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Technology Assistance Center Newsletter
July 2020

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

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

Brightspace Supported Browsers | Updated

This release introduces the following updates to browser support for Brightspace Learning Environment

  • Brightspace Learning Environment supports HTML5 Video Player and does not rely on Adobe Flash and Adobe Flash Player. However, you can still create Flash-dependent video content in Brightspace Learning Environment.
  • The concept of a Maintenance browser is removed from the Brightspace Platform Requirements documentation, as this previously related to the now unsupported Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. All supported browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari) deploy using a continuous delivery model and Brightspace supports the latest versions of these browsers.
  • As of the July 2020/20.20.07 release, Firefox ESR is no longer a supported browser, due to extremely low usage. To support clients through this transition, D2L will fix high-priority issues for Firefox 68 ESR (until the end of September 2020) and Firefox 78 ESR (until the January 2021 release).
  • Brightspace Learning Environment's browser version check now displays warnings for browsers earlier than the following versions:
    • Chrome 81 (released in April 2020)
    • Chromium-based Edge 81 (released in April 2020)
    • Edge Legacy 44 (not receiving any further updates)
    • Safari 13 (released in September 2019)
    • Firefox 76 (releases May 5th, 2020)

Assignment Grader | End of life

D2L is ending support for the Assignment Grade mobile app. It has already been removed from the mobile app stores. Any instructors who already have it installed can continue to use it until such time as it ceases to function.

Assignments - Competencies in the new assignment creation experience | Updated

This feature was originally released for the Assignments tool in June 2020/20.20.6. This update includes the capability to add and remove learning objectives from the Competencies tool when used with the new create and edit assignment experience.

The new experience also displays a warning if a learning objective does not have an associated rubric, as objectives must have an associated rubric in order to be evaluated.

Figure: The create and edit Assignments page with the Manage Learning Objectives functionality and warning.

When a user opts in to the new experience, the Manage Learning Objectives functionality appears under the Evaluation & Feedback accordion if the Competencies tool is enabled and if the user is not using the Learning Outcomes tool.

The new Assignment creation experience remains in opt-in mode. We encourage you to enable it. As an instructor, if you are opting out of the new experience, a prompt appears encouraging you to leave feedback. We will continue to add features each month as we enable more advanced capabilities that will be documented in future release notes.

Email - Verify email address changes | New

Previously, users were able to add a forwarding email address, or add a reply to address without verifying their email address.

Now, when users add a forwarding email address, or add a reply to address, they receive an email prompting them to verify their email address.

Grades - Text file imports into grade book | Updated

This feature releases a new org level configuration variable, to enable institutions to choose how they want to process the import of text files into the grade book; as either comma delimited or tab delimited files. Unless there is a need to change it, GFC MSU is leaving this setting as comma delimited.

Quizzes - Quiz Builder configuration variable resets to On | Updated

This feature was originally released for the Quizzes tool in January 2020/20.20.1. This update now resets the d2l.Tools.Quizzes.NewQuizBuilderExperience configuration variable to On at the instance/organization level.

The course/department value of this configuration variable defaults to the value set at the instance/org level, unless it has been set to something else at the course level. If clients have explicitly set the value of the configuration variable at the course/department level, it continues to use that value, ignoring the instance/organization value change, and is not reset to On. If the configuration variable has not been set at the course/department level, it respects the new instance/organization value and forces the new experience to On.

Rubrics - Accessibility improvements in Rubric creation workflow | Updated

This feature was originally released for the Rubrics tool in June 2020/20.20.6. This update includes the following accessibility improvements in the rubric creation workflow:

  • When you change the names of levels in the rubric create or edit experience, screen readers now read the updated name rather than the original default level names.
  • Screen readers now indicate when new levels, criterion, groups, and overall score levels are added to a rubric. Previously, there was no loading progress indicator.
  • Screen readers now state that there is a new level, criterion, group, or overall score level.
  • The keyboard navigation tab sequence is improved when navigating to the Add and Cancel buttons in the Outcomes Picker window.

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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