EdTech Help Hours

Our current help hours:

These hours sometimes change, so please check this page often.

Continue reading

Posted in Remote Teaching | Comments Off on EdTech Help Hours

Grade Exemptions in Brightspace

Grade Exemptions in Brightspace 

Instructors now have a tool within Brightspace where they can clearly indicate why a student does not have a score for a grade item or an activity.  There are several reasons why a student may have a blank grade or a zero (0) which include an assignment not submitted, the instructor has not graded the item, or the student has failed the assignment.  Providing an exemption to your student for a grade item gives the instructor some flexibility to accommodate many different types of circumstances (I.e., illness, accommodation requirements, etc.). 

Instructors can provide exemptions to all the different types of grade items (I.e., numeric grades, selection box, pass / fail, etc.) however exemptions can’t be given to final calculated grades or final adjusted grades. 

Setting an exemption for a student: 

Exemptions can be set from several different content items, including a quiz, an activity, or a topic but also can be set directly from a grade item. 

Watch the following video for an overview of how to create a grade exemption or see the step-by-step process below: 

Set up Grade Exemptions for your Students: 

To set an exemption for a student from the Gradebook:  

  1. Once logged into your course, navigate to My Tools and Grades 
  2. Click on the context menu of the relevant grade item  
  3. Select Enter Grades from the drop-down menu 
  4. Click the checkbox next to the name of student you wish to exempt, then click Exempt and when you are ready, click Save and Close. 

You should now see the word “Exempt” under the Scheme heading in the table. It is also possible to set up multiple exemptions for your student 

To set an exemption for a student from the Content area: 

  1. In Content, on the context menu of the activity, select Edit Properties In-Place. 
  2. Click Add dates and restrictions…. 
  3. Under Exemptions, click Manage Exemption.
  4. Search for and select the students you want to exempt from the activity. 
  5. Click Exempt. 
  6. Click X to exit the Manage Exemptions page. 
  7. Click Update to save the restrictions. 

Note: When activities are exempted, any associated release conditions on these exempted activities must still be met. 



Leave a comment

What’s New in Brightspace

Brightspace Updates 


  • Instructors who teach several courses can save time by copying assignment folders to other courses.  From your assignment folder, use the context menu to copy your assignment to another course. 

Copy Assignment to Other Courses

  • Access new shortcuts to undo and redo PDF annotations on evaluations.  Previously, the only way to remove PDF annotations in Assignments was to use the eraser tool or delete the selection.  Now, an undo / redo button has been added for PDF annotations when evaluating in Assignments. 


  • Pronouns can now be viewed from the Classlist and by hovering over a learner’s name or profile in the submission views within the assignment area.
  • If you have students in your course with Extended Time on Exams within their accommodation letter, you may now Edit Accommodations directly from your Classlist.  Using the context menu for the student with the Extended Time allotment, choose Edit Accommodations.  From there, you can adjust the timing to suit the accommodation letter.



  • “Disable Right Click” will be retired as of August 2022 within the quizzes area of Brightspace courses.  As the web has developed and browsers have become more secure, browsers have reduced the ability for web sites to control end-user behaviour.  Students are now able to install extensions such as “Allow Right Click” or use the browser developer console to skirt any restrictions, so “Disable Right Click” feature in Brightspace gives you a false sense of security.  
  • Save time and prevent data loss with the Restore Deleted Quizzes functionality.  This feature adds a new option in quizzes that allows instructors to restore deleted quizzes.  This option appears in the More Actions menu in the Quizzes tool.


Leave a comment









In her latest book, Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology, Dr. Michelle D. Miller examines the role of memory and attention in how we teach and learn, and the impacts our devices have in our classrooms. The book will be discussed as part of a joint EdTech & TCDC book club.

Read a short excerpt of the book below and join in the weekly conversation this fall:

Bloom’s system is unapologetically hierarchical, which is why it’s often illustrated with a pyramid. And in this hierarchy of teaching and learning objectives, memory is squarely on the bottom. Whenever I look at Bloom’s Taxonomy, I’m reminded of the U.S. government’s food pyramid, where the bottom layer – remembering – corresponds to something like white flour, and the rest – synthesizing, evaluating, creating – lives up in the land of filet mignon, raw organic kale, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon. The implication here is clear – excellent teachers don’t spend their time in the bargain basement of learning, but concentrate instead on the good stuff up at the top.

