What’s New in Brightspace in September 2021

Brightspace Platform September 2021/20.21.9 Release Notes

The following release notes are for clients installing Brightspace Learning Environment 20.21.9 (September 2021).

Features included in this information are available and hosted in all geographic regions D2L supports unless otherwise noted in the feature’s Technical Details section. If the feature is not available and hosted in all geographic regions, D2L will provide the location(s) of the supported regions and any applicable restrictions.

Brightspace mobile apps are available for download from any global Google Play™ store or Apple App Store®. The apps are generally released at the beginning of the month, and then sometimes mid-month, if issues are found. Depending on how your device is configured, the apps may update automatically or you may have to manually check for new versions.

Assignments – Create select box grade items in the New Assignment Creation Experience | New

This feature builds on the Add categories capability in the Assignment Creation Experience | New feature released in July 2021/20.21.7.

With this release, the new assignment creation experience supports creating new select box grade items. Previously, only numeric grade items could be created from the new assignment creation experience.

In addition, this feature provides support for choosing a grade scheme when creating numeric or select box grade items. Grade categories now progressively display when creating a grade item. Previously, grade categories always displayed when available.

Also, to make interface text more clear, the following labels have been renamed in the new assignment creation experience:

  • Score out of is now Grade out of
  • In Grades is now In Gradebook
  • Choose in Grades is now Edit or Link to Existing
  • Remove from Grades is now Not in Gradebook

When creating a new assignment as an instructor, under Grade Out Of, click Ungraded.

Click In Gradebook, and then select Edit or Link to Existing.

From the Edit or Link to Existing dialog, the following options may display under Create a new grade item:

  • If the Grades tool has available grade categories, the Choose Grade Category option displays. Clicking this button displays available grade categories for association.
  • If the Grades tool has multiple grades schemes, the Change Grade Type & Scheme option displays. Clicking this button displays available grade types and schemes for association.

Click OK, and then Save.


In Gradebook options when creating a new assignment
Figure: In Gradebook options when creating a new assignment


Edit or Link to Existing options when creating a new assignment
Figure: Edit or Link to Existing options when creating a new assignment

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors due to the ability to create new select box grade items. N/A

Assignments – Delete Submitted Files permission | New

This feature releases the new Delete Submitted Files permission, which determines whether or not you can delete an assignment submission file.

This new permission is turned on by default for existing roles with the See and Manage Assignment Submission Folders and View Submitted Files permissions and it is turned off for all other roles.

When the Delete Submitted Files permission is turned off, the Delete functionality for bulk actions on the Assignments > Submissions tab and the context menu of each submitted file no longer appears. On the Assignments > Users tab, the Delete functionality for bulk actions and the icon to delete individual submission files no longer appears.

Figure: The Assignments > Submissions tab and the assignment submission context menu with the Delete functionality before this update
Figure: The Assignments > Submissions tab and the assignment submission context menu with the Delete functionality before this update

Figure: The Assignments > Users tab with the Delete functionality for bulk actions and the icon to delete individual submission files before this update
Figure: The Assignments > Users tab with the Delete functionality for bulk actions and the icon to delete individual submission files before this update

This feature implements PIE item D1620.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to administrators due to the ability to enable the permission to delete assignment submission files. Availability: This feature is available to all clients

To enable: The new Delete Submitted Files permission is turned on by default for existing roles with the See and Manage Assignment Submission Folders and View Submitted Files permissions and it is turned off for all other roles.

No further action is required.

 

Assignments – Restricting file extensions for submissions | Updated

Instructors can now specify the extensions of files that learners can upload as assignment submissions. When an instructor is creating a file submission assignment, if the d2l.Tools.Dropbox.RestrictFileExtensions configuration variable is set to ON, there is a drop down in the Submission and Completion section of the New Assignment Creation Experience. In this drop-down list, instructors can choose the restrictions they want. Choices include:

Note: When a .GIF file is converted to PDF, only the first frame of the .GIF displays.

  • .PDF only
  • Files that can be previewed without any conversion, such as .HTM, .HTML, .MHT, .MHTML, and .BMP
  • Images and videos
  • Custom filetypes

If an instructor choses Custom File Extensions, they can then enter file extensions that are allowed for file submissions. When this restriction is set, learners are presented with a list of acceptable file extensions for their assignments. When a learner attempts to upload a file submission for an assignment of an file extension type that the instructor has restricted, an error message appears.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to learners who are made aware if their assignment submission has a restricted file type. N/A

Brightspace Learning Environment – Set and view user pronouns | New

This feature releases the following permissions:

  • User Information Privacy > See Pronouns – enables a user to see pronouns in the profile card
  • Account Settings > Set My Pronoun – allows a user to set their own custom pronouns. A user can choose to hide their pronouns if pronouns are enabled, regardless of permissions.

