Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

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CERT Brightspace Tip of the Week – Accessibility

Accessibility ensures that all people—regardless of ability—can interact with the information or services you provide as an instructor.

According to the Center on Inclusive Technology & Education Systems

Accessibility refers to the design of apps, devices, materials, and environments that support and enable access to content and educational activities for all learners. Educational materials and technologies are “accessible” to people with disabilities if they are able to “acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services” as people who do not have disabilities. As a person with a disability, you must be able to achieve these three goals “in an equally integrated and equally effective manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use” (Joint Letter US Department of Justice and US Department of Education, June 29, 2010). Technology can support accessibility through embedded assistance—for example, text-to-speech, audio and digital text formats of instructional materials, programs that differentiate instruction, adaptive testing, built-in accommodations, and other assistive technology tools. AEM Center

Glossary of Terms for Inclusive Systems, CAST.ORG

Brightspace supports making online content accessible. A common accommodation is more time on quizzes and tests. Brightspace allows instructors to set an accommodation at the course level that automatically applies to all tests/quizzes.

To set up an accommodation –

  1. Navigate to your Classlist, accessible under the Course Tools item in your course navigation bar. Click on course tools in your course navigation bar, and select Classlist from the dropdown menu.
  2. Find the student in your Classlist who requires accommodations, click on the downwards facing arrow to the right of their name, and click “Edit Accommodations”. Click the chevron next to the student's name, and select "Edit Accommodations."
  3. Check the box that says “Modify Time Limit”, and check the box next to the appropriate accommodation settings for the student. You can either enter a modifier, or a set number of minutes. Select the appropriate modifiers for the student using the provided fields.
  4. Click Save.

CERT Brightspace TIP – How to find your courses and manage your course list.

As you teach more and more courses in Brightspace, your course list will become longer. Brightspace displays courses in the order you access them so new courses might be hard to find until you open them the first time.

Fortunately, Brightspace offers a few ways to filter and manage your courses as the course list grows.

There are two ways to view your courses in Brightspace. The first being the “My Courses” widget on the Brightspace Homepage. This is the page that you first see when you log in to Brightspace. The widget has a few filters automatically based on the Term or Semester you are looking for. You can click on any of these filters across the top of the widget to see the courses associated with that Term or Semester.

The second way to view your courses is by using the “Waffle” button at the top right of the Brightspace window. After you click on the “Waffle”, you will have the ability to search for your courses.

Regardless of which view you prefer, both offer the ability to “Pin” your courses. Pinning your course adds a note of importance to the course and moves it to the top of the Waffle list and creates a new filter in the “My Courses” widget called “Pinned Courses”.

Pinning a course can be achieved by clicking on the pin graphic in the waffle list:

Or by clicking the three dots in the course banner of the courses widget and clicking “Pin”.

Once you have completed a course, you can safely “Unpin” the course by repeating the steps above to remove the note of importance.

CERT Brightspace TIP: The Brightspace Grades Setup Wizard

Grading is one of the key elements of any course. Fortunately, Brightspace offers a way for you to get started. When the Grades menu is selected in a course there is an option for a Setup Wizard. The wizard will walk you through the decisions that need to be made when configuring your grade book.  

  • Do you grade using a weighted system or points?
  • Do you want an option to override Brightspace’s calculation of the grades?
  • Should ungraded items be treated as a zero or ignored in the calculation?
  • How should the final grade be displayed to students?
  • What other details impact how students see their grades?

Assistance on the Grades Setup Wizard is available from D2L in this knowledgebase entry and a short tutorial video.  

Accessing Feedback in Brightspace

Viewing feedback for students is different than how it was in Blackboard. For students to view feedback on their assignments or quizzes within Brightspace, students should navigate to the appropriate tab within their course navigation bar. Assignments are located under Course Tools on the right-hand side of the course navigation bar, while Quizzes are located next to Discussions on the main navigation bar. 

