What’s New with Brightspace in November 2020

Release Notes for D2L Brightspace Updates Coming in November

Assignments, Brightspace Learning Environment, Brightspace Portfolio, Content, Discover, Grades, Insights, Quiz Builder, Quizzes

Assignments – Date picker change | Updated

This feature updates the date picker component for the new assignment creation experience. The new date picker has a more streamlined design and requires a slight workflow change: to clear a date/time, the X alongside the time field has been replaced by a Clear option inside the calendar.

Instructors can find the date picker in Due DateStart Date, and End Date fields on the Create and Edit Assignments page.

Brightspace Learning Environment – Preferred language selector on login page | New

The Brightspace Learning Environment default login page now provides a selector of languages for users to select their preferred language to set the default text on the page. A cookie is used to remember the user’s chosen language preference. The language options that appear are dependent upon the available language packs for the user’s organization. Options to change the default language on the login page appear only if there is more than one Active locale available.

This change ensures users can log in more easily if their preferred language is not the chosen default language for the organization. Note that this language setting only applies to the login page – the language settings that appear in Brightspace Learning Environment are set by the organization and may be different from the language options that appear on the login page. Changing the language will also not change any custom text appearing on that page.

Brightspace Portfolio – User interface improvements | New

To improve usability in Brightspace Portfolio, this release contains the following enhancements:
  • To improve readability and maintain consistency with all interface text, the font size for interface text is increased to 20 pixels.
  • For a consistent visual experience, the background gradient is removed from various pages.
  • To establish a modern and consistent visual design in Brightspace Portfolio, this release refreshes the design of toggles (switches) for Share with parents and Private Teacher Notes. In addition, to improve accessibility, screen readers now correctly identify these switches as toggles. This helps more accurately identify the state of a toggle to users as “pressed” (on) or “not pressed” (off). Previously, switches were identified as radio buttons that were “On” or “Off,” which was not as accurate or helpful to users.
  • When viewing Brightspace Portfolio on a mobile device, learner cards are now centered-aligned on the screen. Previously, learner cards were left-aligned on the screen.

Brightspace Portfolio – Improvements to filtering evidence | New

To allow instructors to more easily find all evidence for a specific category, Brightspace Portfolio includes new category filtering options from the Evidence view. Categories are often used by instructors to organize work submitted by learners, such as, required areas of study. Instructors can also filter all evidence shared with parents or all spotlighted evidence.
As an instructor, from the Portfolio homepage, click the Evidence view toggle. Click the new Filter button, and then select one or more of the following Evidence filters:
  • Shared With Parents
  • With Categories
  • Without Categories
  • Spotlighted

For example, to easily find evidence in a specific category, click With Categories, and then click the School Categories filter and choose a specific school category.

Content – Enhancements to course content statistics | New

To provide instructors with additional insight about their courses, statistics in the classic Content experience now include more information.
To view course content statistics, as an instructor, navigate to Content, and then select Table of Contents > Related Tools > View Reports.
From the Reports page, the Content tab includes the following changes:
  • The summary panel uses less vertical space, enabling instructors to view detailed information more quickly.
  • A new Available To column that displays the number of users (from the class list) that the content is available to. This value takes into account the following: release conditions, special access (assignments and quizzes), group access (assignments and discussions), availability dates, hidden/visible state, and if the module parent is “available.”
  • For modules, the following information displays:
    • Available To – the number of users that the module is available to.
    • Users Visited – the number of unique users who visited one or more topics within the module.
    • Average Time Spent – the average time spent in each topic within the module.
From the Content tab on the Reports page, clicking a value under the Available To or Users Visited columns for a module displays a new Module details page, which includes the following information:
  • Available – indicates if the module is available to the user.
  • Last Visited – the last date the user visited a topic within the module.
  • Number of Visits – the total number of visits across all topics in the module.
  • Total Time Spent – the total time spent in each topic within the module.
  • Average Time Spent – the average time spent in each topic within the module.
From the Reports page, the Users tab displays a new Content Topics Available column, which includes the number of content topics available to each user.
From the Users tab on the Reports page, clicking a user displays the following information on the User Details page:
  • Content type and availability icons now display, ensuring consistency with the Content Statistics – By Content view.
  • For modules, the following information displays:
    • Available – a new column that indicates if modules and topics are available.
    • Visits – the total number of visits across all topics in the module.
    • Average Time Spent – the average time spent in each topic within the module.
    • Last Visited – the last date the user visited a topic within the module.

In addition, the Class Progress tool now displays an icon to indicate if a topic or module has release conditions associated with it for the specified user.

Content – SCORM objects check existing completion status | New

In the event that learners complete SCORM topics outside of Brightspace Learning Environment, existing completion information can now be used by Brightspace. This feature ensures that the completion status is retained and does not reset the score of any items in Brightspace. This is useful for organizations that set completion events in Brightspace Learning Environment using APIs for SCORM content taken in a separate system.

Previously, when learners launched a SCORM object from Brightspace that they had previously accessed from a different Learning Management System, their completion status for that object would be reset.

Now, learners are warned that they have already completed the SCORM content and are presented with the option to Review or Re-take SCORM objects. Selecting Re-take resets the completion status, and the associated grade, then launches the package. Selecting Review retains the learner’s completion information and any grades associated to the object.

Discover – Configure the display of sections | New

To offer more flexibility in how available courses are organized in Discover, administrators can now configure the display of sections on the Discover homepage.

As an administrator, from the Discover homepage, click Settings. From the Customize Discover section, toggle the new Show Updated section and Show New section options on or off. By default, both options are on.

Grades – Display total points in Manage Grades | Updated

To improve usability of the Grades tool and reduce calculation errors, Manage Grades now includes total points for grade categories and Final Calculated Grade. Previously, there was no indicator of the total points while users were managing their grade book, and instructors were required to manually add up the points from all grade items to check if the total matched their syllabus.

For weighted grade books, the total weight is displayed in addition to the total points. For formula grade books, the manually-entered max points is displayed instead of the total points. Totals do not include bonus grade items and do support grade item dropping.

Quiz Builder – Quiz preview | New

Instructors can now view a preview of their quiz from Quiz Builder. Clicking the new Preview button on the Add/Edit Questions view of the quiz opens a quiz preview attempt in a new tab for a complete view of how the quiz appears to learners.