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In a continued effort to support learner engagement and connection, D2L announced that the 30-minute Video Note extension will remain permanent, with a default limit of 30 minutes and 1 GB uploads.

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.

example of insert stuff menu with video note selected
Add Video Note from Insert Stuff menu

Want more information?

Enhancing Learner Connection By Increasing Video Note Recording And Upload
Brightspace Tip #102: Video Notes
Create and insert a Video Note in HTML Editor
Understanding the HTML Editor
Brightspace Tip #157: Video Notes - Closed Captions
Edit Video Notes Closed Captions
Reuse Video Notes

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Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model gives us regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes with no downtime required for our Brightspace system.

Our Continuous Delivery update occurs on the 4th Thursday of each month. D2L provides release notes to help users stay up-to-date with the changes.

Here are a few updates in the June 2020/20.20.6 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Create and edit experience

The create and edit Assignments page has an updated look and feel. The classic tabbed view has been transformed into a new, fully immersive page layout.

Example of the updated Assignment creation screen
The updated look and feel of the new Assignment creation screen

The primary panel on the left contains frequently used fields that are always displayed. These fields are most relevant to learners and are the core details instructors want to add; a due date, instructions, and attachments.

The panel on the right organizes additional, more advanced options such as start and end dates, rubrics, annotation tools, and Turnitin. When these options are collapsed, summary text provides details about which settings are active and subtle hints that aid in the discovery of additional settings. As a result, you can see everything at a glance with little to no scrolling, and without having to navigate through any tabs.

The new experience streamlines the process of linking assignments to your gradebook and builds on a pattern first introduced in Activity Feed. When you enter a score, your assignment is added to Grades, and the name and score are automatically synced for you. If you traditionally create grade items in advance, support for selecting existing grades and categories is also available.

Example of the new add to grades workflow in Assignments
The new add to grades workflow

2) Rubrics – Accessibility improvements in Rubric creation workflow

The following updates have been made to improve the accessibility of the rubric creation workflow:

  • The button next to the page title is now labeled so a screen reader reads “Actions for [title]” when the button has the focus.
  • The Overall Score now has the proper heading level so screen reader users can navigate directly to it from the heading list. Previously, users were required to tab through all previous headings in the list first.
  • There is no longer a skipped heading level between Rubric Levels and Criterion (both level 3) and Standards (previously level 5).
  • In the rubric preview window, Criterion Score has been added as a column header. Previously, the column did not have any header text.

3) Widgets - My Courses and Updates widgets display unevaluated assignment submissions

The My Courses Widget and the Updates widget now display new, unevaluated assignment submissions instead of unread assignment submission files to instructors. This change aligns the widgets with the Assignments page and the Quick Eval tool to consistently notify users of unevaluated submissions and help them to track their work.

example of the new My Courses widget
The My Courses widget displays unevaluated Assignments submissions

Example of the new Updates widget
The Updates widget displays unevaluated Assignments submissions

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the June Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform June 2020/20.20.6 Release Notes.

Additionally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about current, past, and to preview upcoming continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
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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 geralt from Pixabay

clipart of a rubric

Brightspace interactive rubrics help instructors:

  • Increase Efficiency - Rubrics are built into the grading workflow. Rubrics click-and-score simplicity saves time.
  • Provide Consistent and Quality Feedback - Rubrics enable instructors to provide consistent evaluation and contextual feedback to students.
  • Promote 21st Century Skills - Rubrics make it easier to assign essay questions, individual and group assignments, and discussion forums as assessment activities which foster critical thinking and collaboration.

Rubrics allow instructors to establish set criteria for grading assignments; instructors can attach rubrics to submission folders so that the criteria are available to students before they submit their assignment.

Weighted analytic rubric creation example
Weighted analytic rubric creation example

Rubrics contain criteria that list the attributes on which an assignment will be assessed and levels that list the standards each criterion must meet. A specific grade or score is usually assigned to each level. In Brightspace, you can use a rubric to calculate scores for multiple criteria to determine an overall score for an assignment.

example of grading with a rubric
Grade using a rubric example

Rubrics can be used to display the number of points students were awarded for each criterion after the assignment is graded and rubrics can also be used to provide customized feedback.

Instructors can choose to have the rubrics visible to students at any time, only after grading has been completed, or not shown to the students at all.

