Tip of the Week: Using Discussion Forums (for students)

Springboard recently updated its view of discussion forums to allow for quick browsing of top level posts. It is important to clarify the difference between starting a new thread of conversation versus replying to a previous thread.

Many instructors will require their students to create a new thread before other student’s replies are visible. This allows the student to provide an original thought on the discussion question before engaging in the conversation.

To create a new thread, simply select Start a New Thread.


When you begin to type your new thread, make sure to enter a subject (much like composing an email). You can type your comments in the space provided. You can also choose to subscribe to the thread by checking the Subscribe to this thread box. You will receive email notifications if anyone replies to your thread.


When you are finished composing your thoughts, don’t forget to click Post.

Next, when you are ready to reply to a thread, select the title of the thread to join the conversation. Unread threads are listed in bold.


Selecting the Reply to Thread button will allow you to type a comment within the thread. You can also reply to an individual comment by selecting the Reply button directly beneath the comment.



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Tip of the Week: Role Switch

If you’re an instructor that has used Springboard for a while, you’re probably already familiar with the Role Switch function. The Role Switch allows an instructor to simulate how someone with another role in the course, such as students, would see something within your Springboard course. In version 10.3, this process has gotten even faster!

You can use the Role Switch from anywhere in your course. To do so:

  1. Select your name in the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. If you would like to role switch to Student, select View as Student.
  3. If you are interested in another role, select Change.
  4. Select the desired role from the list.
  5. To switch back to your default role, select your name in the top-right corner of the screen.
  6. Select the X next to Viewing as…

A few things to note:

  • The Role Switch, in some cases, will not perfectly mirror the Student role. Because you are still an instructor in the course, you aren’t able to have grades assigned to you, take quizzes as a student, be enrolled in groups, etc.
  • Regardless of where you initiated the Role Switch in your course, you will be automatically taken back to the course homepage.
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Update: Issue Viewing Feedback in Dropbox

Desire2Learn has been able to identify the issue that is causing internal errors when some students attempt to view feedback in the Dropbox. The issue is being caused by no text being present in the Feedback text field. We are working with D2L to identify and deploy a hotfix to correct the issue. In the meantime, the workaround is for instructors to add some sort of text to the Feedback text field – even just a single space will be sufficient. We have corrected the issue with all students who have reported the issue thus far. However, if other students/instructors notice the issue occurring, we will be happy to assist with them as well until a more permanent solution is in place. Again, we apologize for the difficulty that this issue is causing, and thank you for your patience.

If you are experiencing this issue, please contact the ZipSupport Center at support@uakron.edu, or by phone at 330.972.6888. Please be sure to provide your UAnet ID, the course number, and the name of the dropbox in which you are experiencing the issue.

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Issue Viewing Feedback in Dropbox

We are aware of an issue currently affecting some students in various Springboard courses. When these students attempt to view feedback in a Dropbox folder, they receive an Internal Error. We have opened an incident with Desire2Learn, and they are currently investigating the issue. We apologize for the difficulty that this issue is causing.

If you are experiencing this issue, please contact the ZipSupport Center at support@uakron.edu, or by phone at 330.972.6888. Please be sure to provide your UAnet ID, the course number, and the name of the dropbox in which you are experiencing the issue.

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Tip of the Week: Notifications in Springboard

We know that our students’ lives can be very hectic. Most students simply don’t have the time to stay logged into Springboard waiting for a score to be posted to Grades, a question in a Discussion topic to be answered, etc. Luckily, with the Notifications tool in Springboard, you don’t have to!

To access the Notifications tool -

  1. Log into Springboard.
  2. Select your Name in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Notifications.
  4. Set up your contact information. You can change your Email Address and/or add your Mobile Number to receive text message notifications.
  5. Select your Summary of Activity preference. If you want to receive a daily summary of activity in each of your courses, you can choose Daily. You can then choose what time you would like to receive the summary.
  6. Select your Instant Notifications. You can choose email notifications for any of the items listed, or SMS (text) for all but the Discussion notifications.
  7. Once you have selected all of the notifications you would like to receive, select the Save button.

