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June 2019

Assignments - Assignment list opt-in for learners | Updated

The ability to opt in to the new Assignment list has been split into two configuration variables; one for learners and one for instructors. This allows administrators to choose which roles can opt in to the new Assignment list. Previously, the d2l.Tools.Dropbox.UseAssignmentListOptIn configuration variable controlled the opt in ability for all users.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to the ability to configure the assignment list view for learners and instructors separately.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: The d2l.Tools.Dropbox.LearnerUseAssignmentListOptIn configuration variable determines if learners can opt in to view the updated Assignment list.
The d2l.Tools.Dropbox.UseAssignmentListOptIn configuration variable determines if instructors can opt in to view the updated Assignment list.

Chat - Using Preferred Names | New

Users without the Manage Chat Alias permission now see their preferred name reflected in the Chat tool. Previously, the preferred name was not available.

Users with the Manage Chat Alias permission enabled are not affected, and can independently update their chat alias, as usual.

This feature implements PIE item D5174.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to learners due to an updated reflection of a user's preferred name in the Chat tool.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This feature is automatically enabled for all users. No further action is required.

Configuration Variable Browser - Intelligent Agents | New

The new d2l.Tools.IntelligentAgents.DisableAgentsOnCopy configuration variable now exists for Intelligent Agents, allowing administrators to copy the active/inactive status of the original Intelligent Agents when a course is copied (For example, when the configuration variable is enabled, copying Course A will also copy the active/inactive status of Course A's Intelligent Agents). This configuration will be turned on by default.

This feature implements PIE item D5190.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to the addition of a new configuration variable and improved course copying process.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: Administrators must ensure the d2l.Tools.IntelligentAgents.DisableAgentsOnCopy configuration variable is turned off if they want to copy the active/inactive status of the original course's intelligent agents.

Data Hub - Awards Object Data Set | New

To increase the value of the Data Hub offering, this release includes the new Award Objects Brightspace Data Sets. This dataset provides details on all awards that have been created anywhere in the organization.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to administrators who now have an additional awards data sets.

Availability: This feature is available Brightspace Insights and Brightspace Core clients.

To enable: Ensure the Can Access Brightspace Data Sets permission is granted to administrators at the org level. New fields appear the first time the data set runs after the version update.

Data Hub - Changes to the Brightspace Data Sets major version| Updated

In Brightspace Platform 10.8.8, there was a change to the Users data set to no longer include the InternalEmail column. This field is a legacy column that exists in users' Brightspace Data Sets. Its contents are D2L-specific and of no value for external analysis. Users were provided with a 6 month window to manually update their Brightspace Data Set Version. The update removed the legacy column from the User Data Set. Now, the 6 month opt-in window is over and clients will be automatically updated to Brightspace Data Sets 3.x.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Large impact to administrators who must update the Brightspace Data Sets version to 3.0

Availability: This feature is available to all Brightspace Insights and Brightspace Core.

To enable: The Brightspace Data Sets Version in the d2l.Tools.BrightspaceDataSets.Version configuration variable will be automatically updated to 3.0. No other action is required.

Data Hub – New columns available in data sets | Updated

To increase the value of the Data Hub offering, new columns are now available in the Awards Brightspace Data Sets:

  • Criteria has been added to the Awards Issued data set
  • Evidence has been added to the Awards Issued data set

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to administrators who now have additional columns in the affected data sets.

Availability: This feature is available Brightspace Insights and Brightspace Core clients.

To enable: Ensure the Can Access Brightspace Data Sets permission is granted to administrators at the org level. New fields appear the first time the data set runs after the version update.

Data Hub – New Quiz Section Objects Brightspace Data Set | New

To increase the value of the Data Hub offering, there is a new Brightspace Data Set providing information about quiz section objects. The Quiz Section Objects data set details all the sections and question pools that have been created in quizzes in the organization.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to administrators who now have an additional data set.

Availability: This feature is available Brightspace Insights and Brightspace Core clients.

To enable: Ensure the Can Access Brightspace Data Sets permission is granted to administrators at the org level. New fields appear the first time the data set runs after the version update.

Discussions - Changed permission name | Updated

The existing permission Access to Discussions now appears as View Discussions, to better reflect the ability to view the tool. This change more clearly communicates what the permission does and makes it consistent with other tools in Brightspace Learning Environment. No functionality changes are associated with this permission name change and all user roles that have this permission will maintain their permission.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to the changed permission name in the Config Variable Browser.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

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

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.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to the ability to save draft versions of feedback on discussions that are only associated with one rubric.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

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

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}@gmail.com), 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.


Figure: Example of email headers on forwarded messages

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

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to updates that may be required to Email configuration settings for your organization.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Email users. You must update your organization's SPF record to ensure D2L is an approved sender on behalf of the configured D2LMailDomain.

  • If your SPF is not correctly set up for the D2LMailDomain, D2L servers or external mail providers with strict spam policies may reject correctly forwarded mail. If your organization is currently filtering or rejecting emails based on a “From” address, this change could result in emails not being filtered as expected due to the changed “From” address.
  • D2L recommends reviewing Brightspace Hosting Guidelines and the Review Email Setup Recommendations article on the Brightspace Community.

New Content Experience – Improved End of Unit layout for missed activities | Updated

In the learner view of the New Content Experience, the End of Unit screen shows learners a list of activities that they have not completed. The missed activities section now displays the missed items as a hierarchical list, rather than a simple flat list.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to learners due to improvements to the End of Unit screen when using the New Content experience.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled in the learner view of the New Content Experience. No further action is required.

Quick Eval – Improvements to Quick Eval list | Updated

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

  • A Draft icon displays in Quick Eval for discussion posts that have feedback in draft status
  • Evaluators only see discussion posts and quiz attempts from learners in sections they are enrolled in. This matches the behavior of assignment submissions.

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 - 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.

This feature implements PIE item D1751.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to instructors due to changes in how arithmetic and significant figures questions are rounded when calculating scores.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Quizzes users. To temporarily opt-out of the change, administrators can set the d2l.Tools.Quizzes.RoundingLogicUpdate configuration variable to On. The new rounding logic will become permanent beginning September 2019.

Quizzes - New Quiz Authoring Experience Preview | New

The new quiz authoring experience preview contains the following additions:

  • Users can delete questions from a quiz using the new quiz authoring experience
  • Users can delete sections from a quiz using the new quiz authoring experience
  • Users can delete question pools from a quiz using the new quiz authoring experience

It is currently not recommended to implement the new quiz authoring experience preview for general use in courses.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight disruption to administrators due to a new configuration variable required for the Quiz Builder feature.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients. At this time, it is not recommended to use this feature in live, active production courses.

To enable: In order to preview the new Quiz Builder interface, users must have the

d2l.Tools.Quizzes.NewQuizBuilderExperience configuration variable set to On (Opt-in). Course instructors can then use the opt-in menu to turn the new experience On and Off.

Slight disruption to instructors due to new features added to the new quiz authoring experience preview. Availability: N/A

To enable: Course instructors must select Turn it on from the opt-in menu in order to preview the new quiz authoring experience.

Quizzes - Change in permission name | Updated

The See the Quizzes tool permission is now called View Quizzes. This update clearly communicates what the permission does and makes it consistent with other tools in Brightspace Learning Environment.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due to the change in permission name.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

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

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.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to administrators due to ensuring that a configuration variable is set.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: Ensure the d2l.tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperience configuration variable is turned on.

Moderate impact to instructors due to a tool change. If an instructor clicks the name of a rubric, only that rubric shows up on the assessment screen with the rest of the details.

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.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Moderate impact to administrators due to ensuring that a configuration variable is set.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients.

To enable: Ensure that you are using learning objectives with the Competencies tool.

Ensure the d2l.tools.Rubrics.UpdatedGradingExperience configuration variable is turned on.

Moderate impact to instructors due to tool and workflow changes. N/A

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:

  • The Learner Usage Advanced Data Set now calculates Content progress based on the criteria above.
  • 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.
  • The Valence APIs now have two new bulk routes. For more information about these, see the Brightspace Developer Platform documentation.

Impact of Change Technical Details

Slight impact to administrators due the updates within the system to make the user progress logic and displays appear and function consistently.

Availability: This feature is available to all clients. Analytics for this feature in the Learner Usage Advanced Data Set are available to all clients who have the Performance Plus package or who have purchased Brightspace Insights in the previous packaging model.

To enable: This functionality is automatically enabled for Brightspace Learning Environment users. To access the Learner Usage Advanced Data Set, ensure that the Can execute Learner Usage permission is enabled at the Organization level. No further action is required.