Activity Name, Course Name, and Submission Date. Clicking on a user’s name opens an evaluation screen directly from the Quick Eval list where the evaluator can complete their assessment. The search function in Quick Eval allows evaluators to locate submissions for evaluation by searching for a specific user, assignment, quiz, discussion topic, or course.

When learner submissions are evaluated and published, they no longer show up in the Quick Eval list. An empty Quick Eval list gives educators confidence that no learner submissions are pending evaluation.

Follow these steps to do it.

To access the Quick Eval page:

  1. On the NavBar, click Activities, then click Quick Eval.
  2. All ungraded submissions will be displayed. You can sort submissions by first and last name, activity name, course, or submission date. You can also filter results.
  3. Click the learner's name to evaluate the submission.
  4. To return to Quick Eval page, click Back to Quick Eval.
  5. As you complete and publish evaluations they will no longer appear in Quick Eval.

Want more information?

About Quick Eval
Quick Eval submission information
Evaluate submissions using Quick Eval
Grade Submissions Using Quick Eval (video)

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.

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.

The more I learn about eportfolios in theory, the more I think that's not the right attitude to take.

Having an integrated eportfolio platform has become a pretty standard option for learning management systems (LMS) in recent years. At Xavier, we adopted D2L's Brightspace last year, and with it, we gained D2L's rather blandly named ePortfolio system. So when we started discussing the use of eportfolios in the classroom and for other purposes, we focused much of our attention on the system we're already paying for. But the more I learn about eportfolios in theory, the more I think that's not the right attitude to take.

The main thing to realize is that an eportfolio is really just a focused and purposeful web site; therefore, in reality, any system you can use to create a web site, you can use to create an eportfolio. A system like Brightspace ePortfolio has some advantages because it's so integrated into the LMS, but as is so often the case, it also has plenty of disadvantages. In another blog post, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of Brightspace Portfolio.

The better practice I often hear from people who are heavily involved in eportfolios at their schools is that when requiring someone to create an eportfolio, you shouldn't require them to use a specific platform. It's sort of like word processing programs. We don't require student a to use Microsoft Word when writing a paper; rather, we give them the specific requirements they need to meet and tell them to use whatever tool they're moat comfortable with that can meet those requirements. Portfolios are even easier in this regard, as they don't require a specific program to access them -- any web browser should do the trick.

Here are a few of the many options available to someone wanting to create an eportfolio outside of their LMS. All offer free access, although most require a subscription for full features:

You have been using Brightspace for a few semesters now and you are starting to feel comfortable with it. You have mastered the art of uploading files. You create announcements with ease. You have aced using discussion forums. You navigate the Grade Book effortlessly and collecting assignments digitally from your students via assignment submission folders is a breeze.

If you are wondering what to do next, you should consider taking your course to the next level by adding images.

Images can be used to serve many different purposes. Images are powerful because they:

  • Can help tell a story
  • Can explain a technical process
  • Can convey course information in an alternate format
  • Can break up the monotony of “text-only” pages
  • Can increase student engagement
  • Students pay more attention to articles/readings with graphic content
  • Just make the course look better

Below are examples of a Brightspace course that has a module without images and the same module with images and details. Which one looks better? Which course would you rather interact with?

Example of a course module without images or topic details
Example #1 - Course module without images or topic details
Example of a course module with images and detailed information in the descriptions
Example #2 - Course module with images and detailed information in the descriptions

The images used in example #2 are for decoration, but they do add color and continuity to the course. Also, the descriptions provide students with additional information and links to go to for help. Thus eliminating the need for the student to search around the course for help or to find details about the assignment.

You can insert an image anywhere you use the HTML Editor in Brightspace. With a few clicks of your mouse, your Brightspace course can go from boring text only to visually engaging pages of text and images that convey meaning to students in different ways!

Are you looking for images to use in your courses? Here are a few helpful resources:

Follow these steps to do it.

To insert an image in the HTML Editor:

  1. In the HTML Editor, place your cursor where you want to insert the image and then click the Insert Image button.
  2. Follow the prompts.

Want more information?

Understanding the HTML Editor
HTML Editor – Insert Image
HTML Editor – Edit Image Properties
HTML Editor – Adjust Image Description and Sizing

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.

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.

1

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.

idea

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.

Follow these steps to do it.

To create an Intelligent Agent:

Want more information?

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)

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.

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.