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:
When evaluating an assignment submission, the user interface has been updated slightly. The Next Student and Previous Student buttons above the submission and learner information have been replaced by forward and back chevrons that display in the immersive navigation bar. Previously, these buttons were displayed across the entire width of the page. The information on which user you are evaluating (e.g. 1 of 12) displays between the back and forward chevrons.
Figure: Evaluating an assignment with the new immersive navigation bar.
To provide a more consistent experience, there have been changes to update the language, interface controls, and workflows throughout Brightspace Learning Environment.
The language and methods by which instructors make activities hidden or visible to learners across different tools is now consistent. Changes include:
The Instructor view of the list page of several tools now has consistent icons in a consistent order for activity restrictions. Changes include:
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:
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:
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:
In addition, there are other consistency updates throughout the Brightspace Learning Environment:
As previously announced in the August 2019/20.19.8 release, Microsoft Internet Explorer is approaching End of Life (EOL) status as a supported browser. Starting January 2020, Brightspace Learning Environment will no longer support Internet Explorer. To provide more visibility about this upcoming change, when an existing user logs in to Brightspace Learning Environment using Internet Explorer, a banner now informs the user about the approaching EOL date. The banner also includes a recommendation to upgrade their browser and a link to the EOL communication on the Brightspace Community. After logging in, the user can dismiss the banner for that session. For each subsequent session, the banner displays; however, the user can dismiss it.
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.
Figure: The Internet Explorer End of Life banner on the login page.
Figure: The Internet Explorer End of Life banner in Brightspace Learning Environment.
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 updates. For an optimal experience, D2L recommends installing the latest version of Brightspace Pulse on Apple devices with iOS 11 or higher.
You can now add attachments to automated email messages when creating and editing intelligent agents. The intelligent agent email template contains an Attachments area that enables you to upload local files, select from available course files, or record audio. Attachment size is based on the email attachment size setting for your organization.
Figure: The Attachments area now appears when creating or editing Intelligent Agents emails messages.
When evaluating a quiz submission, the user interface has been updated slightly. The Next Student and Previous Student buttons above the submission and learner information have been replaced by forward and back chevrons that display in the immersive navigation bar. Previously these buttons were displayed across the entire width of the page. The information on which user you are evaluating (e.g. 1 of 12) now displays between the back and forward chevrons.
Figure: Evaluating a quiz with the new immersive navigation bar.
In the past, users with appropriate permissions to preview and grade quizzes could use the Enter In-Progress Quiz as User feature to create a restricted impersonation session. They could then use the impersonation session to submit the quiz on behalf of the user. Now, administrators can control the ability to preview and grade in-progress quizzes using the Enter In-Progress Quiz as User permission. With this change, users marking quizzes no longer need to have impersonation permissions, administrators can be sure that there are no privacy infringement issues, and instructors will not accidentally infringe on a learner's privacy.
When an instructor attaches a remote plug-in via a Quicklink to a message or assignment post, the plug-in now renders inline as an embedded attachment. This allows users to view the material without navigating away from Activity Feed. Previously, a remote plug-in attachment rendered as a simple web link.
Figure: An Activity Feed post with a remote plug-in attachment
To allow instructors and learners to share more material in a course, users can now paste embed codes directly into the body of message posts. These embed codes automatically attach and display inline for all users to view and interact with.
Figure: An Activity Feed post with an embed code attachment
Users can now attach web links to message and assignment posts by pasting them into the body of messages or the instructions of assignments. The display of link attachments has also been enhanced to show a thumbnail and description, if available. Previously, links could only be added to posts by the Click and Attach workflow and the display was limited to a simple link icon and title.
Figure: An Activity Feed post with the new link styling containing a thumbnail preview and description
When an instructor enters a grade for an assignment submission in the standard or spreadsheet view of Grade Book, the grade also appears with the submission in Assignments. Previously, grades entered in the Assignment tool were passed on to Grade Book; however, grades for assignment submissions entered in Grade Book were not passed to the Assignments tool. This change ensures data consistency between Assignments and Grade Book. Currently Assignment grades are not synchronized when the Assignment tool is updated by the Brightspace API or when Grade Book is exported and imported.
