Release Notes

July 2019 (version 20.19.7)

Accessibility – Compliance with WCAG 2.1 | Updated

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:

  • Text color change from #56A5C to #494C4E for our standard font styles, which is WCAG Level AAA compliant.
  • Resetting clients to "Normal" for their Org default size to ensure that default configurations have appropriate legibility. In addition, the configuration option for setting a font override at the Org level has been removed. Users can still change their personal font preferences using Account Settings and existing individual user overrides are retained.
  • Changes to the color, borders, hover and focus styles of other web components such as buttons, menus and input fields to ensure they comply with WCAG 2.1 color contrast requirements for non-text components.

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.

Assignments – Edit category improvements | Updated

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.


Figure: Select Edit Categories from the Assignments page


Figure: Manage all categories from one page

Class Progress - Default indicator change | Updated

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.

Navbar - Display user initials when there is no user profile image | New

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

Surveys - Improvements to the learner experience | Updated

To improve the learner experience when taking a survey, the following updates are now available:

  • The primary button when completing a Survey has been updated from Save Responses to read as Submit Survey. Learners will continue to be prompted to confirm their submission when they submit the survey
  • Learners can still save survey answers manually. The Save button now reads as Save Responses
  • A new Back to Questions button is displayed when attempting to submit a survey with unanswered questions
  • While learners are taking an anonymous survey, an alert appears at the top of the survey indicating that the survey is anonymous and their user information will not be tied to their responses

Widgets – Updates to Lang Terms for Updates Widget and My Courses Widget | Updated

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:

  • Show the number of new assignment submissions is now Show the number of unread submission files
  • New Assignment Submissions for {subject} is now New Assignment Submission Files for {subject}

In the My Courses Widget:

  • Unread Assignment Submission is now Unread Assignment Submission File
  • New Assignment Submissions is now New Assignment Submission Files
  • Unread Assignment Submissions is now Unread Assignment Submission Files
  • New Assignment Submissions is now New Assignment Submission Files
  • Show the number of new assignment submissions is now Show the number of unread submission files
  • {number} Unread Assignment Submission is now {number} Unread Assignment Submission Files. Note: This lang term cannot be changed by users.

In Assignments (displayed in Grades):

  • New submission - View {subject}'s submissions in a new window is now Unread submission file - View {subject}'s submissions in a new window

June 2019 (version 20.19.6)

Discussions - Save feedback in draft state when associated with rubrics | Updated

This feature provides instructors the option to save feedback as a draft on discussions associated with rubrics before publishing it to learners. Now, when instructors add feedback for discussions with rubrics, the Save Draft and Publish buttons display. This feature extends existing Save Draft and Publish options available in other assessment tools to discussions that are only associated with a rubric.

Note that if a discussion topic is associated with more than one rubric, then both the rubrics are now visible in the same pop-up dialogue. Previously, the rubrics had to be opened individually to complete evaluation. This change also benefits the use case where a discussion topic was evaluated using a learning objective.

Email - Custom header changes for forwarded email messages | New

To align with the DMARC mail standard, emails forwarded from D2L servers now appear to originate from the sender’s D2L domain account instead of the original sender account. Currently, forwarded emails from the original sender email address (external servers such as {user}, but sent over D2L servers, are often rejected due to an organization's Sender Policy Framework (SPF). With this change, D2L adjusted the mail headers used by the Brightspace platform when forwarding emails from a user account to the specified external address.

Email users should note the following:

  • Email messages forwarded to the specified external address through the D2L email account come from the user’s D2L email address in the format of {username}@{D2LMailDomain}
  • Email header changes show the new "From" address as the user’s D2L email address, and the "Reply-To" address as the original sender’s (external) email address.

Email header with the new format

Figure: Example of email headers on forwarded messages

This feature provides more consistent and successful email delivery on D2L servers.

myDesire2Learn - Self-registration service migration | Updated

The user registration flow for myDesire2Learn will no longer leverage the Edudentity login service. Current users of myDesire2Learn will experience no change to the login process and no action is required from them. D2L will contact all registered myDesire2Learn users via email with direct notification of this change.

