What’s New with Brightspace in May 2021

Brightspace Platform May 2021/20.21.5 Preview Release Notes

The following preview release notes are for clients installing Brightspace Learning Environment 20.21.5 (May 2021). This is pre-release information. The functionality, screens, and configuration of features are subject to change before release.

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 Portfolio and Brightspace Pulse are available for download from any global Google Play™ store or Apple App Store®. These 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.

D2L recommends reviewing the final release notes to determine if there are any changes that impact your organization. To receive notifications about updates, click Follow.

Links to external sites and non-release notes articles on Brightspace Community:

Announcements and Feature Information

  • The maximum per file upload size limit in Brightspace Learning Environment has increased from 1 GB to 2 GB. Any existing tool specific limits will continue to be respected and not overridden.

Brightspace Learning Environment

Assignments – Annotations available for TXT file-based assignments | Updated

Previously, annotations enabled instructors to use highlighting, free-hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting to provide feedback to learner assignments of the following file types: DOC, DOCX, RTF, ODT, PPT, PPTX, PPSX, ODP, XLS, XLSX, JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, and GIF. Now, instructors can provide feedback for TXT, in addition to the existing types.
Note: The updates to annotations replaces the Edit a Copy workflow, which is no longer supported in the New Evaluation Experience.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors who can now provide annotations on new file types. Availability: This feature is available to all clients using Annotations with Assignments.

To enable:  Ensure that the d2l.Tools.Assignments.AnnotationsDefault configuration variable is set to ON.

Attendance – Manage registers | Updated

This feature adds the ability for instructors to set the visibility of attendance registers in bulk. It also includes updated logic to prevent instructors from changing a scheme in an attendance register once session information has been added to it. This update prevents unintentional deletion of session data.

The new More Actions button on the Course Admin > Attendance Registers page enables instructors to modify the visibility of attendance registers in bulk. Previously, you had to modify each register individually.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors due to the introduction of the More Actions button and due to the updated logic to prevent unintentional deletion of session data. Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Attendance users. The existing See the Attendance tool and Manage Attendance Registers permissions must also be selected for the instructor role at the course level.

Brightspace Editor – Improvements | Updated

This feature complements the Brightspace Editor – Replaces the HTML Editor | New and the Assignments – Brightspace Editor in the new Assignment Evaluation Experience | New features released in the April 2021 / 20.21.4 release and includes the following improvements:

  • Copy/paste and/or drag and drop images – You can copy/paste and/or drag and drop images when providing feedback in assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Images are saved in the content folder.
  • Design improvements to enhance use of the Editor on mobile devices and improve general usability.
  • Accessibility improvements – Improved keyboard navigation for keyboard users and toolbar icons are spaced out more in accordance with WCAG standards.
Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors due to the ability to copy/paste images into a widget, in gradebook feedback, and when evaluating assignments. N/A

Brightspace Learning Environment – Local Account Security and Two Factor Authentication | New

This feature releases the new Local Authentication Security page in the Admin Tools menu that allows administrators to add additional layers of security for local accounts.
Administrators can select the Enable Local Authentication Allow List check box on this page, identify allowed usernames that can log in locally to Brightspace Learning Environment, and optionally, enable Two Factor Authentication for these accounts. Enabling this feature prevents all users external to the allow list from logging in locally; they must login through their identity provider.

Accounts with Two Factor Authentication enabled through this workflow can set up a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) authentication for their account.

Brightspace Portfolio – Search for learning outcomes | New

In the Portfolio tool in Brightspace Learning Environment, instructors can now search the learning outcomes list to easily find the best learning outcome to align with evidence submitted by a learner. Previously, learning outcomes displayed in a flat list without a search interface.

When aligning evidence to a learning outcome in Brightspace Portfolio, instructors enter text or an outcome code in the search bar. The search results include outcome descriptions and codes and highlight the search query words in the results.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to instructors due to interface changes for selecting learning outcomes. N/A

Brightspace Portfolio – Share evidence with instructors | Updated

Introduced in the April 20.21.4 release, learners were granted the capability to choose when to share evidence with instructors, if enabled by administrators. In this release, when a learner shares evidence with an instructor, the date and time the evidence is shared is now added to the evidence, visible to the learner and instructor. However, the date and time that the evidence was collected is now only visible to the learner. Previously, only the date and time that the evidence was collected was visible to the learner and instructor.

structor, displaying when the evidence was shared with the instructor

Impact of Change Technical Details
No impact to administrators. Availability: This feature is available to all clients using Brightspace Portfolio.