Note: This synchronization only occurs for new grade entries. Existing grade data for assignment submissions will not automatically be migrated because it would impact all past data and reports.
This feature implements PIE items D3610, and D391.
To help keep learners up to date on course activity, Brightspace Pulse now displays Activity Feed notifications in the Updates tab, for example, messages and links to course materials and external resources. Tapping an Activity Feed notification displays the post in Brightspace Pulse.
When an instructor enters a grade for a discussion in the standard or spreadsheet view of Grade Book, the grade also appears with the discussion post in Discussions. Previously, grades entered in the Discussion were passed on to Grade Book; however, grades for discussions entered in Grade Book were not passed to the Discussions tool. This change ensures data consistency between Discussions and Grade Book. Currently Discussion grades are not synchronized when the Discussion tool is updated by the Brightspace API or when Grade Book is exported and imported.
Note: This synchronization only occurs for new grade entries. Existing grade data for discussions will not automatically be migrated because it would impact all past data and reports.
This feature implements PIE items D3610 and D391.
The Completed content topic is a new release condition that is met when a user completes a content topic. The method of completing the topic depends on the type, such as viewing a file or submitting an assignment. Similar to the currently available Visited content topic release condition, optional topics can also trigger this release condition.
This release condition ignores exemptions, meaning that if the learner completes the activity, the release condition can be met, regardless of the activity being required, optional, or exempt.
Figure: The Completed content topic release condition is now available from the Condition Type drop-down list.
Welcome Back! The D2L Services office has been working on new updates and new integrations over the summer.
Ready to take your D2L courses to the next level? D2L Subscription training provides faculty and staff unlimited access to on-demand and live D2L training. It provides convenient access to training anytime, anywhere. In addition to flexible access, some additional features are:
Find out more information on how to register for subscription training.
What does the new rubric experience look like?
In summary, here are the key new best practices to keep in mind:
Kaltura Capture is a personal recording solution for your Mac or PC that is integrated with My Media (Kaltura) and D2L. It allows you to record multiple inputs, such as your computer's screen, webcam, and microphone. Once it is installed, you're only one click away from recording your next course introduction or lecture video. Give it a try to turn your voice-over-PowerPoints into interactive embedded videos. Find out more on how to download and use the software on our website.
All videos added to your My Meda (Kaltura) now have automatic, machine-generated closed captions. These captions are editable within My Media. The machine-generated captions are intended to be a base for creating accurate captions with the editor and also to enable users the ability to search and interact with transcript while watching a video. Read more about this feature on our Kaltura Closed Captioning page.
The Course Overview widget is a dashboard on your course homepage that allows you to see some data about course access and engagement.
The widget displays high-level aggregate information about the course and links to course-specific reports. For example, the widget can display a visualization of weekly course access (the Course Access report as a bar chart) and how many learners submitted quizzes today. In addition, the widget includes links to the Class Engagement tool, and Course Access and Tool Access reports. More information on the Course Overview widget can be found on our help page.
The D2L technical support specialists at the 24/7 Technical Support help desk are trained to assist users on a variety of topics including:
The following changes are visible in Activity Feed:
Figure: Before and after view of Activity Feed
To improve the delivery of course notifications in Brightspace Learning Environment, the Notifications option, available from the username on the minibar, includes the following changes:
If any of the removed notification options are currently selected, learners will no longer receive these notifications after the monthly update. To receive content-related instant notifications, D2L recommends using the Brightspace Pulse mobile app or select the Email option for the instant notification type on the Notifications page. Email content notifications remain unaffected.
This feature implements PIE item D2203.
Figure: The new Summary of Activity option in Notifications
New clients can no longer access Brightspace Learning Environment using Microsoft Internet Explorer. If users attempt to access Brightspace Learning Environment using Internet Explorer, an unsupported page appears. The unsupported page contains links to download supported browsers and a link to the Community End of Life communication. The text of the unsupported page is customizable using the Language Management tool. Users cannot log in to Brightspace Learning Environment using any version of Internet Explorer.
