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keep calm and let's recap

Last week's "Be Ready for Mother Nature with VoiceThreads" training focused on how you can use VoiceThreads for unplanned events. You don’t have to lose precious class time if you incorporate VoiceThreads.

in case you missed it

In case you missed the training session or if you attended the training session and want to recap what was covered, you can review these resources:

Our Brightspace training continues next month. In the next training session you will learn how to setup your Grade Book and how to use the Brightspace Grades Tool to post students grades online. Please visit our events page for workshop details and to RSVP for upcoming Brightspace training sessions.

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.

We have early access to the new Annotations Toolbar for Assignments. You will see this new toolbar within the Assignments Evaluation Submission screen.

Instructors can provide feedback directly in submitted assignments using the Annotations tool. Previously the only option for annotating assignments was by using the Assignment Grader app on your mobile device.

Features available in the Annotations Toolbar are:

  • Text Highlighting
  • Freehand Drawing
  • Text Annotation
  • Note Annotation
Example of an assignment with annotations made by the instructor
Example of an assignment with annotations
Annotations Toolbar
Annotations Toolbar

The ability to annotate on assignment submissions will assist instructors in providing valuable feedback to students.

ICYMI, read my blog post on how you can simplify assignment collection by using the Assignments tool.

Want More Information?

Instructor Annotations for Brightspace Assignments (pdf)
Using Annotations for Instructor Feedback (video)
Simply Assignment Collection
Assignments Tool Training Recap
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.

keep calm and let's recap

Our recent "VoiceThread Basics" training focused on how to create a more engaging and effective learning environment with the addition of VoiceThreads.

in case you missed it

In case you missed the training session or if you attended the training session and want to recap what was covered, you can review these resources:

Our Brightspace training continues next week. The next training session will help you to be ready for mother nature with the use of VoiceThreads. Course delivery doesn't have to be vulnerable to unplanned events. In this workshop, participants will learn how to create asynchronous conversations around course content so students can continue to learn and grow even when there is an unplanned event. Please visit our events page for workshop details and to RSVP for upcoming Brightspace training sessions.

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 January 2019/10.8.9 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignment Grader - Evaluate On Paper and Observed in person submission types

iOS and Android versions of the Assignment Grader application now support On paper, and Observed in person submission types. Instructors can evaluate all of their assignments using the application; including those that do not require a file or text submission.

2) Assignments - Improvements to Assignments List view

When accessing Assignments, the list view now displays updated information. Previously instructors would see information on the assignment name, Total Submissions, Unread Submissions, Flagged Submissions, and Due Date. Now instructors see information on the assignment name, the number of learners who have completed the assignment, the number of learners who have been evaluated, the number of learners who have had feedback published, and the Due Date. This allows instructors to quickly determine what assignments they need to evaluate, how far along they are with their evaluations, and if they have published the evaluations.

assignments list view for instructors
New Assignments List View for Instructors

Learners also have an updated view of the assignments list, and are now able to see the assignment name, the Completion Status (Not Submitted, Submitted, Completed), their Score, The Evaluation Status (Not yet evaluated, Feedback: unread, Feedback: read), and the Due Date. This change to the list view allows learners to easily locate unfinished assignments, as well as access their scores and view instructor feedback on their work.

assignments list view for students
New Assignments List View for Learners

3) Groups - Create new submission types

The new On paper and Observed in person submission types available in Assignments can now be created from the Groups tool.

4) Rubrics - Improved rubric creation experience

To improve on the new rubric creation experience, rubric creation has been changed to a single-page workflow. Clicking New in the Rubrics tool immediately brings the user to the rubric authoring page. As well, the two previous Rubric Tool options Properties and Levels and Criteria are now condensed into a single Edit option.

edit rubrics view
The new rubric creation experience in the single page format

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the January Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform January 2019/10.8.9 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.

1

Use the Assignments tool to help you set and manage deadlines, unclutter your inbox, and save trees.

The Assignments tool is an efficient way to manage and collect your student's individual and group assignments digitally. Brightspace's Assignments Tool allows instructors to create a secure location for students to submit class assignments.

cluttered email inbox

The Assignments tool allows instructors to set up a place for students to submit their assignments digitally, with the ability to:

  • Control the window for submission
  • Facilitate individual submissions or group submissions (provided the groups have been set up using the Groups tool first)
  • Collect and assess submissions (with a connection to the Grades tool, if needed)
  • Enable plagiarism detection through Turnitin

Follow these steps to do it.

To create an assignment submission folder:

  1. On the NavBar (of the course you want to create a submission folder), click Activities and then choose Assignments from the drop-down menu.
  2. Click New Submission Folder.
  3. Enter a Name for your submission folder.
  4. Select a Folder Type.
  5. Do any of the following:
    • Select a Category or click New Category to organize your assignment submission folders.
    • Select a Grade Item, or click New Grade Item.
    • To assign a score, enter a value in the Out Of field.
    • To associate a rubric to the folder, click Add Rubric, or Create Rubric in New Window.
    • Enter instructions in the Instructions field.
    • Add attachments in the Attached Files area.
    • Expand Show Submission Options and select the appropriate settings.
    • Enter your email address in the Notification Email field to receive an email message when a new submission is uploaded to this folder.
    • Choose the option to hide student names during assessment, if appropriate.
  6. Click Save.

Note: You can add the Turnitin plagiarism detection feature to the assignment submission folder using the options in the Turnitin tab. Follow these instructions to enable Turnitin for the assignment submission folder.

Want More Information?

Assignments:
Turnitin:

Assignments Tool Training Recap
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.

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.

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.