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Quarterly updates for Fall 2021

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More than a full year has passed in remote operations and the use of our learning ecosystem has grown in many ways. There are a number of updates we wanted to share with you as you prepare for another academic year. We’ll list the most interesting and important by platform.

D2L Brightspace

There have been a number of updates, tweaks, fixes, and more to Brightspace over the last three months. Here, we’d like to highlight the most significant. if you’d like more details out others,  you can read the past Continuous Delivery notices.

New Brightspace Editor

The HTML editor inside Brightspace has been updated across all interfaces for more consistency. You can read more about the changes in this blog post. My favorite part is the ability to mention people in posts and it will send them a notification within Brightspace.

adding @mention to discussion

Discussion Thread Dates and Locking

The Discussion tool got a fairly significant update to the availability and locking dates interface. While it may be shocking at first, it’s actually a cleaner, easier interface.

Discussion Evaluation Experience

While some of you have already opted-in to the new Discussion Evaluation experience, it is now on for everyone by default (starting 9/24). The new interface attempts to streamline assessment of discussion topics by putting feedback and rubrics at your fingertips. For more details on the update, see this blog post from D2L.

The new discussion grading interface puts everything in close reach.

OER Sharing Guide

We’re in the final stages of updating our OER Course Sharing Guide. It provides recommendations on techniques for sharing your entire course with others using different LMSes. 

Pronouns

Users will now be able to set their pronouns in their profile cards (as of 9/24). This is the first step to implementing pronouns across the LMS for classlist and Banner integration.

You can set your own pronouns on your profile.

Quiz Descriptions

The Introduction field in quizzes has been phased out and merged into the Description field to reduce redundancy. New quizzes will only have the Description field. Old quizzes when you click on Edit the Introduction text is automatically appended to the Description field.

Rubrics Interface updates

There are a number of updates to the Rubrics interface that should improve usability and accessibility. Briefly, the updates are:

  1. Now have the ability to reorder criterion groups
  2. When using rubrics with the New Evaluation Experience, you can see rubric statistics within the evaluation panel
  3. Changes have been made to make the Rubric easier to use for Screen Reader users: 
    1. Increased accessibility with labels on radio buttons
    2. Grading and review tasks have been updated
  4. Allows those using screen readers can grade and review tasks easier
  5. Overall Score now appears in the Mobile View
  6. When a rubric is collapsed, you can now see if the rubric is complete
  7. Uses the new editor in the rubric description and feedback fields.
D2L Pulse

a person holding a mobile phone with the pulse app visible on the device. It shows updates for the student's courses.

Pulse is a student-focused mobile app for iOS and Android that helps students keep tabs on upcoming due dates and notifications from your classes. Students have let us know it’s really useful. Please remember to use the dates tool/calendar in Brightspace to help students keep organized across their classes.

Supported Browsers

If you’re using an older browser you’ll receive a message letting you know that your browser is looking a bit retro or your browser is no longer supported. These browsers are no longer supported:

  • Chrome 67 (released March 2018) 
  • macOS Safari 12 (released September 2018)  
  • Firefox 67 (released May 2019)  
  • Chrome OS Chrome 67 (released Mar 2018)  
  • iOS Safari 11 (released September 2017)  
  • Android Chrome 67 (released Mar 2018) 

If you are using Legacy Edge (older than version 79) or Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, you will receive a message indicating that the browser is now blocked from accessing Brightspace 

D2L Fusion On-Demand Videos

If you weren’t able to attend D2L Fusion this summer, you can still access videos of many of the excellent sessions by registering for on-demand access.

Updates for some other 3rd party publisher

If you’re using RedShelf, Pearson, or McGraw-Hill integration, there have been a number of updates. Please see the Digital Courseware spaces page for information on each.

Live and recorded workshops

We have many upcoming live workshops and recorded workshops if you want to learn more about using Brightspace. There are also drop-in sessions every Friday where you can bring your questions. 

Lastly, you can always contact our Faculty Help Desk for technical support or one of our Instructional Technology Specialists for one-on-one help or consultation.

Zoom

zoom meeting logoIf you spend as much time in Zoom as we do, you’ll probably want to hear about these updates.

Minimum Version Requirement

We have implemented a minimum software version requirement for the Zoom client on your computer or mobile device. This makes sure you and your students’ software is secure and able to support the latest features. All clients will need to be updated to 5.7.0 or later to use Zoom for fall term. IT is automatically updating PCC-managed computers to handle this update already. If you need the latest version, you can download it from https://portlandcc.zoom.us/download

Pronouns

Zoom has added a pronouns field to the web portal so you don’t have to put your pronouns in your name field. You can access your profile at https://portlandcc.zoom.us and use these instructions for setting up your pronouns.

Recording disclaimer

Meeting participants will receive a notification when recording starts that indicates that the meeting will be recorded.

Recording retention

As previously announced, we have reduced the cloud recording retention period from 180 to 120 days. See more about the change on our blog.

A bulk cloud recording download tool is available if you wish to archive a group or all your recordings from your Zoom account to Google Drive or your Kaltura My Media. If you would like us to help with the bulk download, please fill out this form.

Recorded Training

If you want to learn more about using zoom, see these recorded training videos, or contact one of our Instructional Technology Specialists.

Kaltura / MyMedia

Kaltura (also known as MyMedia) continues to be a powerful tool for faculty and staff for sharing streaming videos. This tool is superior to Google Drive or files in your course because it automatically adapts playback for the user’s internet speed and device. It also automatically captions your videos when you upload them.

Editing Captions

Machine captioning is getting better but still inexact. You can edit  your captions easily from within MyMedia.

Kaltura Media Retention Practices

Just a reminder of our video retention practices for Kaltura.

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 »

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Comments

There is one comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Vivian McCann 1 month ago

So much helpful info here about all these updates, Andy — big thanks to you and your team for all you do!

Add to the discussion

PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.