Release Notes

September 2021 (Version 20.21.9)

Assignments – Create select box grade items in the New Assignment Creation Experience | New

With this release, the new assignment creation experience supports creating new select box grade items. Previously, only numeric grade items could be created from the new assignment creation experience.

In addition, this feature provides support for choosing a grade scheme when creating numeric or select box grade items. Grade categories now progressively display when creating a grade item. Previously, grade categories always displayed when available.

Also, to make interface text more clear, the following labels have been renamed in the new assignment creation experience:
•    Score out of is now Grade out of
•    In Grades is now In Gradebook
•    Choose in Grades is now Edit or Link to Existing
•    Remove from Grades is now Not in Gradebook

When creating a new assignment as an instructor, under Grade Out Of, click Ungraded.

Click In Gradebook, and then select Edit or Link to Existing.

From the Edit or Link to Existing dialog, the following options may display under Create a new grade item:
•    If the Grades tool has available grade categories, the Choose Grade Category option displays. Clicking this button displays available grade categories for association. 
•    If the Grades tool has multiple grades schemes, the Change Grade Type & Scheme option displays. Clicking this button displays available grade types and schemes for association. 

Click OK, and then Save.

Assignments09211
Figure: In Gradebook options when creating a new assignment

Assignments09212
Figure: Edit or Link to Existing options when creating a new assignment

Assignments - Delete Submitted Files permission | New

This feature releases the new Delete Submitted Files permission, which determines whether or not you can delete an assignment submission file.

This new permission is turned on by default for existing roles with the See and Manage Assignment Submission Folders and View Submitted Files permissions and it is turned off for all other roles.

When the Delete Submitted Files permission is turned off, the Delete functionality for bulk actions on the Assignments > Submissions tab and the context menu of each submitted file no longer appears. On the Assignments > Users tab, the Delete functionality for bulk actions and the icon to delete individual submission files no longer appears.

Assignments09213
Figure: The Assignments > Submissions tab and the assignment submission context menu with the Delete functionality before this update

Assignments09214
Figure: The Assignments > Users tab with the Delete functionality for bulk actions and the icon to delete individual submission files before this update

Rubrics - Additional information on Grade tiles | Updated

When a rubric is collapsed, instructors can now see if the rubric is complete. If the rubric is complete, the collapsed rubric shows the overall level of the rubric, and if the rubric is not complete, the number of unscored criteria appears on the tile. 

Previously, it was only possible to see the overall score of the rubric when the rubric was expanded. 

Rubric
Figure: Previous Experience collapsed tile for unscored rubrics (points-based and text-only rubrics)

 Rubric
Figure: New Experience collapsed tile for partially scored points-based rubric

 Rubric
Figure: Previous experience collapsed tile for partially scored text-only rubrics

 Rubric
Figure: New Experience collapsed tile for completed rubrics (points-based and text-only rubrics)

Rubrics – D2L Brightspace Editor Additional Functionality | Updated

This feature updates the D2L Brightspace Editor – Additional Functionality | Updated 
•    The D2L Brightspace Editor toolbar now appears in the rubrics creation and edit experience in description and feedback fields. 
•    The Insert Stuff and Insert Quicklink buttons now appear in the different views with additional formatting options.  


 editor
Figure: The D2L Brightspace Editor in the Rubrics Description field 

editor
Figure: The D2L Brightspace Editor in the Rubrics Feedback field 

Rubrics - Copy and delete criteria groups | Updated

In response to client feedback about the New Assignment Evaluation Experience, it is now possible to copy or delete a criteria group on a rubric. The delete option is only available if there is more than one criteria group.
Note: When a rubric with attached assessment items has submissions evaluated against it, the rubric is locked and can no longer be edited or deleted.  

After you click Copy Criteria Group, a new criteria group appears below the original criteria group. 

If you are using keyboard-only navigation, these options are available in the tab order after the criteria group name. Once the criteria group is copied using keyboard navigation, the keyboard focus moves to the new group's name.

Note: Aligned learning outcomes are not copied when you copy a criteria group. Specific details of the evaluation criterion should be updated and re-aligned with specific learning outcomes which apply to the new criterion elements in the criteria group. 

Rubric
Figure: The Copy and Delete options are available in the action menu on the Criteria Group header. 
 


August 2021 (Version 20.21.8)

D2L Brightspace Editor – Available as the default editor

This release sets the new D2L Brightspace Editor as the default editor across D2L Brightspace Learning Environment.

D2L Brightspace Editor HTML options include: Bold, Italic, Underline, Strike-through, Superscript, Subscript, Font Color, Bulleted Lists, Numbered Lists, Increase/Decrease Indentation, Insert Stuff, Insert Quicklink, and Emoji. Insert Stuff now includes various capabilities, including Video Note functionality.

