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One of the changes implemented in our system with last week's July Continuous Delivery Updates was the end-of-life status for the old My Courses Widget sort logic. This means the old My Courses sort logic has been retired. With this change, the My Courses Widget now uses the Updated Sort Logic setting by default.

The Updated Sort Logic is intended to better organize the courses in the My Courses widget. The Updated Sort Logic presents both pinned and unpinned courses in the My Courses Widget, promoting the pinned courses to be displayed first in the widget.

The updated sorting logic in the My Courses Widget does not auto-pin courses, and allows the end-user to pin and rearrange courses in an order that makes sense to them. The updated sort logic tries to populate the widget with up-to 12 courses, starting with the user’s pinned courses, then pulling in unpinned courses by enrollment date until the widget contains 12 courses. The result is that most users get a sensible My Courses Widget with no intervention on their part, while pinning and customization is still available for the users who need it.

Screenshot of the Pinned tab in the My Courses widget
The Pinned tab appears in the My Courses widget when users pin courses

A new Pinned tab now appears in the My Courses widget. The “Pinned” tab displays only the courses that a user has pinned, similar to the old sort logic. The Pinned tab allows learners and instructors to create a curated view of their pinned courses. The Pinned tab appears in the widget only after a user pins a course in the Course Selector. The tab remains in view until all courses are unpinned. The My Courses widget remembers the last viewed tab and shows that same tab the next time the homepage is viewed. This makes it easy for instructors and learners who only wish to view pinned courses to see those courses upon login.

NOTE: The Pinned tab only appears when a user has one or more course pinned – tabs are not displayed to the user that contain 0 courses.

The View All Courses navigation drills down into the courses by showing manually pinned courses, followed by current enrollments, then future enrollments (if available and visible to the user), then past enrollments (if available or visible to the user) as the default sort. If the user changes the sort order, the filter does not separate pinned courses from other courses based on sort order, filters, and search terms.

Want more information?

Retirement of the Old My Courses Widget Sort Logic
About the My Courses Widget

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Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
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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.

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)

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.

1

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

activity feed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Activity #2 - Create an Automated Quiz Deadline Reminder:

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

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

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

Activity #3 - Share Content from Google Drive:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want more information?

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

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

course homepage
Example of a Brightspace Course Homepage

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

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

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

Want more information?

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

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Continuous Delivery release notes
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

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

course homepage
Example of a Brightspace Course Homepage

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

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

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

Want more information?

Change Course Image
Change the Name of Your Course
Using Replace Strings (pdf)
Homepages and Widgets
Design a Course Homepage with Widgets (pdf)
Place Twitter Feed in Custom Widget (pdf) (updated 1/7/2018)
Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Migration FAQs
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.