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July 2024 Brightspace Update Preview

Posted by on Monday, July 8, 2024 in Releases.

The July 2024 update to Brightspace will roll out later this week once it’s released by D2L (the company that makes Brightspace). As part of this update, the following new features and changes will be included. Note that since this update has not been implemented at the time of publishing this post, some things may change between now and then. 

Email – Emails queued as background task when sent to large numbers of recipients

With this release, emails that have 100 or more recipients are queued for sending as background tasks, allowing users to continue working while the email is being sent. A Sending label is displayed when viewing the email in their Sent Items folder to indicate that the email has been queued; this label disappears once the email is sent. If any issues occur while sending the email, an alert message appears in Message alerts with the details.

Emails sent to fewer than 100 recipients are sent immediately and any errors appear in the Compose New Message window. Previously, emails with large numbers of recipients were not run as background tasks and could cause page timeouts.

This release also includes header labels for the columns within the Email tool.

The Sent Email folder of the Email tool, showing both the Sending Label and the column header labels (Priority, Read/Unread, Attachments, and To).

Figure: Users can see if their email is Sending as a background task and view details about the email under the appropriate headers.


Grades – Automatic Zero for Missing Submissions

The Automatic Zero feature allows a score of zero (0) to be automatically applied to unsubmitted learner activities after the due date passes. Applying the Automatic Zero feature eliminates the need for instructors to manually set missing submissions to zero. Additionally, learners receive a more accurate view of their grade calculations for individual activities and for the overall course.

Instructors can select between system-added and manually-entered zero scores. Automatic Zero applies to both individual and group assignments and respects any exemptions and release conditions set for an activity. Automatic Zero is triggered within one minute of the due date and is based on local time zones for both instructors and learners. The feature follows the same rules as existing due dates.

Supported submissions include file and text-based assignments, quizzes, and LTI tools. All activities must have grade associations. When Automatic Zero is applied to a learner’s assignment:

  1. On the Enter Grades page, a zero (0) score with a dashed underline appears. Hovering over or focusing on the score displays a tooltip showing it was automatically applied by the system.
  2. On the View Grades page, learners see a zero (0) grade, an overdue indicator in the Completion Status column, and optionally, a comment explaining the zero (0) grade in the Comments and Assessments column.


The Grade Calculations page appears with Automatic Zero for Missing Submissions highlighted. The check box is unchecked.

Figure: For instructors, the Automatic Zero for Missing Submissions check box appears in the Grade Calculations area of Grade Settings when the Automatic Zero function is turned on.

In the Learner view of a gradebook, a grade of 0% is hovered over, with the tooltip reading Automatic zero. Missing submission on the due date.

Figure: Learners see an automatic zero applied to a missing submission with an explanatory tooltip.


Lessons View Content – Distinguish between root content modules with custom colors 

To assist younger learners in finding modules based on color, while also enabling higher education classrooms to better align with organization branding, instructors now have the option of defining the color of root modules in their course. In addition, sub-modules now inherit the parent module’s color.

Previously, module color could not be customized from the Lessons View Edit Content pages; instead, the color was taken from the navbar theme color or a predefined set of rainbow colors. The child modules previously displayed in increasingly lighter shades of the parent module.

Additionally, to help modernize the appearance of the Lessons View and to avoid accessibility challenges related to supporting custom colors, the width of the color bar is reduced.

With this update, the Display accordion appears on the Edit Content page if the module meets the following criteria:

  • There is no parent above the module in the content navigation hierarchy
  • The course uses a theme to set a navbar color and all modules are one cohesive color

When the correct criteria are met, Instructors can change the root module color.

Figure: With this update, the side navigation color width changes, and sub-modules now inherit the parent module’s color.


When the criteria are met, the collapsible panel on the right of the Edit Module page includes the Display accordion.

Expand the Display area to indicate if you want to use default or custom color for the nav bar theme. If you select Custom, a color picker appears.

Figure: Click Custom and select a color or enter a hex value in the Color Picker that appears.


SMS Notifications – End of Life

As of this release, SMS Notifications are permanently removed from Brightspace. Short Message Service (SMS) Notifications allowed users to subscribe to select notifications to be forwarded to their mobile phone number. Stored phone numbers are deleted following this release and are no longer needed to send notifications. 

Email-based notifications remain, and users can still receive email notifications if they subscribe. Alternatively, users can use the Brightspace Pulse app to receive the same mobile push notifications that were available with SMS Notifications. For more about how users can manage their notifications in Brightspace, view our online guide on this topic. 



July Release Notes

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