Introducing the Brightspace Community

As Andy mentioned last week, we attended D2L’s Fusion conference and will be sharing what we learned. In addition to the brightspace rebranding, D2L also introduced a community ( that has been redesigned as a result of feedback from their users. As D2L notes, the new community includes these features:

    • No barriers to access. It is easy to get in, engage, contribute, and participate. There is no login required to access most resources, participate in discussions, or provide feedback
    • More self-help resources and content such as best practices, answers, webinars, documentation, and professional development opportunities
    • Access to people, conversations, and true social networking
    • Hundreds of HTML5 videos on how to use the Brightspace platform
    • Additional documentation, videos, help files, and discussions
    • A Twitter channel to ask D2L how-to questions: @BrightspaceHelp.

So far, my favorite feature is the ‘Search everywhere’ box:


Check out the new brightspace community by D2L and let us know if you find a great feature or resource that you think we should highlight!

In the coming weeks, keep an eye on the DDS blog for more information from FUSION.  Andy and I are looking forward to sharing more of the great things that are coming from brightspace by D2L.

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Highlights from FUSION 2014 – Brightspace

Desire2Learn recently held their annual users conference, called FUSION, in Nashville, TN. Two of the DDS staff were in attendance, and over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some of the things we learned.

First and foremost was an announcement on the first day of the conference. Many of you know that the software platform that powers Springboard is actually called Desire2Learn. Desire2Learn, or D2L for short, announced that they were rebranding their software as Brightspace. Here is a snippet from the official press release:

D2L, the EdTech company that created the world’s first truly integrated learning platform (ILP), today announces it is supercharging its ILP by providing groundbreaking new features and partnerships designed to personalize education and eliminate the achievement gap. Available immediately, the D2L ILP provides full integration of its adaptive learning solution (D2L LeaP), more robust analytics, game-based learning, an expanded mobile offering with Windows 8 capabilities and the newest education content all within a single, open platform.

D2L also announced today that its ILP has been branded as Brightspace. The platform is the industry’s most complete solution for integrated learning with support for over 100 new applications being developed each month, gathering together all of D2L’s powerful capabilities.

“A simple LMS no longer addresses the needs of the education market. Organizations and educators need more than a basic productivity tool – they need a platform that makes it easy for them to personalize the learning experience for each student and improve overall outcomes,” said John Baker, President and CEO, D2L. “The Brightspace platform is about transforming learning through technology to help build a brighter future for millions.”


So, the question is “What does this mean for us?” Well, as it turns out, not much. We will still refer to Springboard as Springboard, but it will now be powered by software referred to as Brightspace. When instructors are looking for test banks, documentation, etc. for our integrated learning platform, those instructors will need to look for Brightspace instead of Desire2Learn going forward.*

In the coming weeks, keep an eye on the DDS blog for more information from FUSION. Wendy and Andy are looking forward to sharing some of the great things that are coming!

More information on Brightspace can be found on the Brightspace Blog.

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Tip of the Week: Alternative Presentation Tools

Most of us have seen our share of PowerPoint presentations – the good, the bad, the awful. If you’re looking for other options, we’d like to highlight a few alternative presentation tools to PowerPoint that you can embed right inside your Springboard course.


The first presentation tool we’re going to talk about is called Prezi. Of all the alternatives to PowerPoint that we’re going to talk about, Prezi has probably been around the longest. With Prezi, you start with a huge blank canvas where you can add images, text, and video. You can also start with a pre-built template that will automatically format your background, text, colors, etc. As you add things to the canvas, you can then add ‘frames’ around certain areas or objects. These frames will allow you to build a path through your presentation, focusing on various important areas or points. Prezi also supports audio, so you can add your own voiceovers. There is a free version, along with a few different subscription options. To learn more, sign up for an account and then visit the Getting Started page. Here is a great example of a well-polished Prezi:

Slides is another great alternative to PowerPoint. The main thing that Slides has going for it is its simplicity. When you create a Slides presentation, you can add text, images… and that’s about it. The transitions between slides are very elegant and clean. Slides also allows you to build presentations out different directions – rather than having a linear set of slides that stretches out forever, you could build main points out to the right, and delve deeper into those topics by building slides ‘down’. Like Prezi, Slides also has a free version and a paid subscription available. You can sign up for an account here. A great example can be found here:

