Release Highlights | August 2017

Posted on Posted in Just(in) Time

Hi everyone,

Here is the information on the August update that will come out tomorrow. It looks like Brightspace has a new ePortfolio tool coming out. They recommend that we don’t run both products simultaneously, but I will see about turning it on for our test instance for us to review it. After watching the video and reading up on it, I am wondering if the new Portfolio tool is primarily for K-12?

For my cliff notes version, please see below:

Assignments | Updated


Instructors can now set the visibility state for draft content within assignment submission folders in Content and Assignments. When content is in a draft state, it is not visible to learners in Brightspace Learning Environment.

Figure 6: When instructors have set the visibility to draft, the hidden icon appears in the instructor view of the assignment

In Content, when an instructor chooses to add existing assignments as topics, the visibility state of the topic is pulled from the visibility state of the assignment. The visibility status of a topic now also reflects the visibility status of the folder in which the topic resides.

Figure 7: Changing state on the Edit Submission Folder page is done with the Hidden from users check box

Figure 8: The drop-down menu for content items offers the Hide From Users visibility state

When an instructor creates a new assignment folder, the new folder defaults to the draft visibility state, in the same method as Quizzes, Surveys, and Discussions. When an import file of Content topics and assignment folders contains a mix of visibility states, all topics are changed to the draft visibility state. When an instructor updates a visibility setting for a topic in Assignments, it is automatically updated in the associated Content topic.

This will be nice little change for those faculty who are requesting the ability to hide dropboxes before a course is complete – particularly with the 4YC faculty.

Brightspace Portfolio – AWS Enabled | New


This limited release of Brightspace Portfolio provides an online artifact space for classrooms and individual learners. Administrators and Instructors can create categories to tag evidence according to course learning objectives or other collections (such as All About Me for younger students). A unique identifier is available for each classroom, and for all the learners within the classroom. After Brightspace Portfolio is set up, instructors use a shared classroom device to scan a code to access their online classroom, and learners scan a unique identifier code to add a new artifact. Then, instructors and learners can use the Portfolio tool in the Brightspace Learning Environment to manage the information they have added to their Portfolios.

With the new Brightspace Portfolio tool, learners can use the Portfolio app on a classroom device to capture images of their best work, and record an audio reflection about their work. Older students can also record reflections using the mobile Brightspace Portfolio app. These artifacts are saved directly to the cloud location set up for the classroom. Then learners can view the artifacts from within the Brightspace Learning Environment in the Portfolio tool. Learners can also manage the evidence by adding or deleting the content they have captured and described, including audio, video, and text reflections. In addition, learners can view instructor comments, and link Google Drive and Office 365 artifacts.

Instructors can manage the evidence and reflections captured by their learner. Instructors can also save evidence to a learner’s Portfolio, delete evidence that is not of good quality (such as blurry images), share artifacts to parents (if the Brightspace for Parents is turned on), add comments on the learner’s work, tag the artifacts with pre-set categories (such as categories that meet learning objectives), upload additional video or audio evidence, add text reflections for the learner, delete text reflections, and link Google Drive and Office 365 artifacts.

Brightspace Portfolio is intended to replace Brightspace ePortfolio, and it is not recommended that clients use both tools concurrently.

This is Brightspace’s new ePortfolio. As I mentioned earlier, I will be turning this on in our test instance next week so that we can take a look and compare it to the old ePortfolio. I don’t know if they will be phasing out the old ePortfolio as of yet, but if I had to guess, they will eventually end the support for it, at some point. So we will probably have to switch down the road. One important note that I saw was “There is no migration from the existing Brightspace ePortfolio tool to the new Brightspace Portfolio.” So I am guessing students who have data in the old ePortfolio will have to download and then import it into the new one? This will be something we will want to test when we have the time!

Daylight Experience – Icons | New


Previously, icons displayed in Content to help users distinguish between content file types (for example, an icon for a video topic or an icon for a discussion topic). Now, icons reflecting the Daylight look and feel are re-introduced in Content. These icons are visible in the main Table of Contents view, the Module Content view, and the Table of Contents fly-out menu when viewing a topic or activity.

Looks like they’re still plugging away with Daylight improvements!

Email – Address Book | Updated


Users from one section of a course no longer see learners from other sections of the course. If the course is set up so that there is an email address book for the section, the learners listed in the address book are now filtered in a drop-down menu by section. A learner can only see sections in which they are enrolled. Instructors will continue to see all sections listed here if they have Access all Sections permissions.

Figure 13: The user only sees the sections in which they are enrolled displayed in the System Contacts drop-down list

I think this will be good for the 4YC students. The way it is set up, all sections of the same course are merged into the same course in Brightspace. So if a 4YC student wants to email a fellow classmate from their class, they end up seeing ALL of the students from ALL of the sections in the address book. This will help with that clutter.

Virtual Classrooms – Improvements | Update


The HTML5 Virtual Classroom client is now used for all meetings; the Flash client is no longer available. Within the meeting management experience the left menu now uses tabs, windows are responsive for improved usability on mobile devices, instructors can create repeating meetings, and all meeting assets can be downloaded and played back on a local device. Copy components workflows have been enhanced, ensuring that upon copying courses that include virtual classrooms, only the classroom’s dates require updating in the new course. Additional tool tips have been added to Virtual Classroom to increase usability and assist new users. In Virtual Classrooms, users see connection indicators that display the meeting health and recording status. When using the whiteboard, text boxes are created automatically without needing users to click and drag to create them. Desktop sharing can now be paused and participants continue to see what was shared at the time of the pause.

Virtual classroom will no only use HTML 5! It looks like they’ve made some adjustments for it to work better on mobile devices as well, which is always a good thing. Since they’re removed the flash-based chatroom, students and faculty should probably stick with Chrome or Firefox when using VC as that would give them the best experience.

I have attached the word file that contains all of the update notes. No preview for the September release yet, unfortunately!

Have a great day,

~ Justin