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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 2019/10.8.11 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Annotate learner submissions

Instructors can now use the built-in annotation toolbar in Assignments to provide contextual feedback with highlighting, free hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting. This allows instructors to complete all their evaluation and feedback work directly in Assignments, without the need to use any external tools or applications. Annotations remain editable until the feedback is published by the instructor. If instructors want to add additional feedback after publishing, they can update the annotations and re-publish them.

Document viewer toolbar
Document viewer toolbar
Annotation tools when grading assignment submissions
Annotation tools when grading assignment submissions

ICYMI, here's a link to my previous bolg post which has more information about the tool:
Brightspace Tip #82: Annotate Assignment Submissions

Note: D2L does not recommend annotations for use with assistive technology.

2) Assignments - Improvements in Assignments

This update includes the following improvements:

  • Learners can now submit .cs file types as assignment submissions.
  • The Publish All Feedback on Anonymized Assignment Submission permission has been renamed to Publish All Feedback on Assignments. When the permission is turned on for the instructor role, instructors can publish draft assignment feedback in bulk by clicking Publish All Feedback.

Publish All Feedback
Publish All Feedback

3) Rubrics - Rubric icon criteria changed

The checked rubric icon now displays only when a rubric has been fully scored by the instructor. Previously, the checked rubric icon displayed for partially or fully scored rubrics. The unchecked rubric icon displays when a rubric is unscored, or partially scored to provide instructors and learners with more visual information about the status of the rubric.

Unscored rubric icon
Unscored rubric icon
Partially scored rubric with additional information
Partially scored rubric with additional information

Scored rubric icon with check mark
Scored rubric icon with check mark

4) Rubrics - Override criteria scores before selecting a level

Instructors can now enter a score for a criterion on a points-based rubric before clicking on a level within the rubric. Previously, an instructor could only manually enter a score after selecting a level.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the March Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform March 2019/10.8.11 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

picture of a person's hand marking on a survey

Instructors can create surveys in Brightspace and use the statistics tools to monitor current course trends, seek opinions, and assess user satisfaction.

Surveys are an excellent way to solicit feedback from learners regarding any aspect of a course. You can gather anonymous or non-anonymous opinions and information from users. Unlike Quizzes, survey questions do not have to have right or wrong answers and Likert-style rating questions are possible.

Some examples of the types of uses for surveys are: seeking feedback on the effectiveness of active learning exercises, the need for clarification of course material, and/or seeking suggestions for course improvement.

Follow these steps to do it.

To create a survey:

  1. On the NavBar, click Activities, then click Surveys.
  2. On the Manage Surveys page, click New Survey.
  3. Enter a Name and select additional settings for your survey (e.g. choose the option to give instant feedback and/or make results anonymous).
  4. To add questions directly to the survey, click Add/Edit Questions. Alternatively, you can add questions from the Question Library.
  5. Click Done Editing Questions to return to the survey page.
  6. Click the Restrictions tab to modify the survey's availability.
  7. Change the survey status to Active.
  8. Specify a date range for the survey, if appropriate.
  9. Set the attempts allowed for the survey.
  10. Click Save and Close.

To track survey progress and results:

Based on how you have set up the survey properties, you might see a list of all users or just the overall survey results with anonymous responses.

  1. On the NavBar, click Activities, then click Surveys.
  2. On the Manage Surveys page, click the context menu next to the name of your survey and click Statistics.
  3. In the Users tab, search for users and their listed attempt types. You can restrict your search of survey results by attempt in the Attempts tab.
  4. To view a specific user's results, click on an individual attempt. To view the number of attempts per question within a survey, click View Overall Results at the bottom of the page.

Want more information?

Setup a Survey (video)
Track Survey Progress and Results
Monitor Course Trends and Assess Satisfaction

Question Library Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Benefits of Question Library (video)
Create a New Question (video)
Import Questions into Question Library (video)

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.

just released stamp

Release conditions allow instructors to create a custom learning path through the materials in their course. When a release condition is attached to an item, users cannot see that item until they meet the associated condition.

