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This content was published: June 15, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Quarterly Updates for Summer 2020

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We try to provide quarterly updates to highlight changes in our online learning ecosystem between terms. We missed the spring update because things were a little hectic, and with the exception of Zoom, most platforms reduced the number of changes occurring to make everyone’s lives a little easier. There are a few updates to share though, so we’ll cover them by platform.

D2L Brightspace

D2L recognized that spring term coincided with drastic increase in LMS use among all their customers and limited their updates to primarily bug fixes and a few small updates. We’ll highlight the updates that are of the most interest to instructors.

  • By popular demand, we changed default homepages to use Announcements tool instead of Activity Feed.
  • Bulk deletion of calendar items: To make the calendar tool work like others, you can now delete multiple calendar items at a time from the Action Menu. This is timely because moving to summer often includes changing multiple deadlines.
  • Export/Backup file name now includes the Org Unit ID & Code in the file name, making it easier to recognize which course an export file came from. Now your filename will look like this: D2LExport_186241_BA101-0-12345.zip, where course code includes the name, number and CRN of your course.
  • On the Assignment page, the column “New” has been renamed to “New Submissions” to indicate more clearly what the count is for.
    The assignment tool now includes a
  • Quick Eval now allows for course-specific filtering. This way you can focus your energy on a single course.
    Quick Eval now lets you filter by course
  • Quick Eval now allows you to dismiss an activity until you get another submission, until a later date, or forever.
    Quick Eval now lets you dismiss an activity until a later date, until there's a new submission, or forever
  • Added Ally link to the navbar for all course navbars. If you use a custom navbar, you’ll need to edit your navbar to add the Ally link.
  • Video Note now records up to 30 minutes of video.
  • Video Note recordings are now closed captioned by default and can be set to other languages.
  • Assignment Grader for tablets is reaching it’s end of life this August. After August, you will not be able to download the app and it will no longer receive any updates. We’re recommending exploring the Quick Eval tool as an alternative.
  • Our Instructional Technology Specialists were working super hard over the last several months and created a new list of recorded workshops that cover a variety of topics.
  • We’ve also made extensive updates to our D2L Tutorials and Technical Support pages.

And coming soon!

  • Common Cartridge Export – Export your entire course or parts of it in the IMS common cartridge format to share with colleagues using other LMSes. We’ve worked closely with D2L to lobby for, test, and provide feedback on this and are excited to use it.
  • End of the old Quiz Experience. In late July, the New Quiz Experience will be the only quiz creation option. The new quiz experience has been available for 6 months.
  • App Grader (tablet software) will no longer be supported and will be removed from app stores in September, 2020.


After two terms of limited adoption, we’ve now released Blackboard Ally to all courses. Ally is an accessibility tool that can help you identify and mitigate accessibility issues with course content. It also allows students to download alternate formats of your content that may work better for their learning preferences.

The Ally meters show how accessible your course files are.


Zoom had a series of security and privacy issues pop up in March that have largely been addressed with weekly software updates. We’ve shared some of the updates along the way, so I’ll summarize the top updates here. You should download the latest version or update the software within the app if you haven’t done so recently.

  • We have changed the recording storage default to automatically delete cloud recordings after 180 days. Previously, recordings were manually removed after 6 months. If you need to keep a recording, you can download it and move it to Kaltura or Google Drive. This is being done to address the sheer volume of recordings being created.
  • Starting July 19th, all meetings will need either a passcode or a waiting room. You can chose which, but the change is being made for security reasons.
  • Software client versions 5.0 and later now support end to end encryption (unless you record or have a phone bridge). See their blog for more technical details.
  • A new Security button on the main control panel to help manage your meetings. It includes quick access to lock your meeting, and enable or disable participants from sharing, chatting, renaming and unmuting.
    The new zoom security button lets you quickly manage participants.


Also known as My Media, Kaltura allows you to upload and embed videos and audio in your courses. It’s a streaming server so students will get a playback experience that matches their device and internet connection.

  • You can now share videos with external users. To do so, Go to My Media, click Edit on the title you want to share, then click on the share button at the top right corner of the video to get a shareable URL.
    The share button in Kaltura player
  • We’re working on a media retention policy for Kaltura and will have more information for fall term.

About Andy Freed

I'm the Director of Learning Technology & Innovation (LTI!), where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services teams. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several positions, from tech... more »