If a user’s pronouns exist in a different system of record, these pronouns can be systematically added through the Users API. Users can choose to show or hide their pronouns in Brightspace Learning Environment and you can grant them permission to set their own pronouns or not.

Figure: The area under Account Settings, where you can set your pronouns
Figure: The area under Account Settings, where you can set your pronouns


Figure: The Profile Card with the pronoun displayed
Figure: A user profile card with the pronouns displayed

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to users due to the ability to set their own pronouns and to view pronouns set by the users they interact with. Availability: N/A

To enable: Ensure that the User Information Privacy > See Pronouns permissions are enabled for the appropriate user role.

 

Discussions – New Discussion Evaluation Experience | Updated

This feature is a continuation of the Discussions – Consistent evaluation experience feature introduced in August 2021/20.21.8.

With this setting, the new evaluation experience for Discussions appears first for all users, but they have the ability to opt-out until the December 2021/20.21.12 release, at which time the new evaluation experience for Discussions will become the only option available.

For more detail about the improvements in this new experience, visit the Welcome to Our New Discussion Evaluation Experience post on Brightspace Community.

For additional information on the consistent evaluation experience across all Brightspace tools, visit the What is Coming in Evaluation: 20.21.12 post on Brightspace Community.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Moderate impact to administrators due to the change in default setting for an existing configuration variable. Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Discussions users.

Import / Export / Copy Components – Export release conditions in course packages | New

Now when you export Brightspace Learning Environment course packages, you can export release conditions and any associations. As a result, you no longer need to re-create these release conditions when you import the course package.

 

Rubrics – Additional information on Grade tiles | Updated

When a rubric is collapsed, instructors can now see if the rubric is complete. If the rubric is complete, the collapsed rubric shows the overall level of the rubric, and if the rubric is not complete, the number of unscored criteria appears on the tile.

Previously, it was only possible to see the overall score of the rubric when the rubric was expanded.

Collapsed tile for unscored rubrics (points-based and text-only rubrics)
Figure: Previous Experience collapsed tile for unscored rubrics (points-based and text-only rubrics)

Collapsed tile for partially scored points-based rubric
Figure: New Experience collapsed tile for partially scored points-based rubric

Collapsed tile for partially scored points-based rubric
Figure: Previous experience collapsed tile for partially scored text-only rubrics

New Experience collapsed tile for completed rubrics (points-based and text-only rubrics)
Figure: New Experience collapsed tile for completed rubrics (points-based and text-only rubrics)

In addition, customers using rubrics with the New Evaluation Experiences can see Rubrics Statistics from within the evaluation panel.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors who have more visibility about the status of collapsed rubrics Availability: This feature is available to all clients

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Rubrics users

Rubrics – Brightspace Editor Additional Functionality | Updated

This feature updates the Brightspace Editor – Additional Functionality | Updated released in June 2021/20.21.6 and updated in Brightspace Editor – Available in ePortfolio External Comments and Quiz Builder | Updated released in July 2021/20.21.7. This update includes the following:

  • The Brightspace Editor toolbar now appears in the following locations:
    • Rubrics Creation and Edit experiences in the Description field
    • Rubrics Creation and Edit experiences in the Feedback field
    • Evaluation mode in the Feedback field.
  • The Insert Stuff and Insert Quicklink buttons now appear in the different views with additional formatting options.


The Brightspace Editor in Rubrics Description Field
Figure: The Brightspace Editor in the Rubrics Description field 


The Brightspace Editor in the Rubrics Feedback field
Figure: The Brightspace Editor in the Rubrics Feedback field

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors due to the availability of the new Brightspace Editor in Rubrics Availability: This feature is available to all clients using the New Rubrics Evaluation experience.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for users of the New Rubrics Evaluation experience.

Rubrics – Copy and delete criteria groups | Updated

In response to client feedback about the New Assignment Evaluation Experience, it is now possible to copy or delete a criteria group on a rubric. The delete option is only available if there is more than one criteria group.
Note: When a rubric with attached assessment items has submissions evaluated against it, the rubric is locked and can no longer be edited or deleted.

After you click Copy Criteria Group, a new criteria group appears below the original criteria group.

If you are using keyboard-only navigation, these options are available in the tab order after the criteria group name. Once the criteria group is copied using keyboard navigation, the keyboard focus moves to the new group’s name.

Note: Aligned learning outcomes are not copied when you copy a criteria group. Specific details of the evaluation criterion should be updated and re-aligned with specific learning outcomes which apply to the new criterion elements in the criteria group.

The Copy and Delete options are available in the action menu on the Criteria Group header.
Figure: The Copy and Delete options are available in the action menu on the Criteria Group header.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors who can now copy and delete rubric criteria groups. Availability: This feature is available to all clients

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Rubrics users.