March’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Grades – Exempt a learner from multiple grade items

The grade exemption workflow in Grades has been updated to allow instructors to exempt learners from multiple grade items at one time, through the use of multi-select check boxes.

Bulk exemptions of grade items

Bulk exemptions of grade items

SCORM – New Brightspace SCORM solution

A new SCORM solution is available for the Brightspace platform. This solution does not replace the original one, but is an alternative option. The new features and improvements include the following:

  • Integrates a new, robust SCORM Engine and Content Player to support importing, playing, and tracking interaction data for all versions of SCORM.
  • Basic search capabilities of an instructor’s own SCORM content.
  • Static and dynamic linking of SCORM objects, and linking to multiple courses.
  • Makes use of the new SCORM Engine to open and play SCORM objects in a new browser tab to optimize screen real estate, instead of objects playing inline as they do in the existing solution.
  • Equivalent navigation between the Brightspace Learning Environment interface and the SCORM interface, and between versions 1.2 and 2004 of SCORM objects.
  • Users are only marked for one attempt on the content when they open the SCORM object in full screen mode, instead of being marked for an additional attempt as they are in the existing solution. Additionally, SCORM objects in full screen no longer play over top of objects playing inline since in the new solution, SCORM objects automatically open and play in a new window.
  • Has its foundation in the new Content Service, which provides standardized content access and management.
  • Resides in AWS

The new SCORM solution still allows users to do the following:

  • Instructors can import, export, and copy courses that include course content and SCORM objects, both SCORM 1.2 and 2004.
  • Learners can play and interact with a course that includes course content and SCORM objects, both SCORM 1.2 and 2004.
  • Instructors can view high-level interaction data for their SCORM objects. In the future, more detailed interaction data will be available.

Instructors can connect SCORM objects with grade items that automatically enter into a grade book, if that functionality is enabled within their instance.

New SCORM Object option in the Content tool

New SCORM Object option in the Content tool

New SCORM Object selection/upload dialog window with basic search field

New SCORM Object selection/upload dialog window with basic search field

Static and dynamic linking options

Static and dynamic linking options

SCORM Object in a content module with Open in New Window option

SCORM Object in a content module with Open in New Window option

Sample SCORM Object open and ready to play in new browser tab

Sample SCORM Object open and ready to play in new browser tab

January’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Supported browser changes

As of this release, Desire2Learn no longer supports the following browsers:

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 10 (IE10)
  • Apple® Safari® 6, 7, and 8

For a complete list of supported browsers, see https://community.brightspace.com/resources/documentation/platform_requirements/brightspaceplatformrequirements.

Discussions – Improvements to group discussions

New Topic workflow – When you are creating a new topic, on the Properties tab, the topic type defaults to Open topic. Administrators and instructors can select the new Group or section topic option instead. Once you create and save the topic, you cannot change the topic type. If you selected the topic type as open, you can access the original Group Restrictions area on the Restrictions tab.

New topic Properties tab

New topic Properties tab

New Group Category workflow – To create a new group category the original way, select the Create one topic per group radio button. To create group categories the new way, select the Create one topic with threads separated by group radio button.

Create group discussion – original way

Create group discussion – original way

Create group discussion – new option

Create group discussion – new option

Creating / reading / participating in group discussions – One discussion topic is created for an entire group and posts within it are associated with specific groups. As a result, instructors observe less scrolling on the discussion list. Instructors can use the new All Groups filter on the topic to view all posts or to only view posts for a specific group. Inside a discussion thread, users can see which group the thread belongs to.

New thread – choice of group

New thread – choice of group

Group filter

Group filter

View discussion thread

View discussion thread

Assessments – Only one grade item is required. This makes assessing discussion topics faster as instructors do not have to navigate in and out of topics to complete an assessment.

Copying groups – Now, when instructors copy groups to new courses, the group setup (grade item, assessment option, etc.) is also copied over.

There is no change in workflow for learners as they can only see one discussion topic and the posts within it that are associated with their group, as expected.

Discussions – Reading view user interface changes

When viewing a discussion topic, the properties are now listed together, directly below the topic’s name. This includes availability and locking information along with other details set by the instructor. The filtering options are now displayed in a Filter by drop-down list above individual posts to allow sorting by unread, flagged, and unapproved posts.

Topic properties and filtering options have an updated look

Topic properties and filtering options have an updated look

December’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Announcements – Link directly to an announcement

This feature allows instructors to link directly to individual announcements by using the Insert Quicklink button from the HTML Editor. It simplifies the process of referencing announcements and bringing them to the attention of learners.