If you are looking for more information on rubrics, check out these resources:

NOTE: The Brightspace Rubrics tool is different from Turnitin Rubrics.

Follow these steps to do it.

To create a rubric you should:

  1. On the navbar, click Course Admin.
  2. Click Rubrics.
  3. On the Rubrics page, click New Rubric.
  4. Enter a name for your rubric.
  5. Change the status of your rubric, if necessary.
  6. Choose the rubric Type and Scoring method.
  7. Enter the criteria, levels, criteria/level details, and initial feedback for your rubric.
  8. Enter details for the Overall Score feedback.
  9. Click Options and choose the options for your rubric.
  10. Click Close.

Note: Rubric changes are automatically saved.

To attach a rubric to a Discussion topic:

Note: You must first create a rubric and set its Status to Published.

  1. On the course home page, click Discussions in the NavBar.
  2. Click Edit Topic from the context menu of the discussion topic you want to attach a rubric to.
  3. In the Assessments tab, click Add Rubric.
  4. Select the check box for the rubric you want to attach to the discussion topic.
  5. Click Add Selected.
  6. Click Save and Close.

To attach a rubric to an Assignment:

Note: You must first create a rubric and set its Status to Published.

  1. On the NavBar, click Activities and then click on Assignments.
  2. Click Edit Assignment from the context menu of the assignment you want to attach a rubric to.
  3. In the Properties tab, click Add Rubric.
  4. Select the check box for the rubric you want to attach to the assignment.
  5. Click Add Selected.
  6. Click Save and Close.

Want more information?

Rubrics Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create a Rubric
Create an Analytic Rubric (video)
Create a Weighted Rubric (video)
Create a Holistic Rubric (video)
Add a Rubric to an Existing Activity (video)
Attach a Rubric to a Discussion Topic (video)
Grading with a Rubric
Add Feedback and Evaluations to Assignments (video)
Rubrics FAQ

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: "rubric" by Cleonard1973 licensed under CC BY-SA-4.0

news in type

Announcements are one of the first things students see when they log in to your course. Announcements can provide timely information for your students about class activities and time-sensitive material. Announcements can be used to remind students of assignment and/or test dates, post changes to the course, announce upcoming events (such as a guest speaker), etc.

You can post multiple announcements when setting up your course and select a specific day for the announcement to be displayed by choosing staggered future start dates. For example, you know now that you want to post an announcement about the midterm exam and another about the final. Write both announcements now, but set the midterm announcement to display the week before the midterm and the final exam announcement to display a week before the final. Students will not be able to view either announcement until their assigned start date.

When creating an announcement, you should set an end date for it so that when the announcement has expired it will no longer be displayed.

You can use Quicklinks within the announcement to direct students to a particular section of your course. You can display (release) announcements based on conditions you choose by using Release Conditions.

Use your announcements to create a narrative that increases student engagement. For information about using announcements for student engagement, you should read this "Using Announcements to Give Narrative Shape to your Online Course" article from Faculty Focus.

Follow these steps to do it.

Watch this short video for instructions on creating announcements:

Want more information?

Post Course Announcements
Announcements Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create an Announcement
Announcements - Create an Announcement - Instructor (video)
Teaching Tips - Make Regular Announcements - Instructor (video)
Brightspace Tip #164: Quicklinks
Brightspace Tip #89: Release Conditions

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: image by stux from Pixabay

As you know, our Brightspace system is automatically updated once a month. Our June Continuous Delivery Update (scheduled for Thursday, June 25th) will include a change to the Assignments Tool. The create and edit Assignments page will have an updated look and feel. The classic tabbed view will be transformed into a new, fully immersive page layout.

Example of the updated Assignment creation screen
The updated look and feel of the new Assignment creation screen

The primary panel on the left contains frequently used fields that are always displayed. These fields are most relevant to learners and are the core details instructors want to add; a due date, instructions, and attachments.

The panel on the right organizes additional, more advanced options such as start and end dates, rubrics, annotation tools, and Turnitin. When these options are collapsed, summary text provides details about which settings are active and subtle hints that aid in the discovery of additional settings. As a result, you can see everything at a glance with little to no scrolling, and without having to navigate through any tabs.

The new experience streamlines the process of linking assignments to your gradebook and builds on a pattern first introduced in Activity Feed. When you enter a score, your assignment is added to Grades, and the name and score are automatically synced for you. If you traditionally create grade items in advance, support for selecting existing grades and categories is also available.