When a user tries to access Brightspace Learning Environment using any version of Internet Explorer, a retro pop-up dialog box appears. The text in the retro pop-up dialog box has been updated to include the January 2020 end of life date information. Users who had previously dismissed the pop-up will see it again following the August update if Brightspace is accessed using any version of Internet Explorer. The pop-up can be dismissed again and will not reappear with subsequent updates. Sites that have explicitly turned off the retro pop-up dialog box for their entire org are not affected.
The OpenDyslexic font is intended to increase readability of text for users with dyslexia. D2L introduced this font into Brightspace Learning Environment as a measure of support for users with dyslexia, based on interest from clients and initially positive media reports. However, to date, there is no empirical evidence that it improves readability or comprehension for users with dyslexia. To ensure that D2L offers true accessibility solutions and that we align our design system and development practices with the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 Level AA Criteria), the OpenDyslexic font is removed in the August 2019 release.
For more information, see the Intent To End Of Life Notice For: OpenDyslexic Font Option In Account Settings blog post.
When composing email messages, users can select Insert Image to add pictures from their computer, a URL, or Manage Files. Images are inserted in place, attached to the email, and display in place for the recipient. The Insert Stuff button is no longer shown in Email, as it has several workflows that are incompatible with the external email experience.
This feature implements PIE items D871, D5458, D2163.
Intelligent Agents now re-evaluate the status of release conditions at the moment of triggering to determine whether a user has completed a particular release condition or not. Previously, Intelligent Agents retained release condition information from users, even if users no longer triggered the retained release condition.
This feature implements PIE item D3497.
Instructors can now restore deleted quiz attempts for learners from within a quiz using the new Quiz Attempt log. The New Quiz Attempt log tracks quiz attempt submissions per user, in both an overview and detailed set of logs.
The following actions are captured in the Overview:
Figure: The Overview tab on the Attempt Logs page
The Restore button appears when a quiz attempt is deleted for a user. Instructors can access the attempt logs from the Quiz name drop-down menu and in the Grade Quiz area. The ability to see the Restore button beside deleted attempts is now controlled by the renamed Reset and Restore Attempts permission.
The Detailed Quiz Log captures the following actions:
As part of our ongoing commitment to design and develop against WC3 accessibility best practices, there are updates to our shared web components, such as fonts, buttons, menus, and input fields, to ensure they align with WCAG 2.1 standards. These changes include:
These changes will improve readability and provide better ability to meet contrast compliance with non-text elements. 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. These compliance changes contain no changes to workflows; all changes are look and feel only.
Instructors can pin more than one post to the top of their Activity Feed. Previously, only one post could be pinned at a time. This allow instructors to highlight more than one important post at a time to ensure that students do not miss critical posts.
This feature implements PIE item D4635.
Figure: Multiple posts pinned to the top of the feed
Activity Feed posts can now be sent to specific sections in a course. Previously, posts and comments were available to all users in a course and could not be restricted based on section. If an instructor is enrolled in more than one section of a course, they can specify which sections can view the post. Instructors can also filter their course activity feed by a section, allowing them to focus on posts from a specific section.
This feature implements PIE item D3952.
Figure: Select which section(s) you want to view a post
An Edit Categories option is now available in Assignments to allow users to edit all categories from one page. You can add, modify, delete, and sort categories, as well as manage unused categories. If a category with assignments is deleted, those assignments are added to the No Category area.
This feature implements PIE items D1858, and D1913.
Figure: Select Edit Categories from the Assignments page
Figure: Manage all categories from one page
Class Progress has two Content tool indicator graphs: Content Visited and Content Completed. In this release, the default is switching from Content Visited to Content Completed to better reflect learner progress through the completion of Content activities. The change will apply to all users who utilize the default settings of Class Progress. Any users that have overridden any of their Class Progress indicators will not see a change. Users who want to have Content Completed appear can switch indicators using the Class Progress settings in their course.
If a user does not upload a user profile image in Brightspace Learning Environment, the navbar now displays the user's initials in the user-profile badge. This change occurs for all roles and displays in the Brightspace Learning Environment navbar and Activity Feed. Previously, if a profile image was not uploaded, a blank user image displayed.