 D2L Brightspace Editor
Figure: The updated D2L Brightspace editor

Discussions - Consistent evaluation experience | New

This feature updates the user evaluation experience when assessing a topic or an individual learner, allowing instructors to better review and evaluate discussion contributions. The evaluation interface for Discussions has a similar layout as the Assignments - Consistent evaluation experience. 

This new experience involves a new page layout, with evaluation tools and the post being evaluated displaying side-by-side. Assessment workflows have not changed.

discussion evaluation experience
Figure: New evaluation experience for Discussions, with posts and evaluation tools displayed side-by-side.

Discussions – Improvements to visibility and posting restrictions | New

A new workflow that makes it easier for instructors to set visibility and posting restrictions for discussion forums and topics. More specifically, this change simplifies date management for discussion activities, offering a more consistent, simplified, and consolidated experience for instructors. 

The following changes are visible to instructors when creating or editing discussion forums and topics:

  • From the Restrictions tab, the previous Locking Options are now consolidated with the Availability Start Date and End Date options and display as the following new options:  
    • Visible with access restricted before/after start/end. The topic/forum is visible to learners before/after the start/end date, but they cannot access it. Previously, Classic Content was the only tool to make discussions visible without access. 
    • Visible with submission restricted before/after start/end. The topic/forum is visible to learners before/after the start/end date and they can access it, but they cannot post new threads or replies. This effectively makes a discussion read-only. Previously, this was accomplished with the lock option or unlock dates.  
    • Hidden before/after start/end. The topic/forum is hidden from learners until the start/end date. This is a new feature. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends are hidden until the start/end date. Notifications are also not sent until the start/end date. Previously, the hidden status of a discussion topic was decided by the tool displaying the topic. 
  • From the Restrictions tab, the Display in Calendar option is now consolidated with the Availability Start Date and End Date options, which adds the start date and end dates to the calendar. Previously, the tool decided which calendar event should be added to the calendar. With this change, calendar events for availability dates may change and additional events for Availability Start Dates may be added. 
  • Calendar events for unlocked dates are now hidden from learners.  
  • Where Discussions and User Progress may have previously hidden a topic or forum when outside of availability dates, those tools now may show them as visible, but inaccessible. 
  • From Discussion Settings, instructors can now set the default visibility and access behavior for new discussion forums and topics. The defaults can be set at an organization level. 


new consolidated dates
Figure: The new consolidated options for visibility and posting restrictions in the Restrictions tab

new consolidated dates
Figure: The previous options for visibility and posting restrictions in the Restrictions tab

new consolidated dates
Figure: The new default options for visibility and posting restrictions in the Discussions Settings

Rubrics – Inline grading improvements | Updated

There have been improvements to the ease of use of the inline grading experience, including changes to ensure grading experience parity for screen reader users. Previously, screen reader users were unable to grade or review tasks due to missing information. In addition, the updates now include the following: 

  • The interaction of the arrow buttons at either end of the evaluation slider now indicate a hover state compared to a focus state. If there is no level under the hover pointer, the level area is empty. 
    Rubric
    Figure: If the hover pointer is on a level, the name, description, and score appear in the level information area below the slider. 
  • Keyboard navigation of the slider evaluation levels identify the focus and indicate the criterion you are viewing. When the keyboard focus is on a level, you can press the arrow keys at the beginning and end of the slider or use the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard to move the focus within a scale. In grading mode, moving the focus to a level directly selects the level. You can also press Enter to select or unselect a level. In preview mode, the selected level does not change when you review other levels’ information. 
    Rubric
     Figure: The focused level is highlighted inside the slider segment.  
  • Keyboard navigation of the slider evaluation levels more clearly identify the focus and level you have selected in grading mode. You can use the right or left arrow key at the beginning and end of the slider to move the focus within a scale. Press Enter or use the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard to select and deselect the level.  
    Rubric
     Figure: When the level is selected, a larger box outlines the slider level, and a checkmark appears in the level 
  • The level name and description of an evaluation level appear below the evaluation slider in the selected state, and the selection indicator appears on the slider at the chosen level.
    Rubric
     Figure: When a level is selected, the level name and description appear, along with the selection indicator 
  • When the rubric has been graded, the level information area displays the selected level’s information by default, unless other levels are in hover state in grading mode, or in hover or focus state in reviewing mode.
    Rubric
    Figure: When a non-selected level is in hover state, the name, description, and score appear in the level information area below the slider. 
  •  When you move the selection block to a different level, there is now an animation to smoothly transition to the new level. 

