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July 2019

Brightspace Learning Environment

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.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to all users to improve accessibility and align with WCAG 2.1 standards.

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Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for all Brightspace Learning Environment users. No further action is required.

Activity Feed – Pin multiple posts | Updated

Instructors can pin more than one post to the top of their Activity Feed. Previously, only one post could be pinned at a time. This allow instructors to highlight more than one important post at a time to ensure that students do not miss critical posts.

This feature implements PIE item D4635.

Figure: Multiple posts pinned to the top of the feed

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to instructors due to the ability to pin multiple Activity Feed posts to the top of the feed.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Activity Feed users. No further action is required.

Activity Feed – Support for courses with sections | Updated

Activity Feed posts can now be sent to specific sections in a course. Previously, posts and comments were available to all users in a course and could not be restricted based on section. If an instructor is enrolled in more than one section of a course, they can specify which sections can view the post. Instructors can also filter their course activity feed by a section, allowing them to focus on posts from a specific section.

This feature implements PIE item D3952.

Figure: Select which section(s) you want to view a post

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to instructors due to the ability to use Activity Feed in courses that use sections.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Activity Feed users. No further action is required.

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.

This feature implements PIE items D1858, and D1913.

Figure: Select Edit Categories from the Assignments page

Figure: Manage all categories from one page

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to instructors due to the ability to easily manage categories in Assignments.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: To enable the functionality for instructors, ensure the instructor role has the new Manage Categoriespermission (for Assignments) set at the course offering level.

Assignments - Eraser added to Annotations | Updated

An eraser has been added to the Annotations tool bar to allow evaluators to remove ink annotations made when evaluating assignment submissions.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to instructors due to the ability to erase ink annotations.

Availability: Available to Brightspace Core clients.

To enable: Ensure the d2l.Tools.System.Features.Annotationsconfiguration variable has override values set for courses planning to use annotations.

Brightspace Pulse - Improvements to notifications | New

To ensure that learners receive more up-to-date information in Brightspace Pulse, they now receive push notifications for all updates. This removes the need to manually check for update notifications. When a learner receives an update notification, an update icon displays in the Notifications tab.

With this update, the Share icon ( on iOS and Android) is removed from notifications in Brightspace Pulse, the capability to share notifications with other learners is no longer available. Previously, learners could share notifications by tapping the Share icon to share a notification via instant message, email, or social media.

This feature implements PIE item D4753.

Impact of Change Technical Details

No impact to administrators.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Brightspace Pulse users. No further action is required.

Slight impact to learners due to a workflow change for checking notifications and the removal of the Share icon for sharing notifications.

Notifications offer learners tips and keep them informed about course-related news, updates, due dates, and grades from Announcements, Grades, and Content in Brightspace Learning Environment.

Note: After logging in for the first time, course notifications do not appear until new updates are created in Brightspace Learning Environment.

Learners cannot configure the notifications they receive in Brightspace Pulse.

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.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to instructors due to the changed column in the Content Completed graph.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Class Progress users. No further action is required.

Data Purge – Purge user contributed files | Updated

When using the Org Unit Purge option feature in the Data Purge tool, administrators now have an additional option to purge User Contributed Files. This change is being made to address a use case not covered through the other purge types. The new User Contributed Files option purges user contributed files but not any other user-contributed database information, including quiz attempts and grades. This leaves the database information in place that may be needed for reporting purposes.

Note: This option does not display the number of files that are being deleted or were deleted.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators who have an additional purge option.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Data Purge users. No further action is required.

Email - Email Domain Standardization | New

All references to ucourses.com, desire2learn.com, and brightspace.com domains in the d2l.Tools.HelpDesk.FromEmail and d2l.Tools.Notifications.Email.FromAddress Email-related configuration variables are now updated to follow the implementation standard of [your organization name].brightspace.com. Standardizing the domain references in configuration variables will also aid in improving the troubleshooting process.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to changes in domain references for Email-related configuration variables.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Email users. No further action is required. It is recommended that administrators review Email-related configuration variables and make adjustments as needed.

Slight impact to instructors due to system and notification messages now addressed from the Brightspace domain, instead of ucourses.com N/A
Slight impact to learners due to system and notification messages now addressed from the Brightspace domain, instead of ucourses.com N/A

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

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to all roles due to an interface change.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for all Brightspace Learning Environment users. No further action is required.

Currently, this change displays in the Brightspace Learning Environment navbar and Activity Feed only. For example, this change does not display for the list of learners in the Classlist tool or in Brightspace Pulse.

If the user has a preferred first and last name, the first letter from the preferred first and last name display.

Quick Eval – Improvements to Quick Eval | Updated

To improve the Quick Eval experience, the following updates are now available:

  • The Manage Discussions permission is no longer required to evaluate discussion topic submissions using Quick Eval
  • The Back to Quick Eval button directs users to the Quick Eval tool at the course level or org level, depending on where you launched it from
  • Different date formats are supported in the Submission Date column (PIE item D5432)

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to instructors due to improvements to the Quick Eval list.

Availability: Available to Brightspace Core clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Quick Eval users.
Turn on Quick Eval under Organization Tools.
Add the Quick Eval link to the Org level navigation.

