August 14

Intelligent Agents Tool in D2L Brightspace

A list of all tools under Course Admin i nD2L with Intelligent Agents circled

 

Intelligent Agents is a tool in D2L Brightspace that can increase instructor presence by sending pre-set, automated emails triggered by pre-set criteria.  I like to call it the Virtual Teaching Assistant as it helps with some administrative tasks, acting on your behalf.  You can see on the picture above where it is located under Course Admin. Below are the details about the tool, as well as how to set them up in D2L.

  • Automated Messaging System: Sends emails once pre-set criteria is evaluated for students.
  • Most common: log-in criteria or release conditions (e.g. no submission to a folder).
  • Notifies the course instructor about a potentially troubled student (providing additional background information, such as an unattempted quiz, a quiz grade or a task (in)completion).
  • Only the instructor sees this tool. When users are evaluated as true on the condition you have set, an email you have previously wrote is automatically sent. A personalized message with the ability to link to resources (remedial or reinforcing) leads to increased instructor presence and student satisfaction.

To set them up in D2L:

  1. Go to Course Admin, find the tool by name or in Communications category. Go to settings and Set custom values for this course (name that emails come from (your name) and put your preferred reply-to email). Save.
  2. Click on New.
  3. Name it, check it as enabled, set criteria (Course Activity log-in or Create and Attach a Release Condition (determine the Condition Type and Details from the dropdown menus)).
  4. Determine whether the Agent will act only once or set a schedule for running dates.
  5. Choose HTML as the Email Format. Copy-Paste the replace strings (To*: {InitiatingUser}; Email Subject: e.g. Reminder for {OrgUnitName}; start the email with, for example: Hello, {InitiatingUserFirstName}). Save and Close. Do a Practice Run, if you wish, to see identified users.

June 27

Online Teaching Tips You Don’t Hear Too Often

Faculty Focus published Ten Online Teaching Tips You May Not Have Heard, a refreshing read. I will recap the ones I thought are the best “reminders” that you may have heard once or twice but it’s not everyone’s focus. However these tips are truly great and probably something your online students are expecting more and more.

1. Do a Welcome Email – …Send a private email, addressing each student by name, and asking a direct question to start a brief dialogue.

2. Text (SMS) Opt-In – Tell your students to opt in for text notifications in D2L. They can do this by logging-in to D2L, clicking on their name, and going to notifications (see below). This also increases the chances of them seeing any updates thus creating less excuses for not being in the know.

Notifications in D2L

D2L Notifications SMS Opt-In

 

3. Communicate Information Using Multiple Channels – If you have important information to convey to students, don’t use just one channel of communication, use multiple. For example, instead of simply posting information only in the announcements area, or only in the feedback area, or sending it only via email, include the information in all three of these places. This will reduce the number of students saying they did not get the memo. Posting information in as many places as possible will result in more students getting the information they need to succeed.

4. Sync School Email Account to Phone – Contact your institution’s help desk for instructions on how to sync your school email account to your iPhone or Android. Not only will receiving email in multiple places reduce your likelihood of missing messages, it will also allow you to address urgent questions and concerns in a timely fashion. Students are often pleasantly surprised at my response time. However, it is important to set boundaries by letting students know when to expect a reply. For example, you can inform them that you normally respond within a 24-hour period, during regular business hours. This will help maintain your work-life balance.

5. Keep a Running List of Resources to Include in Feedback – Compile a list of helpful resources to send to students who are struggling in certain areas. For example, if a student submits a paper that illustrates he or she does not know how to use commas, don’t just point out the mistake, but refer to your list of resources and include the appropriate resource in your feedback. A Word document, bookmarks folder, or desktop sticky note are great places to keep these resources handy.

P.S. Be on the lookout for our post on Intelligent Agents in D2L, because they can help you with #1 and #5 from this list to be automatic if set up ahead of time with the right criteria.

 

June 19

D2L Brightspace Awards Tool: What do you need to know?

Photo credit: www.brightspace.com

With the new D2L update SCSU went through  earlier this month, the Awards tool has been made available. I will summarize the main functionality and features here,but you can always access the full Awards Tool Guide here and a Webinar on the Awards tool.

WHAT IS THE AWARDS TOOL?

The Awards tool can be used to create Badges and Certificates to reflect the achievement of different milestones within a course offering. In the Awards tool, instructors can design badges and certificates and link them to release conditions to allow automatic awarding. Learners can see the awards that they have already earned, as well as those that they have yet to earn, in the associated My Awards tool.

WHY USE THE AWARDS TOOL?

  • Reward learners with badges and certificates immediately after they have completed an activity or assignment.
  • Build an element of gamification into your course and better engage your learners.
  • Provide a consolidation/ celebration piece to the completion of an assignment or activity.
  • Track learner progress and development.
  • Build a hands-off method of instant feedback.
  • Provide learners with certificates that they can share through social media.

CREATING AWARDS

Go to Course Admin and find the Awards tool. Select Create Award to build from scratch. Add a name and description, and select the Award Type (badge or certificate). The award icon image can be selected from the existing images in the Award Icon Library, uploaded from your computer, or created using Badge Designer.

Once your award has been created, you can associate it with release conditions and credits by selecting Edit Properties on the Course Awards page.  Once associated with release conditions, the award will automatically be awarded to all learners who achieve that condition, including those who completed the condition in the past.

D2L Awards five badgesD2L Awards handshake badgeAwards a description of an issued badge

June 8

D2L Visual Design Change to Daylight Experience

As we have previously announced, D2L update brought a visual design change that is much more responsive – works the same on different devices and matches our students’ needs. Below you will find a quick overview of “before and after”, so you can easily navigate the new design right away. The text describes the circled areas on the D2L homepage and course page.D2L Dayligh Visual Design Changes

D2L Dayligh Visual Design Changes

May 31

D2L Brightspace Webinars

Photo credit: www.brightspace.com

Here are some upcoming webinars organized by D2L for you!

Restructuring Online Discussions to Save Time and Engage Students – Live Webinar

Discussions are rightly an integral (if not time-consuming) part of engaging students in online learning environments. This session shows how a simple change of discussion structure and the question style can save you time, while creating conversations that re-create the excitement of engaged learning in face-to-face discussions.

Register now

Build Your First Intelligent Agent in Brightspace – Live Webinar

Are you interested in using Intelligent Agents but don’t know where to start? In this webinar we will help you create your first Intelligent Agent (or maybe even your second or third). We’ll help you decide:

  1. Why you should create an agent
  2. Who you should create an agent for
  3. How to create the agent
  4. What’s in it for you – prizes, that’s what’s in it for you! 

We’ll give away prizes to a couple of lucky attendees through a random drawing near the end of the live webinar.

Register now

April 18

D2L Brightspace The Daylight Experience

**Attention – If you don’t want to read further just check out this super short overview video! 🙂

D2L Brightspace is bringing a new design with their updates. Daylight: the overarching project name for the user interface change of design – to help everything be more web responsive.

The biggest reason for this change is to make D2L easy to use on tablets or mobile devices – keeping up with e-learning trends.

Here are some of the visual changes:

Courses will be listed  by tiles instead of text links.

courses as tiles not text in D2L

D2L will keep the same functionality, this is just a change in the user interface design, new font style, more pictures, slight changes on home page and navigation bar, and drop down menu more defined.

deesktop vs. mobile page widthIn addition, click here for a starter guide to Daylight experience.

Finally, a full one-hour Webinar about the Daylight experience (click to access).

 

 

March 23

D2L Upgrade June 2-3, 2017 and D2L version 10.7.0 Preview for Faculty WebEx Session

The System Office is currently planning for an upgrade to D2L version 10.7.0 (and Daylight Experience) to occur Friday-Saturday, June 2-3, 2017.  This upgrade will require a downtime, with the time and duration to be determined in the coming weeks.

All Minnesota State faculty are invited to attend a WebEx session on Thursday, March 23 at 1:00 PM that will provide an overview of the new features of this version, which is scheduled to roll out to campuses on June 2, 2017.

You will get to see the improvements to:

  • Intelligent Agents
  • Quiz Question Creation Process
  • Small group discussions
  • Responsive design for mobile devices (Daylight Experience)
  • And more

There will be more training opportunities for faculty in the future, but if you’d like a sneak peek at 10.7.0, please plan to attend on March 23.  The session will be recorded for later viewing, but if you attend it live, you will have the opportunity to ask questions on the spot.

Please feel free to join us in Centennial Hall room 115 on Thursday, March 23 at 1:00 PM for the WebEx session. You may also join the training directly, however, WebEx can only accommodate up to 250 connections.
Join WebEx meeting
Meeting number (access code): 633 172 032

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1-650-429-3300 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that this WebEx service allows audio and other information sent during the session to be recorded, which may be discoverable in a legal matter. By joining this session, you automatically consent to such recordings. If you do not consent to being recorded, discuss your concerns with the host or do not join the session.

January 31

Upcoming MOQI & SIG Free Webinars

If you have an hour to spare, some really awesome topics are being presented in Learning Spaces & Instructional Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) and Minnesota Online Quality Initiative (MOQI) webinars. It is very easy to register, so just try out one of the topics of your interest and I am sure you will be back for more. 🙂

Click here to browse the events and register.

Below you will see webinars happening this February. Plus, don’t forget, a one-day virtual conference STAR Symposium will be held on February 10,  2017 (Register here for STAR Symposium).