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The “Work To Do” widget is a new feature implemented in our May Continuous Delivery Update. The Work To Do widget was designed for learners and it displays all their overdue and upcoming learning activities across courses or within a course. This widget can help learners to keep track of assignments and activities that are due.

Now, all quizzes, assignments, checklists, etc., with due or end dates in the near future or past appear in one place on the learner’s My homepage in the “Work To Do” widget. Overdue work appears at the top of the list, and upcoming items appear below.

Example of the Work To Do widget
Example of the Work To Do widget

Learners will see the “Work To Do” widget on their My Home page as well as their course homepages. The learner will be able to see overdue and upcoming learning activities for each course where the default course homepage is being used.

Example of the Work To Do widget with no activities due
Example of the Work To Do widget showing no activities due

The Work To Do widget can be seen by users with the role of student. Instructors will see the Work To Do widget when they view the course as a student.

Note: Instructors who have opted to customize their course homepage and want their students to be able to see the Work To Do widget on their customized course homepage, will have to add the widget to the course homepage.

For additional information and frequently asked questions about the Work To Do widget, see the following article in the Brightspace Community: Introducing the Work To Do Widget.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #50: Customize Your Course Homepage
Homepages and Widgets
Design a Course Homepage with Widgets (pdf)

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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.

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
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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.

Image credit: image by stanvpetersen from Pixabay

signal lights

Release conditions allow instructors to create a custom learning path through the materials in their course. When a release condition is attached to an item, users cannot see that item until they meet the associated condition.

For example, instructors can setup release conditions to:

  • Require students to complete an activity (e.g. Syllabus Quiz, Introduce Yourself discussion forum) before accessing course content.
  • Require students to obtain a certain percentage on an activity (e.g. 100% on Syllabus Quiz) to access content items.
  • Require students to complete a non-graded activity before accessing a graded activity.
  • Release an answer key to students who completed the assignment.
  • Require students to view a content topic before gaining access to a quiz.
  • Require students to post to a discussion topic before they can see a content module.
  • Release content based on a student's group enrollment to customize the content each group receives.
  • Require students to acknowledge they have read and agree to an honor pledge before releasing a quiz.

Release conditions can also be added to Intelligent Agents to create email notifications for users. For example, instructors can create an Intelligent Agent that would automatically send a reminder email to users who have not yet completed a required quiz or assignment in the course.

release conditions example
Example of multiple Release Conditions applied to a module

If you attach multiple conditions to an item, users must meet all conditions before they can access the item. For example, you could require users to visit the first three content topics in a unit before gaining access to an associated quiz.

NOTE: Once a user meets a release condition, the condition is cleared for that user and cannot be reset. For example, if you attach a release condition to a discussion topic requiring users to achieve more than 60% on a quiz before they can access that topic, and one of your participants receives 72% on the quiz but you adjust their grade to 55% they will be able to access the topic because they did meet the requirement at some point.

Want more information?

Getting Started with Release Conditions (pdf)
Adding Release Conditions
Create a Custom Learning Path in a Course
Customize Learning Paths Using Release Conditions (video)
Content - Attach a Release Condition (video)
Quizzes - Attach a Release Condition to a Quiz (video)
Awards - Add a Release Condition to an Award (video)
Best Practices for Setting Release Conditions
Intelligent Agents
Working with Groups

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 WikimediaImages from Pixabay

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

  6. To unpin a course click the Pin icon beside the course.

Change the order of your pinned courses:

If you want to completely change the order in which your courses are displayed, unpin all your courses and then pin them in the reverse order of how you want them to appear in the My Courses widget. The course that is pinned last will 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

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: Push Pin 2c by Arvin61r58 from OpenClipArt

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 May 2021/20.21.5 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments – Annotations available for TXT file-based assignments

Previously, annotations enabled instructors to use highlighting, free-hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting to provide feedback to learner assignments of the following file types: DOC, DOCX, RTF, ODT, PPT, PPTX, PPSX, ODP, XLS, XLSX, JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, and GIF. Now, instructors can provide feedback for TXT, in addition to the existing types.

Note: The updates to annotations replaces the Edit a Copy workflow, which is no longer supported in the New Evaluation Experience.

2) Assignments – Download file when using annotations in the New Assignment Evaluation Experience

The New Assignment Evaluation Experience now includes the Download drop-down menu in the Annotations viewer. When using annotations in an assignment, instructors can use this menu to download the original file without navigating to the submission list. Instructors can also download the annotated PDF file.