That’s the first objection to emphasizing memory in our teaching. Here’s the other, more modern one: Now that we have so much information available on the internet, and can access so much of it any time, any place, it’s simply not necessary to commit things to our own individual memories. In this way, expecting students to be able to recall facts is about as up-to-date as the skills of the roving bards of ancient times, the fellows whose stock in trade was the ability to reel off memorized epic sagas to illiterate audiences in the time before books (and Netflix).

David Pogue sums up this idea in a piece titled “Smartphones Mean You Will No Longer Have to Memorize Facts,” speculating that “maybe we’ll soon conclude that memorizing facts is no longer part of the modern student’s task. 

The weekly online (Zoom) book club begins Tuesday, Sept. 20 (4:30-5:30pm) and runs until Oct. 25. Sign-up for the EdTech & TCDC Fall 2022 Book Club here.

Leave a comment

PebblePad Brief: Feedback Options

Langara’s pilot of the ePortfolio learning platform, PebblePad, is now in its second year. This is the second in a series highlighting some of the platform’s features. Whether you’re already using PebblePad or considering using it at some point in the future, our hope is that the PebblePad Brief series extends your understanding of the platform’s capabilities.

This month’s “Brief” is going to focus on the variety of feedback options available within PebblePad, and how they can benefit students and instructors. Whether you’re looking for a tool to give formative or summative feedback, PebblePad has multiple options.

Feedback in Brightspace Versus PebblePad:

PebblePad functions differently than Brightspace when it comes to assignments. In Brightspace, students usually submit a file by a due date and the instructor has no way of giving formative feedback on the developing assignment unless they ask students to submit a draft of their work. PebblePad, on the other hand, doesn’t work with file submissions but with shared links. If an assignment is set up for auto-submission, the instructor is able to see the students’ work in real time as soon as they start it. This enables instructors to give formative feedback any time prior to a due date, as well as summative assessment after a due date. Further, unlike Brightspace, students have access to the feedback after their course finishes and even after they graduate.

Feedback Options:

Simple Comments:

  • The simplest way to give feedback in PebblePad is through general comments. To use the comment feature, a student shares a link with someone else. When that person clicks on the link, there’s a comment icon on to the top-right which can be used to by instructors, mentors, or peers to provide feedback. The student can reply to the comments so feedback is potentially dialogic.

Adding Comments Via the Comment Icon

  Feedback Comments:

  • By using the tools in the formal assessment part of the platform called ATLAS, there are extended options. Here we can to a specific answer, a page, or the entire assignment. If an instructor will be using the same comments for many students, feedback statements can be created that will be available when marking. Any comments added via ATLAS have the advantage that they are only visible to the student and won’t be seen by anyone they share their work with. When assessing in ATLAS, instructors have the option to release feedback as it’s added, or hold all feedback for later release so that the whole class receives it at the same time.

Adding Block Feedback Comments via ATLAS





 Assessor Fields:

  • When creating scaffolded learning activities for students, assessor fields can be inserted right into body of the assignment. It’s possible to assign “blocks” or sections to either the students or the instructor to complete. Instructors can be assigned text fields, drop-downs, radio buttons, checkboxes, and rubrics that only they can complete (the student will see them but not be able to complete them). These fields are easy for instructors to find when they’re assessing, and easy for the student to see when they’re looking for feedback. This type of feedback will always be visible so is generally used for activities to develop knowledge or skills, rather than assignments that might be used as a showcase in future.

Adding Feedback via Assessor Fields

Feedback Templates:

  • These are very similar to rubrics in Brightspace, and can be created and used to assess students’ work in ATLAS. They can include any or all of: clickable rubric components, comment fields, radio buttons, drop-downs, and checkboxes. Because this feedback will only be visible to the student, this is a better option to use with assignments that the student might want to use as a showcase to show to others.

Providing Feedback via Feedback Templates


  • Assignments can also be graded in ATLAS. Grading is flexible as instructors can enter percentages, letter grades, or even pass/fail wording such as “meets expectations/does not meet expectations”. Although PebblePad is not currently integrated with Brightspace, it is possible to get a CSV file of all grades and easily transfer them to a gradebook.

