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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
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

1

Tibetan singing bowl with pond in the background

I usually get a lot of questions from faculty related to setting up their Brightspace courses. In the spirit of starting the new year with less stress, I offer the following course design suggestions to reduce your course setup and management stress:

Setup Grade Book First

Setting up your Grade Book before adding assignments and activities that will be graded simplifies your course creation workflow. Grade items are not automatically created in the Grade Book. Instructors have to setup their grading system and create grade items separately.

When you setup your Grade Book first, you can associate the assignment/activity with the corresponding grade item in the Grade Book at the time you are creating the assignment/activity. This eliminates going back and forth between creating assignments/activities and the Grade Book.

Use Due Dates

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

Enter due dates and availability (start/end) dates when you create assignments, assessments, discussion topics and forums, etc. Keep dates aligned with the dates in your syllabus to prevent student confusion about when an assignment/activity is due.

Make Names Consistent

Avoid naming assignment/activities one thing in the syllabus and another in the course (and/or still another in the Grade Book). If your assignment is listed as "Week 5 Short Essay Paper" in the syllabus, but your assignment submission folder is labeled "Educational Technology", you can expect to field questions and/or excuses from students who can’t figure out what they’re supposed to do.

Make things easier for students by making sure an item is named consistently throughout the syllabus and course, and things will be easier for you as well.

Keep Information Consistent

Posting multiple copies of assignment instructions or supplemental material in multiple places in the course is an invitation to trouble because there isn’t necessarily a correlation between them—they can be completely different documents. When there’s a change to the assignment, you have to remember to make edits everywhere you might have posted the information, or risk giving students conflicting information.

Instead of posting multiple copies use Quicklinks, as they are great for making sure information is consistent throughout the course. 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. Because this is a direct link to information in the course, when you make a change to the information it will be updated everywhere in the course because it’s linked.

Copy Course or Copy Components

You do not have to start from scratch when creating content for your course. If you created content in one course you can copy that content or copy components from that course into another course. For example, if you are teaching multiple sections of a course, you can create all the content in one course section and then copy the content into the other sections. Likewise, if you created content in one course (e.g. rubrics, discussions, quizzes, etc.) you can copy that specific content into another course. Copying course content is particularly useful at the start of a semester as it allows you to copy content from a previous semester to a newly created empty course.

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links with instructions for:

Want more information?

Setup your Spring Courses
Setup your Grade Book
Use Date Management
Using Quicklinks
Copy Course or Copy Components
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

checklist

As you prepare to teach this spring, now is a good time to get started setting up your Brightspace courses. According to our Information Technology Center (ITC), the spring courses have been created in Brightspace. If you are listed as the instructor for the spring course in Banner, you should see the course in your My Courses widget in Brightspace.

NOTE: If you do not see your spring courses in your My Courses widget, you should click on the link to "View All Courses" (located at the bottom of the My Courses widget). If your spring courses are listed when you "View All Courses" but are not shown in your My Courses widget, you should pin the course in order to have it appear in the My Courses widget. Follow these instructions for pinning/unpinning courses.

To get started setting up your course, you can post your syllabus, course documents, announcements, and setup your Grade Book in your Brightspace courses. You can also customize your course homepage and/or course image/banner.

If you teach a course that is cross listed you will have a Brightspace course for each cross listing. You can combine the cross listed courses into one Brightspace course so that you can post course materials and grades to one combined Brightspace course. Combining courses may also work for you if you are teaching different sections of the same course and would like to have the different sections combined into one Brightspace course so that you can post course materials and grades in the one combined course. The beginning of the semester is the best time to submit a request to merge your Brightspace courses before you add course materials or grades to the courses.

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links with instructions to:

Want more information?

View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

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 December 2018/10.8.8 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Change assignment and submission type

If no learner submissions have been made to an assignment, instructors can change the assignment type and submission type. This allows for existing assignments to be modified without the need to create a new assignment.

2) Assignments - Evaluate submissions by clicking learner names

On the Submissions page, instructors can now click on a learner's name to access the Evaluate Submission page. Previously this action allowed instructors to email learners. Emails can still be sent from the Submissions page by selecting the check box beside a learner's name, and clicking Email.

3) Assignments - Improved evaluation experience

The Evaluate Submission page has been updated to improve the evaluation experience for instructors with the following features:

  • To download a submission, instructors now click on the submission's file name.
  • The Markup Document button has been replaced by a Launch Turnitin link for assignments that have Turnitin enabled.
  • The Publish and Save Draft buttons now display at the bottom of the page and are not confined to the Evaluation and Feedback pane.
  • An additional link to access the Next Student now displays next to the Publish and Save Draft buttons at the bottom of the page.

Evaluate Submission
Download submissions by selecting the file name, and markup documents using the Launch Turnitin button

Publish, Save, Next buttons
Publish, Save Draft, and Next Student options grouped together at the bottom of the Evaluate Submission page

4) Discussions - Improvements to the rubrics grading experience

Grading with rubrics in Discussions now offers new functions and an improved workflow. The new design makes for an easier grading experience and is optimized for use on mobile devices.