Once a student is in either section, students should then click on the link in the “Evaluation Status” column. This will bring students to a page where they can view their grade, the assignment rubric (if applicable), quiz questions/answers (if set up by the instructor), and any feedback left on the assignment by their instructors. 

Questions? Please reach out to the Helpdesk at helpdesk@desales.edu or 610-282-1100 x4357 (HELP)

Brightspace resources for instructors

There are some great resources for instructors to learn about Brightspace:

D2L Brightspace is Here!

By Eric Hagan, August 10, 2023

Unless you are brand new to DeSales or have been living under a rock, you are aware that DeSales decided last academic year to transition learning management systems. Blackboard is out, Brightspace is in. Thank you for your commitment to making this transition a success to the benefit of our students. 

Many courses have successfully run on Brightspace this summer. Beginning with our fall terms all courses will be taught using Brightspace. I taught an Adult Studies online course in Brightspace at the beginning of the summer. The students in the course were either returning Adult Studies students or day students taking a summer course – in other words, they were all used to Blackboard and new to Brightspace. The students barely mentioned the change, and if they did, it was a positive comment. So the good news is that the transition to Brightspace will not be a big change for students. To them, it’s just another website to navigate. If your instructions are clear, the students will be fine.  

The transition to Brightspace is more significant for the faculty. Many of us take satisfaction in setting up our course in the learning management system just the way we want it. Although all the basic content and some of the structure can be copied over from Blackboard, Brightspace has differences and new capabilities so give yourself plenty of time to set things up the way you like.  

CERT offers plenty of support to the faculty through live training sessions (https://www.desales.edu/workshops), online resource courses in Brightspace – look for the Faculty Orientation and Faculty Resources courses in Brightspace, and one-on-one staff support. D2L also offers a plethora of training videos and support documentation.  

Once you get over the hump of getting your courses up and running in Brightspace, you’ll have a chance to explore Brightspace’s benefits and enhanced functionality including: 

  • Clean, modern interface 
  • Great experience on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets 
  • Deep commitment to accessibility for students with learning challenges 
  • Useful retention support / analytics tools 
  • Integrated high-end content creation tools that make it easy to present content in a highly professional manner 
  • Ubiquitous on-the-fly video integration so you can provide quick on-the-fly video messages to student 
  • Superior integration of our 3rd party tools 
  • 24/7 support from D2L via text and business hours support through the DSU Helpdesk 

Panopto Changes

On Monday, April 18th, 2022, changes were implemented in Panopto that affect the automatic import of Zoom recordings. Now, everyone will need to log into desales.hosted.panopto.com and opt-in to having Zoom recordings automatically sent to Panopto. This change was made in response to a new pricing structure set by Panopto that includes storage fees. Instructions on how to opt-in can be found in the Faculty Resources course in Blackboard under the Panopto menu.

Also, on April 18th, a cleanup was made to Zoom recordings that had not been watched since January 1st, 2022. The videos were not deleted but instead were archived in Panopto. Faculty, students, and staff who own recordings can restore a video in the archive by logging into desales.hosted.panopto.com and following the instructions here.

Any questions about this procedure can be sent to the CERT team at cert@desales.edu.

Summer 2021 Faculty Professional Development Series

The Office of the Provost & Academic Affairs announces the DeSales University Summer 2021 Faculty Professional Development program.

Features of the program:

  1. A $100 stipend for completing a two-part professional development experience on a topic (a maximum of two stipends can be earned).
  2. Each training experience consists of Part 1: Training and Part 2: Demonstration of a deliverable based on the training.
  3. Faculty may choose from 10 topics, some of which focus on instructional technology tools, others of which focus on teaching techniques.
  4. There are both early Summer (June) and late Summer (July through early August) sessions.

For complete details, access the  Faculty Professional Development Summer 2021 Program Catalog. Register at https://www.desales.edu/workshops

If you see a topic in which you are very experienced and wish to share your knowledge, let us know so you can help CERT lead the session (you’ll get the stipend for helping!).

