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RLDB

Respondus LockDown Browser (RLDB) is a customized browser that increases the security of test delivery in Brightspace. Respondus LockDown Browser is intended for use by students while taking assessments that have been prepared for use with Respondus LockDown Browser. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser to access an exam, they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. Once an assessment is started, students are locked into the assessment until it’s submitted for grading.

Respondus Monitor, an option that is used in conjunction with Respondus LockDown Browser, is a tool that will allow for proctored, or supervised, exams that students will take online in front of a web cam. Respondus Monitor can help ensure exam integrity for students taking their tests online outside of a testing center.

There are advanced features available when setting up an assessment that requires Respondus LockDown Browser. Advanced settings that instructors have the option to use are:

  • Allow students to take the exam with an iPad, using the free LockDown Browser app
  • Allow students to access to specific external web domains during the exam
  • Provide students with a calculator or print function in the LockDown Browser toolbar

RLDB settings

The “Allow access to specific external web domains” option is a relatively new feature of RLDB. By default, if an exam contains a link to an external web domain, students can view the initial page but all links and navigation from that page are blocked.

When the “Allow access to specific external web domains” setting is selected it allows a student to access any page or link within the specified domain when taking the exam. This is useful, for example, to provide access to an e-book during an exam. More information about the “Allow access to specific external web domains” setting can be found in this Knowledge Base article.

RLDB external web domains

Additionally, RLDB includes a tool that enables .xls/.xlsx spreadsheets to be viewed and manipulated during an exam session. To enable spreadsheets to be accessed in RLDB, the instructor would add a link to the spreadsheet in the question wording. When a student selects the link within LockDown Browser, an Excel-like spreadsheet tool will open. The spreadsheet can be pre-populated with content or it can be a blank spreadsheet created in Excel that students use to prepare their answers. The instructor can require the students use the spreadsheet to calculate their answer to a quiz question as shown in this example:

spreadsheet link in quiz question

Alternatively, the instructor can require students to create or modify a spreadsheet and submit the spreadsheet for grading as shown in this example:

spreadsheet link in quiz question

Spreadsheet functionality is available for students taking RLDB exams using Windows, Mac, and iPad editions of LockDown Browser. More information about this feature and how to set it up can be found in the “Can spreadsheets be used with LockDown Browser?” Knowledge Base article.

Want more information?

Respondus LockDown Browser FAQ
RLDB Instructor Quick Start Guide
LockDown Browser Advanced Settings webinar recording
Respondus Monitor FAQ
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call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

The HTML Editor is the primary method of creating content in Brightspace. It allows users to enter text, pictures, or embed audio/video. Advanced users can even embed HTML code.

You can create course content using the HTML Editor. For example, the HTML Editor is available when you edit discussion topics, create custom instructions for assignment submission folders, create quizzes, create ePortfolio artifacts, and create content topics.

HTML Editor
HTML Editor

Don’t let the name fool you. You don’t have to know anything about HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) in order to use the HTML Editor.

The HTML Editor has many icons that match those of common word processing software: bold, left justify, bullets, tables, and so on. It’s important to remember the HTML Editor is not a word processor. When you add pictures, links or embed videos, you are creating references to items that are stored internally (in Brightspace) or externally (another web site). If those items are changed or deleted, the reference will not display properly.

Want more information?

HTML Editor Quick Reference (pdf)
Making Use of the HTML Editor (video)
Format HTML course content
HTML Editor basics
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journaling

Many instructors are using reflective journaling as a teaching strategy. They use reflective journaling as a means of aiding reflection, deepening students understanding and stimulating critical thinking.

Brightspace does not have a Journal tool. However, you can setup private discussions for journaling.

Follow these steps to do it.

To setup private discussions for journaling:

Want more information?

Use Private Discussions for Journaling (video)
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update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model is different from the previous update model we had with Blackboard. With Blackboard we used a system of “Big Bang releases” (large updates released once or twice a year that required 24-48 hours of system downtime).

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 2018/10.8.2 release that were added to our system:

1) Rubrics - Control rubric visibility for learners

This release introduces the ability to control rubric visibility for learners. This is useful for preventing learners from using preview rubrics as answer keys for activities. For example, an instructor can now describe assessment expectations in assignment instructions, hiding the associated preview rubric. Once the assignment is graded, the instructor releases the graded rubric as part of the learner's assessment details.

Rubric visibility options
Rubric visibility options in a rubric

2) Grades – Linked discussion threads are now available

When assessing a discussion post in the Assess Post pop-up, an instructor can now see a link to the original discussion post. This allows instructors to see more information about why the user posted that reply, or what other learners replied to their post. Previously, there was no hyperlink, and instructors had to open Discussions and manually find the information.

Access Topic pop-up
Access Topic pop-up now includes a hyperlink to the full discussion post being graded

3) Copy Course Components - Date Offset

When instructors copy the content of one course to another, old course dates are also copied over. This feature enables instructors to offset those old dates to dates relative to the new semester. This feature also eliminates the burden of tweaking delivery and due dates for their learners. When instructors copy course components in bulk, they can enable the offset to occur to the items copied into the course by days or hours.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the June Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform June 2018/10.8.2 Release Notes.

Additonally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about all continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

Continuous Delivery release notes
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call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

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)
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Brightspace calculates final grades for each student based on the grading system and the students' grades that are entered into the Grade Book. If the instructor wants more control over the final grades, perhaps to adjust the final grade for a student that is on the cusp of a higher grade, then adjusted final grades can be used and released to students instead of the calculated final grade.

adjustment

If the instructor decides to use adjusted final grades for one student in the course, adjusted final grades must be used for all students in the course. This does not imply, however, that final grades must be manually adjusted for all students.

Adjusting final grades are implemented by the instructor for only the student or students that are deemed to need an adjusted grade. The remaining students final grades would be the final grade as calculated in the Grade Book.

Note: The Grade Book must be configured to use adjusted final grades. If you plan to use adjusted final grades, you should make the adjustments before you release final grades.

Follow these steps to do it.

To adjust final grades for all students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Grade All.
  4. In the Final Adjusted Grade section for each student, enter the adjusted grades and then click Save.
  5. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

To adjust final grades for one or more specific students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Grade All.
  4. Click on the arrow on the right of the Final Grades and click Transfer All, then click Yes.
  5. In the Final Adjusted Grade section, enter adjusted scores where necessary and click Save.
  6. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

Want more information?

Understanding the Grades Tool (video)
Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Grades Tool Training Recap
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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.

1

final grade

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. When setting up the Grade Book, the instructor can choose to automatically release final grades so that the students can see their final grade throughout the semester. 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.

Additionally, you can selectively release final grades for some students now and release the final grades for other students later. For example, you can release the final grades for graduating seniors on one date and release the final grades for everyone else on a later date.

Follow these steps to do it.

Watch this video for instructions on how to release final grades:

Want more information?

Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Grades Tool Training Recap
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You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
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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.

checkmark

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 Updates
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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.

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.

Want more information?

How to Pin Courses (pdf)
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery Updates
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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.

whiteboard with light bulb inside a thought bubble

Now that you have one semester of using our Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) behind you, you may be thinking it would have been helpful if I had known this about Brightspace beforehand.

An article in the Brightspace Community provided insights on what professor Lori McIntosh-Belanger wishes she had known about Brightspace when she got started. In the article she provides insights on using Quizzes and Question Libraries, Discussions, Widgets, Rubrics and Marking Assignments. If this has piqued your interest, you should read the article, “What I Wish I Had Known as a Brightspace Instructor”.