Select Announcements from the Course Materials list

Select Announcements from the Course Materials list

Select the announcement you want to link to

Select the announcement you want to link to

Assignments – Assignment submission email notifications

When instructors create or edit an assignment submission folder, they can now fill in a Notification Email field in the Properties tab. This allows instructors to receive email notification when a new submission is uploaded, and helps instructors manage folder submissions and perform grading on recently submitted assignments.

Notification Email field in submission folder properties

Notification Email field in submission folder properties

Grades – Grade book workflow and updated calculations for exemptions

Instructors can now use an exemption as a reason why a learner has not completed a grade item. Previously, a blank grade could mean the learner hasn’t submitted the item, and a zero (0) could mean either exempt, ungraded, or failure. Having a specific exemption setting supports the differentiation for learners. Instructors can now exempt numeric, selectbox, pass/fail, calculated, formula, and text item types; however, instructors cannot exempt a learner from a final calculated grade or a final adjusted grade.

When an instructor exempts a grade item for a learner, the following pages are affected:

  • Instructor pages: Enter Grades, Grade User, Grade Category, Grade Item, Import Preview.
  • Learner pages: My Grades.
  • User Progress: Summary and Grades tabs.
  • Grade Category and Grade User pages display exemptions, but do not support adding or removing exemptions.
Instructors can exempt a learner from an assignment. The exemption appears in the Scheme field of the grade table.

Instructors can exempt a learner from an assignment. The exemption appears in the Scheme field of the grade table.

Grades – Exempted grade item effects on release conditions

Instructors can set release conditions to provide new content to learners after a particular grade item is complete. Since Grade Exemptions do not count as completed grade items nor do they count as incomplete grade items, there are two release conditions that are affected by exemptions:

  • Grade value on grade item
  • No grade received

These release items now respect the exemption and do not trigger on the presence of a grade exemption.

Grades – Show exempted grade items in Class Progress

Exempted grades appear in the Grades tab on a learner’s User Progress page, but do not appear in the Grades section of the Summary Tab or the bar graph for received grades at the top of both Grades sections.

Grade Exemptions appear on the learner's User Progress page.

Grade Exemptions appear on the learner’s User Progress page.

 

November’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Assignments – Rubrics open in new window

Previously, when instructors opened rubrics within Assignments, the rubrics appeared in a dialog that covered the assignment submission. Rubrics will now open in a separate, movable window when instructors view assignment submissions.

Intelligent Agents – Tool Improvements

New features and functionality for Intelligent Agents:

  • Scheduled intelligent agents stop running and are automatically disabled if the course is inactive, over (end date passed), or deleted. You can still set up a practice run or a manual run of an intelligent agent at any time in a course with a passed end date.
  • Users can now multi-select and delete agents on the Agent List page. The new Restore Agents page allows you to restore deleted agents. All restored agents maintain existing properties and history. Deleted agents do not run if they have a recurring schedule.

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  • The Practice Run and Run Now options work on disabled agents. You no longer have to enable the agent prior to selecting these options. The enable/disable status only affects scheduled runs and not the agent. Enabled now means that the schedule is enabled for an agent.
  • There are three new replace strings available for use when composing the email sent with an agent:
    • {LastLoginDate} – The date the initiating user last logged in or Never if they have not logged in. This lang term can be edited. The date format is Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:39 AM EDT, for example.
    • {LastCourseAccessDate} – The date the initiating user last accessed the course or Never if they have not accessed the course. This lang term can be edited. The date format is Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:39 AM EDT, for example. This feature implements PIE item D2762.
    • {OrgUnitId} – The org unit ID required to make quicklinks work in the emails sent with an agent.
  • There is inline help for replace strings with updated text that includes the three new replace strings.

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  • The Agent List page contains a new column that lists the Next Run Date for scheduled agents. There is no next run date if a schedule is not enabled.

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  • The Intelligent Agents Settings page contains a note that indicates the time of day the scheduled agents will run.
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Intelligent Agents Settings page

Language Management – User Progress tool is now the Class Progress tool

To improve language consistency in the Brightspace platform, the User Progress tool is now called the Class Progress tool. Related page names, permissions, configuration variables, and tool references elsewhere in the Brightspace platform reflect this change. User Progress is still used on pages where a single learner’s progress displays, but Class Progress is used where the progress of all users in a class displays.

Class Progress tool under Learner Management in Course Administration

Class Progress tool under Learner Management in Course Administration

Quizzes – Create / Edit Multiple Choice Questions

It has come to our attention there are some major flaws with the new question creation experience that could easily cause loss of feedback information so we will not be implementing this feature yet. We have brought it to Desire2Learn’s attention and hope they fix it soon so we can provide you with a better question creation experience.