Add the View Quick Eval permission at the Org level for the required roles.

Quizzes - Early preview of Quiz Builder | Updated

This feature includes a preview of work flows related to reordering quiz questions using keyboard interaction in the Quiz Builder, which you can enable in test environments or production environments in sandbox or non-live courses.

Once this read-only preview feature is turned on at the course level, instructors can then opt in / opt out of the new experience. D2L does not recommend using this feature in live production courses in its preview form.Quiz Builder is expected to be ready for use in production environments as of the August 20.19.8 release.

Once turned on, you can preview the new Quiz Builder experience by clicking Add/Edit Questions on the quiz Properties tab. The updated Add/Edit Questions screen provides a preview of the option to reorder questions and move between sections using keyboard interaction in the new experience. The experience is accessible when using assistive technologies. A drag and drop experience is expected to be released in the August 20.19.8 release.

When you opt out of the Quiz builder experience, you are prompted to leave feedback on the new design.

Impact of Change Technical Details

No impact to users as this feature is only available for preview in test environments and production environments in sandbox or in non-live courses.

Availability: A preview of this read-only feature is available to all clients.

To enable: To preview this functionality, ensure the d2l.Tools.Quizzes.NewQuizBuilderExperience (OrgUnit) configuration variables is set to On (Opt In)for courses with existing quizzes.

Rubrics - UpdatedGradingExperience defaults to ON | Updated

The default state of the organization-level d2l.Tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperience configuration variable is now set to On. Administrators have the option to turn off the new grading experience by setting the d2l.Tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperience configuration variable to Off. Turning off the d2l.Tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperience configuration variable will turn off the new grading experience for the entire organization.

Impact of Change Technical Details
Slight impact to administrators due to the changed default state of the d2l.Tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperienceconfiguration variable. Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Rubrics users. To disable the new grading experience, course administrators must set the d2l.Tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperienceconfiguration variable to Off.

Slight impact to instructors due to the new grading experience being turned on by default.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Rubrics users. To disable the new grading experience, instructors must have course administrators set the d2l.Tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperienceconfiguration variable to Off.

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

This feature implements PIE items D4528, and D1023.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to learners due to the improvements made to the learner experience while taking surveys.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Surveys users. No further action is required.

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

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to users who will see new lang terms in the widgets and Assignments.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for My Courses widget, Updates widget, and Assignments users. No further action is required;

Integrations

LTI Advantage - Assignments and Grades Services | New

LTI 1.3 updates Assignments and Grades Services (AGS), replacing the basic outcome service that continues to be used in LTI 1.1. AGS extends and improves the ability of LTI Advantage when interacting with Brightspace Learning Environment.

The permission to create or update associations for grade items to an LTI content item is changed from External Learning Tools > Manage External Learning Tool Links to Grades> Manage Items and Categories. This provides the ability for faculty members to create External Learning Tool links and Quicklinks from available External Learning Tool Providers and update grade associations without requiring the permission to manage ETLs.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Large impact to administrators due to the ability to determine whether grade services are allowed at the tool level. Additional impact to review the current grade association settings to ensure current use cases are properly accounted for

Availability: This feature is available to all clients using LTI Advantage tools.

To enable: The AGS functionality is automatically enabled for LTI users. No further action is required. Administrators should review updated permissions for grade associations

LTI Advantage - Basic LTI Launch | New

Brightspace Leaning Environment is now updated to reflect LTI 1.3 update standards. A new workflow exists where the tool is registered through a new permission in Manage Extensibility, after which the tool can be deployed though a new user interface and permission accessed through External Learning Tools. Two new permissions exist for administrators to enable the changes with LTI 1.3 (Roles and Permissions > External Learning Tools > Manage LTI Advantage Tool Registrations, and Roles and Permissions > External Learning Tools > Manage LTI Advantage Tool Deployments). Instructors with permission to create links at the course level must now bind the link to an existing tool.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Large impact to administrators due to the implementation of a new workflow for LTI 1.3 specifications.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients

To enable: To enable the functionality for administrators, ensure the new Manage LTI Advantage Tool Registrations and Manage LTI Advantage Tool Deployments permissions are set at the organization level.

Large impact to instructors due to requiring links at the course level to bind to an existing tool. N/A

LTI Legacy and Advantage - Role Mapping and UI Update | New

A new IMS Configuration user interface is available from Org Tools (pre-existing) and Roles and Permissions(appears as a new button beside Create/Copy). The Context role type is now also sent, in addition to the Institutional role type during the LTI to ensure that the tool provider knows which roles the user has at launch.

D2L has run a script to automatically map previously-set Institution roles to Context roles. It is recommended that administrators review these roles to ensure all user cases are properly considered:

Institutional Roles Mapped Context Roles

Student

Learner

Faculty Instructor
Member Member
Learner Learner
Instructor Instructor
Mentor Mentor
Staff N/A
Alumni Learner
Prospective Student Learner
Guest N/A
Other N/A
Administrator Administrator
Observer N/A
None N/A

Impact of Change Technical Details

Large impact to administrators due to a new IMS Configuration user interface.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for LTI users. No further action is required.