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As you continue to teach remotely during this disruption, you may have questions. Here is a list of Brightspace help resources you can use to get answers to your questions.

Live Chat icon

Additionally, if you are having difficulties using any of the course tools, you can get help from D2L. This help is available 24/7 via Email and Live Chat. You will find links for Email Support and Live Chat Support in the Help menu on the NavBar (inside of Brightspace). You must be logged into Brightspace to access the Email and Live Chat Support links.

Help Menu

Want more information?

Visit our #KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
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.

Image credit: Image by geralt from Pixabay

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 March 2020/20.20.3 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Announcements – Display author information

To provide more information to users, Announcements now supports displaying author information (name and timestamp) on new and edited announcements.

If a user has the new permission, when the user creates or edits an announcement, a new Show Author Information check box displays in the New/Edit Announcement page, allowing them to choose if they want author information to display.

Users reading the announcement may see some or all of the following author information:

  • the original author
  • the original date and time of the announcement
  • the author who edited the announcement
  • the date and time of the edit
The new Show Author Information option on the New/Edit Announcement page
The new Show Author Information option on the New/Edit Announcement page

Author information in an announcement
Author information in an announcement

2) Groups – Set exact time learners can self-enroll

When setting up groups that allow learners to self-enroll, instructors can now add an exact time when enrollment opens, and an exact time when self-enrollment expires. Previously, instructors could only set the date when enrollment opened or expired.

Example of setting exact time when enrollment opens and expires
Set exact time when enrollment opens and expires

3) Quick Eval – Support for anonymous marking

Assignments created with the Hide student names during assessment option selected now display in Quick Eval’s Submission view with learner names and profile images hidden. Instructors using anonymous marking can access Quick Eval with confidence that it supports their anonymous marking needs.

Example of Anonymous Marking check box
Anonymous Marking check box visible when creating assignment submission folders

Example of hidden learner names and profile images in Quick Eval Submissions view
Learner names and profile images are hidden in Quick Eval Submissions view

4) Rubrics – Confirmation message for partially unevaluated rubrics

To prevent publishing partially unevaluated rubrics, the publishing workflow in the new Rubrics grading experience now includes a confirmation message that warns users when the rubric is not fully evaluated. Instructors have the option to continue publishing, or cancel. Warning messages appear when publishing a rubric for an individual student and when bulk publishing rubrics. Users attempting to publish an incomplete rubric evaluation must now click Publish to complete the workflow.

Example of confirmation message when attempting to publish an incomplete evaluation
The confirmation message asks users if they want to publish anyway, when attempting to publish an incomplete evaluation for an individual learner.

Example of confirmation message listing names of learners whose rubric evaluations are not complete
When attempting to bulk publish incomplete rubrics, the confirmation message lists the names of learners whose rubric evaluations are not complete.

5) Rubrics – Improved accessibility in Rubric grading

In Rubrics, when using keyboard navigation to tab to a row of selectable cells, there is now a focus indicator to help orient users on the page.

6) Rubrics – Overall Score levels calculated after rubric criteria completion

In the new Rubrics grading experience, the Overall Score level is now only calculated after all the criteria in the rubric have been assessed. This change optimizes rubric performance by eliminating the calculation of incomplete Overall Score levels until the rubric evaluation is completed, and improves the grading experience for instructors and rubric evaluators.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the March Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform March 2020/20.20.3 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
#KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
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.

Image credit: image by geralt from Pixabay

Do you want your students to take a quiz or test online? Do you have a test that you normally administer on paper and you don’t want to retype all the questions into Brightspace. Learning and Teaching Services at Algonquin College developed a Test/Quiz Question Generator that provides an easy way of creating a collection of questions that can be imported into Brightspace.

the word quiz written out

Quiz questions have to be in a special format in order to be imported into Brightspace. The Test/Quiz Question Generator allows you to reformat your questions and it will create a CSV file that can be imported into Brightspace. Refer to this question types and formatting guide for information on how to format your questions.

If you want to save time creating tests and quizzes by not having to retype test questions into Brightspace, try the Test/Quiz Question Generator.

ICYMI, follow this link to watch a recording of our Back to Basics: Tests and Quizzes workshop.

Want more information?

