December 2023 (Version 20.23.12)

Assignments – Interface improvements for annotations | Updated

D2L is updating the Annotations tool in Assignments to be a web component, as part of our internal technical maintenance work. As a result, the user interface for the annotations viewer is improved to include the following changes:

  • Error state includes updated dialog language.
  • Document conversion state now has in-page messaging and a loading icon. Previously, there was a dialog displaying the messaging.
  • General loading state now has a loading icon. Previously, there was no loading icon.
  • Note annotations and their print format show annotations instead of just the annotations icon.

Assignments and Discussions – Feedback field limitations for evaluation experiences | Updated

The Assignments and Discussions tools' evaluation feedback field is changing from a 500,000 character limitation to a 300,000 character limitation, resulting in an updated dialog warning appearing when the user hits 300,000 characters.

The character limit update improves performance and security for evaluations. Previously, when a user would enter over 300,000 characters, the new information may not have been saved. This potential save failure resulted in the loss of anything entered between 300,000-500,000 characters.


Calendar – View quiz start and quiz end dates as separate events in Calendar | New

When an instructor adds a Start Date and End Date in Quizzes and then selects Add Availability Dates to Calendar, both dates are displayed in the Calendar tool as separate events. Previously, only one event displayed showing when the availability of that quiz ended.

Quizzes – Better identify bonus questions in a quiz | New

Quizzes now clearly mark bonus questions with Bonus, improving learner understanding and addressing a previous lack of indication in Quizzes.

Rubrics – Grades tool now uses Consistent Evaluation interface for assessments | Updated

When an evaluator assesses an assignment or discussion in the Grades tool, the rubric now uses the Consistent Evaluation interface whether there is work submitted for evaluation. This is consistent with the assessment experience for assignments or discussions in other areas of Brightspace.

Previously, evaluations for these types of activities used a pop-out Rubric grid when launching from the Grades tool. When users click the drop-down menu on the column header to enter grades, the rows with un-submitted work now use the Consistent Evaluation experience instead of the previous Rubric pop-out.

November 2023 (Version 20.23.11)

Assignments and Discussions – Review key assessment information when publishing evaluations | Updated

The Publish All dialog for Assignments and Discussions is improved and standardized to show key information about learner evaluations. Dialog messaging is consistent for both Assignments and Discussions as it notes complete and incomplete learner evaluations and other key information, like how many learners have feedback and how many learners or groups are assigned to an activity. This change improves the user experience by including additional information about the status of learner evaluations and creating evaluation consistency across Brightspace.

Previously, the Publish All dialog did not display any information about learner evaluations or other key information, and the dialog messaging was not consistent across the Assignments and Discussions tools.

New Discussion Creation Experience – Choose default group and section restrictions | Updated

The New Discussion Creation Experience. This new configuration variable allows users to either select Restrict topic or Restrict topic and separate the threads as the default in the Group and Section Restrictions dialog. Before selection, the default option remains as Restrict topic.

September 2023 (Version 20.23.09)

Quizzes – Quiz Timing Improvements featuring Synchronous Quiz | Updated

This release updates the Quiz Creation experience for instructors and learners by adding a new synchronous quiz option.

With this release, instructors can facilitate quizzes where learners take their attempts simultaneously, which is convenient for in-class sessions. The new addition of synchronous quizzes enables instructors to set up a quiz where the quiz timer starts on the start date for all learners rather than when the learner launches the quiz (asynchronous). The quiz timer then ends for all learners at the same time.

To set up a synchronous quiz:

  1. From a quiz page, expand the Availability Dates & Conditions area.
  2. Set start date and time.
  3. Expand the Timing & Display area.
  4. Click Timer Settings.
  5. In the Timing dialog, under Quiz Start, select Synchronous: Timer starts on the start date.
  6. Click OK.

quiz synchronous

Note: If no start date and time is set for the synchronous quiz, the No Start date set alert appears under the selected option, and you cannot save the quiz. The Due Date option is disabled for synchronous quizzes.

