Brightspace Eportfolio–Sharing Your Work Within Your Group

Brightspace ePortfolio is a personal portfolio tool for storing, organizing, reflecting on, and sharing items that represent your learning. You can include items such as documents, graphics, audio files, videos, presentations, and course work to demonstrate your improvement or mastery in certain areas.

You can control what items you want to include in your portfolio, how they are organized, and who you want to share them with. When you share items with your peers, mentors, or potential employers, you can give them permission to view items, edit items, see or add comments, and see or add assessments to receive feedback.

Create a Presentation to Showcase Your Knowledge

Presentations let you compile Brightspace ePortfolio items into a web project to showcase your achievements. The presentations can have multiple pages. Presentations provide a polished, professional medium to demonstrate your learning and accomplishments. There are more than 40 templates that you can choose for your presentation.

Build a New Collection to Organize Ideas, Discoveries, and Accomplishments

Collections are groups of artifacts, reflections, presentations, and learning objectives. An item can belong to multiple collections at the same time. For example, you can add a short story to a collection called “Fiction” as well as a collection called “Creative Writing 101” and there will only be one copy of the story (artifact). You can add multiple items in any collection.

Add a Brightspace Accomplishment as an Artifact in Eportfolio

When you finish an assignment, a quiz, or earn a grade, or more, you can add these items to your ePortfolio as an Artifact to share with the others. Your achievements can also be added to a presentation and collection.

Share Your Work With Instructor, Group and External Users

After you created the ePortfolio, you can share it with your instructor and classmates. Log in your course, click on My Tools—ePortfolio. Click on the down arrow button right next to the ePortfolio that you want to share. You can also export your items/presentation as an ePortfolio package or HTML version.

Please contact Design & Development Services (Ext. 4455)  for further information or assistance about ePortfolio. Thank you!

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UA-Wide Testing Website Announced

Counseling & Testing Center, Computer Based Assessment and Evaluation, and related offices are announcing a consolidated landing page for all testing resources across campuses. Beginning with Spring semester (2019), will host information for students, faculty, staff, and community members about all testing services that are available at the university. This new site is intended to direct users to the appropriate office for their needs to improve access and communication.

Individual offices will retain their websites for more detailed information, and main campus testing locations are here:

For further information about specific testing services, accommodated testing, and satellite campus testing information, please visit Please review your departmental websites to assure any links for testing services direct to this new site.


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Register NOW for Spring Training!

If you are a sports fan, this may not be the post for you.  If you would like to learn more about Brightspace though, please keep reading. In January, we have a full range of training to help you knock your course out of the park, including:

Zips softball

Zips softball

  • Brightspace introduction for faculty, offered Jan. 8 from 2-4, will cover basic navigation, activating your course, adding a news item, adding content, setting up a basic grade book and adding an assignment folder.
  • Brightspace intermediate training for faculty, offered Jan. 10 from 2-4, will include setting up a basic quiz, creating and managing discussions, modifying the navigation and homepage, and monitoring student progress.
  • Best Practices for Teaching Online (online: Jan 7 – Jan 14): During this course you will learn strategies for managing your time in an online course, strategies for building community, tips for hosting live sessions in WebEx, grading strategies, and tips for how to make teaching online enjoyable. You will also have access to video and step-by-step tutorials for all of the tools you will need to know how to use to teach online. This course has been designed to give you a mini experience as an online student in case you have never taken an online course yourself. It is packed full of advice from experienced UA faculty who have taught online and were willing to record their experiences. This is an online course hosted in Brightspace.
  • Spring Course Open Labs for Faculty, offered Jan. 9 from 10-2 and Jan. 18 from 12-4, will provide an opportunity to work one-on-one with an instructional designer or multimedia developer to tweak your course for spring. Design and Development Services will be there to assist you with many of the semester start-up tasks. We are requesting that faculty members register for this open lab so we know you’re coming. You are welcome to stay for as little or as long as you like during our scheduled hours.
  • Brightspace Advanced Training for Faculty, offered Jan. 25 from 10-12, will cover advanced Brightspace topics including release conditions, creating pages with embedded media, creating and using groups, intelligent agents, rubrics, checklists, the Manage Dates tool, and creating widgets.
  • NEXT Conference, offered March 1. The New Explorations in Teaching (NEXT) Conference is an annual gathering at The University of Akron to share new ideas and explore topics that affect teaching in higher education. We are currently finalizing the presenter schedule for NEXT 2019. Register here:

To register for any of these sessions, please sign up here:

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Don’t Spend Your Winter Break Completing Grade Change Forms!

Common Mistakes in the Brightspace Gradebook

I know it’s a super busy time, but if you spend a few minutes reading through this post, I believe you will actually save more time. Most importantly, you can ensure that your students’ final grades are correct.