    Adding Grades

Feedback Longevity:

  • We all know that it takes time and effort to provide meaningful feedback to learners. One of the advantages of using PebblePad is that the students have access to feedback long after the course ends and even after they graduate as students can get an alumni account. This will help them make meaningful connections between assignments, between courses, and between studies and career. Feedback can be fed forward.

If you have questions about PebblePad or any other learning technology that EdTech supports, we can be contacted at edtech@langara.ca

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Embedding Library Media

Due to issues with certain browsers and browser versions, some Brightspace users may encounter problems loading embedded library (EZProxy) media in your Brightspace course. Users should always check their browser’s cookie settings (see the “3rd-party cookies problem” item on the Help with Student Learning Tools FAQ) to ensure that they aren’t actively blocking the content, but this method doesn’t always work.

To make sure that everyone in your course can access library media items, please include the following when embedding library media in your course.

    1. A direct link to the video or audio that loads in a separate window or tab. When creating the Quicklink, please choose “New Window” from the Target options.
      Screencap of the left end of the format options bar in the HTML Editor, with the cursor pointing at the Quicklink button. 

      screencap of the Insert Quicklink options window











      If you are creating a link directly from Content, using Upload/Create > Create a Link, please make sure to choose the “Open as External Resource” option.
      screencap of the Upload/Create menu, with the Create a Link option selected


      Screencap of the options window for the Create Link option in Content















  1. It’s also a good idea to include basic Title/Author/Publication information for the media, if applicable; when using embed code, please include this before or after the video. This allows students to search for the content on their own, outside of Brightspace.
Tagged | Leave a comment

Fall 2022 EdTech & TCDC Book Club : Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology by Michelle Miller (2022)

How important is memorization to learning? Are our devices making us dumber? How can technology be used strategically in our classrooms?

This fall, EdTech and TCDC are co-hosting a book club on Dr. Michelle D. Miller’s Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology: Teaching, Learning, and the Science of Memory in a Wired World (2022). Join facilitators Mirabelle Tinio and Alex Samur as they explore how the digital devices our students bring to in-person and virtual classrooms impact learning.

In her latest book, Dr. Miller, a psychology professor, explains the role of memory and attention in how we learn. Her book also helps guide instructors in discussing technology with their students and using it in the classroom. Her research is relevant to anyone who is concerned about how the time we spend on our devices may affect our memory.

The weekly online (Zoom) book club begins on Tuesday, Sept. 20 (4:30-5:30pm) and runs until Oct. 25. Find the chapter breakdown below. During our first gathering, we will meet participants and start discussing Chapter 1. We would also like to spend some time co-creating the format of the book club with participants. We are just as happy to have a free-flowing discussion as we are to organize talks around guiding questions.

Sign-up here.

Accessing the book:The eBook version of Remembering and Forgetting will be available to borrow from the Langara library in early September.

Weekly chapter breakdown:

  • Week 1 (Sept. 20) – Intro: Machines, Memory, and Learning
  • Week 2 (Sept. 27) – Chapter 1: What Technology Does to Us (and for Us): Taking a Critical Look at Common Narratives
  • Week 3 (Oct. 4) – Chapter 2: Why We Remember, Why We Forget
  • Week 4 (Oct. 11) – Chapter 3: Enhancing Memory and Why It Matters (Even though Google Exists)
  • Week 5 (Oct. 18) – Chapter 4: Memory Requires Attention
  • Week 6 (Oct. 25) – Chapter 5: The Devices We Can’t Put Down: Smartphones, Laptops, Memory, and Learning
  • Conclusion: How Memory Can Thrive in a Technology-Saturated Future
Posted in Book Clubs | Leave a comment

PebblePad Brief: Interactive Curriculum Materials

Langara’s pilot of the ePortfolio learning platform, PebblePad, is now in its second year. This will be the first in a series highlighting some of the platform’s features. Whether you’re already using PebblePad or considering using it at some point in the future, our hope is that the PebblePad Brief series extends your understanding of the platform’s capabilities.

Our first “Brief” is going to focus on what components you can include in learning materials.  Although ePortfolio (electronic/digital portfolio) technology is a tool for students to showcase their work, that’s not all PebblePad can do. In fact, it’s also a great platform to build scaffolded learning activities.

When building learning resources in PebblePad, content can be multimodal and responses can be dynamic. A learning activity, for example, might have text for students to read, a podcast for them to listen to, and a video for them to watch.  You could then add interactive fields for the students to respond to this content by checking their comprehension, rating their response, reflecting on what they’ve learned, or planning their next steps – all on the same page (or in a separate tab or resource if you’d prefer).