The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu
The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu

3) Brightspace Editor – Improvements

This feature complements the Brightspace Editor – Replaces the HTML Editor | New and the Assignments – Brightspace Editor in the new Assignment Evaluation Experience | New features released in the April 2021 / 20.21.4 release and includes the following improvements:

  • Copy/paste and/or drag and drop images - You can copy/paste and/or drag and drop images when providing feedback in assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Images are saved in the content folder.
  • External users adding comments in Brightspace ePortfolio now have the new inline limited version of Brightspace Editor.
  • Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio
    Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio
  • Design improvements to enhance use of the Editor on mobile devices and improve general usability.
  • Accessibility improvements – Improved keyboard navigation for keyboard users and toolbar icons are spaced out more in accordance with WCAG standards.

4) Rubrics – Copy rubric criterion

To improve the value of Rubrics and facilitate reusing rubric criteria that have already been created, an action menu next to the criterion name provides Copy and Delete options. When an instructor copies a criterion, the new criterion is added under the original with the criterion name Copy of [name of original criterion].

The Delete function was previously available as a trashcan icon at the end of the criterion row outside the table. The new location in the action menu improves the discoverability of the Delete and Copy options.

The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options
The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options

5) Rubrics – Print or export to PDF

To improve the user experience with Rubrics, instructors can now print or download a PDF of a preview or evaluated rubric. Learners can also print or download a PDF of a rubric from the desktop browser implementation of Brightspace Learning Environment. The Print button displays above the top-right corner of the rubric.

6) Widgets - Work To Do widget

The new Work To Do widget provides learners a summary of assigned learning activities from all their courses that are overdue or have an upcoming due date. The widget was added to the Brightspace My Homepage to aggregate data from all courses, and to the default course homepage to show only due and overdue learning activities from the course.

The Work To Do widget displays the following learning activities:

  • Assignments
  • Checklists
  • Content
  • Courses
  • Discussions
  • Surveys
  • Quizzes

The Work To Do widget organizes course activities by overdue and upcoming due dates so learners can easily prioritize their work and stay on top of their tasks.

Example of the Work To Do widget
Example of the Work To Do widget

Learning activities only appear in the Work To Do widget when the activity has a defined due date or end date. By default, the widget displays activities due in the upcoming 2 weeks, and overdue work from the previous 12 weeks.

The Work To Do widget can be seen by users with the role of student. Instructors will see the Work To Do widget when they view the course as a student.

NOTE: If you customized your course homepage and you want your students to be able to see the Work To Do widget on your customized course homepage, you will have to add the widget to your customized course homepage.

For additional information and frequently asked questions about the Work To Do widget, see the following article in the Brightspace Community: Introducing the Work To Do Widget.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the May Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform May 2021/20.21.5 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

Smart phone with Zoom app on the screen

The Zoom Video Conferencing software allows instructors to record classes and meetings to their local computer or to the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage. While some users may find recording to the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage to be easy and convenient, the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage was NOT meant to be a long term video storage solution.

Our Information Technology Center's current policy is to keep 2 - 3 semesters of archived Zoom cloud recordings in the system before the recordings are deleted. You may recall that earlier this month, ITC announced that Zoom cloud recordings that were recorded on or before December 31, 2019 would be deleted from the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage. Therefore, my suggestion for Zoom cloud recordings that you plan to use from semester-to-semester is that you download them and then upload the video recording to a video sharing service (like YouTube or Vimeo).

Everyone at Xavier has a YouTube account. Videos uploaded to your YouTube account will not be deleted. You can make your YouTube videos unlisted or private if you do not want people to be able to search the Internet and find your videos. You can embed or create a link to your YouTube videos in your Brightspace courses.

ICYMI, we have a site license for Camtasia. Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. Camtasia can also be useful if you want to edit your downloaded video recordings. Read more about requesting a copy of Camtasia in Bart's You’ve Got Camtasia blog post.

Want more information?

Download Zoom Cloud Recording (pdf)
Record, Upload, and Share Video on YouTube
Private Video Sharing on YouTube
Embed a YouTube Video in a Content Module

Zoom How-to Resources for Faculty
Zoom How-to Resources for Students

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 antonbe from Pixabay

celebrate GAAD heading with disability icons

Thursday, May 20th, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD aims to get you talking, thinking, and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different abilities and talents.

Accessibility is about everyone. It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content.

Video Notes is a built-in media recording tool in Brightspace that allows instructors and learners to record short videos with a webcam. This makes it easy to personalize the learning experience with short, video-based feedback, comments, or instructions. Video Notes can be added where video attachments are supported and when the HTML Editor’s Insert Stuff option is available.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on captions and subtitles to understand video content. But there are a lot of other great reasons for using captions. For example, you may have some learners who choose not to use the sound or they cannot use it without disturbing those around them. You may have some learners who are not native in your language or who have trouble understanding you. Closed captions and subtitles will allow these individuals to receive your message and understand it.

Did you know you can generate automatic closed captions for newly created Video Notes AND you have the ability to manually add or edit closed captions for all previously recorded Video Notes?

Follow these steps to do it.

