Digital Practice - a collaborative approach

Build Brightspace Better

The Build Brightspace Better workshop series is designed to empower instructors with the knowledge and tools needed to enhance the student experience in Brightspace. This series comprises three engaging workshops. Each workshop is centered on a different aspect of Brightspace and the tools and features available to create a more enriching and accessible learning environment for students.

Session 1 May 6

Optimizing Course Readings

This hands-on workshop explores the Brightspace Reading Lists tool. Leverage library support and technology to seamlessly integrate diverse educational resources, from scholarly books to essential websites, into a singular, user-friendly digital Reading List format. Gain practical experience by curating a Reading List that exemplifies clarity, accessibility, and engagement for your students.

Session 1 registration.

Session 2 May 8

Enhancing Course Design with HTML Templates

In the second workshop learn how to revamp the appearance and structure of your course content. Make content pages that adhere to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility standards (WCAG). No coding required!

This session will explore:

  • The benefits of using templates
  • Using the Brightspace HTML editor
  • How to apply templates to new and existing Brightspace content
  • Incorporating different template elements to create engaging pages

Bring your content and a laptop to create or update Brightspace content live with expert support.

Session 2 registration.

Session 3 May 13

Streamlining Course Navigation for Student Success

The final workshop in our series focuses on ensuring that your students can dedicate more time to learning rather than navigating. This interactive session will empower you to seamlessly integrate strategies that reduce excessive scrolling, clicking, and searching for your students. Together, we’ll work to highlight essential course elements, making content, assignment requirements, and due dates prominent and accessible.

Session 3 registration.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to transform your online course material into dynamic and engaging learning environments that prioritize student success.

Accessibility at Langara College

Improve Digital Accessibility: May Accessibility Workshops

EdTech is excited to announce a series of upcoming workshops dedicated to improving the accessibility of Microsoft Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.

Why Accessibility Matters

In today’s digital age, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and understand information is crucial. This is where accessibility comes in. It’s about making sure that everyone has equal access to information and functionality.

What Our Workshops Offer

Our workshops are designed to provide you with the tools and knowledge to create accessible Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. We believe that with a little effort and the right guidance, we can make a significant difference in making information more accessible to all.

Who Should Attend

These workshops are for everyone! Whether you’re a content creator, an educator, or just someone looking to learn, these workshops are for you. No prior experience is required.

Let’s Make a Difference Together

By participating in these workshops, not only will you enhance your skills, but you’ll also contribute to a more inclusive and accessible digital world. So why wait? Join us to learn how to make information accessible to all.

Learning Lab: Enhance Accessibility with AI

Date: May 15

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Hybrid (C202 or Zoom)

How to Create Accessible PowerPoint Slide Presentations

Date: May 22

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Hybrid (C202 or Zoom)

Learning Lab: Improve the Accessibility of Existing PowerPoint Slides

Date: May 27

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: C202

Learning Lab: Improve the Accessibility of Existing PowerPoint Slides Drop-In

Date: May 29

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: C202

Accessibility at Langara College

Accessibility Quick Start Guides

The Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning has added quick start guides to help you make content more accessible.

The quick start guides introduce core concepts of digital accessibility in a concise format. The guides preface chapters that expand on and explain the steps necessary to create accessible material in Brightspace, Word, and PowerPoint.

Screenshot of Brightspace Quick Start Guide
Screenshot of Brightspace Quick Start Guide

This latest addition to the Accessibility Handbook includes:

These guides will introduce to the importance of digital accessibility and help you integrate better practices into your content creation workflows.

EdTech Monthly Tip

The New Quiz Experience

Brightspace has released a New Quiz Creation Experience, a similar appearance to what you find in the Assignment tool. Over the coming weeks, we’ll highlight a couple changes that you should be aware of.

Changes to Timing & Display View

By default, no time limit is set on new quizzes. Use Time Limit to set the amount of time students are given to complete the quiz once they have started it.

