What’s New in Brightspace?

Each month, the Brightspace learning management system at Memorial is automatically updated by D2L (its parent company). New features and configurations are regularly added to Brightspace in order to improve its functionality and security. The updates occur around the third week of each month with no disruption to the system. This page provides a summary of the most recent Brightspace updates that impact instructor and student experience.

> November 2021 Updates

1. Assignments & Manage Files – Warning when uploading restricted files

If instructors or students attempt to upload security-restricted file types in the Assignments tool or in the Manage Files area, they will receive a warning message saying “This file extension is not allowed” (Assignments) or “This file extension is not allowed for security reasons” (Manage Files). See the chart below for a list of security-restricted file extensions.


2. Content – Changes to the PDF inline viewer

The PDF inline viewer is a tool used in the Content area of Brightspace to view all converted documents in a .pfd format. As a part of the current update, some features of the PDF inline viewer have been moved from the bottom to the top of the document being viewed, which reduces the need for scrolling.

The Old View
The New View

3. Brightspace Email – Increased limits for ‘To’ and ‘CC’ fields

The number of email addresses that can be added to the ‘To’ and ‘CC’ fields in a single Brightspace email has been increased from 50 to 200.

> October 2021 Updates

1. Assignments – Preview available

If instructors or students attempt to upload security-restricted file types in the Assignments tool or in the Manage Files area, they When grading assignments in the Assignment Evaluation mode, instructors have access to a preview that displays the assignment from the perspective of a student. The preview is available by clicking the More Options menu (‘’) in the top right corner of the evaluation screen and selecting Preview Activity from the dropdown menu. The preview opens in a new browser tab and includes instructions, dates, restrictions, and options for submission. Note: Instructors cannot edit the assignment from within the preview window.

Instructors can also access the assignment preview feature from the Assignments Folders page by:

  • going to More Actions
  • selecting Preview from the dropdown menu, and
  • clicking on the assignment they wish to preview.

2. Course Import – Course import history available

Instructors can now view the history of course import attempts for courses by going to:

  • Course Admin
  • Import/Export/Copy Components
  • View Import History

Available information includes original package names & names of the original creator as well as the status and time of the import attempt.

Course Import History

> September 2021 Updates

1. Rubrics – Completion status indicated in a collapsed tile

When grading assignments, discussions etc. that have an associated rubric, instructors can now see if the rubric is complete even when the Rubrics tile is collapsed in the evaluation mode. Previously, the rubric’s completion status was only visible if the Rubrics tile was expanded. The collapsed tile now displays the score and indicates if any criteria have been left ungraded.

2. Assignments – Restricting file types acceptable for submission

Instructors can now specify what file types students can upload through the Assignments tool. A restriction can be set when creating or editing an assignment. The setting is available in the Submission & Completion section of the Assignment creation window under Allowable File Extensions. Instructors can choose one of the options provided in the menu, or select Custom File Types to create their own list of acceptable file extensions.

Options available in the menu include:

  1. No Restrictions
  2. PDF only
  3. Annotatable files (any file type that can be viewed and annotated using the Annotation tool in Assignments)
  4. Files that can be previewed without any conversion (e. g., .HTML, .MHT, or .BMP)
  5. Images and videos
  6. Custom file types (instructors manually enter file extensions allowable for submission)

If a restriction is set, students will be able to see what file types they are allowed to submit for their assignment. If they attempt to upload a file from outside the list, they will receive an error message indicating that the file type they are trying to submit is invalid.

3. Discussions: New Discussion Evaluation Experience

Evaluation of discussion contributions now has a similar interface to the New Assignment Evaluation Experience. Then new interface is currently optional and can be turned off/on by clicking the down arrow in the top right corner of the screen. The old interface will become unavailable at the end of 2021, therefore instructors are encouraged to leave the new interface on in order to become familiar and comfortable with its layout.