Test/Quiz Question Generator
Question types and formatting guide (for the Test/Quiz Question Generator)
Quizzes, Surveys, and Question Libraries
#KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
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.

Image credit: image by AnnCarter from Pixabay

If you're like me, you spent a lot of time in the past week thinking about how you will hold your classes online, but not a lot of time thinking about how you will hold your office hours online. Office hours don't usually require much forethought. You show up and deal with whatever comes up.

But now we need to think about our office hours, in particular, how we will make ourselves available to our students during those times. There are a number of options for doing this, including Virtual Classroom and Google Hangouts. I've decided to use Zoom, since that's what I'm using for my synchronous class meetings. But instead of creating a new Zoom meeting for every office hour (which would make for a real mess every time I log into Zoom, even if I just did recurring meetings), I'm going to use my Personal Meeting Room in Zoom.

Personal Meeting Room

Zoom's Personal Meeting Room is a meeting you set up once (although you can change the settings whenever you want), but that you can start and stop whenever you want. This way, there's only one URL you need to provide your students. It's sort of like telling your student where your office is on the first day of class. Once they now where it is (theoretically) you never have to tell them again.

For the most part, setting up your Personal Meeting Room is the same as setting up any other meeting in Zoom, but you don't give it a special name or description, and you don't have to worry about any scheduling details. To change the settings, click on the Personal Meeting Room tab.

The toolbar for Meetings on the Xula.Zoom.Us web site.
The tabs available when on the meetings page on the Xula.Zoom.Us site.
The toolbar for Meetings when in Brightspace.
The tabs available when on the meetings page on the Zoom page in Brightspace.

Branding

One of the nice options with the Personal Meeting Room is that you can change the Join URL to make it more personal. Whereas with regular meetings, you just use whatever 9-digit code the system generates for you, with your Personal Meeting Room, you can customize the link. This makes it easier to for students to remember (just like how they remember your office location). It also gives you the opportunity to do a little personal branding.

A screenshot of the Zoom page listing the settings for my Personal Meeting Room.
With Personal Meeting Rooms, you can customize the Join URL to make them easier to remember (and to do a little personal branding).
Screenshot of the main menu on the Xula.Zoom.Us web site.
The profile settings, and many others, are only accessible by logging into Xula.Zoom.Us.

However, you don't change it on the Edit This Meeting page. Instead, you need go into Profile, but you can only do this through the Xula.Zoom.Us web site. You can't access your profile settings by going in through Brightspace. When you log into Xula.Zoom.Us, you'll see the following menu on the left of the screen. Click on PROFILE, and you'll be able to change a number of details about your account, including the profile picture that will appear in a meeting when you have your video camera turned off. You can also connect your Zoom account to your Google calendar, and many other things from this page. What we're interested in here, though, is your ability to change your Personal Link. Click on Customize, and you can change what follows the the main part of the URL (https://xula.zoom.us/my/). Instead of a randomly generated string, I plugged in my name: jason.s.todd. Your customization can be between 5 and 40 characters, but it can only contain letters (a-z), numbers (0-9) and periods (".").

A screenshot of the profile settings page on Xula.Zoom.Us.
From the profile page of the Xula.Zoom.Us site, you can change a variety of settings that you can't access through Brightspace.

So now I can add this link — just one link — on my Brightspace course. I can start and stop this "meeting" whenever I want, so when it's time for an office hour, I just go into Zoom, click on Personal Meeting Room, and click Start Meeting. I should note that this new URL I've created is just an alias of my real PMR link, that string of random characters. Still, it's a handy way to make it easier for your students to get in touch with you.

Calendar Events

I've also created recurring events in Calendars for each of my courses in Brightspace noting my office hours and providing the link. I've done the same thing with our regular class meetings. This way, when the students look at the Upcoming Events or the Course Schedule on Brightspace, they'll see, in addition to their upcoming deadlines, reminders with links for my office hours. In addition, if the student has installed Brightspace's Pulse app on their smartphone, they will receive notifications about these events.

This is a screenshot of the upcoming events section in Brightspace.
Using Calendar events and Due Dates in Brightspace provides students with clear reminders about what's coming up in your class. For new remote learners, this may have a significant impact on their ability to keep on schedule with your class.

