Technology Assistance Center Newsletter

May 2021

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

eLearning News

Summer Semester

The Summer 2021 semester begins on May 17! Here are some quick reminders for things you need to have done prior to the first day of the upcoming semester.

  • Have your content built or copy your content forward from a previous semester.
  • Complete your Instructor Widget by filling out the form on the course homepage. Add a welcome announcement to the course homepage.
  • Upload your syllabus to the Content area.
  • Activate your course.

Please visit the following article in our knowledgebase if you need instructions for any of these steps. https://greatfallscollege.freshservice.com/support/solutions/articles/13000049114

Combining Course Sections

If you need course sections combined, please send those requests to the eLearning Department by sending an email to elearning@gfcmsu.edu. In the email, please list the course number and specific sections you need combined.

Pro Tips

  • Send the request early – Once the request is received and processed the actual combining of the sections into one new section occurs overnight. So, please send your requests as soon as it is confirmed that you are teaching both/all of the sections to be combined.
  • Do not add content to sections before they are combined – During the process of combining the course sections into one any content that was added to the sections prior to joining them will be deleted. If you have already added content and need that content saved prior to the shells being joined, please contact the eLearning Department for instructions.

D2L Fusion Virtual Conference

D2L is, once again, offering their Fusion conference in a virtual format. If you attended the virtual conference in 2020, you may have noticed that having it spread out over a few months made it difficult to keep track of sessions you had interest in attending. D2L has listened to that feedback and is presenting the conference in just two chunks this year!

The conference will be held July 13-15 and 20-22 and is free to register for and attend and our Teaching and Learning Center is planning to host on campus participation in some of the sessions.

Register at https://www.d2l.com/events/fusion/ and stay tuned for more information!


I.T. News

Our I.T. Department is, and will be, hard at work over the Summer with installations, upgrades, and updates. So for the most efficient response, please open a ticket if you have a non-emergent I.T. question or issue.

You can open a ticket by going to http://tac.gfcmsu.edu.

WiFi Upgrades

One of the I.T. projects over the Summer will be upgrading our wireless access points on campus. No planned downtime or changes to how we connect are expected at this time, but if that changes a notification will be sent out ahead of time.

Parking Lot WiFi

Prior to the start of the Fall semester, students will be able to utilize the campus wifi from the northeast side of the north parking lot.

Dental Clinic Network Infrastructure

Cable is currently being pulled throughout the new Dental Clinic to provide the necessary Internet and network infrastructure. In addition, there is a great deal of other Dental Clinic I.T. work that is keeping the team busy and often out of the TAC.

Completion Of Classroom Technology Upgrades

There are still a few classrooms that need ceiling mounted cameras and microphones. This technology will also be installed over the Summer.


Brightspace Upcoming Changes

Assignments – Configuration variable change for the New Assignment Evaluation Experience | Updated

With this setting, the New Assignment Evaluation Experience will appear by default, and instructors will have the option to opt-out until the June 2021 release, at which time the New Assignment Evaluation Experience will become the only option available.

Assignments – Download file when using annotations in the New Assignment Evaluation Experience | New

The New Assignment Evaluation Experience will now include the Download drop-down menu in the Annotations viewer. When using annotations in an assignment, instructors can use this menu to download the original file without navigating to the submission list. Instructors can also download the annotated PDF file.

The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu
Figure: The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu

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 release and will include 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.
Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio
Figure: Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor
  • 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.

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 will provide Copy and Delete options. When an instructor copies a criterion, the new criterion will be 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. 

The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options.
Figure: The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options.

Rubrics – Print or export to PDF | New

To improve the user experience with Rubrics, instructors will now be able to print or download a PDF of a preview or evaluated rubric. Learners will also be able to print or download a PDF of a rubric from the desktop browser implementation of Brightspace Learning Environment. The Print button will display 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.

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.
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.

Brightspace Pro Tip Of The Month

Manage Dates

Did you know that you can manage all of the restriction dates, start and end dates, and due dates from one place in your course?

Use the Manage Dates tool to view, bulk edit, and bulk offset the date availability and set the calendar status of all content topics and modules, discussion topics and forums, assignment submissions folders, grades categories and items, announcement items, quizzes, checklists, and surveys in your course from one central location.

These course objects display in a grid that you can sort by any of the column headings. You can also use the Type column to sort the Manage Dates page based on the tool-specific order and use advanced filter options to work with smaller sets of objects. If you filter your course objects, any bulk changes you make apply only to the filtered results. This enables you to update multiple availability dates based on specific criteria.

In addition to managing dates, you can open each course object in a new window by clicking on its name. This launches the object’s edit page where you can edit additional properties for that object without leaving the Manage Dates tool.

The Manage Dates tool enables you to bulk edit due dates and availability dates of your course content.

  1. On the navbar, click Course Admin.
  2. Click Manage Dates.
  3. Select the check box of the items for which you want to bulk edit dates.
  4. Click Bulk Edit Dates.
  5. In the Bulk Edit Dates dialog box, update the due dates and availability dates.
  6. Click Save.

If you have any questions about Manage Dates, please contact Becky Sullivan or Mandy Wright in the Teaching and Learning Center.