For example, instructors can setup release conditions to:

  • Require students to complete an activity (e.g. Syllabus Quiz, Introduce Yourself discussion forum) before accessing course content.
  • Require students to obtain a certain percentage on an activity (e.g. 100% on Syllabus Quiz) to access content items.
  • Require students to complete a non-graded activity before accessing a graded activity.
  • Release an answer key to students who completed the assignment.
  • Require students to view a content topic before gaining access to a quiz.
  • Require students to post to a discussion topic before they can see a content module.
  • Release content based on a student's group enrollment to customize the content each group receives.
  • Require students to acknowledge they have read and agree to an honor pledge before releasing a quiz.

Release conditions can also be added to intelligent agents to create email notifications for users. For example, instructors can create an intelligent agent that would automatically send a reminder email to users who have not yet completed a required quiz or assignment in the course.

release conditions example
Example of multiple Release Conditions applied to a module

If you attach multiple conditions to an item, users must meet all conditions before they can access the item. For example, you could require users to visit the first three content topics in a unit before gaining access to an associated quiz.

NOTE: Once a user meets a release condition, the condition is cleared for that user and cannot be reset. For example, if you attach a release condition to a discussion topic requiring users to achieve more than 60% on a quiz before they can access that topic, and one of your participants receives 72% on the quiz but you adjust their grade to 55% they will be able to access the topic because they did meet the requirement at some point.

Want more information?

Getting Started with Release Conditions (pdf)
Adding Release Conditions
Create a Custom Learning Path in a Course
Customize Learning Paths Using Release Conditions (video)
Content - Attach a Release Condition (video)
Quizzes - Attach a Release Condition to a Quiz (video)
Awards - Add a Release Condition to an Award (video)
Best Practices for Setting Release Conditions
Working with Groups
Intelligent Agents

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.

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 first name, automatically.

Example of a personalized Course Homepage
Example of a personalized Course Homepage

Use Replace Strings to create a more personalized learning environment. For example, you can personalize a welcome message, announcement, and/or honor pledge by including the learner’s name.

Follow these steps to do it.

Enter the {FirstName} replace string variable (must be enclosed in curly bracket) in the HTML editor when you want to substitute the learners’s first name. Enter the {LastName} replace string variable when you want to substitute the learner's last name.

Example #1

In an announcement, enter:

Hi {FirstName}! Welcome to this...

Replace String in an Announcement example
Replace String in an Announcement example

Example #2

In module description, enter:

Welcome {FirstName}! Welcome to the study of...

Replace String in a module description example
Replace String in a module description example

Example #3

For an acknowledgement in an honor pledge, enter:

I, {FirstName} {LastName}, acknowledge that...

Replace Strings in an honor pledge example
Replace Strings in an honor pledge example

NOTE: Not all Replace Strings are available in all areas of Brightspace and Replace Strings do not work when sending email inside of Brightspace.

Want more information?

Using Replace Strings (pdf)
Teaching Tip - Use Replacement Strings for Personalization (video)
Getting Started with Release Conditions (pdf)
Customize Learning Paths Using Release Conditions (video)
Content - Attach a Release Condition (video)
Quizzes - Attach a Release Condition to a Quiz (video)
Best Practices for Setting Release Conditions
Customize Your Course Homepage

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.

rubric icon

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.

Grade using a rubric example
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.

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.

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)
Grading with a Rubric
Add Feedback and Evaluations to Assignments (video)
Rubrics FAQ

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.

1

gears silhouette teamwork

Online groups can enrich class discussion and provide a virtual environment for sharing information. You can use groups to organize users’ work on projects and assignments, or you can create special work areas for users with different learning needs. The Groups tool allows instructors to form virtual groups of students to support peer collaboration.

Users can belong to multiple groups within the same course. For example, each user can simultaneously belong to a group for class projects, a group for special interest discussions, and a group for advanced users. Each group can have its own discussion forums, assignments, and locker area to work in. You can grade members of groups individually or as a team.

Groups can be designated as Self Enrollment (allows students to add themselves to a Group), No Auto Enrollment (instructor assigns students to Groups), or random enrollment (Brightspace system distributes students equally into Groups).

Group Enrollment Type Description
# of Groups

Groups of #

Groups will be created by either number of groups (i.e., 4 groups total) or group size (i.e., groups of 4 students). Students will be randomly assigned to each group.
# of Groups - No Auto Enrollment This option allows instructors to manually assign students to groups.
# of Groups - Self Enrollment

Groups of # - Self Enrollment

# of Groups, Capacity of # – Self Enrollment

Blank groups will be created for students to sign-up for. Students will be able to see the other members of their group.
Single user, member-specific groups This option creates groups of one (1). Each group has a single user where the first name and last name of the learner is the name of the group.

Important: Currently, there is no way to hide the names of group members from other students who are in the same group. Therefore, creating groups for remedial or disability purposes could violate confidentiality laws if group names and/or group members makes the purpose of the group obvious.

Follow these steps to do it.

To create a group category you should:

  1. On the navbar, click Groups.
  2. On the Manage Groups page, click New Category.
  3. Enter a Category Name and Description.
  4. Select an Enrollment Type from the drop-down list.
  5. Depending on the chosen Enrollment Type, enter the Number of Groups to create, the Number of Users per group, or both.
  6. To apply a distinctive prefix to each group name and code in the category, enter it in the Group Prefix field. If you do not fill in this field, the prefix defaults to "Group".
  7. Depending on the chosen Enrollment Type, to automatically enroll users to groups, select Auto-enroll new users.
  8. Depending on the chosen Enrollment Type, to randomly place users in groups, select Randomize users in groups. If you do not choose this option, users are placed alphabetically based on the Classlist.
  9. If you select an Enrollment Type that supports self enrollment, to set a deadline after which learners can no longer self enroll in the group, select Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date.
  10. Click Save.

To create a group you should:

Note: Groups reside in categories. You must create a category before you can create a group. These instructions assume you have already created a category for the group.

  1. On the navbar, click Groups.
  2. On the Manage Groups page, from the View Categories drop-down list, select the category you want to add a group to.
  3. From the context menu of the category, click Add Group.
  4. If you do not want to use the default name provided, enter a group name.
  5. If you do not want to use the default group code provided, enter a group code.
  6. Enter a description for the group.
  7. Click Save.

Want more information?

Groups Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create Group Work Areas for Learners
Create a Group (video)
Understand Group Enrollment Options (video)
Modify Group Enrollment (video)
Best Practices for Setting Up Groups

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.

grade book page

The Brightspace Grades Tool is useful for providing students with up-to-date information about their current standing in the course. For instructors, it’s useful for assigning and keeping track of student grades. Students can view grade entries and monitor their progress throughout the course.

As an instructor, you can determine how to set up your Grade Book to best reflect your approach to evaluation, including the grading system and grade scheme that is most appropriate for your course. You can select how grades display to learners, how they update in the Grade Book, and how you want to deal with ungraded items. You can create grade items for projects, assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc. to include in your Grade Book, and even associate them with other tools (e.g. Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions).

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links to how-to documents to help you to use the Grades Tool:

Want more information?

Grades Tool Training Recap
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.

Photo Credit: Grade book by David Mulder | CC BY-SA 2.0

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 2019/10.8.10 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignment Grader – EduDentity login support | Removed

Assignment Grader no longer supports EduDentity log in. Instructors now log in to Assignment Grader using their Brightspace Learning Environment credentials. Assignment submissions are converted using the Document Conversion Service (DoCS) to allow instructors to annotate all document types. Instructors already logged in with their Brightspace Learning Environment credentials do not have to log in again.

2) Turnitin - Link to e-rater® Grammar feedback

Instructors can now turn on the e-rater Grammar checker, developed by ETS®, in Brightspace.

Once turned on by an instructor, learners are provided a link to e-rater Grammar feedback upon submission of an assignment. This enables learners to review Grammar feedback immediately on assignment submission, which is important for assignments that allow for multiple submissions. Learners can initially submit an assignment, receive Grammar feedback, and then submit another version of their assignment after incorporating the Grammar feedback.

Enable e-rater Grammar checker
Enable e-rater Grammar checker
View e-rater Grammar feedback link
View e-rater Grammar feedback link

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the February Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform February 2019/10.8.10 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.

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.