Here’s the highlights:

  • A category cannot contain ONLY Bonus Items (hint: if you do this, you are very likely to be the one completing a grade change form for all of your student)
  • We recommend that you use the Calculated Final Grade to prevent and/or simplify grade appeals
  • We recommend that you release the final calculated grade to students (or release the adjusted grade if that’s what you are using)
  • Remember that there is a new bulk grading feature that could save you a lot of time. Read more here:
  • You can preview what your students see and this just might save you a lot of time and frustration.
  • You can find everything you ever wanted to know about the Brightspace gradebook is posted here:
  • Help is available in Leigh Hall 506 during business hours, or by calling 330-972-4455!

A Category Cannot Contain ONLY Bonus Items

I completely understand why you might think it’s a good idea to put bonus items in categories by themselves. However, this will not actually work. The worst part is that it will not warn you, it just will not calculate the bonus for the students. The reason for this is that Brightspace calculates subtotals for each category. Because bonus items have a denominator of 0, it cannot calculate a subtotal for a category that only includes bonus items.

To fix this issue:  Move your bonus items out of the category, or add a non-bonus item to the category. Here’s how to move a bonus item out of a category:

  1. Open your course.
  2. Open Manage Grades from the MyTools menu.
  3. Click the name of your bonus item.
  4. Choose None for the Category.
  5. Click Save and Close.
  6. Repeat as needed for additional bonus items.

Choose the Calculated Final Grade Option

To prevent and/or simplify grade appeals, we recommend that you choose the Calculated Final Grade option.  This ensures that all students’ grades were calculated using the same method. To choose the Calculated Final Grade, do the following:

  1. Click Grades from the Assessments menu.
  2. Click Settings button on the right near Help.
  3. Click the Calculation Options tab.
  4. Under the Final Grade Released, choose the Calculated Final Grade option.

Releasing Final Grades

In the Calculated Final Grade column of your grade book, check to see if there is an open or a closed eye. If you see a closed eye (slash through it), then you need to release these grades to your students. To release the Calculated Final Grade, do this:

  1. Choose Grade All from the context menu to the right of the Calculated Final Grade column.
  2. Select the empty box at the top of first column to select all of the students.
  3. Select the Release/Unrelease option.
  4. Double check that the Release option is checked in the far right column.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Click OK.

Bulk Grading

For situations where you need to give the same grade and/or feedback to multiple students, Brightspace now supports bulk grading. In case you missed the announcement, you can find those steps here:

Previewing What Your Students See

We frequently get calls from faculty who say “my students say they cannot see their grades.”  While we are always happy to hear from you, did you know that you can actually see the exact grade view for any of your students?  To do this:

  1. Open your grade book.
  2. Click the name of one of your students.
  3. Click Preview from the context menu next to any of your students.

Need Help?

Remember that grade change forms are cumbersome. If you have any questions about whether your grades are setup correctly, you can get support from one (or more) of these options:

  • Contact D2L at 1-877-325-7778 for 24/7/365 technical support
  • Call 330.972.4455 during UA business hours
  • Stop into Leigh Hall 506 during UA Business hours
  • After hours, email Zip Support
  • View and/or search for numerous grade book tutorials here:


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New | Assignments – Anonymized Student Names

To avoid unconscious bias in the grading and feedback process, instructors can now configure assignments to use anonymous learner names. When you enable this for an assignment, you can only see an anonymized learner name on the assignment submission. To ensure the entire process is anonymous, you will need to grade all assignments before you publish them. When you are grading anonymously, you will automatically save a draft grade for each student. When you have graded all of the assignments, a new Publish All Feedback button will be displayed for the assignment.

Option to Make Student's Names Anonymous in Assignments

Figure – Option to Make Student’s Names Anonymous in Assignments

Draft Grading for Anonymous Submissions and Publish All Feedback

Figure – Draft Grading for Anonymous Submissions and Publish All Feedback

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New! Assignment types

On paper submission and Observed in person assignment submission types are now available in Assignments. These new assignment submission types do not require users to make a file submission for them to be completed. This allows instructors to create assignments for a wide variety of activities, not just written work, and provide evaluation and feedback for these assignments.

On paper assignments are submitted directly to instructors in class, but allow evaluation and feedback to be completed in Brightspace. A presentation can also be observed in person and evaluated in Brightspace. Both new assignments can be marked as complete by learners, automatically marked as complete on their due date, or marked as complete upon evaluation by the instructor, depending on how the assignment is configured.

The properties tab interface has also been updated to simplify the work flow when creating assignments.

On paper submission and Observed in person submission types

Figure: On paper submission and Observed in person submission types

Marked as completed options for Observed in person assignments

Figure: Marked as completed options for Observed in person assignments

Marked as completed options for On paper submissions

Figure: Marked as completed options for On paper submissions

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New: Quiz Responses are Automatically Saved

Quiz responses are now automatically saved while you are taking a quiz. For forced response questions (such as Multiple Choice and True or False), your responses will be saved when you select the answer.  Text input questions autosave every 10 to 15 seconds, and html-enabled questions save when the mouse cursor is clicked outside the quiz response box. For quizzes with multiple pages, quiz responses automatically save upon navigating to a new quiz page. Autosave sends save timestamps to the quiz log.