 

person with their fingers typing on a computer keyboard

Virtual classrooms and virtual office hours are a great way to keep teaching and learning during a disruption.

Instructors have two options for virtual meetings that are integrated into our Brightspace system. One option is the Brightspace Virtual Classroom and the other option is Zoom Web Conferencing. Instructors should choose whichever tool will meet their needs. To help you choose, I've provided an explanation of these two systems.

Brightspace Virtual Classroom

We have the free version of the Brightspace Virtual Classroom tool. Not all features of this tool is available in the free version. Refer to this Brightspace Virtual Classroom features chart to see if this tool will meet your needs.

IMPORTANT CHANGE TO BRIGHTSPACE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM:
New as of April 2020, limits for the maximum number of participants, session duration, and session recording availability are being adjusted. Here is an overview of the new limits, compared to the previous limits.

New limit in Free version
(in effect April 2020)
Previous limit in Free version
Maximum # of participants 50 100
Session recording availability 14 days 4 months
Session duration 60 minutes 90 minutes

Refer to this Virtual Classroom Knowledge Base for more information on this web conferencing tool.

Zoom Web Conferencing

Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects, and share or annotate on one another's screens, all with one easy-to-use platform. Zoom is integrated into our Brightspace system and is Xavier’s alternative to the Brightspace Virtual Classroom tool.

The Professional Training team at Zoom will be hosting a 45 minute Zoom Meetings for Education Webinar on Monday, March 16th. The webinar starts at 9 am central time. It will focus on the following topics:

  • How to download the Zoom applications and join a Zoom meeting
  • How to schedule a meeting and send out invitations
  • Overview of In-meeting controls and Virtual Classroom tools

You can register for the Zoom Meetings for Education webinar at this link.

Additionally, here’s a list of Zoom resources that you may find helpful:

*NOTE: This document was created by another institution. Steps #1 and #2 are not applicable to our configuration. The information in the remainder of the document is applicable to how Zoom works in our integration.

Want more information?

#KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
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.

Image credit: image by JaneMarySnyder from Pixabay

man at desk with his hands grasping his head

If you are teaching a face-to-face class, you may be thinking about how can you put some of your course materials online in a hurry in case of an unplanned event. The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University developed a resource with suggestions on how you can go about putting some of your course content online when you are in a hurry. The resource includes some Brightspace specific examples to give you ideas on how to move some of your course components online.

We have a series of Brightspace workshops planned over the next few weeks. Visit our events page to sign up for an upcoming Brightspace workshop.

Want more information?

Put Contents Online in Case of an Unplanned Event
Check out our Instructional Continuity Wiki
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.

Image credit: image by lukasbieri from Pixabay

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

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

Instructors will see the Annotations toolbar within the Assignments Evaluation Submission screen.

Example of an assignment with annotations made by the instructor
Example of an assignment with annotations
Annotations Toolbar
Annotations Toolbar

NOTE: The following file types are supported by the Annotations tool:

  • .doc
  • .docx
  • .rtf
  • .odt
  • .ppt
  • .pps
  • .pptx
  • .ppsx
  • .odp
  • .xls
  • .xlsx
  • .txt
  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .png
  • .tif
  • .tiff
  • .gif (once converted to a PDF, only the first frame of the .gif displays)
  • .pdf

Students have to submit their assignments in one of the supported file types in order for the instructor to use the built-in Annotations tool.

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)
Add Feedback and Evaluations to Assignments
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.

1

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

email inbox showing there are 6763 unread messages

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.

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.

Image credit: image by gabrielle_cc from Pixabay

The #1 Brightspace complaint we hear from students is that faculty don't post their grades online. When students don’t receive meaningful and timely feedback about their coursework, they are unable to make the necessary adjustments to improve their performance.

keep calm and let's recap

Last semester's "Grade Book and College Readiness" training session focused on 1) why using the Grade Book to provide students with their standing in the course is important and 2) how to setup and enter grades in the Grade Book.