This feature is a visual redesign of the Quizzes tool that improves and modernizes its look and feel. This feature also enables responsive multiple choice question editing layouts.

Administrators and instructors can opt-in or opt-out of this new look and feel. There is no change in the workflow related to creating and editing multiple choice questions.

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Initial launch of the new question creation experience

Editing Question and preview screen

Editing Question and preview screen

October’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Awards – Clarify the Availability and Sharing options for award creators

The availability options to define to whom the award is available and where in the org structure the award is available have changed. The text for the options is now the same on both the Edit and the Create pages. The availability options now include:

  • Make the award available to all my courses (default). This new option provides the same result as if you previously did not select an availability option.
  • Make the award available to other award creators and their courses. If you configure an award to be available to other award creators, you can then make the award available only to the current org unit and any child org units.
In the Awards tool, you can choose to share the badges and certificates you create with other award creators, and how you want to limit the ability of others to use your awards.

In the Awards tool, you can choose to share the badges and certificates you create with other award creators, and how you want to limit the ability of others to use your awards.

Awards – Modifications to the logic for automatic award grants

In the past, if an award was being shared to several courses and a release condition was set to release a second award, the second award would be awarded if the first was earned in ANY course to which the award was shared. The logic has been modified to release the second award only if the first award was earned in that specific course.

Grades – Include group and section information in grade exports

When exporting grades from the grade book, under User Details, there is a new option to include group and section membership information for each user. This allows for more detailed analysis of grade exports outside of Brightspace Learning Environment.

The option to include group and section information is available in grade exports.

The option to include group and section information is available in grade exports.

Inserting Office Mixes into Desire2Learn

It has come to our attention that Office Mixes that include a graded quiz are not interacting correctly with the gradebook when you use the old method of inserting so these instructions are to replace the steps for inserting a graded Office Mix (one that includes a quiz that you want put into the D2L Grades area). Inserting non-graded Office Mixes stay the same.

This will need to be done for EACH graded Mix:

  1. Create your Mix
  2. When ready to publish, click the Upload to Mix button
  3. Follow the prompts
  4. After the publish and upload is finished, click the Show Me My Mix button
  5. Change the Permissions and Sharing to Unlisted (3rd line on the blue bar)
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  7. Click the Save button
  8. Log in to Desire2Learn
  9. Select the Course you’d like to work with
  10. Select the Content tab
  11. Select the module where you want the Mix to be
  12. Click the Add Existing Activities button
  13. Select External Learning Tools
  14. Click the Create New LTI Link button
  15. In the Title box, enter the title of the Mix
  16. In the URL box, enter “https://mix.office.com/lti/” (without the quotes)
  17. Click the Create and Insert button
  18. A new item will appear in the module with the title you entered, click the newly created item.
  19. Choose the My Mixes link
  20. You may need to sign-in to your Office 365 account
  21. Select the Mix
  22. Click Yes to confirm that this is the mix you’d like to use
  23. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  24. At the bottom right, click the word Add a grade item…
  25. Either select a grade item from the drop-down menu or click the green + to create a grade item
  26. Once the correct item shows in the drop-down menu, click the Save button
  27. Click the Course Admin link (upper right)
  28. Click the External Learning Tools link (under Site Resources if you have it in categories)
  29. Click the title of the Office Mix
  30. Near the bottom of the page, under Security Settings, choose “Use tool provider security settings”
  31. Click the Save and Close button

September’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Brightspace Assignment Grader for Android – Log in with LMS Credentials

Instructors and Teaching Assistants that use the Brightspace Assignment Grader application on Android devices are now able to log in using their Brightspace Learning Environment credentials instead of setting up an Edudentity account.

Quizzes and Surveys – Direct export of report data to Microsoft Excel

You can export quizzes and surveys data using the Export to Excel button in Quizzes and Surveys. The Excel format supports Unicode and accented characters.

The Quiz Attempts screen now includes the Export To Excel button

The Quiz Attempts screen now includes the Export To Excel button

The User Statistics tab now includes the Export To Excel button

The User Statistics tab now includes the Export To Excel button

The Question Statistics tab now includes the Export To Excel button

The Question Statistics tab now includes the Export To Excel button

August’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Content – Organizational Shared files

Instructors can now view and add files from the Shared Files area when using the Upload/Create button and choosing Add from Manage Files. If instructors try to edit a file in the Shared Files area, they are prompted to save a copy of the file in the Course Offering Files area.