Content types that can be added to a learning resource include:

  • text
  • image
  • audio
  • video
  • links to other resources

Interactive response fields that can be added for students to actively engage in learning can include:

  • text fields (single or multi-line)
  • radio buttons (one answer only), checkboxes (multiple answers possible) or drop-downs
  • ratings (binary, Likert, numeric)
  • fillable tables
  • rubrics
  • add evidence buttons (allows comment or file upload)
  • date pickers
  • signature fields

Those at Langara already using PebblePad have provided feedback that the templates look great and, even more importantly, students find them easy to use.

It’s also easy to share these learning resources with your students… but we’ll leave that for another PebblePad Brief.

If you have questions about PebblePad or any other learning technology that EdTech supports, we can be contacted at edtech@langara.ca

PebblePad template with text and video in the top half and questions for students to answer in the bottom half

PebblePad Interactive Worksheet

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post by Lisa Gedak (KPU): Book clubs for professional learning: You won’t readgret it!

EdTech organized two hybrid and online book clubs the last fall and spring semesters. Lisa Gedak, a book club participant and Teaching & Learning Strategist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, wrote an article describing her experience and the merits of cross-institutional professional book clubs. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your post! Stay tuned for the next EdTech Book Club in the fall!

Book clubs for professional learning: You won’t readgret it!

Tagged | Leave a comment

Zoom – Live Transcripts

Zoom’s Live Transcript ""

Langara recently enabled a new Zoom feature – Live Transcript. Live Transcript provides machine-generated live speech-to-text transcription of a Zoom meeting. This feature is enabled by the host after a meeting is started. Participants only see the Live Transcript option if the host enables it.

Turning on Live Transcript during a meeting

  1. Begin your meeting 
  2. At the bottom of the screen, select Live Transcript. If you don’t see it, you might need to maximize the window. 
  3. Click Enable Auto-Transcription. The button will turn blue, indicating that live transcription is on. 


Once enabled, the Live Transcript button includes a tiny arrow on the top right corner. Clicking on it gives participants the option to view the transcript.  


The transcript is updated live as participants speak. At the end of the meeting the host and participants will be prompted to save the entire transcript. 


  • The captions and transcript are machine-generated and do not meet accommodation standards for students requiring captions. 
  • The meeting host must start Live Transcription before participants can view the transcript. Any conversation that occurs prior to enabling the feature will not be transcribed.  
  • Live Transcripts are not available in Breakout Rooms. 
  • Live Transcripts only supports English. 




Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Discontinuing LockDown Browser

LockDown Browser

As the spring semester winds down, you may now be shifting your focus to final exams and wondering if LockDown Browser will be available for the upcoming exam period. After over six months of troubleshooting, it has become clear that, unfortunately, LockDown Browser is no longer compatible with Langara’s computing infrastructure.

While this announcement may disappoint some faculty members, please know that this decision was not taken lightly. There were several key issues that contributed to our decision:

  • Random Freezing on Citrix Computers

    Since LockDown Browser was most frequently used during midterm and final exams, the fact that it might freeze up a Citrix computer during these critical and stressful times made it an unreliable solution—for both instructors and students. Furthermore, the conditions under which Citrix computers froze were quite random. This made it challenging to identify the specific circumstances / scenarios that might trigger these freezes. And given the prevalence of Citrix computers across Langara’s campus, EdTech and IT needed to ensure a solution that would work with all of Langara’s computers.

  • Only an Older Version Worked on Citrix Computers

    In trying to find a solution, EdTech discovered that only an older version (from Summer 2021) worked on the Citrix computers and this older version is no longer supported by Respondus, LockDown Browser’s parent company. Taking into consideration future support and compatibility issues, this was not a viable solution.

  • Reduced Use of LockDown Browser Post-Pandemic

    During the pandemic, many instructors revamped their online exams and quizzes to address academic integrity in new, innovative, and creative ways. As a result, fewer faculty required LockDown Browser after our return to campus.

That said, we are committed to supporting our faculty and instructional staff. So, if you are still concerned about academic integrity, please feel free to read our article, Designing Online Exams / Quizzes, and/or contact us. We are more than happy to help you explore and implement alternative online exam / quiz options!

Posted in Tools and Apps | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment