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As you prepare to teach this summer, now is a good time to get started setting up your Brightspace courses. Our Information Technology Center (ITC) has created the summer courses in Brightspace.

NOTE: If you do not see your summer 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 summer 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, 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.

checklist

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 documents 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.

Additionally, if the summer course you are teaching is the same as one of your previous courses you can copy the entire course (or copy components) into your "empty" Brightspace summer course.

Follow these steps to do it.

Listed below are links with instructions to:

Want more information?

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.

wooden letters spelling out the word end and being held by plastic figures

As we approach the end of the semester there are a few things you can do in Brightspace to wrap up for the semester.

Release final course grades

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. If you did not choose to enable the automatic release of final grades when setting up your Grade Book, you will have to manually release final grades in order for students to see their final grade.

Export your Grade Book

Student access to courses is removed two weeks after the end of a semester. This process of making the courses inactive allows student work and grades to be visible to instructors but students no longer have access to the course. Courses will remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters before they are removed. You should export (download) your Grade Book to your local computer after you submit your final grades.

NOTE: The export file that is created will NOT contain any student work or instructor feedback. Only the grades in your Grade Book will be exported.

Create a master copy of your course

Courses remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters before they are removed. You can request a Master Course Shell that you can use to develop and maintain your course materials. Master Course Shells will not be removed from the Brightspace system.

Follow these steps to do it.

Instructions are available for releasing final course grades, exporting your Grade Book, and requesting Master Course Shells.

Want more information?

Release Final Grades
Export your Grade Book (video [2:03])
Master Copies of Courses
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: image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Brightspace calculates final grades for each student based on the grading system and the students' grades that are entered into the Grade Book. If the instructor wants more control over the final grades, perhaps to adjust the final grade for a student that is on the cusp of a higher grade, then adjusted final grades can be used and released to students instead of the calculated final grade.

pliers and screwdrivers

If the instructor decides to use adjusted final grades for one student in the course, adjusted final grades must be used for all students in the course. This does not imply, however, that final grades must be manually adjusted for all students.

Adjusting final grades are implemented by the instructor for only the student or students that are deemed to need an adjusted grade. The remaining students final grades would be the final grade as calculated in the Grade Book.

Note: The Grade Book must be configured to use adjusted final grades. If you plan to use adjusted final grades, you should make the adjustments before you release final grades.

Follow these steps to do it.

To adjust final grades for all students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Enter Grades.
  4. In the Final Adjusted Grade section for each student, enter the adjusted grades and then click Save.
  5. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

To adjust final grades for one or more specific students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Enter Grades.
  4. Click on the arrow on the right of the Final Grades and click Transfer All, then click Yes.
  5. In the Final Adjusted Grade section, enter adjusted scores where necessary and click Save.
  6. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

Want more information?

Understanding the Grades Tool (video)
Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book
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.

Image credit: image by MateuszTkaczyk from Pixabay

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. When setting up the Grade Book, the instructor can choose to automatically release final grades so that the students can see their final grade throughout the semester. If you did not choose to enable the automatic release of final grades when setting up your Grade Book, you will have to manually release final grades in order for students to see their final grade.

Additionally, you can selectively release final grades for some students now and release the final grades for other students later. For example, you can release the final grades for graduating seniors on one date and release the final grades for everyone else on a later date.

Follow these steps to do it.

Watch this video for instructions on how to release final grades:

Want more information?

Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book
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.

Image credit: "final grades" by jflorent is dedicated to public domain under CC0 and is a derivative of grade by OpenClipart-Vectors on 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 April 2020/20.20.4 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Assignments page column name

This feature updates the New column name on the Assignments page to read as New Submissions.

The Assignments page with the New Submissions column
The Assignments page with the New Submissions column

2) Brightspace Pulse - Pin and unpin courses

To help learners more easily find their current courses in Brightspace Pulse for iOS, learners can now pin and unpin courses from the Courses screens. Pinning a course ensures it remains at the top of the screen for easy access. Previously, learners could only pin and unpin their courses in Brightspace Learning Environment.

To pin or unpin a course in Brightspace Pulse, do one of the following:

  • From the Courses screen, tap the ellipses (...) icon in a course tile.
  • From the Course Homepage screen, tap the ellipses (...) icon at the top of the screen.

From the list of actions, tap Pin or Unpin. A pinned course is denoted by a Brightspace Pulse pin icon. Unpinning a course removes the pin icon.

The Courses screen displaying an unpinned course tile with the ellipses icon
The Courses screen displaying an unpinned course tile with the ellipses (...) icon
The Courses screen displaying a pinned course tile with the ellipses and pin icons
The Courses screen displaying a pinned course tile with the ellipses (...) icon and pin icon

The Course Homepage screen displaying the ellipses icon
The Course Homepage screen displaying the ellipses (...) icon

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the April Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform April 2020/20.20.4 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

Help road signs

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.

 

african american female with her 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: "wocintech (microsoft) - 76" by #WOCinTech Chat is licensed under CC BY 2.0