Add a file to Content from Shared Files

Add a file to Content from Shared Files

Intelligent Agents – Tool Improvements

  • A new history page allows users creating Intelligent Agents to see each time the agent runs, which users it identifies, what emails have been sent, and details on any errors that occurred during the agent run. You can view this page by clicking View History on the Edit Agent It is also available from the context menu of the agent on the Agent List page. You can view the history of the most recently executed run directly from Results of Last Run in the agent list. This lists how many users were identified, and/or error information.
  • A new mode for running Intelligent Agents allows users to select Practice Run from the agent context menu on the Agent List This runs the agent, and reports back a list of users who met the specified criteria. Users identified in a practice run are not notified or emailed. A practice run does not count as an action when using the Take action only the first time the agent’s criteria are satisfied for a user type of agent. As with existing Intelligent Agents, the agent must be turned on to trigger a practice run. In conjunction with the new history page, users can also now see the history of all practice runs.
  • In Intelligent Agents Settings, instructors can now set custom values for the Name that emails come from and Reply-To address for responses so that the automated emails can appear to come from the instructor instead of from a helpdesk. Learners can reply directly to the agent emails and replies are directed to the instructor. If instructors want their emails to continue to come from a helpdesk and do not want to have a reply-to function, they don’t have to take any action to maintain the existing behaviour. The course values for Name that emails come from and Reply-To address for responses are not copied during copy course components and instructors need to update these fields post-copy.
    When an instructor uses custom values, the Name that emails come from displays to learners as the person from whom the email is sent, both in the email header and in Messages alerts in the minibar. When learners reply to an email, responses route to the email address specified in Reply-To address for responses.
  • There is no longer a 4000-character limit on email text from Intelligent Agents. This is now unlimited.
  • The Agent Name field in an Intelligent Agent previously truncated to 50 characters. It now has an available length of 128 characters.
  • Existing Intelligent Agents without any conditions attached to them (“empty” agents) no longer run and spam all users. When an empty agent is triggered, it fails with an error and is automatically turned off. This error info is available on the history page.
  • Users can now copy Intelligent Agents within the same course from a new context menu item for each agent listed in the Agent List. The copy is called “Copy of <name>” and is turned off by default.
The results of agent runs can now be viewed on a history page

The results of agent runs can now be viewed on a history page

Users creating Intelligent Agents can now test them with a Practice Run option

Users creating Intelligent Agents can now test them with a Practice Run option

Instructors can now customize the From name in Intelligent Agent emails

Instructors can now customize the From name in Intelligent Agent emails

Instructors can now also receive replies to Intelligent Agent emails directly

Instructors can now also receive replies to Intelligent Agent emails directly

July’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Discussions – Copy discussion thread replies

An update was made to the Discussions tool and now users can optionally select discussion thread replies when copying a discussion thread from one discussion topic to another.

Discussions - Copy dialog box

Discussions – Copy dialog box

Discussions – Show forum description in child topics

The Display forum description in topics check box has been added in the Edit forum details page and it provides instructors the option to display a discussion forum description within a discussion topic description.

Some instructors add assignment instructions as the description of the discussion forum, but this information is not available within the discussion topics, only on the discussions list page.

Allowing the discussion forum description to appear within discussion topics helps avoid duplicated effort by the instructors who might post common instructions or codes of conduct in each discussion topic’s description. This is especially helpful in group discussions, where the topic description is usually duplicated (manually) for each discussion topic.

Discussions - Edit Forum Details

Discussions – Edit Forum Details

Discussions Topic Description

Discussions Topic Description

June’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Grades – Automatically set the grade item score based on a rubric score

When you click Save and Record in the rubric pop-up window, the Overall Score of a numeric rubric transfers automatically to the learner’s grade. Click Save if you do not want to transfer a numeric rubric score to the learner’s grade.

A score transfers automatically only when the rubric has an Overall Score.

Groups – Automatic creation of discussion topics

When instructors create a new group category and choose to setup group discussion topics, if they add a new group later because of additional learner enrollment, the associated discussion topics are automatically created. This applies to groups instructors manually create at a later date. Instructors no longer need to manually create group discussion topics if they add a new group to a group category after the setup steps.

Groups – Group enrollment category: Single user member-specific

There is a new group category type called Single user, member-specific groups. Using this group category creates a group with a single user where the first name and last name of the learner is the name of the group. When a new learner is enrolled in the course a group is automatically created for them. Instructors no longer have to rename groups of one.

Image of the New Category options

Image of the New Category options

Groups – Descriptive naming for discussion topics

When instructors create a group discussion topic in the Groups tool the name of the group is now the same as a topic created from the Discussions tool. The topics are created with the format <group category name> – <group prefix>#. For example, Final Project – Group 2.