Technology Assistance Center Newsletter

January 2021

A look at the upcoming changes and improvements to Brightspace that will take effect during the last week of January 2021, Webex updates, I.T. news, and more!

Spring Semester Begins on Monday!

Here are some quick reminders for things you need to have done by Monday morning for each of your courses.


In addition to the absolutely required things listed above, if you need to have course sections combined, please be sure that you have not added content to the shells prior to combining them (all content added prior to combining sections will be lost) and that you request the sections be combined as soon as possible by sending an email to elearning@gfcmsu.edu with the specific sections of the course you want merged into one. Once I receive the request, I will process it and reply to let you know that your new combined shell will be available the next day.

New Equipment & Training

The IT Department has been hard at work installing and configuring the new high quality cameras and microphones in the classrooms. This new equipment will make it easier for instructors to stream and record their live classroom sessions and remove the need for instructors to request temporary cameras and microphones on a case-by-case basis, as the equipment in the rooms are permanent fixtures.

The IT Department, in conjunction with the Teaching and Learning Center, will be providing training for the use of this equipment, as well as documentation.


Brightspace Upcoming Changes

Assignments – Consistent evaluation experience | New (December release)

D2L is rolling out a new more consistent evaluation experience. They are making it available for a limited time on an opt-in basis, as they have done with other tools that received similar updates. At this time, you should see an option to opt-in to use the new evaluation experience and have an option to switch back, if desired, for the time being.

Assignments – Multiple rubric support in consistent evaluation experience | Updated (January release)

If an assignment includes multiple rubrics, they are all visible to instructors using the consistent evaluation experience. Instructors are also able to choose the default scoring rubric. Previously, the consistent evaluation experience would only display one rubric on the assignment evaluation screen.

Quizzes – Improved workflow for creating multi-select questions | New (December release)

When instructors initially launch the Question Editor to create a multi-select question, the interface displays the two main components of a multi-select question: the question and potential answers. Selecting a field displays a pop-up toolbar for formatting the text and adding images, links, and graphical equations. As each field is completed, the preview pane displays how the question and answers appear to learners.

Next, instructors can choose to click Options to add the following optional information to the multi-select question: Add Feedback, Add Hint, Add Short Description, and Add Enumeration.

Instructors can then choose to randomize the order of answers, assign points, and determine how points are assigned to blanks.

For determining how points are assigned to blanks, a new grading type is available in the classic and new multi-select question experience: Correct Answers, Limited Selections. For this grading type, points are evenly distributed across correct answers only. The number of selections allowed is limited to the number of correct answers. Learners earn partial points for each correct answer selected.

Quizzes – Improvements to the ability to retake incorrect questions in quizzes | New (December release)

Building on the Quizzes – Retake incorrect questions in subsequent attempts | New, there are several improvements to increase the value of the feature:

  • It is now possible to create a quiz with retake incorrect question option using Brightspace API. This feature will add the IsRetakeIncorrectOnly field to the QuizReadData, QuizData and QuizAttemptData JSON structures.
  • Administrators and Instructors can now identify retaken attempts in the Attempt log.
  • Instructors can now identify a Retaken Attempt while grading a quiz in the Quizzes tool on the User tab and the Attempts tab.

Brightspace Learning Environment – Supported browsers | Updated (January release)

Brightspace Learning Environment’s browser version check now displays warnings for browsers earlier than the following versions:

  • Google® Chrome™ 85 (released Aug 2020)
  • Apple® Safari® 13 (released in September 2019)
  • Mobile Apple Safari 12 (released in October 2018)
  • Mozilla® Firefox® 80 (released August 2020)
  • Chromium-based Microsoft® Edge 85 (released August 2020)
  • All versions of Microsoft Edge Legacy (in preparation for Microsoft’s end-of-support in March 2021)

You can access Brightspace Learning Environment with older versions of our supported browsers; however, D2L does not test Brightspace Learning Environment against these older versions. This means you may encounter unexpected user interface behavior and appearance or broken and unsupported functionality. In most cases, D2L does not fix software defects experienced in unsupported browser versions. For an optimal experience that offers better performance, accessibility, and security, D2L strongly recommends that all users access Brightspace Learning Environment with a supported browser.

Readspeaker – Integration enhancements | Updated (January release)

ReadSpeaker functionality is now available to instructors and learners in Assignments and Quizzes. ReadSpeaker converts text to speech, making text-based Assignments and Quizzes available to a wider audience. The ReadSpeaker icon is visible when viewing assignment instructions, evaluating assignments, taking or previewing a quiz, and evaluating quizzes.


Webex Updates and News

Improved Layout Control

Following suit with the control bar, we’ve optimized the layout controls to a single button, labeled Layout. We’ve also added the option to Hide non-video participants to this menu for easy access.

We’ve updated the names of the views to be more consistent with the device experience:

  • Active speaker and thumbnail video view is now called, Stage view
  • Active speaker video view is now called, Focus view
  • Video strip view is now called, Stack view
  • Floating panel view is now called, Fullscreen view

Remove Background Noise from Meetings in Mobile App

Similar to Webex Meetings desktop app, mobile users will now be able to take advantage of our new background noise detection and filtering feature that was released for Desktop in 40.10. All the same benefits available to Desktop users will be available to mobile app users as well.


Spring 2021