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is very similar to Slides, in that slides are restricted to text and images. However, Haiku Deck allows you to search for Creative Commons licensed background images that are extremely high resolution. Simply type in a keyword while building your slide deck, and you can select from a massive collection of beautiful background images to help you get your point across. Haiku Deck is completely free, but all decks you create are freely available for viewing. Likewise, you are free to view other users’ decks for inspiration. To get started, sign up for a Haiku Deck account here. Here is an example of a finished Haiku Deck (bonus – it has tips for developing presentations!):

With all of these tools (along with many, many others), you can embed your finished product into a page, news item, etc. in your Springboard course. More information on embedding media in Springboard can be found on this previous Tip of the Week.

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Finding Public Domain and Creative Commons Images

CreativeCommonsLogoMany images found online are copyrighted which makes looking for images to use in a course problematic at times.

Finding images or other media online that is properly licensed for use in a course can be as easy as using your favorite search engine. Many search engines offer the option of the searching based on the copyright and the usage rights of the media. Continue reading

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Upcoming Springboard Training Dates

Live face-to-face training is available for Springboard through Software Training Services. The training is split into three courses: Content, Gradebook & Dropbox, and Quizzes.

The Content seminar is the best way to get started using Springboard and post materials online. Learn how to drag and drop course files from your computer to your Springboard course.

The Gradebook and Dropbox seminar will teach you how to use a wizard to set-up a grade book. You will also learn how to create a drop box so you can collect assignments anytime.

Next, learn how to create a quiz in two steps. Create questions that assess different levels of learning, from fact recall though a student’s ability to creatively apply learning in new situations.

Attend an Open Lab session if you have course development questions.

Here are the upcoming dates for training between now and the beginning of Fall 2014 semester:

Day Date Start End Title
Mon 14 July 2014 09:00 AM 12:00 PM Creating Content
Wed 16 July 2014 09:00 AM 12:00 PM Gradebook & Dropbox
Fri 18 July 2014 01:00 PM 04:00 PM Quizzes
Mon 18 August 2014 05:30 PM 07:30 PM Creating Content
Wed 20 August 2014 05:30 PM 07:30 PM Gradebook & Dropbox
Fri 22 August 2014 09:00 AM 12:00 PM Open Lab
Fri 22 August 2014 01:00 PM 04:00 PM Open Lab
Mon 25 August 2014 01:00 PM 07:00 PM Open Lab
Tues 26 August 2014 09:00 AM 03:00 PM Open Lab
Tues 26 August 2014 05:30 PM 07:30 PM Creating Content
Wed 27 August 2014 09:00 AM 03:00 PM Open Lab
Wed 27 August 2014 05:30 PM 07:30 PM Gradebook & Dropbox
Thu 28 August 2014 09:00 AM 12:00 PM Open Lab
Fri 29 August 2014 09:00 AM 12:00 PM Open Lab
Fri 29 August 2014 01:00 PM 04:00 PM Open Lab

Click here to register for a training session. More information is available here.

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Tip of the Week: Previewing a Quiz

So, you’ve spent a lot of time setting up a quiz in your Springboard course – double-checking your settings, setting restrictions, adding questions, dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Now, you want to take your brand new quiz for a spin before you release it to your students. All you need to do is preview your quiz!

  1. Navigate to your course in Springboard.
  2. Click Quizzes.
  3. Click the dropdown arrow next to the quiz you’d like to preview.
  4. Click Preview.
  5. To take the quiz with all restrictions in place, make sure that Bypass Restrictions is not enabled.
  6. Click Start Quiz.
  7. Click OK to confirm.
  8. Complete the quiz, saving answers as you go.
  9. Click Go to Submit Quiz.
  10. To see what a student would see upon submitting, enable the Allow this preview attempt to be graded in the Grade Quiz area.
  11. Click Submit Quiz.
  12. Click Yes, submit quiz to confirm.
  13. When finished reviewing your results, click Exit Preview.
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Tip of the Week – Editing a Navbar

As an instructor, you’re probably pretty familiar with the tools that are available on the default course navigation bar (navbar for short). We think we’ve done a good job of incorporating most of the commonly-used tools in Springboard on the default navbar, but every course and instructor is different. It is possible as an instructor to change the navbar in your course(s) to remove tools you don’t need, and even add more tools that you may not have known about!