There will be a new user registration workflow introduced with this change that applies only to future users of myDesire2Learn.

Quizzes - Arithmetic and significant figures questions round up from .5 | Updated

Arithmetic and Significant Figures questions in quizzes now round up from .5 by default. Previously these types of questions were rounded down from .5. To opt-out of this change, administrators can turn off the d2l.Tools.Quizzes.RoundingLogicUpdate configuration variable. Past quiz attempt scores are not affected by this change.

Rubrics - Consistent assessment experience for Discussions | New

When instructors use the updated rubrics grading experience with Discussions, the following workflows present the same assessment experience:

  • if a rubric is attached to a discussion that is not associated with a grade item
  • if a rubric is attached to a discussion and associated with a grade item, but the instructor clicks on the rubric name to assess instead of topic score

In these workflows, the same assessment screen displays, with the details, score, feedback, post information, and all rubrics available to grade.

Rubrics - Updated grading experience for rubrics with learning objectives | New

When an instructor assess a rubric with associated learning objectives, the updated grading experience now displays. This new experience displays in all locations where an instructor can assess a rubric with learning objectives, for example, Competencies, Assignments, Quizzes, Survey, Discussions, and Grade Items.

Below the rubric, a list of associated learning objectives displays. The pyramid learning objective symbol appears on rows to indicate which criteria the learning objective is aligned to, or with the overall score, if it is aligned to the overall score. In User Progress, the display of the rubric assessments for competencies obeys the draft/publish state of the associated activity.

User Progress – Consistent tracking of Content progress across the Brightspace Platform | Updated

Previously, different tools and features within Brightspace Learning Environment used different logic for determining user progress through Content topics. Now, the logic has been consolidated so that it is calculated in the same way across the platform.

Content must meet three criteria to be included in the user progress:

  • The learner must have access to the content
  • The content must be marked with a completion method of Required Automatic or Required Manual
  • The content is not exempt

When content does not meet these conditions, the topics are not included in the calculation of the learner’s progress.

These changes affect the following areas of the Brightspace Platform:

  • Class Progress has a new Content Completed graph to represent completed content. The current content-related column is being renamed from Content to Content Visited.
  • The Content sections of the User Progress tool have several changes:
    • In the Content section of the Summary page and in the Content detail page, the Visits graph is being replaced by the Content Completed graph.
    • The progress on a module now reflects the number of completed and required topics in all levels below the module. Previously, the module progress reflected the number of completed topics immediately inside the module and the number of completed sub-modules. The new progress percentage and number is an actual reflection of how far the learner has progressed through the module.
    • The Topics Visited statistics on the left side of the page now include a denominator. The data represents the number of unique topics that the user visited. The denominator indicates the total number of topics that the student can access. In addition, the #Visits column is now renamed to Total Visits.


May 2019 (version 20.19.5)

Binder - End-of-life | Removed 

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 store. 
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. 

Discussions - Save feedback in draft state | Updated 

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. 

save draft screenshot

Figure: General Feedback page with the Publish and Save Draft buttons

Grades - Transfer rubric score to grade item score | Updated 

When a rubric is associated with a grade item and the grade item is not associated with an activity (e.g., Assignment, Discussion, etc.), the rubric scores are automatically transferred to the grade item score by default. Instructors no longer have to manually transfer the rubric score to a learner's grade item score. 

Quizzes - Full-screen quiz evaluation | Updated 

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

Figure: Quiz evaluation in full-screen mode

Rubrics - Rubrics Grading Experience available for group Assignments and Discussions | New 

The Rubrics Grading Experience available for assignments and discussions is now available for group Assignments and group Discussions. When a rubric assessment is in draft state, the assessment is not viewable by members of a given group. Once the assessment is published, all group members can view the rubric assessment. Previously, the new Rubrics Grading Experience was only available for regular Assignments and Discussions. 
In addition, when a non-file submission assignment is connected to a grade item in the gradebook, the assessment symbol on the Grade All screen launches the assignment assessment experience. 
Figure: The assessment symbol on the Grade All screen now launches the assignment assessment experience 

Figure: The assessment symbol on the Grade All screen now launches the assignment assessment experience 


April 2019 (version 20.19.4)

Assignments – Notification improvements | Updated 

When instructors evaluate assignments and new or updated feedback is published, email instant notifications are available for learners.

QuickLinks - Create Quicklink to Rubrics | New

Users with the See Rubrics permission enabled (e.g., Faculty, Program Staff) 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 (e.g., Faculty, Program Staff) 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.

March 2019 (version 10.8.11)

Assignments - Improvements in Assignments | Updated

This feature includes the following improvements:

  • Learners can now submit .cs file types as assignment submissions.
  • The Publish All Feedback on Anonymized Assignment Submission permission has been renamed to Publish All Feedback on Assignments. When the permission is turned on for the instructor role, instructors can publish draft assignment feedback in bulk by clicking Publish All Feedback.


Figure: Publish All Feedback

Figure: Publish All Feedback

Content - ReadSpeaker icon removal | Updated

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

Figure: The ReadSpeaker controls replace the speaker icon, requiring fewer steps to access ReadSpeaker controls

Rubrics - Rubric icon criteria changed | Updated

The checked rubric icon now displays only when a rubric has been fully scored by the instructor. Previously, the checked rubric icon displayed for partially or fully scored rubrics. The unchecked rubric icon displays when a rubric is unscored, or partially scored to provide instructors and learners with more visual information about the status of the rubric.

Figure: Unscored rubric icon

Figure: Unscored rubric icon

Figure: Partially scored rubric with additional information

Figure: Partially scored rubric with additional information

Figure: Scored rubric icon with check mark

Figure: Scored rubric icon with check mark

Rubrics - Override criteria scores before selecting a level | Updated

Instructors can now enter a score for a criterion on a points-based rubric before clicking on a level within the rubric. Previously, an instructor could only manually enter a score after selecting a level.

February 2019 (version 10.8.10)

Turnitin - Link to e-rater ® Grammar feedback | New 

Instructors can now turn on the e-rater Grammar checker, developed by ETS ®, in Brightspace Learning Environment. 

Once turned on by an instructor, learners are provided a link to e-rater Grammar feedback upon submission of an assignment. This enables learners to review Grammar feedback immediately on assignment submission, which is important for assignments that allow for multiple submissions. Learners can initially submit an assignment, receive Grammar feedback, and then submit another version of their assignment after incorporating the Grammar feedback. 

Figure: Enable e-rater Grammar checker 

Figure: View e-rater Grammar feedback link 

January 2019 (version 10.8.9)

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.

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 quick links to unavailable activities | Updated

A specific error message now appears to users who click a quick link 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:

  • Announcements items 
  • Calendar events
  • Chat sessions (if the user is not part of a group chat)
  • ePortfolio (for items that not shared to the user)
  • External learning tools links
  • Templates (that are not available in the current org unit)
  • Groups (with expired self enrollment option)

This feature builds on a previous feature of 10.8.6 that added a specific error message for some course activities. With this feature, the specific error message, "Unavailable Quick link. The <activity type> is not available" appears for many additional course activities.

Intelligent Agents - Export agent run history to CSV | New

Intelligent Agent run history, previously only visible in Brightspace Learning Environment, can now be exported to a CSV file. The export can include all agents or a specific agent. It can also include runs made during a specified date range. This feature allows instructors to better track learners that are triggering Intelligent Agents.

Rubrics - Improved rubric creation experience| Updated

To improve on the new rubric creation experience, rubric creation has been changed to a single-page workflow. Clicking New in the Rubrics tool immediately brings the user to the rubric authoring page. As well, the two previous Rubric Tool options Properties and Levels and Criteria are now condensed into a single Edit option.

Figure: The new rubric creation experience in the single page format.

Figure: The new Edit Rubric Tool option, replacing Properties and Levels and Criteria.

December 2018 (version 10.8.8)

Assignments - Change assignment and submission type | New

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 names | New

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

Content - Create new assignment submission types | Updated

On paper and Observed in person assignment submission types can now be created directly from Content. On paper assignments are completed by learners offline and submitted directly to instructors. Observed in person assignments, such as class presentations, do not require written work to be submitted but can be evaluated using the tools available in Assignments.