To enable: Turn on the d2l.Tools.Folio.LearnerControlsEvidenceSharing configuration variable at the org level. This configuration variable cannot be set at the org unit level and is turned off by default. When turned off, all submitted evidence is automatically shared with instructors.
Note: Turning the configuration variable on or off does not take effect immediately; you may have to wait a while.

You can enable instructor sharing and parent sharing (with Brightspace for Parents). Once a learner shares evidence with an instructor, the instructor can then share the evidence with parents.

If instructor sharing and parent sharing are enabled, evidence tiles only display the Shared with Instructors icon and not the Shared with Parents icon.

Slight impact to instructors due to interface changes for submitting and approving evidence. When the instructor sharing workflow is enabled, instructors only see the dates and times evidence was shared.
Slight impact to learners due to interface changes for submitting and approving evidence. When the instructor sharing workflow is enabled, learners see the dates and times evidence was collected and shared with instructors.

Manager Dashboard and Learning Groups – More language support | New

To improve user experience across more international locales, the Manager Dashboard and Learning Groups tools now support the following languages:

  • Danish (da-dk)
  • Welsh (cy-gb)
  • French France (fr-fr)
  • Spanish Spain (es-es)
  • Turkish (tr-tr)
  • Swedish (sv-se)
  • Arabic (ar-sa)

Previously, Manager Dashboard and Learning Groups only supported the following languages:

  • English US (en-us)
  • French Canadian (fr-ca)
  • German (de-de)
  • Spanish LATAM (es-mx)
  • Dutch (nl-nl)
  • Portuguese (pt-br)
Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to learners due to the ability to use Manager Dashboard and Learning Groups in additional languages. N/A

Rubrics – Copy rubric criterion | New

To improve the value of Rubrics and facilitate reusing rubric criteria that have already been created, an action menu next to the criterion name provides Copy and Delete options. When an instructor copies a criterion, the new criterion is added under the original with the criterion name Copy of [name of original criterion].
The Delete function was previously available as a trashcan icon at the end of the criterion row outside the table. The new location in the action menu improves the discoverability of the Delete and Copy options.

Rubrics – Print or export to PDF | New

To improve the user experience with Rubrics, instructors can now print or download a PDF of a preview or evaluated rubric. Learners can also print or download a PDF of a rubric from the desktop browser implementation of Brightspace Learning Environment. In a pop-up window, the Print button displays at the bottom of the rubric for the graded view, next to the Close button. In other displays where the rubric is embedded in a page, such as the Activity Summary page in Outcomes Progress, the Print button displays above the top-right corner of the rubric.

Widgets – Work To Do widget | New

The new Work To Do widget provides learners a summary of assigned learning activities from all their courses that are overdue or have an upcoming due date. The widget can be added to Brightspace homepages to aggregate data from all courses, and to course homepages to show only due and overdue learning activities from the course.

The Work To Do widget displays the following learning activities:

  • Assignments
  • Checklists
  • Content
  • Courses
  • Discussions
  • Surveys
  • Quizzes

Learning activities only appear in the Work To Do widget when the activity has a defined due date or end date. By default, the widget displays activities due in the upcoming 2 weeks, and overdue work from the previous 12 weeks.

Learners require the new View Work To Do Widget permission set at the Organization level and at the Course Offering level to access the widget from their organization homepage or from the homepages of each course.

For additional information and frequently asked questions about the Work To Do widget, see the following post: Introducing the Work To Do Widget.

The new Work To Do widget
Figure: The Work To Do widget organizes course activities by overdue and upcoming due dates so learners can easily prioritize their work and stay on top of their tasks.

This feature implements PIE item D7001.

 

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to administrators due to the requirement to enable the Work To Do widget, set the new permission for learners and add the widget to desired homepages. Availability: This feature is available to all Brightspace Core clients.

To enable:

  • Turn on Work To Do in Organization Tools.
  • Set the  View Work To Do Widget permission for learner roles at the Organization and/or Course Offering level.
  • Add the widget to your organization or course homepages.
Slight impact to instructors due to the requirement to add the Work To Do widget to their course homepages and ensure that course learning activities have set due dates and end dates in order to appear in the widget. N/A
Slight impact to learners who will observe the new Work To Do widget on their organization and course homepages. N/A