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Technology Assistance Center Newsletter
August 2020

A look at the upcoming changes and improvements to the Brightspace learning environment that will take effect during the last week of August and more!

Fall 2020 Semester

The Fall term is nearly upon us and that means you may need course shells combined, course content copied, or have other requests for the eLearning arm of the Technology Assistance Center. Please be sure to send all requests for these types of updates to elearning@gfcmsu.edu or fill out the form at http://elearning.gfcmsu.edu/d2lsupport.html. Doing so allows us to better track these requests to make sure we can handle all of your requests as efficiently as possible.

Here are a few other pre-semester things to keep in mind:

  • Do not add content to any courses prior to requesting they be combined. The process that combines the shells creates a brand new empty shell.
  • We can only copy course content from one course to another if the request comes from the person who taught the course to be copied, department chair, or the division director.
  • We will be creating the course evaluations a couple of weeks into the Fall term, so if you teach courses that are listed in Banner with different end dates than your course actually runs and you need the evaluations to run sooner than the last two weeks of the term, please send this in a request to elearning@gfcmsu.edu.
  • The first block of the Fall term starts on August 17th, so please remember to have your courses active on or by August 17th, including the instructor widget, welcome announcement, and syllabus.

Webex Education Connector - Webex/D2L Integration

Update: When hosting a Webex meeting using the education connector you will no longer see a password on the screen or be required to enter a password. This change saves a couple of clicks for both instructors and students and makes it that much easier to connect! Woohoo!

We've also tweaked the initial setup a bit to disable the features that we do not yet have access to, making the initial setup for instructors that much easier also!

If you plan on hosting virtual office hours via Webex for your courses or will be hosting any virtual lecture sessions, please check out the Webex Education Connector.

The Webex Education Connector is easy to setup and use and creates a consistent experience for both instructors in creating and joining Webex meetings and for students in scheduling virtual office hours with faculty and in joining Webex meetings right from within their course in Brightspace!

Instructions for how to set it up and more information can be found at the following locations:

Figure: Screenshot of the Education Connector in Brightspace.

Brightspace Upcoming Changes

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

The following additional enhancements are being brought to the new assignment creation experience:

  • Attach release conditions to an assignment.
    Figure: The create and edit assignments page with the release conditions functionality.
  • Align learning outcomes to an assignment from the Learning Outcomes tool.
    Figure: The create and edit assignments page with selected outcomes.
  • When multiple rubrics are attached to an assignment, select a default scoring rubric to be used when scoring an assignment/evaluating a learner
    Figure: List of available rubrics and the option to select the rubric to be used by default when scoring

Assignments - Copy assignment option | New

This feature adds the ability to copy existing assignments. Instructors with the existing permission Add/Edit Assignment Submission Folders can select the Copy Assignment option in the drop-down menu for an existing assignment to quickly create new assignments. This feature copies all settings of an existing assignment except the associated grade item and Turnitin settings, so please note that you will need to create and associate a new grade item and re-enable TurnItIn if you are using it.

Figure: The Copy Assignment option appears in the drop-down menu for existing assignments.

Brightspace Assignment Grader - End-of-life | Removed

Effective August 15, 2020, the Assignment Grader mobile app is no longer available to new users. Existing users may continue to use the app if they have it installed, but no further updates or support will be made available by D2L and the app will be removed from app stores. As an alternative mobile grading option, D2L recommends using the Quick Eval tool in Brightspace Learning Environment.

Checklists - Copy a checklist | New

Instructors can now perform copy actions for checklists. You can copy a whole checklist, a checklist category (including all items within it), or individual items in a checklist.

Figure: The copy option appears in the drop-down menu for a checklist.

Email - Interface improvements and enhanced filtering option | New

Email now features the following enhancements for improved usability:

  • The Compose Email screen now includes a second Send button for enhanced usability.
  • The Email Inbox is redesigned to display the Search Options area to the left of the screen. As well, the Advanced Search Options feature of the Inbox now enables filtering by Read and Unread messages.
Figure: The new Read drop-down selector appears on the Inbox page.

Grades - Unrelease all final grades | New

Grades features a new workflow to quickly undo the release of final grades for a course. Instructors can easily select Unrelease All from the Final Grades drop-down menu.

Figure: The Unrelease All option appears in the drop-down menu for Final Grades.

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).

Figure: The updated Written Response question creation screen.

Quizzes - User experience updates for editing quizzes with attempts | New

To improve the user experience for instructors who edit quizzes with previous attempts by learners, the following updates have been made:

  • Points for past quiz attempts are no longer modified when edits are made that affect the overall points and/or the grading calculations for a quiz. A learner's grade on previous quiz attempts must now be changed directly by the instructor using the Update All Attempts workflow. Previously, the points for all past quiz attempts were modified automatically, which could alter a learner's grade unexpectedly.
  • Warning messages now appear when editing a quiz question with previous attempts to clearly communicate to instructors that editing quiz questions does not affect the content or automatically change the score of learners' past attempts.

Important Notes:

  • The changes in this feature only affect quiz attempts started after the June 2020/20.20.6 release. Quiz attempts started prior to 20.20.6 will retain previous functionality until September 2020/20.20.9.
  • Starting September 2020/20.20.9, this feature will extend to all quiz attempts started before June 2020/20.20.6.
Figure: A warning message appears when accessing the Add/Edit Questions workflow.

Webex Enhancements

Video Layout Enhancements for the Desktop App

In Meetings, Grid View is now the defaul twhen no content is being shared for a more collaborative feeling.

Note: Grid View is still limited to showing a maximum of 6 video system video streams simultaneously at any given time.

Figure: Webex Desktop App Grid View.

Virtual Background - Choose Your Own Custom Image

On Windows and Mac, when selecting a virtual background, you can now choose your own image from your desktop to be used. For the best results, use an image that is greater than or equal to 1280 x 720 pixels.

Note: Windows users who have not previously used the virtual background feature will be prompted to download the virtual background package the first time they choose to use a virtual background.

Figure: Webex Desktop App selecting a custom background image.

Push to Talk

When muted, you can now hold the spacebar down to momentarily unmute. Simply press and hold the spacebar when you want to talk. You'll see an indicator that you are temporarily unmuted. Release the spacebar to go back on to mute.

Figure: Webex Desktop App showing the push to talk functionality.

We're Happy to Help!

If you have any questions about the upcoming changes, troubleshooting questions, or anything else related to Brightspace or the Technology Assistance Center, please let us know!

Visit us in G100,
give us a call at 406-771-4440,
or fill out our support form at http://tac.gfcmsu.edu/ticketform.html.

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