A few important things to note:

  • If you select text message notifications, all standard text messaging rates apply.
  • If you change your mobile number, you will need to update your notifications in Springboard with the new number and carrier.
  • If you are graduating soon, it may be a good idea to turn off notifications before you leave the University.
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Using Desire2Learn Assignment Grader with Springboard

D2L Assignment Grader app iconDesire2Learn(D2L) Assignment Grader is an iPad app created by D2L to enable the grading of dropbox assignments. It synchronizes with Springboard and provides mobile, offline, access to dropbox submissions. Some of the features and benefits of Assignment Grader are:

  • Grade submissions while offline and sync grades later.
  • Annotate and markup documents for student review without additional steps or applications.
  • Utilize existing rubrics.
  • Provide audio and video feedback.

On March 24, 2014, UA upgraded to 10.3 of the Desire2Learn Learning Environment. If you’ve used Assignment Grader in the past, this upgrade eliminates many of the problems and errors that you may have experienced. If you haven’t used Assignment Grader before, now is a great time to give it a try.

Table of Contents

Getting Started with Assignment Grader

Start by downloading the app from the App Store. The app is free to download, though it does require a free D2L EduDentity account to unlock all of the features of the app.

Assignment Grader appstore page.

Once the app is installed, tap the icon to open it. Before you can use the app, you’ll be prompted to Log in to Learning Environment or Log in with EduDentity. To utilize all of the features of the app, including the ability to view Office documents, you will need to log in with both. Start by logging in to the learning environment (i.e. Springboard). Enter https://springboard.uakron.edu as the learning environment URL and tap Connect.

Learning Environment address

You’ll be brought to the Springboard login page. Enter your UANet ID (1) and password (2) and login (3) is you normally would.

Springboard login page

After logging in, you’ll be able to start using the app with limited functionality. For complete access to all features, you can connect to (or create) a free EduDentity account. If you need to create an account, we recommend using your UA email address.

Login or create EduDentity account.

After signing in with your EduDentity account, the app will load all of your available dropboxes. Please note that only dropboxes with user submissions will be displayed. Also note that all active courses may be displayed, even those from previous semesters.

Course List

When you return to the app in the future your EduDentity and Springboard accounts will be linked. You can log into your EduDentity account and connect to Springboard without entering your UANet ID and password again.

Important Settings

Before you start grading any assignments, we recommend updating some of the settings. To access the settings, tap on the “gear” icon at the top-right corner of the app. We recommend turning on the option to Auto-Submit Feedback. Depending on the types of materials your students are submitting, you may want to increase the File Size Limit. The default limit is 4.0 MB. If your students are submitting image-heavy documents, you may want to increase that to 10.0 MB or even 20.0 MB.

Assignment Grader settings

Grading and Adding Feedback

Dropboxes are organized by course. Since multiple courses may appear in Assignment Grader, the app will display the course number with the name.

To start adding feedback, tap on the assignment you want to grade. You’ll be taken to a view of all of the student submissions sorted by alphabetical order. You’ll be able to see when the student submitted along with their ungraded/graded status.

List of student submissions in a dropbox

To add feedback, just tap on the name of the student you want to grade. The feedback view will list all of a student’s submitted files on the left. Tapping on the left column will expand it to display greater detail. The center column will display the student’s work. The right-most column, which is collapsed by default, includes all of the feedback tools. Depending on the file type, tools to annotate and mark the document will appear in this column.

View of a student's work in Assignment Grader

Supported Files

When logged in with a D2L EduDentity account, the list of supported documents includes:

  • PDF
  • HTML
  • Word, Powerpoint and Excel
  • Pages and Keynote
  • Text and RTF
  • JPEG, GIF and PNG
  • Audio playback for MP4, MP3 and MOV

Types of Feedback

In addition to a numeric score and written feedback, many files can be annotated in much the same way you might markup a printed assignment. You can use your finger or stylus to draw and write on a document. You can even change the color and size of the “pen”. You can also highlight text, add typed notes, underline text and strike-through text.

Change the color and weight of the annotation tools.

Annotated files, voice feedback and video feedback are returned to the student as a downloadable files.

If you have a rubric linked to your dropbox, the rubric is available within the app. You choose the level (points) and provide any relevant feedback. The grade and feedback will be transferred to the appropriate fields, just like the normal Springboard site.

Assessment options with Rubric highlighted Rubric tool in use.

After saving and recording the assessment from the rubric, the score and feedback will be automatically copied back to the previous screen.

Transferred feedback and score.

A brief audio or video message can also be included. The app limits audio feedback to 5 minutes.

