Originally published August 8, 2019
At D2L, we aim to improve how efficient you can be while using Brightspace. Previously, we had multiple terms to mean that an activity is not visible (inactive, draft, hidden). We also had 4 different controls and 4 different workflows to switch visibility. There are now numerous changes to the platform that improve the consistency of the language and workflows for controlling activity visibility.
- The language used to denote that an activity ins not visible to a learner always appears as a single term: Hidden. The visibility icon for a hidden activity appears consistently across tools.
- The different visibility form controls are replaced by a simple check box.
- The visibility form controls 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 behavior of activity visibility, which helps users gain confidence in using the system.
The language and method by which instructors make activities hidden or visible to students is different across the tools. This issue is resolved in many tools.
- The visibility control will use a check box with the same terminology.
- In Discussions, many properties move to the Restrictions tab (see below).
2. Activity List Page Icons and Ordering
The instructor view of the list page of several tools has undergone changes related to the icons for activity restrictions.
One of the main drivers is to ensure activity restrictions are indicated with consistent icons in a consistent order on all activity list pages. With the improvements, where supported by the tool, the same icons appear in the same order for all common restrictions.
- All common activity icons appear before tool-specific icons.
- Two Special Access icons are now combined into a single icon for simplicity.
- All icons are updated (except the Bonus Grade item, for now).
- The new Exemptions icon appears on the list pages.
2.1 Summary of Icon Changes in each Tool
2.2 Details of Icon Title Updates
This section details the previous and new icon alt-text for each of the affected tool list pages.
In Discussions, the label beside each icon remains unchanged. The main changes include the ordering of the icons and introduction of Exemptions.
The following table shows the icons and labels, and the icon’s alt-text. The list has the new icon ordering.
3. Restrictions Tab
Across many tools, the Restrictions tab is the place to control visibility status and availability dates for an activity.
The following table highlights changes in each affected tool. The visual differences are shown in the next section.
4. Individual and Bulk Hide/Unhide
A consistent workflow to hide and unhide activities will be available from the list pages of several tools. Users can quickly change the visibility status from the list of activities without first having to edit the activity.
In addition to the platform improvements, the Content tool also has several updates. The changes align visibility language and improve the workflow for controlling activity visibility.
At D2L, we aim to improve how efficient you can be while using Brightspace. We want to reduce the time and effort to teach, learn, and document workflows in Brightspace and work toward better consistency.
Here are the changes users see in the Content tool.
Switching Visibility Status
On the Table of Contents (TOC), the Draft/Published drop-down is a visibility icon button and switch.
Before: Draft and Published via Drop-down
The switch of visibility status is saved immediately. Confirmation is given with toast messages: Set to Draft Successfully and Published Successfully.
After: Hidden and Visible via Visibility Switch
The drop-down with Draft and Published options is replaced by a button icon. Clicking the button replaces it with the visibility switch.
With the visibility switch, a change in status continues to be saved immediately. Confirmation is given with updated toast messages: Hidden successfully and Made visible successfully.
The visibility status of a topic appears when the topic is not visible, when the TOC is in bulk edit mode, or when a topic is in edit-in-place mode.
Module Visibility Switch
On the TOC, the Draft/Published drop-down for modules 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.
Currently on the module-view page, the visibility status appears as a drop-down menu.
After: new clickable button
If the user doesn’t have permission to edit the visibility status, just the icon appears.
The ability to switch the visibility status of a topic or module from within the TOC fly-out is removed. The fly-out is for navigation, not for editing. It is not good practice, and potentially confusing, to be able to edit a single property from the fly-out, while needing to edit other properties elsewhere.
TOC Completion Method
The Completion Method icon in the TOC will become a button menu. This change keeps the familiar Completion Method while making it more functional in the following ways:
- By making the property more accessible.
- When going into edit-in-place mode, the Completion Method icon won’t disappear from the right and suddenly become a drop-down menu below the ‘Add Description’ section.
If the user doesn’t have permission to edit the Completion Method, then the icon will be displayed and it won’t be a button menu.
Interactive button menu
Save Buttons on the New Activity Page
On many activity creation forms, the Publish and Save as Draft buttons will become Save and Close and Save buttons, and the new Hide from Users checkbox will be included on the page to choose a visibility status. Here’s a list of the changes.
- The Hide from Users checkbox control appears under the title field of all activity creation pages.
- The Publish button is updated to Save and Close so that authors can still save and exit with one click.
- The Save as Draft button is updated to Save so that authors can still make incremental saves without exiting.
There are two reasons for these changes:
- The updated buttons and new checkbox align with the pattern used in other workflows, and better reflect the variety of reasons an instructor or course designer may want to hide an activity (not just because it is not yet ready to be published).
- The button text remains the same regardless of the visibility state of the activity, and in doing so, the workflow is simple, consistent, and familiar. Previously, the text of the first button would switch between Publish and Revert to Draft; the second button text would switch between Save as Draft, Revert to Draft, and Save.
Controlling Visibility in Context Menus
Hide from Users and Make Visible to Users is available in the context menu of each topic and module in the TOC and in the context menu of a Topic on the topic’s detail page. Below is an example of the new option in a module’s context menu.
Do you like what you see? Maybe you don’t? Post a comment below and let us know.