Example of the new add to grades workflow in Assignments
The new add to grades workflow

I think you are going to like the changes to the Assignments Tool. The new interface will simplify your workflow.

Want more information?

Continuous Delivery release notes
Simplify Assignment Collection
Engage Learners with Activity Feed

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.

A Quicklink is a way for instructors to insert a direct link to content that is inside or outside of their course.

insert link in HTML Editor

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. When creating content, instructors can create a quicklink to a rubric so that students can have easy access to it.

Instructors should take advantage of Quicklinks, they are useful for pointing students to specific content in the course!

Follow these steps to do it.

Watch this short video for instructions on inserting Quicklinks:

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #43: HTML Editor
HTML Editor Quick Reference (pdf)
Making Use of the HTML Editor (video)
Format HTML course content
HTML Editor Basics

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.

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.

Repetitive emails may loose 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)

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 Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

red tag with the word bonus written on it

There are two ways to give extra credit in Brightspace. The first is to allow the grade item to exceed the maximum number of points for the assignment. The other option is to indicate the grade item is a “Bonus” item.

The differences between the two options are explained here:

  • Can Exceed means in grading an item you are able to add extra credit to the assignment, quiz, or any item in the Grade Book. You indicate this by checking the Can Exceed box.
    • The Can Exceed option can boost student’s score on activity making it feasible to earn more than 100%. For example, on a grade item where the maximum points is 10 and the Can Exceed option is selected, a grade of 12/10 is a perfect score with 2 extra credit points added.
    • When you choose Can Exceed for a grade item in the Grade Book, you should also select Can Exceed for the Category in which the grade item resides.
  • Bonus refers to optional activities. Students are NOT penalized for skipping the activity. Points earned for Bonus activities will improve the student’s grade. Checking the Bonus option means that any points earned will be added onto the Final Calculated Grade.
    • Bonus items appear in the Grade Book with a Star next to them.
    • Bonus grade items are not included in the maximum points for a category or final grade. They are added on top of the calculated grade. Bonus grade items cannot make users' grades exceed the maximum points specified, unless the Can Exceed option is selected.

The Can Exceed and Bonus options can both be selected for a grade item.

bonus grade item

Want more information?

About Bonus Grade Items
Bonus Marks FAQs
Extra Credit
Create a Grade Item (video)
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book

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: “bonus” by jflorent is licensed under CC0 and is a derivative of image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

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.
  • Only one due date and start/end date can be assigned to an assignment, discussion, quiz, etc. Therefore you will not be able to assign different due dates and start/end dates to the activity (e.g., assignment, quiz, discussion, etc.).
  • 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
Working with Groups

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.

Image credit: "why merge" by jflorent is dedicated to the public domain under CC0 and is a derivative of merging by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Brightspace Pulse is a mobile app that can help learners stay connected and on track with their Brightspace courses. It provides one easy view of course calendars, readings, assignments, evaluations, grades, and announcement items. The app can help learners make better decisions about how to handle their workload, when to submit assignments, and when to prepare for tests. Real-time alerts can let learners know when classes are canceled, class is meeting in an alternate location, or new grades are available. The schedule view and weekly visualization enables learners to quickly at a glance view what is due today, this week, and upcoming across all their courses.

While the Brightspace Pulse app is designed for the learner, instructors can benefit too.

Brightspace Pulse App on iPhone

While the Brightspace Pulse app is designed for the learner, instructors can benefit too. When instructors enter due dates or end dates for assignments and activities the information is populated in the Pulse app enabling learners to stay connected and on track. Thus, instructors can spend less time reminding and more time teaching.

Instructors can make their courses Pulse friendly by including due dates or end dates for assignments and activities. When instructors do not enter due dates or end dates, no associated information is available in the Pulse app.

The Pulse app is great for helping students stay on track in face-to-face classes as well. Instructors can set up their face-to-face assignments and activities as events in the Brightspace course calendar. Students will get those date feeds in the Brightspace Pulse app.

Help keep students on track for success in all their courses by including a due date or end date for assignments and activities.

Want more information?

Brightspace Pulse App
Brightspace Tip #112: Due Dates
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for Content (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for an Assignment (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for a Discussion Topic (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Restrictions for a Quiz (video)
Pulse Dates - Set Date Availability for a Calendar Event (video)
Brightspace Tip #74: Manage Dates

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.