Technology Assistance Center Newsletter
October 2019

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

Assignments and Quizzes- Change to immersive navigation bar | Updated

The evaluate submissions interface in both assignments and quizzes is changing slightly with the "Next Student" and "Previous Student" buttons more clearly identified near the top right corner of the page. Previously, these buttons were extended across the top of the page. They will now be located together in the top right corner and will also show which submission you are currently on out of the total number of submissions you've selected.

Quizzes - Enter as User permission | New

There is a new permission that must be enabled for instructors who may need to enter a quiz attempt as a specific student in order to force their quiz attempt to be submitted. Previously, instructors had this ability but it was through a different setting, that is being replaced with this setting. The functionality should not change but Wayne will need to make this change after our October update.

Brightspace Learning Environment - Improvements to Consistency | Updated

In order to provide a more consistent experience for all Brightspace users, D2L will be implementing the following improvements to the interface.

The language and methods by which instructors make activities hidden or visible to students across different tools will now be consistent, including:

  • The visibility control now uses a checkbox with the consistent terminology Hide from users in all instances. This change affects the Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, Surveys, and Grades (grade item and grade category) tools.
  • In Discussions, the Visibility, Availability Dates, and Locking options move from the Properties tab to the Restrictions tab.
  • The Hide from users checkbox appears under the title field of all activity creation pages in the Content tool.
  • In Content, on the table of contents, there is now a visibility icon button for use with both content topics and modules. The icon serves as a visibility switch. The visibility status of a topic appears when the topic is not visible, when the table of contents is in bulk edit mode, or when a topic is in edit-in-place mode. The table of contents fly-out no longer provides the ability to switch the visibility of a topic or module.
  • In Content, the Hide from users and Make Visible to users options are available in the context menus for topics and modules in the table of contents, and in the context menus of topics on the topics’ detail page.

The instructor view of the list page of several tools will now have consistent icons in a consistent order for activity restrictions. Changes include:

  • All common activity icons appear before tool-specific icons.
  • There is now only one Special Access icon in Quizzes (previously there were two, one for each type of Special Access). The Special Access icon also now appears in Assignments where it previously did not.
  • All icons have been updated to the Daylight style (except the Bonus Grade item, which will be done in a future release).
  • The Exemptions icon now appears on the list pages.
  • Alt-text appears on all icons on the activity pages. In some cases, the alt-text has been changed to provide consistent text across all icons of the same type.

Across many tools, including Quizzes, Surveys, Grades, and Discussions, the Restrictions tab provides the ability to control the visibility status and availability dates for an activity. Changes include:

  • Changes to the Restrictions tabs in Quizzes, Survey, Grades, and Discussions to show Hide from Users with a check box control to turn on or turn off the visibility of the item.
  • Previous sections containing the visibility settings in Surveys, Grades, and Discussions (for Forums and Topics) are renamed to Availability.
  • Availability dates in Grades (for a grade item and grade category) and Discussions (for Forums and Topics) now appear and can be hidden.

There is now a consistent individual and bulk process workflow to hide or show activities. With this workflow, users can quickly change the visibility status from the list of activities without first having to edit the activity. Changes include:

  • In Quizzes, Surveys, and Grades, users can hide or show individual items under the context menu of an individual item or bulk items from the More Actions button at the top of the page.
  • In Discussions, users can hide or show individual items under the context menu of each topic and forum. Bulk hide or show is not available for Discussions.

The language and methods by which instructors save content on the New Activity page (Content tool) are now consistent. Whether the item is visible or not is determined by the Hide from Users permission check box. Changes include:

  • Publish and Save as Draft have been combined into a single button called Save.

In addition, there are other consistency updates throughout the Brightspace Learning Environment:

  • The Completion Method icon in the table of contents in the Content tool is now a menu. If an instructor does not have permission to edit the Completion Method, the icon is displayed and the button menu does not appear.
  • In the Grade book, on the context menu for a grade item, the Grade All option is now Enter Grades.
  • In the Grade Item and Grade Category event log, the Visibility property is now Visibility Status. Status options are now Hidden or Not Hidden.
  • In the Grade Item and Grade Category event log, the End Date Restriction and Start Date Restriction properties are now Availability End Date and Availability Start Date.
  • In the Grade Item and Grade Category event log, changes to the Visibility and Date properties are now logged independently.
  • In Surveys, the display of availability dates on the survey Administrator and User list pages are now consistent with the display currently used in Quizzes.

Brightspace Learning Environment - Supported browsers | Updated

Microsoft Internet Explorer is quickly approaching its End of Life status as a supported browser. Starting in January 2020, Brightspace will no longer support Internet Explorer. With this update, users of Internet Explorer will see a message (shown below) advising them of the upcoming end of support and urging them to use another browser to continue.

Brightspace Pulse - iOS support | Updated

The latest version of Brightspace Pulse is supported on Apple devices with iOS 11 or higher. Older versions of Brightspace Pulse will continue to work on Apple devices with iOS 10, but will not receive any app udpates.

Intelligent Agents - Tool improvements | New

This update will make the following enhancements to Intelligent Agents.

  • Intelligent agents now support attachments and embedded images. Intelligent agent email templates contain an attachment button that enables users to upload files or select from available course files. Attachment size is based on the email attachment size setting for your organization.
  • New permissions checks are now in place that limit assigning roles using intelligent agents. Intelligent agent creators can no longer change another user's enrollments to a role or into a course if the IA creator does not have the adequate permissions. Previously, it was possible to assign a greater set of permissions than the intelligent agent creators themselves had the permissions to do. Now, when the user accesses the Change User Enrollments area, the New Role drop-down menu limits the Enroll options available to the IA creator from the Edit Role Interactions area of the Permissions tool.
Note: This change does not impact any existing intelligent agent.

Quick Eval - Accessibility improvements to Activities view | Updated

To increase the accessibility of the Activities view in Quick Eval, the feature is now compatible with screen reader technology.

Accessibility - Compliance with WCAG 2.1 level AA | Updated

As part of D2L's ongoing commitment to design and develop against WC3 accessibility best practices, the Brightspace Learning Environment 20.19.10/October 2019 release now aligns to the updated WCAG 2.1 level AA standards in both compliance reporting and all new development work. It is D2L’s intention to be an industry leader in inclusive design, and these changes improve support for individuals with alternative fine motor, cognition, and low vision needs. There are no major changes to workflows with these improvements; however, we have updated our shared components, such as fonts, buttons, menus, and input fields to better support WCAG 2.1 level AA requirements and recommendations. These changes include:

  • Adding input type and auto-complete to appropriate fields to facilitate a user’s ability to complete forms.
  • Adding escape key commands where appropriate to components that appear on hover or focus.
  • Updating components that activate on down event to ensure that a user can cancel actions.
  • Improving color contrast on additional components in Brightspace Learning Environment.

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!

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