What’s New on Brightspace? (June/July 2020)
Every month, Brightspace will release new features and updates. You can get a comprehensive view of the updates here, but this blog post will give you a quick overview of what’s new on Brightspace!
Assignments – New create and edit experience
The create and edit Assignments page has an updated look and feel. The classic tabbed view has been transformed into a new, fully immersive page layout.
The primary panel on the left contains frequently used fields that are always displayed. These fields are most relevant to learners and are the core details instructors want to add; a due date, instructions, and attachments.
The panel on the right organizes additional, more advanced options such as start and end dates, rubrics, annotation tools, and Turnitin. When these options are collapsed, summary text provides details about which settings are active and subtle hints that aid in the discovery of additional settings. As a result, you can see everything at a glance with little to no scrolling, and without having to navigate through any tabs.
The new experience streamlines the process of linking assignments to your grade book and builds on a pattern first introduced in Activity Feed. When you enter a score, your assignment is added to Grades, and the name and score are automatically synced for you. If you traditionally create grade items in advance, support for selecting existing grades and categories is also available.
Rubrics – Accessibility improvements in Rubric creation workflow
The following updates have been made to improve the accessibility of the rubric creation workflow:
- The button next to the page title is now labeled so a screen reader reads “Actions for [title]” when the button has the focus.
- The Overall Score now has the proper heading level so screen reader users can navigate directly to it from the heading list. Previously, users were required to tab through all previous headings in the list first.
- There is no longer a skipped heading level between Rubric Levels and Criterion (both level 3) and Standards (previously level 5).
- In the rubric preview window, Criterion Score has been added as a column header. Previously, the column did not have any header text. (Coming July)
- When you change the names of levels in the rubric create or edit experience, screen readers now read the updated name rather than the original default level names. (Coming July)
- Screen readers now indicate when new levels, criterion, groups, and overall score levels are added to a rubric. Previously, there was no loading progress indicator. (Coming July)
- Screen readers now state that there is a new level, criterion, group, or overall score level. (Coming July)
- The keyboard navigation tab sequence is improved when navigating to the Add and Cancel buttons in the Outcomes Picker window. (Coming July)
Brightspace Learning Environment – Supported browsers update (Coming July)
This release introduces the following updates to browser support for Brightspace Learning Environment:
- Adobe Flash and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 are no longer listed as a requirement. Brightspace Learning Environment supports HTML5 Player and no longer relies on Flash. However, clients can still create Flash-dependent content in Brightspace Learning Environment.
- The concept of a Maintenance browser is removed from the Brightspace Platform Requirements documentation, as this previously related to the now unsupported Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. All supported browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari) deploy using a continuous delivery model and Brightspace supports the latest versions of these browsers.
- Firefox ESR is removed as a supported browser, due to extremely low usage. To support clients through this transition, D2L will fix high-priority issues for Firefox 68 ESR (until the end of September 2020) and Firefox 78 ESR (until the January 2021 release).
- Brightspace Learning Environment’s browser version check now displays warnings for browsers earlier than the following versions:
- Chrome 81 (released in April 2020)
- Chromium-based Edge 81 (released in April 2020)
- Safari 13 (released in September 2019)
- Firefox 76 (releases May 5th, 2020)
- D2L does not plan to update the Edge Legacy browser checks until Microsoft completes their roll out of Windows updates that move non-enterprise users to the new Chromium-based Edge. Microsoft expects to complete these changes in Summer 2020. D2L expects to update Edge Legacy support in Fall 2020 or January 2021, based on recommendations from Microsoft and overall usage statistics.
You can access Brightspace Learning Environment with older versions of our supported browsers; however, D2L does not test Brightspace Learning Environment against these older versions. This means you may encounter unexpected user interface behavior and appearance, or broken and unsupported functionality. In most cases, D2L does not fix software defects experienced in unsupported browser versions. For an optimal experience that offers better performance, accessibility, and security, D2L strongly recommends that all users access Brightspace Learning Environment with a supported browser.
Widgets – New “Pinned” tab in My Courses widget (Coming July)
A new Pinned tab now appears in the My Courses widget. The Pinned tab allows learners and instructors to create a curated view of their pinned courses.
The Pinned tab appears in the widget only after a user pins a course in the Course Selector. The tab remains in view until all courses are unpinned. The My Courses widget remembers the last viewed tab and shows that same tab the next time the homepage is viewed. This makes it easy for instructors and learners who only wish to view pinned courses to see those courses upon login.