Course Builder - Create new assignment submission types | Updated

Instructors can now use Course Builder to create On paper and Observed in person assignment submission types.

Discussions - Improvements to the rubrics grading experience | New

Grading with rubrics in Discussions now offers new functions and an improved workflow. The new design makes for an easier grading experience and is optimized for use on mobile devices.

New rubrics features include:

  • All rubric assessments and feedback updates for discussions and grade items now automatically save in draft state while updates are in progress
  • Rubrics in draft state are not visible to learners until the instructor selects Save & Publish, at which time learners can immediately view their feedback from Assignments, Content, Discussions, Grades and User Progress
  • Instructors can choose to bulk publish feedback to all or select users at once, such as for an entire class or group
  • New Retract Feedback option enables instructors to remove published feedback from view of learners for changes to the Total Score. The Overall Score and Overall Feedback portions of the rubric can be edited without retraction
  • A grading pop-up window for easier grading that contains all rubrics for the discussion, a place to enter Overall Feedback, and a list of posts that the student has made
  • When grading on mobile devices, vertical margins are reduced for easier viewing

Quizzes - Add initial text to Written Response questions | New

Instructors can add initial text to Written Response questions in the new Question Experience. Previously instructors could not add initial text into the answers for Written Response questions.

Quizzes - Opt-in for New Quiz Experience removed | New

The opt-in configuration variable d2l.Tools.Quizzes.NewQuizExperienceOpt-In is now removed from the Config Variable Browser. Users can no longer opt out of the new quiz experience.

Rubrics - Improved rubric creation experience | New 

To offer instructors a more streamlined approach to authoring rubric levels and criteria, this release introduces a new, opt-in rubric creation experience. Specifically, the Rubrics tool includes the following enhancements:

  • Quickly create and edit rubric levels and criteria inline using an auto-save experience
  • Easily change rubric type and scoring method during rubric creation
  • Re-order criterion via drag and drop or keyboard
  • Improved logic for point-based rubrics, where new levels automatically follow existing point scoring sequences
  • Individual criterion cells in custom point rubrics dynamically scale when editing the criterion out-of value
  • Overall Score is visually separated from the rubric, displaying in its own section

Figure: The new rubric creation experience

November 2018 (version 10.8.7)

Assignments - Anonymous Marking in Brightspace | Updated

Anonymous marking in Assignments features the following updates:

  • Instructors can see a new icon associated with assignments that have anonymous marking enabled
  • User names are revealed to instructors once feedback is published
  • Publish All Feedback button is available in assignments with anonymous marking enabled to ensure anonymity when publishing feedback
  • Improved confirmation messaging appears to remind instructors to complete feedback for all anonymous users. If Publish All Feedback is selected before providing feedback for all anonymous submissions, the confirmation window will state the number of users with feedback and the total number of users

An assignment displaying the anonymous marking icon for instructors
Figure: An assignment displaying the anonymous marking icon for instructors

 The Publish All Feedback button confirmation dialog box indicating outstanding anonymous users that still require feedback

Figure: The Publish All Feedback button confirmation dialog box indicating outstanding anonymous users that still require feedback

Assignments - Evaluate submissions page displays in full screen | New

The Evaluate Submission page no longer displays navbar links. This provides instructors with more screen space to view and evaluate assignments.

Content - Add existing assignments to content | Updated

The On paper submission and Observed in person submission types available in Assignments can now be added to Content from the Existing Activities menu.

Quizzes - Quizzes display in full screen | New

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.

Video Note - Closed caption support | New

Users can now add files containing closed captions to their video notes. The captioned text displays when viewing the video note, if users selected the closed caption option.

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:

  • New status indicator for Inactive and Closed states for courses
  • Cleaner layout of course name, code, semester, and dates
  • Course notifications are sorted by tool. When a user hovers on the notification icons, a tooltip provides more information.

The My Courses Widget now displays a status badge for courses and sorts notifications by type

New Course Tile

Figure: The My Courses Widget now displays a course status indicator and sorts notifications by type.