D2L - Summer 2017 Upgrade Features, Changes and Known Issues for Instructors

This is a list of new features, changes and known issues for the Summer 2017 update of D2L, which coincides with the upgrade of Brightspace from 10.6.0 to 10.7.0 MR1 on June 6-7, 2017. This was last updated July 11, 2017, 9:30 am.

Highlights

Discussions: Show Forum Descriptions in Topics Automatically
Check the “Display forum description in topics” checkbox to share the description. If topics already have a description, it will be shown after the forum description.

Grades: Rubric Scores transfer to grade items
Points-based rubrics associated with grade items now transfer scores from the Rubric to the grade item.

Groups: New Group Category: “Single user, member-specific groups”
Groups in this new category type contain only one student, and the group is named after the student. Discussion topics, Locker folders, Dropbox folders, News items, and more can be restricted to a specific student. 

Quizzes: Allow Additional Attempts Per Student
Along with allowing students unique start and end times and time limits for quizzes, instructors can now allow a different number of attempts for specific students.

Also in this update: changes to the HTML Editor, Equation Editor and copy/paste, new scoring and group organization features in Discussions, improved rubric and export in Grades, and upgraded Intelligent Agent abilities.

All New Features and Changes

General

Ensure You’re Using a Supported Browser

With the Summer 2017 upgrade, Internet Explorer 10 and Safari 6, 7 and 8 are no longer supported by D2L. The preferred browser is Google Chrome. Firefox is also supported. Edge and Safari are supported, but their use is discouraged.

There is no change in the support of mobile browsers.

Improved Copy/Cut and Paste from Microsoft Word and Excel

When pasting into D2L, users now have the option of pasting as plain text (recommended) or pasting with formatting preserved. When pasting, users are prompted with the options: Remove Formatting or Keep Formatting. Colors, font size, indentation and typeface changes are preserved. Table formatting and Excel cell layout are also preserved.

Note: there is no paste icon in the HTML Editor. Instead, press CTRL+V in Windows, or Command-V on a Mac. To paste as plain text, use CTRL+Shift+V in Windows, or Command-Option-Shift-V on Mac.

Improvements in Image and PDF Viewing

In previous versions of D2L, PDFs and images would load in the Document Viewer. Images and PDFs no longer require the Document Viewer.

Equations Now Previewed in the HTML Editor

The Equation Editor is updated and is now able to insert preview of equations directly into the HTML Editor.

Content

Accessibility Improvements

Discussions

Restrict Posts by Group

A new heading— Topic Type— is visible when creating a new topic. The default is “Open topic”, which is the behavior most familiar with instructors. Selecting “Group or section” means student only see posts or information posted by their own group (or section).

Once a topic is set, it cannot be changed back to an open topic.

Copy Replies with the Parent Post

When using More Actions > Copy while reading a post, a checkbox is available labeled ‘Copy replies’. If checked, the replies to a thread will copy along with the original thread post.

Grade Topics by Summing the Points of Posts

Using the “Sum of post scores” option for graded topics in the Discussions area, instructors can add the points of individual posts in a topic to arrive at a grade for the entire topic.

Forum Descriptions Can be Shown in Topics Automatically

The descriptions of forums can be shown in topics. Check the “Display forum description in topics” checkbox to share the description. If topics already have a description, it will be shown after the forum description.

Discussions Made from Groups Have More Descriptive Names

When making discussion topics from a new Group Category, groups now have more descriptive names. For example, making a new Group Category named “Week 1 Discussions” within a new Discussion forum will produce topics named “Week 1 Discussions – Group 1”, “Week 1 Discussions – Group 2”, etc.

New Topics are Automatically Created for New Groups

This feature will automatically create topics in Discussion forums when new groups are added that are already used by the forum.

Topic Scores Auto-fill When Assessing Topics Via Rubric

For Discussion topics with points-based Rubrics, when instructors assess a topic, the score of the rubric automatically transfers to the Topic Score. This also ensures the rubric score automatically transfers to Grades when the grade is published.

Grades

Automatically Release Final Grade to Students

Instructors can choose to release the final grade to students automatically. This feature is off by default, which matches the previous behavior of D2L. To enable this option, edit the Settings for your course’s gradebook. On the Calculation Options tab, check “Automatically release final grade”.

Export Group Membership with Grade Export

In addition to name and email, the membership of groups can also be exported from the gradebook. A column listing the Group Category appears in the export, with the membership of the group listed in the column for each student.

Rubric Scores Transfer to Grade Items

If a points-based rubric is associated with a grade item, the score now transfers from the Rubric to the grade item. Note: if multiple rubrics are assigned to a grade item, only the first overall score is transferred to the grade item.

Groups

New Group Category: “Single user, member-specific groups”

Groups in this new category type contain only one student, and the group is named after the student. Discussion topics, Locker folders, Dropbox folders, News items, and more can be restricted to a specific student. This feature is exceptionally helpful in the context of Discussion-based virtual office hours.

Intelligent Agents

Unlimited Agent Email Length

Agent emails have historically been limited to 4,000 characters. Agents now have a theoretically unlimited length. Be aware that excessive email size or length can prevent email from being delivered reliably.

Copy and Restore Intelligent Agents

The down arrow to the right of an agent reveals a Copy command. In addition, deleted agents can now be restored by clicking the More Actions button, then clicking Restore.

Agents Display Next Run Date

The Next Run Date column is listed to the right of the names of agents. It will always show the next date and time the agent will run.

Agents Stop Running after the End Date of Courses

When a course is deactivated or the end date of a course passes, agents automatically stop running. Inactive or disabled agents can be manually run at any time, even in inactive courses.

View Agent Run History

Clicking the down arrow next to an agent shows the history. Information listed includes the date and time the agent ran (including practice runs), the result (the number of students affected), the type of run, and who ran the agent, if available.

Practice Run an Intelligent Agent

Once an agent is created, click the down arrow next to the agent’s name to request a Practice Run. No emails will be sent. Once the run is completed, click the link to the right of the agent name to see the students that trigger the Intelligent Agent. Practice runs can be used on disabled agents.

Customize the Name and Reply-To of Emails

The name and reply-to email address can be customized by course for emails sent by Intelligent Agents. While the from email can’t be changed, specifying a custom name, and a reply-to address can make it easier for students to identify course emails, and reach instructors. Change these options by clicking the Settings icon in the Intelligent Agents tool.

News

Link Directly to News Announcements Using a QuickLink

News items can be linked to using QuickLinks. Wherever the HTML Editor is used in D2L, insert a QuickLink to a specific News item for reference.

Quizzes, Surveys

Allow Additional Attempts Per Student

Along with allowing students unique start and end times and time limits for quizzes, instructors can now allow a different number of attempts for specific students.

Quiz and Survey Answers Now Highlight

Multiple Choice, True/False and Multiple Select questions are now grey when the mouse moves over an answer, and the answer background turns blue.

User Progress/Class Progress

Weights Shown with Grades

In the Grades section of User Progress, grade weights are now displayed below the grade entered by the instructor.

Known Issues

Known issues are problems found with D2L or other tools associated with the D2L service that are considered incorrect behavior by the vendor. Known issues will likely be addressed at a later time.

Accessibility

Awards

Content

Discussions

Dropbox

Grades

HTML Editor

Manage Dates

Quizzes

Surveys