To ensure that learners are aware of upcoming synchronous quizzes, instructors should create instructional or manual solutions:

  • Make a synchronous quiz visible in the calendar:
    • Instructors can select Add availability dates to Calendar or set up an event showing the whole time.
    • Instructors should use the Start Date parameter when setting up a synchronous quiz and leave the End Date field empty.
    • Learners must have the Allows Out of Date Quizzes to be Viewed in the User Quiz List permission to open the quiz from their calendar and check the Quiz Information page.
  • Create an announcement with information about the synchronous quiz.
  • Set up an event and give a link to the quiz to provide more context.

Instructors must modify or review quizzes one by one to avoid accidentally modifying quiz availability dates for synchronous quizzes.

A synchronous quiz starts at the Start Date and ends when the time limit has lapsed, regardless of any action taken by the learner. For example, if a learner clicks Start Quiz! 15 minutes after the start date on a 1-hour quiz, they only have 45 minutes left to complete it. To indicate when a quiz becomes available, learners have a countdown timer on the Quiz Information and Start Quiz pages. The Start Quiz! button becomes available when the start date and time is reached.

Instructors can provide learners with information about a synchronous quiz before it starts. Learners can access this information in the Quiz Information page if they have the Allows Out of Date Quizzes to be Viewed in the User Quiz List permission.

August 2023 (Version 20.23.08)

Announcements – Pin announcements to top of Announcement widget and tool pages| New

With this release, instructors and administrators can now pin announcements and global announcements to the top of the Announcement Widget and Tool pages, allowing important information to remain visible to learners. Announcements so pinned are indicated to learners as such with the use of a new pinned icon that appears on the announcement. Pinned global announcements appear at the top of the page before any announcements pinned within a course offering.

pin to the top

Figure: Select Pin to top to pin an announcement to the top of the Announcement Widget.

Rubrics – Pop-out details provide increased evaluator awareness | Updated

To provide a more complete context for learner evaluation, rubric pop-outs now provide activity details including activity title, course name, learner name, and evaluator name. The evaluator name only appears if it is explicitly assigned; implicit evaluators' names do not appear with the additional details. These additional details are critical for new multi-evaluation workflows, where evaluators can have access to view and edit multiple rubrics concurrently. However, having the additional activity details in the single-evaluation experience also provides consistency across all evaluator experiences.

Note: Multi-evaluation workflows are currently only available as part of a development pilot program.

Previously, the activity title, course name, learner name, and evaluator name were not visible in the rubric pop-outs.

Note: Learner name information respects user information privacy policies and displays Anonymous if evaluating with the Anonymous role or marking in Anonymous Mode.


July 2023 (Version 20.23.07)

Discussions – New Creation Experience

The new discussion creation experience brings create and edit consistency changes from Assignments and Quizzes to Discussions, making it familiar and easy to learn. This first release is at full parity with classic discussions and brings refreshed workflows and improvements to restricting group topics and threads, associating topics to forums, and wording changes to a few settings that you may be familiar with.


Discussions – Consistent settings and interface of availability dates across Brightspace | Updated

This feature updates the settings and format of availability dates and states in Discussions, to align with other activity tools and create a unified content experience for both instructors and learners. 

Availability dates in the Discussions list are now displayed as a simple date range below the titles of discussion topics. Hovering over the date range text displays a tooltip that includes the information about start and end dates. Tooltips also include applied settings to explain how the discussion topic appears to learners before and after these dates.

Previously, the availability dates in the Discussions topics did not include a hover tooltip.

Quizzes – Quiz Timing Improvements Featuring Auto-Submission | Updated

This release updates the Quiz Creation experience for instructors by simplifying the quiz timing setup workflow, adding useful new features, including the ability to auto-submit, and removing obsolete quiz timing options. With this release, learners can show or hide the timer, receive time warning messages, and access more information about their quizzes.

Note: All Quiz Timer settings behavior and User Interface changes will immediately be applied to existing and in-progress quizzes with the Continuous Delivery Update.

The following workflow changes and advanced Quiz Timing options are now available for instructors.