Rubrics - Overall Score now appears in Mobile View and the New Assignment and Discussion Evaluation Experiences | Updated

When an instructor using the New Assignment Evaluation Experience opens a rubric in a new window, the Overall Score displays for each rubric, and the instructor can override the level if necessary. Previously, if an instructor did not open a new window, rather, they viewed the rubrics inline in the New Assignment Evaluation Experience tool, the Overall Score did not appear, and the instructor could not override the level. As a result, text-only rubrics could not be assessed because the Overall Score was not available.  

Now, instructors using Mobile view can evaluate text-only rubrics for assignments (using the New Assignment Evaluation Experience) and can evaluate text-only rubrics for discussions (using the New Discussions Assignments Evaluation Experience) as expected. 

Rubric
Figure: The Overall Score in Mobile and New Assignment Evaluation Experience views


July 2021 (Version 20.21.7)

Assignments – Add categories in the New Assignment Creation Experience | New

This feature builds on the Assignments – Brightspace Editor in the new Assignment Creation Experience | New feature that was released in April 2021/20.21.4. 

The new assignment creation experience supports the alignment of assignments to categories.  Instructors can add new or existing assignment categories when creating or editing a new assignment.

Figure: The new assignment creation experience with the ability to align assignments to categories 
Figure: The new assignment creation experience with the ability to align assignments to categories

D2L Brightspace Platform – New D2L Brightspace External Resource icon | Updated 

To differentiate from the similar generic download icon, the external resource icon is now changing to a building block icon. This new icon better represents the building block approach of external resource functionality.

The new external resource functionality icon 
Figure: The new external resource functionality icon

Grades – Add categories for text, calculated, and formula grade items | New

This feature enables you to better organize your grade book by adding categories to text, calculated, and formula grade items. This improved organization does not impact the calculation of the category these grade items are in. The totals in these categories do not contribute to the final grade. You can import, export, and copy category values for these grade item types. 

Quizzes – Quiz Introduction field | Removed

To reduce redundancy in the Quizzes tool, the Introduction field is being phased out. In this release, when an instructor creates and/or edits a quiz, the Introduction field is no longer available. 

If any quiz previously had text in the Introduction field, on clicking Edit, the text is automatically appended to the Description field. A message appears indicating that these two fields have been merged. Instructors can review the modified quiz description prior to saving the quiz. 

Note: In some interfaces, for example Classic content, the Instructions field is displayed. This Instructions field already maps to the quiz Description field. Hence, there is no change to this workflow. 

Figure: The Edit Quiz page with the message that appears when you edit a quiz containing an introduction 
Figure: The Edit Quiz page with the message that appears when you edit a quiz containing an introduction

Note: Check the visibility of the Description field prior to saving the quiz. 

When importing a course using Import/Export/Copy Components, text in the quiz Introduction field automatically appends to the quiz Description field. The export and copy workflows remain unchanged. 

When viewing a quiz topic in the Classic Content tool, the text in the Introduction field now appears under the Instructions header. 

Figure: A view of a quiz in the Classic Content tool - text in the Introduction field will appear under the Instructors header 
Figure: A view of a quiz in the Classic Content tool - text in the Introduction field will appear under the Instructors header

Quizzes – Relocation of the Reports Setup functionality | New 

The Report Setup tab on the Edit Quiz page is now available on the context menu of a quiz and reads as Setup Reports. 

The Reports option available on the quiz context menu is also updated and reads as View Reports.

Figure: The New Quiz page with the Reports Setup tab before the update 
Figure: The New Quiz page with the Reports Setup tab before the update 
 
Figure: The Quiz context menu before the update 
Figure: The Quiz context menu before the update 
 
Figure: The updated quiz context menu with the Setup Reports and View Reports options 
Figure: The updated quiz context menu with the Setup Reports and View Reports options

Quizzes - Set grace period time to 0 minutes | New 

When setting an enforced time limit for a quiz, instructors can now set the grace period for a quiz to 0 minutes, in place of the default grace period setting of 5 minutes. Entering a 0 minute grace period flags the quiz attempt as exceeded immediately when the quiz time limit is reached by the learner. Quiz attempt logs display when the learner attempt exceeds the regular time limit, grace period time limit or any extended time limit. Grace period of 0 minutes can be set for quizzes with special access restrictions as well.   

Note that setting a grace period can support learner accessibility requirements and other situations, such as slow internet connections when completing quizzes. 

Enter 0 in the Grace Period field that appears with the Enforced Time Limit option for a quiz 
Figure: Enter 0 in the Grace Period field that appears with the Enforced Time Limit option for a quiz 

Quizzes - Status and workflow changes for quizzes with ungraded questions | New 

To support instructors who need to manually score questions within quizzes, the following quiz status and quiz grading workflow updates are available:  

  • For quizzes that contain questions that need to be manually scored (such as Written Response questions) AND that have the "Allow attempt to be set as graded immediately upon completion" option disabled, a new Pending Evaluation status appears beside the quiz attempt on the Grade Quiz page.
  • While evaluating a quiz attempt with unevaluated questions, the instructor can now select Pending evaluations in the Question View drop-down menu to filter for only the questions that require manual evaluation. 
  • Instructors can now filter the Users tab by status. The available filters are: Published, Saved as draft, Pending evaluation and an empty status. The empty status denotes a quiz with auto-scored questions, where all questions are evaluated and there is no question evaluation pending. 

The updated quiz status filters appear 
Figure: The updated quiz status filters appear on the Attempts tab


June 2021 (Version 20.21.6)

D2L Brightspace Insights - Navigation and metrics for Engagement Dashboard | Updated

To increase the value of the new Engagement Dashboard, this release updates and adds the following:  

  • New Learner Engagement card on the Insights Portal. When you click the card, you can select a user from a list, and then view their Learner Engagement Dashboard. Previously, you would have to navigate through the Engagement Dashboard to access this page. 

Learner Engagement card on the insights portal
Figure: Learner Engagement card on the Insights Portal. 

List of users with Learner Engagement Dashboards
Figure: List of users with Learner Engagement Dashboards

  • New Content View histogram on the Engagement Dashboard Summary View. This metric tracks how many times course content objects, such as images, PDFs, or Word files, have been viewed to better understand content viewed offline. The Content View chart is enabled by default and can be disabled on the Settings page

Engagement Dashboard with the Content View chart highlighted
Figure: Engagement Dashboard with the Content View chart highlighted

Email - Auto save outgoing messages | New

When users send email messages, these sent messages are automatically saved in the Sent Mail folder. As a result, the User Account > Email Settings > Save a copy of each outgoing message to the Sent Mail folder check box is no longer available. 

Figure: The Email Settings page before this email setup improvement
Figure: The Email Settings page before this email setup improvement

Figure: The Email Settings page after this email setup improvement
Figure: The Email Settings page after this email setup improvement

Rubrics - Detach rubric warning for feature assignment creation experience | Updated 

When an attached rubric is deleted from an evaluated assignment, if evaluations of that rubric have been performed, the user now receives a detach rubric confirmation message for the assignment. This change applies to the New Assignment Creation Experience.  

The Detachment confirmation dialog
Figure: The Rubric Detachment confirmation dialog.

Rubrics - Reorder criterion groups | Updated

In order to increase the value of rubric criterion groups, it is now possible to reorder those criterion groups in the New Rubric Creation Experience. If more than one criterion group appears in your rubric, direction arrows appear to the left of the criterion group header to reorder the criterion groups in the rubric. If only one criterion group appears in your rubric, the direction buttons do not appear. 

Direction arrows located beside the criterion group header.
Figure: Direction arrows located beside the criterion group header

 


May 2021 (Version 20.21.5)

Assignments – Annotations available for TXT file-based assignments | Updated 

Previously, annotations enabled instructors to use highlighting, free-hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting to provide feedback to learner assignments of the following file types: DOC, DOCX, RTF, ODT, PPT, PPTX, PPSX, ODP, XLS, XLSX, JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, and GIF. Now, instructors can provide feedback for TXT, in addition to the existing types.  

Note: The updates to annotations replaces the Edit a Copy workflow, which is no longer supported in the New Evaluation Experience. 

Assignments – Download file when using annotations in the New Assignment Evaluation Experience | New 

The New Assignment Evaluation Experience now includes the Download drop-down menu in the Annotations viewer. When using annotations in an assignment, instructors can use this menu to download the original file without navigating to the submission list. Instructors can also download the annotated PDF file. 

Figure: The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu     

Figure: The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu 

D2L Brightspace Editor – Improvements | Updated 

Improvements to the new D2L Brightspace Editor include:

  • Copy/paste and/or drag and drop images is now available when the consistent evaluation experience is on for assignment feedback. 

  • Design improvements to enhance use of the Editor on mobile devices and improve general usability. 

  • Accessibility improvements – Improved keyboard navigation for keyboard users and toolbar icons are spaced out more in accordance with WCAG standards. 

Rubrics – Copy rubric criterion | New 

To improve the value of Rubrics and facilitate reusing rubric criteria that have already been created, an action menu next to the criterion name provides Copy and Delete options. When an instructor copies a criterion, the new criterion is added under the original with the criterion name Copy of [name of original criterion].  

The Delete function was previously available as a trashcan icon at the end of the criterion row outside the table. The new location in the action menu improves the discoverability of the Delete and Copy options.  

The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options

Figure: The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options. 

Rubrics – Print or export to PDF | New 

To improve the user experience with Rubrics, instructors can now print or download a PDF of a preview or evaluated rubric. Learners can also print or download a PDF of a rubric from the desktop browser implementation of D2L Brightspace Learning Environment. The Print button displays above the top-right corner of the rubric. 

 


April 2021 (Version 20.21.4)

Accommodations - Improvements in Classlist and Quizzes| New 

The following improvements have been made in the Classlist and Quizzes tools: 

Improvements in Classlist for Instructors: 

  • An icon now appears next to the learner’s name in the Classlist to indicate that the learner has an accommodation. 
  • Instructors can filter the Classlist by Accommodations. 
  • If there are no accommodations granted to a learner, the View accommodations menu option from the learner context menu in the Classlist does not appear. If the instructor role has the Add/Edit Accommodations permission, the Edit Accommodations menu option appears instead. 
  • Instructors can also Print or Email a list of users with accommodations by adding the filter to those pages. 

Improvements in Classlist for learners: 

  • An icon appears next to learners’ own names to indicate they have an accommodation. To view accommodation details, learners can click My Accommodations from their learner context menu. 
  • When commencing a quiz, the accommodation icon appears next to a learner’s quiz time to indicate that their accommodation has been applied. If a learner’s time accommodation has been overridden by a quiz-specific special access, this icon does not appear. 

Improvements in Quizzes for instructors: 

  • Instructors can now grant learners special access in terms of quiz time multipliers (for example, 1.5x quiz time) or +minutes (for example, an additional 30 minutes). 
  • Quiz-specific special access can overwrite an accommodation for any user on a quiz-by-quiz basis. When you overwrite an accommodation and then click Save, a warning describing the impact of overwriting the accommodation appears. Previously, this warning appeared at the top of the Quiz special access screen. Now, it appears on clicking Save. 

 

D2L Brightspace Editor – Replaces the HTML Editor | New 

The new D2L Brightspace Editor will be the only editor available in all new experiences released from April 2021 onwards. The new Editor will be released in the following tools at a later date: 

  • Quiz Builder 
  • Activity Feed 
  • New Rubrics 

User-added image

Figure: The previous HTML Editor

Figure: The new Brightspace Editor

Figure: The new D2L Brightspace Editor

The new D2L Brightspace Editor includes the following improvements to existing features:   

  • Refreshed formatting options  
  • The Lato font type  
  • A refreshed color picker  
  • A refreshed font size menu  
  • A comprehensive and standard emoticon menu  
  • A comprehensive and refreshed Symbols menu  
  • An advanced source code editor  
  • A refreshed Tables feature, including data sorting  
  • A refreshed Accessibility Checker  
  • The Check Accessibility, HTML Source Editor, Preview, and Toggle Full Screen functionalities have now been placed in the top bar 

The Editor also includes the following new features: 

  • Wordcount functionality that includes words, characters, and text selection. 
  • Context menus while editing to enable quick access to text, link, and image editing options; including advanced image editing options. Note that image editing is not available in all context menus yet. 
  • A new overflow menu with additional, less frequently used menu options. 

The list below outlines what is not included in the Editor: 

  • Spell check functionality. D2L Brightspace recommends using your browser spell check functionality. 
  • Cut/Paste functionality. D2L Brightspace recommends using your browser hot keys/menus for this functionality. 

Refer to the blog post, The new D2L Brightspace Editor, for more information.

 

D2L Brightspace Insights - Engagement Dashboard User Level Metrics | Updated 

New User Level Metrics tab in Engagement Dashboard Settings where you can select which metrics appear on the Learner Engagement Dashboard display. 

Figure: All the User Level Metrics are selected by default.

Figure: All the User Level Metrics are selected by default.

New Settings button on the Learner Engagement Dashboard that takes you to User Level Metrics

Figure: You can access the Settings page from the Learner Engagement Dashboard.

Figure: You can access the Settings page from the Learner Engagement Dashboard.

For more information about past and upcoming Engagement Dashboard improvements, refer to this blog post: Welcome to the New Engagement Dashboard

 

Classlist – Search filter when adding existing users | Updated 

When enrolling users in a course, an administrator or instructor can now deselect the Include users already enrolled in org unit check box to set their search filter to filter out users already enrolled in the course.

Figure: The Add Existing Users page prior to the additional search filter

Figure: The Add Existing Users page prior to the additional search filter