Figure: A blank user image previously displayed in the navbar
Figure: User initials now display in the navbar
To improve the learner experience when taking a survey, the following updates are now available:
This feature implements PIE items D4528, and D1023.
There are changes to lang term values to increase the clarity of the fields in the Updates Widget, the My Courses Widget, and Assignments (displayed in Grades) to more clearly describe the capability of the feature.
In the Updates widget:
In Assignments (displayed in Grades):
As of May 31, 2019, Binder is no longer supported by D2L. Binder will no longer work
with Brightspace, and it will be removed from the Apple AppStore and Google Play app
Users who have Binder can continue to use it after May 31, however, no further maintenance or update of the app will be available. Be advised that over time, the app will stop working as the operating systems that Binder depends on incur updates.
For users who want to access course materials offline, D2L recommends the Brightspace Pulse app for iOS and Android which is free to download from the Apple AppStore and Google Play store.
This feature provides instructors the option to save feedback on assessments in draft
state prior to publishing it to learners. Now when instructors add feedback to assessments,
the Save Draft and Publish buttons display.
Note: The Save Draft button does not appear when a discussion topic is only associated with a rubric.
Figure: General Feedback page with the Publish and Save Draft buttons
Now instructors can evaluate quiz attempts in full-screen mode. This update enhances an instructor's quiz evaluation experience.
Figure: Quiz evaluation in full-screen mode
Learners can now create Activity Feed posts on a course homepage. Previously, learners were only able to comment on posts created by their instructors. A new posting option in the Manage commenting and posting widget dialog allows instructors to enable or disable learners from posting in their course feed.
As part of the Learners can create posts update, user profile images now display beside each post to provide a visual representation of the contributor. Previously, a message or assignment icon displayed to indicate the type of post. Also, inline feed updates now alert users that new posts have been added to Activity Feed since arriving on the course homepage.
Figure: Profile image displays with posts, and alert indicates that new posts are available
When instructors evaluate assignments and new or updated feedback is published, email instant notifications are available for learners. Users are able to select these options in the Notifications tool.
Users with the See Rubrics permission enabled can now create Quicklinks directly to Rubrics with the Rubric is visible to Students setting enabled. In addition, users with the Manage Rubrics permission enabled can also access Manage Rubrics at the bottom of the Quicklinks menu. The See Rubrics permission is not required for students to access quicklinked Rubrics that are visible to students and associated to a tool for evaluation.
The icons used to attach content to Activity Feed posts have been updated.
Figure: Previous attachment icons in Activity Feed
Figure: Updated attachment icons in Activity Feed
This feature includes the following improvements:
ile types as assignment submissions.
Figure: Publish All Feedback
The ReadSpeaker integration now displays the ReadSpeaker controls when interacting
with applicable content. Previously, users needed to click a speaker icon in order
to display the ReadSpeaker controls.
Figure: The ReadSpeaker controls replace the speaker icon, requiring fewer steps to access ReadSpeaker controls
Assignment Grader – EduDentity login support | Removed
Assignment Grader no longer supports EduDentity log in. Instructors now log in to Assignment Grader using their Brightspace Learning Environment credentials. Assignment submissions are converted using the Document Conversion Service (DoCS) to allow instructors to annotate all document types.
Assignment Grader - Evaluate On Paper and Observed in person submission types | Updated
iOS and Android versions of the Assignment Grader application now support On paper, and Observed in person submission types. Instructors can evaluate all of their assignments using the application; including those that do not require a file or text submission.
Assignments - Improvements to Assignments List view | Updated
When accessing Assignments, the list view now displays updated information. Previously instructors would see information on the assignment name, Total Submissions, Unread Submissions, Flagged Submissions, and Due Date. Now instructors see information on the assignment name, the number of learners who have completed the assignment, the number of learners who have been evaluated, the number of learners who have had feedback published, and the Due Date. This allows instructors to quickly determine what assignments they need to evaluate, how far along they are with their evaluations, and if they have published the evaluations.