Audio/Video Feedback

Submitting Feedback

If you have turned on the option to Auto-Submit Feedback, you can return to the list of users (i.e. students). Your feedback will automatically be uploaded to Springboard. If you want your feedback to publish immediately, you can tap on the Not Published button at the top-right corner of the screen. The icon will change text to say Publishing while the feedback is submitted. Once it is done, the icon will read as Graded.

Grade publish status

When you return to the list of users, the grade and the status of any annotated files to be uploaded will be displayed.

Publish status for graded assignments

Note: The file upload status has not been 100% accurate. At times, the app will insist that the files haven’t been uploaded when they may have been uploaded to Springboard. Logging into Springboard on your computer will allow you to view the Published feedback. Chances are, you’ll see the grade you posted, the feedback and the annotated file(s) and any audio or video feedback.

Errors and Other Problems

If you look at the app store reviews, the D2L Assignment Grader app is not well loved. As of March 26th, 2014, the app has a 2-star rating. Looking at the reviews will display a large number of 1-star reviews. The app has not worked with great consistency across versions of the Desire2Learn Learning Environment.

On March 24th, UA upgraded to D2L Learning Suite 10.3. This version is compatible with Assignment Grader and fixes the errors that many were experiencing previously. Previously, the only way to get new dropbox submissions was to uninstall the app and reinstall it. The latest version of Springboard eliminates that problem.

If you are using Assignment Grader and are still experiencing errors, we recommend that you update to the latest version of the App. D2L posted an updated app on November 25, 2013. If you aren’t using automatic updates, you may still be using an older version.

Still having errors? You may need to delete the app from your device, re-download it and log back in to Springboard and your EduDentity account. Do not delete the app unless you have published all of your student feedback. When you delete the app, all of your unpublished feedback and settings will be deleted. Steps on deleting an app can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/TI135

Old Classes

Assignment Grader will load ALL of your ACTIVE classes. This includes classes from previous semesters and courses where the course access has ended. In order to remove a class from Assignment Grader, you will need to modify your Course Offering Information settings to make the course inactive. Simply un-check the “course active” checkbox and save your settings.

Springboard Course Status

You will still have access to your course materials in Springboard after making a course inactive.

Additional Information

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Springboard Documentation Updated for 10.3

The documentation for Springboard has been updated! It is now current to reflect the changes made in version 10.3, and it has also received a much-needed facelift.

When you visit the instructor or student resources page today, you should notice some changes. We have moved several of our specialty guides that have been written in-house to the Popular Guides heading. We also reevaluated the layout of the pages themselves. Gone are the accordion-style expanding categories. Instead, when you click on a particular tool, you’ll be taken to a landing page that links to many useful guides.

Check out the changes on the Instructor Resources page and the Student Resources page!

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Welcome to Springboard Version 10.3!

The upgrade to Springboard version 10.3 has been completed. We hope you enjoy the new features that come with version 10.3 including:

  • Ability for instructors to send notifications when Content is updated.
  • Improved interface for Discussions.
  • Improved workflow for creating Quizzes.
  • Easier access and more consistent placement for buttons like Save, Post, etc.
  • Ability for instructors to change roles with fewer clicks (under your profile in the minibar)

We will highlight some of the enhancements in more detail in our upcoming tips of the week.

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Tip of the week: More Tools in Springboard

We have been reading through the numerous great suggestions for Springboard improvements.  One thing we have noticed is that a few of your requests are already possible in Springboard.  We will incorporate some of these into our tips of the week. For example, several instructors asked for a self-assessment tool. Faculty: did you know that Springboard has more tools that you can use?  Beyond the tools that available in the default navigation, Springboard includes more tools such as the following:

To find these tools, use the Edit course link in your Faculty Tools link group.

Course_Administration_Edit_CourseTip within a Tip:  If you decide to use any of these tools, you can add them to your course navigation bar.  


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Springboard Unavailable March 24 for Update

For Spring 2014, we are pleased to announce that we will be upgrading to Desire2Learn (Springboard) Version 10.3 on Monday, March 24th. Version 10.3 includes new features and improvements, including:

  • Ability for instructors to send notifications when Content is updated.
  • Improved interface for Discussions.
  • Improved workflow for creating Quizzes.
  • Easier access to buttons like Save, Post, etc.

In order to install the upgrade, Springboard will be unavailable on March 24th. Updates will be posted here on the DDS blog.

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