  • Simplified and redesigned Quiz Timing & Display settings
    • The updated settings allow instructors to choose if they want to set a time limit by selecting the Set time limit checkbox, which is cleared by default. If Set time limit is selected, instructors can add a Time Limit and edit the Timer Settings.
    • The previous Prevent the student from making further changes option has been changed to Automatically submit the quiz attempt. Quiz auto-submission automatically hands in quizzes on enforced time limit quizzes at the end of the set time, improving quiz integrity. This behavior is changed on all existing and in-progress quizzes with the update.
      Note: The Automatically submit the quiz attempt option is now the default setting for all newly created quizzes with a time limit and is used automatically if the instructor does not edit the quiz timing settings. The previous default setting was Allow the student to continue working.
    • The previous Allow the student to continue working option has been changed to Flag the attempt as exceeded time limit and allow the learner to continue working. This behavior is changed on all existing and in-progress quizzes with the update.
    • The Grace Period and Allow student to continue working but automatically score zero options are removed to further streamline the process of quiz creation. With this update, any existing and in-progress quizzes that include these settings are changed to the following new behavior:
      • A quiz that previously had a grace period now uses the time limit set on the quiz.
      • A quiz previously set to Allow student to continue working but automatically score zero now sets the quiz to Automatically submit the quiz attempt.

Quiz timing

Figure: The Timing menu before this update.

Quiz timing

Quiz timing

Figure: The Timing menu after this update.

Quiz timing

Figure: The Timing settings in the Edit Special Access menu after this update.


February 2023 (Version 20.23.02)

Intelligent Agents – Support for copying One-Time Run agents | New

This feature allows users to copy, export, and import One-Time Run agents and their schedules. This allows users who utilize course shells which are copied to multiple courses to schedule One-Time Run agents to run as needed in all destination courses.

Note: This functionality only applies to agents that have yet to be run. If the agent has been run, no schedule exists to copy.

Quizzes – Add quiz availability dates to your Calendar | Updated

Instructors can now add quiz availability dates to the Calendar tool in the Availability Dates & Conditions menu in the new quiz creation experience. Instructors can select the Add availability dates to Calendar checkbox when creating a quiz to add quiz availability dates to their Calendar. This feature provides instructors with more control over where Start Dates and End Dates appear to learners. Previously, only the Due Date was automatically added in the new quiz creation experience; and control over adding availability dates was limited to the Manage Dates tool. Instructors previously had to revert back to the legacy quiz creation experience to add quiz availability dates to their Calendar.

The following is a reminder of how Calendar events are generated when using either the legacy or new quiz creation experience:

If the Start Date and End Date are set, an End Date event is created.
If the Start Date is set, a Start Date event is created.
If the End Date is set, an End Date event is created.

availability date picker

Figure: The Availability Dates & Conditions menu displaying the Add availability dates to Calendar checkbox.

Quizzes – Additional paging options | Updated

Two new paging options are available in the Timing & Display menu in the new quiz creation experience. Instructors can choose to display 5 questions per page or 10 questions per page. The change optimizes instructors' options when building quizzes with page breaks.

timing and display

Rubrics – Keep track of changes to assessed rubrics with enhanced visual cues | Updated

To maintain the integrity of assessments, any rubric that has been used to assess a grade item is locked. However, there may be incidences where it is necessary to add or update the text on a rubric without changing any points, or without adding or deleting any criteria or criteria levels. The text on the rubric, including criteria names and descriptions, level names, and default feedback, can continue to be updated after the rubric has been locked.

Note: It is not possible to edit the name of the rubric using this feature.

When an instructor makes a change to a previously assessed rubric, it is updated with a blue highlight and the text Edited in the lower right corner. When the user saves and closes the rubric, the edit indications no longer appear.

Note: It is only possible to make changes to assessed rubrics that are created in the current course or are copied from another course. Shared rubrics remain locked.

rubric track changes

Figure: The Edit Rubric window with changes highlighted and indicated with the word Edited.


January 2023 (Version 20.23.01)

D2L Brightspace Editor – Equations render consistently for all users | Updated

To improve consistency in D2L Brightspace Editor, this release updates the Editor so that it renders all equations during editing or creation in the same MathJax format as when published. This helps with correct formatting and spacing of equations, which makes it easier to review work prior to publishing.