Learners also have an updated view of the assignments list, and are now able to see the assignment name, the Completion Status (Not Submitted, Submitted, Completed), their Score, The Evaluation Status (Not yet evaluated, Feedback: unread, Feedback: read), and the Due Date. This change to the list view allows learners to easily locate unfinished assignments, as well as access their scores and view instructor feedback on their work.
Users have the ability to opt-in to the new experience, remain withe current one, or toggle between the two.
Figure: Existing Assignments list view for instructors
Figure: New Assignments list view for instructors
Figure: Existing Assignments list view for learners
Figure: New Assignments list view for learners
Groups - Create new submission types | Updated
The new On paper and Observed in person submission types available in Assignments can now be created from the Groups tool.
HTML Editor - Descriptive error message for quicklinks to unavailable activities| Updated
A specific error message now appears to users who click a quicklink to an activity that is outside the availability dates (not yet available or no longer available). The error message appears for the following unavailable activity types:
Activity Feed - Attachment icons display when editing scheduled posts
For a consistent user experience in Activity Feed, attachment icons now display when editing attachments in a scheduled (planned) post. Previously, attachment options displayed as text only.
Figure: Attachment icons that display when editing a scheduled post in Activity Feed
Assignments - Change assignment and submission type
If no learner submissions have been made to an assignment, instructors can change the assignment type and submission type. This allows for existing assignments to be modified without the need to create a new assignment.
Assignments - Evaluate submissions by clicking learner name
On the Submissions page, instructors can now click on a learner's name to access the Evaluate Submission page. Previously this action allowed instructors to email learners. Emails can still be sent from the Submissions page by selecting the check box beside a learner's name, and clicking Email.
Assignments - Improved evaluation experience | Updated
The Evaluate Submission page has been updated to improve the evaluation experience for instructors with the following features:
To download a submission, instructors now click on the submission's file name.
The Markup Document button has been replaced by a Launch Turnitin link for assignments that have Turnitin enabled.
The Publish and Save Draft buttons now display at the bottom of the page and are not confined to the Evaluation and Feedback pane.
An additional link to access the Next Student now displays next to the Publish and Save Draft buttons at the bottom of the page.
Figure: Download submissions by selecting the file name, and markup documents using the Launch Turnitin button
Figure: Publish, Save Draft, and Next Student options grouped together at the bottom of the Evaluate Submission page
Assignments - Turnitin Version 2
D2L and Turnitin have released a new version of the Turnitin integration (Version 2), which will be available for new assignments beginning December 20, 2018. Exciting new features and functionality including updates to the grading experience, streamlined D2L Assignment interface and an improved feedback experience. Learn more about Turnitin version 2 on our tuturial page.
Quizzes - Add initial text to the answers for Written Response questions
Instructors can add initial text to the answers for Written Response questions in the new Question Experience. Previously instructors could not add initial text into the answers for Written Response questions. This feature can be useful for questions where students are required to input answers into a table.
Quizzes - Opt-in for New Quiz Experience removed
Users can no longer opt out of the new quiz experience.
Rubrics - Display graded rubric feedback in Gradebook | Updated
The user experience for rubrics has been improved to allow learners to view their graded rubric feedback in Gradebook for discussions, assignments, and quizzes. For instructors, this change impacted how they used rubrics with activities. They could assess discussions, assignments or quizzes from the corresponding tool, and the completed rubric displayed in its entirety in Gradebook (if the activity had a linked grade).
Assignments - Anonymous Marking in D2L | Updated
Anonymous marking in Assignments features the following updates:
Assignments - Evaluate submissions page displays in full screen
The Evaluate Submission page no longer displays navbar links. This provides instructors with more screen space to view and evaluate assignments.
Quizzes - Quizzes display in full screen
Quizzes now display in full screen. When a learner clicks Start Quiz, the navbar disappears. This provides additional screen space for the quiz by removing unnecessary navigation elements from view.
Widgets - Visual updates to My Courses Widget course tiles | Updated
To provide added value and ease of use to the My Courses widget, the following changes are now available with the widget course cards: