August 22

D2L for Students: Pulse App

Pulse App looks on a phone The basics: It keeps students on schedule.

Instructors: Use dates in D2L.

Both for Android and IOS platforms, ready for free download. It is built into the system so the students see courses they are enrolled in (that were requested by the instructor  to appear in D2L Brightspace Learning Environment).

Ease of use, student centered: Shows calendar, courses, notifications.

The app is color coded and students can filter through courses.

Notifications: updates e.g. new announcement, new content, new grade (students need to subscribe in the Learning Environment before they get notified in the app). Pulse app draws from courses but students can add their own notes.

Faculty can help by setting the dates in announcements, content, assignment folders (dropbox) and quizzes and displaying it in calendar. You go to restrictions to manage dates and whenever you specify a due (or end) date it will automatically feed into Pulse.

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 20

Meeting Web Content Accessibility Standards

D2L Brightspace Community Website has great resources to offer. This link offers tips on web content accessibility. I am listing some important recommendations below:

  • When possible, use HTML topics to create your course content. D2L provides accessible HTML templates to streamline the content creation process. If you need to use other file formats, such as video files, choose formats that are recognized by most browsers or offer the material in multiple formats.
  • Use a simple layout that does not use tables or columns to organize information. When information is organized simply, it is easier for students to read and understand. Simple layout is also easier for assistive technology devices to interpret and present, and for mobile and handheld devices to resize.
  • Do not use color to convey meaning. If you want to show how concepts relate to each other, use a combination of size, color, and text labels.
  • Use headings to communicate the relationships between sections. Use Heading 1 for the title, Heading 2 for major sections, Heading 3 for subsections, and so on. If headings are used correctly, screen reader users can quickly search a page by heading and participants with cognitive disabilities can understand how sections and content relate easier.
  • Make sure each heading, item, and file name are unique.
  • Include alternative text descriptions (alt text) for all graphics. Use double quotes (null) as the alt text if the object is a decorative element that does not add meaning to the topic. If the graphic is a link, begin the alt text with “Link to”. The HTML Editor in Brightspace Learning Environment automatically prompts you to include alt text when you insert an image.
  • Ensure that there is a strong contrast between the text and the background colors in your course materials.
  • If you create PDF files from Microsoft Word or another word processor, format titles and sections using heading so they are correctly tagged in the PDF.
Accessible Page example with different headings and colors

From: https://www.pcc.edu/resources/instructional-support/access/documents/OnlineAccessibilityHandbook-loRes.pdf

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).

 

 

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).