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Brightspace October Updates

by David Mullett on 2019-10-18T12:03:00+01:00 | 0 Comments

Brightspace Updates

Over the next couple of weeks, you will notice some quite significant but powerful updates to Brightspace. These take the form of a new annotations tool and a significant amount of small graphical changes which should make life easier for everyone editing and administering Brightspace on a daily basis.

This blog post will detail the following upcoming changes

  •     New Brightspace Annotations Tool
  •     Visual Changes to the ‘Draft/Published’ and availability options


Brightspace Annotations Tool

When Brightspace was rolled out in 2018, the only way to capture online annotations was to use the Turnitin annotations tool. This meant that the annotations and feedback made online was taken out of Brightspace and into another system. Brightspace have now released their new own built in annotations tool, this has some incredible features and some additional ones Turnitin wasn’t capable of.

We have turned this on for all module areas and can be accessed by clicking on the students uploaded assignment instead of clicking on the old Turnitin area. We have left the ability on to use the Turnitin tool for annotations. However, we would recommend using Brightspace’s own tool from now on.

You can see how to use the new annotations tool in your ‘Brightspace Introduction CPD Course’ - (University of Suffolk staff only)


Visual Changes to the ‘Draft/Published’ and availability options

As you use the tools throughout Brightspace, there is always a common option of being able to hide the tool from the student, whether that’s content, an assignment, a quiz, etc. However, up until now they have all used very different terminology.

Below you can see the new changes to these areas to unify all of these options into one ‘Hide from users’ option.

  •     The language used to denote that an activity is not visible to a learner will become a single term: Hidden.
  •     Similarly, the visibility icon () for a hidden activity will appear consistently.  
  •     The different visibility form controls will be replaced by a simple checkbox.
  •     The visibility form controls will appear consistently on the Restrictions tab.


There are other reasons for these changes:

  •     To reduce the time and effort to teach, learn, and document workflows in Brightspace.
  •     To work toward better consistency in the behaviour of activity visibility, which will help user’s confidence in the system.


You can see these visual changes depicted below:


Similarly, in the Grades area, this option has now been simplified:



This also applies to the content area when making content hidden from students. 

The drop-down with Draft and Published options will be replaced by a button icon. Clicking the button will replace it with the visibility switch. With the visibility switch, a change in status will continue to be saved immediately. Confirmation will be given with updated toast messages: Hidden successfully and Made visible successfully.

Another great addition to this is the ability to now ‘Hide from users’ before publishing a piece of content when ‘Creating a file’ as seen in the images below. We used to have to ‘Publish’ and then make the change retrospectively however the content can now be hidden until ready to release.


We will be posting future monthly updates via this blog of any up and coming changes to Brightspace.

Library and Learning Services.


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