One thing to note before we start – it is possible to create a brand new navbar, but we would not recommend it. A new navbar is essentially a blank slate; none of the links you’re used to seeing will be listed, and it is a little tedious to replace everything. For this process, we will show you how to make a copy of the existing default navbar, and make changes to the copy.

  1. Navigate to your course in Springboard.
  2. Click Edit Course.
  3. Click Navigation & Themes.
  4. You should see several navbars listed, with one marked as the default. Click on the dropdown arrow next to this navbar.
  5. Click Copy.
  6. Click on the title of the copied navbar.
  7. Update the Name of the navbar.
  8. To add tools:
    1. Click the Add Links button.
    2. Place a checkmark next to the tool(s) you would like to add.
    3. Click Add.
  9. To remove a tool:
    1. Place your mouse cursor over the tool.
    2. Click the X in the top-right corner of the tool.
  10. To move a tool:
    1. Click and drag the tool to the desired location.
  11. When finished, click Save and Close.
  12. Select your newly-created navbar from the Active Navbar dropdown menu.
  13. Click Apply.
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Tip of the Week: Embedding Media

Many instructors like to incorporate various types of media in their courses – things like YouTube videos, interactive presentations, Flickr collections, and many more. While it’s fine to point to these objects with a simple link, wouldn’t it be great to have these types of media embedded directly within your Springboard course?

In Springboard, it’s possible to embed media anywhere that the HTML editor is present. This includes pages in Content, News items, Discussion messages, Dropbox instructions, etc. To embed a piece of media on a page in Springboard:

  1. Navigate to the media object you would like to embed. In this example, we’re going to embed a YouTube video.
  2. Locate the embed code for the object. Typically this is listed under the “Share” option.


  3. Highlight the embed code, and copy the full text (Ctrl-C in Windows, Command-C in Mac).
  4. Navigate to the area where you would like to embed the media in Springboard. In this example, we’re going to embed our YouTube video into a News item.
  5. Edit the item (or create a new one).
  6. Click the Insert Stuff button.


  7. Click Enter Embed Code.
  8. Paste the copied embed code into the Embed Code text field (Ctrl-V in Windows, Command-V in Mac).


  9. Verify that the preview looks correct. If so, click Insert.


  10. Save the item.
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Tip of the Week: Manage Dates

Instructors have the option within Springboard to copy their course materials from one semester to another. This is a great time-saving feature, but there is one problem – all of the original start, end, and due dates are carried over as well. Rather than edit each individual item to change the dates, there is another solution – the Manage Dates tool!

To access Manage Dates, click on Edit Course within your Springboard course. Next, click Manage Dates.


The next screen displays a list of items in your course. You can filter the results by choosing Specific Tools, and then selecting or deselecting different tools. Click Apply Filter when you’re done.


Select the items that you would like to modify by placing a checkmark next to each one. To set or remove the dates on the items at once, choose Edit Dates. To move the dates forward or backward, choose Offset Dates.


More information can be found on the Manage Dates portion of the Springboard Instructor Resources page.

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Public Domain images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York City has posted almost 400,000, high-resolution, images of their collection online. The images are free to use for scholarly endeveours and are clear of copyright restraints (i.e. they are public domain). The images have been made available as part of the Met’s Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative and allows these images to be downloaded for scholarly use in “any media”.

The collection includes works ranging across history and a variety of medium. You’ll find images from Babylonian clay tablets and Greek amphora to paintings by Picasso and photographs by Alfred Stieglitz. This is a great resource for faculty and students involved in scholarly work across the arts and humanities.

Self-Portrait of Rembrandt

Self-Portrait Rembrandt (left) and detail (right). 1660. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913.

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