What’s New with D2L Brightspace in September

Release Notes for D2L Brightspace Updates Coming in September

Assignments, Brightspace Platform, Pulse, Class/User Progress and Pulse, Course Copy, Discussions, Portfolio, Question Library,QuizBuilder

Assignments – Additional functionality in the new assignment creation experience | Updated

Building on the functionality added to the new create and edit assignment experience in the August 2020/20.20.8 release, you can now do the following:

  • Add special access conditions to assignments
  • Receive a notification email when assignments are submitted

Brightspace Platform – Refreshed visual design and accessibility updates to user interface components | New

To establish a modern and consistent visual design across products and tools in the Brightspace platform, this release refreshes the design of toggles.

Note: Due to the broad scope of the refreshed visual design, some user interface components were refreshed in the August 2020/20.20.8 release. As this work continues, you will see more user interface components refreshed in upcoming releases.

To improve accessibility in user interface components, screen readers now correctly identify switches in Brightspace 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.

Brightspace Portfolio – Video player improvements | New

To offer improved control, accessibility, and responsiveness when playing videos in Brightspace Portfolio, the embedded video player now includes the following:

  • New playback speed controls
  • More accessible design with better improved contrast ratios
  • More responsive design for mobile devices
  • Progress bar is full-width instead of in between the play and full-screen buttons
  • Controls auto-hide after three seconds (previously, controls remained permanently visible)
  • Removed fixed height of the video player

Brightspace Pulse for iOS – View Activity Feed posts and comments | New

To keep up to date on course activity, learners can now read Activity Feed posts and comments in Brightspace Pulse for iOS. Learners can also receive Activity Feed notifications. For example, in courses with Activity Feed enabled, instructors can use Activity Feed to post reminders about upcoming assignments and links to course materials. Learners then receive notifications about those posts in Brightspace Pulse, allowing them to view post details from the course homepages. Future releases will allow learners to post or reply to posts, if they have the appropriate permissions.

Class/User Progress – Include Pulse activity in usage data | Update

Learner activity data is now captured more accurately through the addition of a new system usage metric. Previously, Pulse usage was not tracked, and learners who accessed their courses through the app were misrepresented as having low engagement and could not access conditionally released content.
These changes affect the following areas of Brightspace:

  • Class Progress has a new System Access performance indicator, which displays the number of times each course participant has accessed the system through the Learning Environment or Pulse in the last 30 days. Instructors can add System Access to the Class Progress dashboard by clicking Settings.
  • User Progress has a new System Access History section, which displays the number of times the user has accessed the system through the Learning Environment or Pulse in the last 30 days. Instructors can select System Access History to display in the User Progress report by clicking Settings.

Copy Course Components – Select copying of LTI Links | New

This feature changes the permission requirements needed when copying selected External Learning Tool / LTI links using Copy Course Components and choosing to select course components. This enables more flexibility for clients in terms of which permissions can see and copy select External Learning Tool / LTI links.
Previously, in order to copy select components and choose specific External Learning Tool / LTI links, users needed the Manage External Learning Tool Links permission. Now, users can copy select components for External Learning Tool / LTI links when they have either the Create Quicklinks from available External Learning Tools links permission, or the Manage External Learning Tool Links permission.Question Library – Attach files in written response questions | New

When creating a written response question, instructors can now allow learners to upload files in their answers and include embedded images. Learners can also record audio or video responses when answering written response question types. Written response questions are available in surveys.

When grading a quiz, similar to the behavior in the Discussions tool, instructors can download and open these attachments in another tab.

When learners are reviewing their quiz submissions, if they are allowed to view their quiz responses, they can view their uploaded attachments.

The maximum file size for a single file or embedded image attached to a quiz response is set to 102400 KB (100MB). The maximum file size for all files attached or embedded in a single quiz question response is set to 102400 KB (100MB).

Discussions – Visual word count for discussion posts | New

A visual word count is now visible in the HTML Editor for discussion posts. All words in a discussion post are counted and include filler words such as “the,” “if,” and “to.” 

The word count is dynamically displayed to learners while they type in the HTML Editor (Discussions Reading View only) and it also appears next to their posts in the Discussions Reading View and Grid View. Learners can view the word count for their posts only.

For instructors, the word count appears on the Assessment page during the discussions assessment process and it also appears inline with the post details in the Discussions Reading View. Instructors can view the word count for all user posts.

Question Library – Attach files in arithmetic and significant figures questions | Updated

Building on the attach files in written response questions functionality released in the August 2020/20.20.8 release, when creating arithmetic and significant figures questions, instructors can now allow learners to include external files with their responses and record audio or video responses when answering these question types. This feature is only available in the new Quiz Builder Experience.

When grading a quiz, similar to the behavior in the Discussions tool, instructors can view a list of attachments, download them, or open them in another tab. When reviewing their submission in Submission View, the learner can see their uploaded attachment if allowed to see their responses.

Question Library – Search for and select questions in Question Library sections | Updated

This feature enables instructors to search for sections in Question Library by section title, as well as the ability to select and import the section in its entirety from the search results list. Previously, you could only search for questions by question text and you could not select sections in the search results.

Quiz Builder – Enhanced question reordering | New

To simplify the movement and reordering of questions in Quiz Builder, a new Move To option is visible when a question is selected. The Move To option allows questions to be moved to the Top of the Quiz, Bottom of the Quiz, or to a specific section within the quiz.

Previously, to move multiple questions into a section, instructors had to individually drag the questions into the desired section. Now, instructors can select multiple questions and move them all at once using the Move Tomenu. The drag and drop reordering of questions has not been affected by this feature and remains available.