Figure: The autosave function as it appears beside questions, and a simplified left navigation panel

Figure: The autosave function as it appears beside questions, and a simplified left navigation panel

Please note: The Save all Responses and Go to Submit Quiz buttons have been removed, and are no longer visible on the quiz page. The ONLY button now visible on the quiz page is Submit Quiz. If you lose internet connectivity while taking a quiz, you can answer questions but you will be unable to autosave questions or submit the quiz until the connection is restored.



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NEW! HTML Editor – Add quicklinks to content modules, submodules and course overview

HTML Editor – Add quicklinks to content modules, submodules and course overview

Users can now link directly to content modules, submodules, and course overviews directly from the Insert Quicklink option in the HTML editor. This change allows users to insert quicklinks directly to specific portions of course content within any tool with the HTML Editor. Previously, only a link to the Content tool was available from the Insert Quicklink option in the HTML editor. Check out the Faculty News and Tips site for a demo.

Module QuickLink Button

Module QuickLink Button

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NEW! Grades – Add grade release date to Grade Event Log

This feature enables instructors to view the exact date and time a student’s grade is released or unreleased. The Grade Event Log now includes a column that displays the type of event that occurred (Grade Released and / or Grade Unreleased) in addition to the existing Grade Updated events. As a result, instructors can review and validate the dates a student’s grades were released or unreleased.

The following events are now included in the User Grades Event Log:

  • Grade Released
  • Grade Unreleased

To view the event log:

  1. Open Grades from the Assessments menu.
  2. From the More Actions button, select Event log.
Event Log for Grades

Event Log for Grades

Note: No historic data is available for grades that were released / unreleased prior to this feature.


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Implementing IPSIS in Brightspace on October 5th

What is changing?

From a technical standpoint, on Friday, Oct. 5, we will replace the Holding Tank (HT) process that has been in place since 2008 with the new Integration Pack for Student Information Systems (IPSIS). Among other improvements, the upgrade will enable us to use Brightspace for Learning Outcomes Assessment.

What does that mean in English?

We are changing the way that enrollment is sent from PeopleSoft to Brightspace.  For the most part, you will only notice this change if you merge courses. If you don’t merge courses, you can disregard the rest of this message.

Currently, when a course is merged, your sections become groups in your new merged course. As you know, you can view the classlist and the gradebook by group to find the students in each section.

After the change and beginning with the Spring 2019 (4191) courses, you will see sections in your course after a merge.  You will be able to view the classlist and gradebook by section.  

For the Fall 2018 (4187) courses ONLY, you will see BOTH sections and groups.  This is because we have already merged your courses using the old HT process.  In this situation, you can basically use sections or groups interchangeably.

Going forward, you use the Groups tool as it was intended to be used.  You can create groups using the groups functionality. Beginning with Spring 2019, Brightspace will not automatically create any groups in your course.


There will be a short period on Friday, Oct. 5 in which you will see more sections than you expect. Some sections will be empty. The empty sections will disappear at the end of the update, within a few hours. No information will be lost.

Here’s a more detailed explanation.  All existing courses that have been merged using the old HT process, will also need to be manually merged again using the new IPSIS process.  Technically, this will not impact faculty or students. Your existing merged course will continue to exist. It will have all of its content and all of the student activity.  We simply have to add the new IPSIS-created sections to your existing HT-merged course. No information will be lost.

If you are a faculty member and you are teaching a course that has been merged, you will temporarily see ALL of the sections.  For example, if you merged 3 sections, you will temporarily see 4 sections (the merged section and the 3 original sections).  Each of the underlying sections will be empty.

This situation is temporary and should last only for a few hours.  You can simply ignore the additional empty courses. As soon as we re-merge those using IPSIS, you will only see the correct merged courses again. To repeat, nothing will happen to your courses and no content will be lost.

Can I use Sections in Release Conditions?

Yes. In a merged course, you will be able to use release conditions to share specific content with sections, if desired.

Why are we changing to IPSIS?

IPSIS is a newer approach that provides more functionality than the current system.  Primarily we need to do this so we are able to map multiple course sections to the same template.  This will allow us to use Brightspace for Learning Outcomes Assessment (LOA).

If I do not care about LOA, will this change benefit me?

YES!  There are many additional benefits with IPSIS.  The most obvious benefit is that we can merge courses immediately.  You will no longer need to wait until the next day to have your new merged course.  There are more features and benefits that we can share, but for simplicity, this is the change that will benefit most people.

When is the Change Coming?

The change is scheduled for Friday, October 5th.  

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