To generate automatic captions:

  1. Select Add Video Note from the Insert Stuff option in the HTML Editor.
  2. Click on New Recording, click Stop Recording when done recording.
  3. Click on Next
  4. Enter a title and description for the Video Note.
  5. Choose the audio language.
  6. Check the "Automatically generate captions from audio" box.
  7. Click Next and follow the prompts.
  8. After video processing, you can view the closed captions using video player controls.
example of automatically generate captions from audio checkbox
Video Notes - automatically generate captions from audio

Note: As with any automatically generated captions, you should verify the accuracy of the automatically generated captions.

To edit/update Video Note captions:

  1. Select Video Note Captions from the Admin Tools. Admin Tools are accessed from the cog icon in the top right corner of the page.
  2. Locate the Video Note you would like to review the captions for.
  3. Select the Video Note from the list.
  4. Edit the captions in the Captions Editor.
  5. Click on Save Captions.
Video Notes captions option shown on Admin Tools menu
Video Notes captions
Example of Video Notes captions editor
Video Notes - update automatic captions

To add Video Note captions:

  1. Select Video Note Captions from the Admin Tools. Admin Tools are accessed from the cog icon in the top right corner of the page.
  2. Locate the Video Note you would like to add captions to.
  3. Select the Video Note from the list.
  4. For automatic captions, select the audio language and then click Generate OR to upload a caption file, click Choose File, locate the captions file, click Upload.
  5. After video processing, you can view the closed captions using video player controls.
Example of adding captions to Video Notes
Video Notes - add captions

Reminder: As with any automatically generated captions, you should verify the accuracy of the automatically generated captions.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #231: Video Notes
Create Video Notes
Create and insert a Video Note in HTML Editor
Reuse Video Notes
Understanding the HTML 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.

Image credit: "celebrate GAAD" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is adaption of "disability symbols" by National Park Service in the public domain

celebrate GAAD heading with disability icons

Thursday, May 20th, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD aims to get you talking, thinking, and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different abilities and talents.

Accessibility is about everyone. It is extremely important for students with disabilities to have access to accessible course content.

The Brightspace HTML Editor has a built-in accessibility checker that makes it easy to check for issues or offer suggestions to fix identified accessibility issues.

Follow these steps to do it.

To check for accessibility issues:

  1. After you add content to the HTML Editor, click the accessibility checker icon.
  2. HTML Editor accessibility checker icon

  3. The checker indicates if the content is free of accessibility issues, or offers suggestions to fix them.
  4. accessibility issues detected

Want more information?

Brightspace Accessibility Checker
Improve Your Course with Brightspace Accessibility Checker

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.

Image credit: "celebrate GAAD" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is adaption of "disability symbols" by National Park Service in the public domain

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 minutes) with a webcam. This makes it easy to personalize the learning experience with short, video-based feedback, comments, or instructions. Video Notes can be added where video attachments are supported and when the HTML 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
  • Anywhere HTML editor is available

Students 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

Follow these steps to do it.

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

  1. In the HTML 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 can be no larger than 5.00 MB.
    3. Click Next, and enter a title and description.
    4. Click Next, and then Insert.

insert stuff icon on HTML Editor toolbar

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 HTML Editor
Reuse Video Notes
Spotlight: 3 Video Note Workflows (New York University)
Understanding the HTML 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.

VoiceThread (VT) announced their transition plan to move to new VoiceThread assignments. The new VoiceThread assignments are a major overhaul and redesign of the entire experience. VoiceThread has added lots of new features, tightened the integration with our learning management system, and streamlined workflows to better guide everyone through the assignments process.

October 2020 through June 2021 is the official transition period for the new VT assignments. During this time institutions and instructors can adopt the new assignments. On June 30, 2021, all courses and institutions that have not yet adopted new assignments will be upgraded automatically.

new interface for the three VoiceThread Assignment types
The new interface for the VoiceThread Assignment types

Instructors can transition to the new VT assignments now. What happens when you update? First and foremost, none of your past assignments will break! You and your students will start seeing the upgraded interfaces described in the videos below, but no work will be lost, and everyone can continue completing and grading existing assignments without interruption. Just keep in mind that old assignments will retain old features and policies. To take advantage of all new policies and features, instructors will need to build a new assignment. Once you update, the new assignments you create will use all new features.

Updates to Assignment Setup - For Instructors

Updates to Student Submission

Updates to Grading - For Instructors

If you are ready to transition to new assignments before the automatic upgrade that will occur on June 30th, you should enable the option to start using the new features for the course on your course's VT Home Page. You have to enable the option for each course that you want to start using the new assignment feature. Watch this video for instructions.

Want more information?

Transition plan for new VT assignments
How to transition
Enable new VT assignments feature video [8:09]
How to use new VT assignments
Submitting new VT assignments - Students

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.