Previously there were layout and styling differences during creation and editing; the former used WIRIS format rendering and the latter MathJax.

Note: There are no changes to the Equation Editor used to create an equation to insert into the editor.


Figure: The Equation Editor showing the rendering of an equation during creation after the January 2023/20.23.1 Release.


Figure: The Equation Editor showing the rendering of an equation during creation prior to the January 2023/20.23.1 Release.

Insights Dashboards – Use data better with the improved user interface and experience for dashboards | Updated

All dashboards in the Insights Portal now have multiple improved interface and user experience updates. The new experience allows for better visibility of dashboard and chart data and creates consistency across the Insights Portal dashboards.

The updated Dashboard provides the following features:

  • Linking and mirroring zoom for all Dashboard charts.
  • Help tooltip to show users how to zoom in and out of charts.
  • Ability to perform a fullscreen zoom on charts.
  • Addition of a Showing only bar to provide visibility into highlighted and muted chart data.


Figure: The new Adoption Dashboard user interface.


Figure: The zoom tooltip for dashboards.

Release Conditions – Additional Replies Only release condition for Discussions | Updated

This release alters the existing release conditions for Discussions by adding a new Replies Only option to the Posts authored in topic and No post authored in topic condition types drop-down menus. This helps instructors release material, or not release material, based solely on replies.

Previously the only options were New Threads Only and Threads and Replies.

discussions release conditions

Figure: The Create a Release Condition dialog with the new Replies Only option selected from the Type drop-down menu.

Rubrics – Discard incomplete evaluations | Updated

The Rubric evaluation workflow provides an autosave feature to streamline the evaluation process; however, if an instructor exited the partial evaluation, the automatically saved parts of the assessment were committed to the rubric and visible to the learner. To provide a better experience in Consistent Evaluation (inline and pop-out views), the instructor has the option to Publish the current evaluation, or to Save as Draft. If the instructor chooses to Save as Draft, the working copy of an evaluation is saved to a temporary file until the instructor clicks Publish, and then commits the assessment to the Rubric. If an instructor clicks the new Cancel button, the working copy is deleted. If an instructor edits a previously published evaluation and then decides to cancel before updating, all the changes in the evaluation, including the rubric evaluation changes, are discarded.

Note: Portfolio and Grade book pop out windows and the Rubric Create and Edit windows currently only support the auto-save functionality.


Figure: The Discard button on an in-process evaluation. The Saving and Saved indicators no longer appear at the top of the evaluation window.

Rubrics – Statistics icon moved to allow more space to grade tasks | Updated

The Rubrics Statistics icon is available when the rubric tile is collapsed and expanded. When the rubric tile is collapsed, the icon appears at the bottom of the rubric tile. When the rubric is expanded, the icon now appears inside the grading task. This change provides expanded horizontal space for evaluators to complete the grading tasks. Previously, when the icon appeared outside the expanded rubric tile, the space available to grade tasks was limited by the space used by the icon. This change provides parity between the legacy evaluation experience and the new Consistent Evaluation experience.


Figure: Previously, the Rubrics Statistics icon appeared outside the collapsed Rubrics tile.


Figure: Now, the Rubrics Statistic icon appears at the bottom of the collapsed Rubrics tile.


Figure: The Rubrics Statistics icon also appears inside the expanded Rubrics tile.


November 2022 (Version 20.22.11)

Group/Section Management – Improved clarity when performing deletions of associated activities | Updated

This feature implements a change to the message users receive in the Delete Category dialog when deleting associated activities (i.e., Assignments and Discussions). The dialog now includes a count of how many assignments or discussions the user is deleting. Previously, this information was not clearly indicated to the user.

In addition, when users create a new Group Category and associated activities, then reach the Workspace Summary page, they are automatically returned to the Manage Groups page. Previously, users would have to re-click Save to return to Manage Groups.


Figure: The updated Confirmation dialog showing details of associated activities to be deleted.