New rubrics features include:

  • All rubric assessments and feedback updates for discussions and grade items now automatically save in draft state while updates are in progress
  • Rubrics in draft state are not visible to learners until the instructor selects Save & Publish, at which time learners can immediately view their feedback from Assignments, Content, Discussions, Grades and User Progress
  • Instructors can choose to bulk publish feedback to all or select users at once, such as for an entire class or group
  • New Retract Feedback option enables instructors to remove published feedback from view of learners for changes to the Total Score. The Overall Score and Overall Feedback portions of the rubric can be edited without retraction
  • A grading pop-up window for easier grading that contains all rubrics for the discussion, a place to enter Overall Feedback, and a list of posts that the student has made
  • When grading on mobile devices, vertical margins are reduced for easier viewing

5) Quizzes - Add initial text to Written Response questions

Instructors can add initial text to Written Response questions in the new Question Experience. Previously instructors could not add initial text into the answers for Written Response questions.

6) Rubrics - Improved rubric creation experience

To offer instructors a more streamlined approach to authoring rubric levels and criteria, this release introduces a new, opt-in rubric creation experience. Specifically, the Rubrics tool includes the following enhancements:

  • Quickly create and edit rubric levels and criteria inline using an auto-save experience
  • Easily change rubric type and scoring method during rubric creation
  • Re-order criterion via drag and drop or keyboard
  • Improved logic for point-based rubrics, where new levels automatically follow existing point scoring sequences
  • Individual criterion cells in custom point rubrics dynamically scale when editing the criterion out-of value
  • Overall Score is visually separated from the rubric, displaying in its own section

Edit Rubric page
The new rubric creation experience

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the December Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform December 2018/10.8.8 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
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.

calendar

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)
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

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
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

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
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

1

copy stamp

A few weeks after the end of the semester, all Fall 2018 courses will be changed to an inactive status. Once the courses are changed to an inactive status, student work and grades will be visible to the instructor but students will no longer have access to the course.

The current policy is that courses will remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters before they are removed. You can request a Brightspace Master Course Shell that you can use to make a copy of your course. Master Course Shells will not be removed from the Brightspace system. If you would like your course content/materials to be available in Brightspace beyond the current retention period of three semesters, you should request a Master Course Shell for the course.

Additionally, instructors who want to build their course before the normal course creation schedule can request a Brightspace Master Course Shell that can be used to develop and maintain their course materials.

A Master Course Shell:

  • Is a course environment an instructor uses to develop and maintain course materials that are used from semester to semester.
  • Is not tied to Banner. Therefore, no students or other users are enrolled into this Shell.
  • Can be used as a "master" where one keeps permanent changes to a course.
  • Faculty may copy content from a Master Course Shell into a Brightspace Course shell as long as they are enrolled as an instructor in both shells.
  • Master Course Shells are not deleted except upon the request of the instructor or when the instructor is no longer employed at Xavier.

Follow these steps to do it.

First, fill out the Brightspace Master Course Request Form.

To copy existing course into a Master Course Shell:

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

When building a course from scracth:

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

Want more information?

Brightspace Master Course Request Form
Copy Course or Copy Components
Import/Export/Copy - Copy Components video [1:31]
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

You can be among the first to submit a contribution to The Orange Room, a community where instructors can learn from each other about efficient and innovative ways to use Brightspace. The Orange Room is a place where you can share your tips, suggestions, knowledge, and expertise to help your colleagues use Brightspace to improve their teaching and to inspire the next generation of learners.

Orange Room

Are you doing something innovative? Have you discovered a handy tip? Please share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning. Give a brief description of what you are doing in Brightspace along with some reflections on why it has worked well for you. Perhaps you might even suggest how others can use it.

Use this form to submit your innovation and/or Brightspace tip to The Orange Room.

Note: We appreciate all contributions. We plan to post contributions to our CAT+FD web site.

Want more information?

View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

classroom with empty chairs

As we approach the end of the semester there are a few things you can do in Brightspace to wrap up for the semester.

Release final course grades

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. If you did not choose to enable the automatic release of final grades when setting up your Grade Book, you will have to manually release final grades in order for students to see their final grade.

Export your Grade Book

Student access to courses is removed two weeks after the end of a semester. During this process all Grade Book records are deleted. You should export (download) your Grade Book to your local computer after you submit your final grades.

NOTE: The export file that is created will NOT contain any student work or instructor feedback. Only the grades in your Grade Book will be exported.

Create a master copy of your course

Courses remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters before they are removed. You can request a Master Course Shell that you can use to develop and maintain your course materials. Master Course Shells will not be removed from the Brightspace system.

Follow these steps to do it.

Instructions are available for releasing final course grades, exporting your Grade Book, and requesting Master Course Shells.

Want more information?

Release Final Grades
Export your Grade Book (video [2:03])
Master Copies of Courses
View all the Brightspace training recaps
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.

Photo Credit: School/Classroom/Inside | CC0