If you have questions or comments, please contact the CERT team at cert@desales.edu. Have a great summer!

Recorded Course Design and Pedagogies Workshops from Assoc Colleges of the Midwest

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) is a consortium like our own LVAIC consortium.

The ACM member colleges collaborated in summer 2020 to offer a series of ACM Online Course Design and Pedagogies Workshops. Addressing concerns and uncertainty about how faculty and students would engage each other in fall 2020, the workshop series offered guidance and best practices on the concepts, skills, and techniques needed for ACM faculty to redesign and reimagine residential face-to-face course content for the online environment in ways appropriate to the liberal arts context.

Topics included:

  • Teaching and learning with care and hope: Ways of being with crisis, trauma, and uncertainty in the classroom and beyond
  • The liberal arts mindset at a distance: Tactics for building a hybrid course
  • Reimagining your syllabus for responsiveness: Aligning goals, assessment, and strategies for teaching
  • Developing effective assignments for the hybrid context and beyond
  • Design your course once for multiple modalities
  • Considerations for hands-on/performance/embodied experiences in remote learning environments
  • Fostering student collaboration and group work in remote and socially distanced learning environments

View the recordings here.

Classroom Technology Tips

  1. Login to Zoom right away, not after you have everything else set up. Once you’re logged into the PC and have Blackboard running, start your Zoom session right away so you can identify any problems early. If you have a lot of materials to get ready on the PC that you don’t want the students to see until you are ready, delay Zoom screen sharing. You can also temporarily switch to another input from the podium button panel if you don’t want the students in the classroom to see what you’re doing.
  2. To check Connected Classroom audio function
    1. Method #1: Select the Test Speaker & Microphone link from the Zoom dialog box that pops up upon login where you join computer audio.
    2. Method #2: In Zoom under the menu found next to the Mute/Unmute button, select Test Speaker & Microphone and follow the prompts.
    3. Method #3: Ask early arriving Zoom students whether they can hear you. Have one of them say something to you to confirm you can hear them.
    4. If any of the tests fails, try to change the speaker or mic settings in Zoom using the menu found next to the Mute/Unmute button or contact the Help Desk.
  3. If the sound fails on the podium PC and you know the correct speakers and mic are selected, restart (reboot) the PC. If that doesn’t work, or if the problem persists on multiple days, contact the Help Desk so CERT or IT staff can correct it.
  4. If the podium PC is hanging up upon login or acting strangely (responsiveness starts and stops, persistent slowness), immediately contact the Help Desk. It could be a serious problem that requires IT to replace the PC.
  5. Please log off the podium PC at the end of class (but don’t shut down the computer entirely). If you don’t log off and the next person logs in on top of you, some system resources may be “captured” by the previous login and not be available to the next instructor, particularly the document camera. To log off on a Windows 10 machine, select the Windows logo at the bottom left and then the person silhouette icon and select Sign out (some in CERT refer to selecting the silhouette as “punching the face” – not very Salesian, but memorable).
  6. Keep the tablet plugged in and charging. If you end up disconnecting the podium or cart tablet charging cord in order to make it easier to enter your Zoom meeting information, be sure to plug it back in, otherwise the tablet will run out of battery and the next instructor will be unable to start the room system.
  7. Call in the Orange Shirt Army. Hopefully you have met any CERT student workers on duty when you teach (recognizable by their bright orange shirts). Feel free to flag one of them down in the hallway or when they poke their head in your class to check on you. If they can’t help, they will escalate your issue to someone that can. The orange shirts can also help you outside of normal class time to test tech things out that you’d like to try.
  8. I’d like to speak with a manager, please. Now you can! CERT’s new Classroom Support Manager is Tom Cobb. A six year veteran of DeSales classroom technology support, Tom now coordinates and supervises our classroom support team of staff and student workers. Contact him at x1567 or tom.cobb@desales.edu. For classroom emergencies and routine issues, contact the Help Desk.

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