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:

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 February 2020/20.20.2 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Streamlined access to inline feedback

To streamline access to assignment feedback, learners can now immediately access inline feedback from User Progress, Grades, and Assignments. From these tools, the View Inline Feedback link takes the learner directly to the annotations view (or Turnitin viewer, if that is the tool used to provide feedback). The inline feedback also includes a link to the file for the assignment, so learners know which document contains the feedback. Previously, the View Inline Feedback link took the learner to the Assignment feedback summary page, where they had to click a second link to view the feedback.

Class Progress view for instructors and learners displaying the View Inline Feedback link
Class Progress view for instructors and learners displaying the View Inline Feedback link, which now opens directly in the annotation view
Grades view for learners displaying the View Inline Feedback link
Grades view for learners displaying the View Inline Feedback link, which now opens directly in the annotation view

Assignments view for learners displaying the View Inline Feedback link
Assignments view for learners displaying the View Inline Feedback link, which now opens directly in the annotation view

2) EXIF data warning appears when uploading images

In some instances, when users upload .jpg files in any file upload area across Brightspace Learning Environment, an EXIF (exchangeable image file) data warning appears informing the user that the file may contain geolocation data.

3) Course Administration - Course Reset

Course Reset is a new tool that enables a course administrator to reset a course back to an empty shell. Course Reset permanently deletes course content, activities, associated files, user grades, user progress records, and interaction data from the course in a single bulk process. Users can optionally choose to include course groups, and/or course widgets, navbars, and homepages as part of the course reset process, or leave them in the course.

The Course Reset process does not affect user enrollments, sections and section enrollment, course associations, course paths associated to the course, user progress in linked SCORM objects, LOR objectsin Brightspace Learning Repository, portfolio objects saved to a users' Portfolio or ePortfolio, ePortfolio sharing groups or forms, email/instant messages sent to or from users in the course, LTI tool provider information, and Activity Feed posts.

Course Reset permanently deletes the course data and it will not appear in any reporting or data sets after the course reset process is complete. After performing a course reset, an Audit Log maintains a record of the course reset action, including the date and time of the course reset, the data that was selected for deletion, the user who performed the course reset, and any errors that occur during the course reset process.

4) Grades – Tab delimited import into Gradebook

Users can now import tab separated value (.tsv) files into Gradebook. Previously, users could only import comma delimited files into Gradebook, which created a usability issue in some international regions.

5) Quick Eval - Course level filtering

When opening Quick Eval within a course, only the list of activities and submissions related to that course display. This helps instructors easily view and evaluate submissions on a course-by-course basis. If an instructor wants to view all submissions across all their courses, they can still use the More Options menu to see the Multi-Course Quick Eval, or open Quick Eval from outside of a course.

6) Quick Eval - Dismiss activities until next submission

Instructors can now remove items from their Quick Eval list until a new submission is received for the activity. The removed activity appears on the Dismissed Activities list and can be restored at any time. Once a new submission arrives to the Quick Eval list, the previously dismissed activity reappears there.

Previously, instructors could only select a specific date or forever when dismissing an activity. This new option provides instructors with an additional option to manage the submissions on their Quick Eval list.

7) Video Note – Automatic Closed Captioning

To improve accessibility, video notes now provide automatic closed captioning for newly created videos and the ability to manually add or update closed captioning for all previously recorded videos. After video processing, users can view closed captions using video player controls.

In addition, users can now download a transcript and the closed caption file associated with a video independent of Video Notes.

Localized closed captioning is available for the following languages:

  • US English (en-US)
  • British English (en-GB)
  • Canadian French (fr-CA)
  • German (de-DE)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR)
  • Korean (ko-KR)
  • Italian (it-IT)
  • Spanish (es-US)
  • Modern Standard Arabic (ar-SA)
  • Russian (ru-RU)
  • Japanese (ja-JP)
  • Turkish (tr-TR)
  • Dutch (nl-NL)
  • Chinese Mandarin (zh-CN)

Notes:

  • Canadian English is not available for closed captioning and defaults to en-US.
  • Chinese Traditional (zh-TW) closed captions are not currently available and defaults to zh-CN.
  • Mexican Spanish (es-MX) closed captions may not be available and defaults to US Spanish (es-US)
  • Swedish closed captions are not available.

A video with closed captions
A video with closed captions

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the February Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform February 2020/20.20.2 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
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 geralt from Pixabay