To set a time limit:

  • Click Set Time Limit to add a countdown clock to the quiz. If this box is left unchecked, no time limit will be set. Be aware that setting a time limit does not, on its own, enforce the time limit — it only shows a countdown clock for the student.

Timer Settings

Timer settings are made once “Set Time Limit” is checked. Click on Timer Settings to control how a quiz behave once students exceed the time limit.

Timer setting options include:

  • Automatically submit the quiz attempt
    • This is the default on all new quizzes if the “Set Time Limit” box is checked. Quiz auto-submission automatically hands in quizzes on enforced time limit quizzes at the end of the set time.
  • Flag as “exceeded time limit” and allow the learner to continue working
    • This option allows the student to continue working but adds an “exceeded time limit” notation to the quiz when submitted.
  • Do nothing: the time limit is not enforced
    • The countdown clock is made available to students, but no time limit is enforced.

Old and New Experience Comparison

Previously Available OptionNew Behaviour
Prevent the student from making further changesAutomatically submit the quiz attempt
Allow students to continue working but automatically score zeroAutomatically submit the quiz attempt  
Allow the student to continue workingFlag the attempt as exceeded time limit and allow the learner to continue working
A quiz that has a grace periodGrace period no longer available. Quiz now uses only the time limit set

Adding Time to a Quiz in Progress

Changes to the timer may result in the need to add time to a Brightspace quiz in progress. Adding time is done through the Special Access feature and requires students refresh their browsers for the new time setting to take effect.

To add time to a Quiz in progress:

  • Navigate to the Brightspace Manage Quizzes tab and click on the quiz name to edit.
  • Select Availability Dates & Conditions.
  • Click on the Manage Special Access link.
  • Ensure “Allow selected users special access to this quiz” is selected.
  • Click on Add Users to Special Access.
  • Scroll down to the Timing sections and check the box for “Override time limit.”
  • Enter the new time limit in the minutes field.
  • Scroll down to the Users section and check all the students’ names.
  • Click Save.
  • Click Save and Close.
  • Tell your students to refresh their browsers.

Watch Changes to the Brightspace Quiz Experience (video, 8:56) to learn more about the recent tool updates.

Brightspace Quiz Accommodation

When you have a student that has an “extended time on exams and quizzes” accommodation, there is a single process to set up modified time for every Brightspace quiz.

To set modified time, use the Classlist in Brightspace and the Edit Accommodations feature beside an individual student’s name. Activate Modify Time Limit and then apply a multiplier of original time or add extra time in minutes. These modifications will apply to that student for the duration of the course.

For more detailed instructions, consult Setting up Quiz Accommodations on the Brightspace Instructor Help site or view the self-directed mini-course on Brightspace Accommodations.

To allow a student or group to write an exam or submit an assignment on a different day, use Special Access.

The Accommodation tool is one of many Brightspace features designed to manage your workload and assist your students. Visit Langara’s Brightspace Instructor Help site for more!

EdTech Tools and Privacy

Peer Assessment and Privacy Risks

Instructors, have you considered how privacy, security, and confidentiality apply to teaching and learning, specifically the data you gather as part of assessment?

To support teaching and learning, you gather and analyze data about students all year and in many ways, including anecdotal notes, test results, grades, and observations. The tools we commonly use in teaching and learning, including Brightspace, gather information. The analytics collected and reports generated by teaching and learning tools are sophisticated and constantly changing. We should, therefore, carefully consider how we can better protect student data.  

When considering privacy, instructors should keep in mind that all student personal information belongs to the student and should be kept private. Students trust their instructors to keep their data confidential and share it carefully. Instructors are responsible for holding every student’s data in confidence.  This information includes things like assessment results, grades, student numbers, and demographic information. 

Although most students are digital natives, they aren’t necessarily digitally literate. Instructors can ensure students’ privacy by coaching them about what is appropriate to share and helping them understand the potential consequences of sharing personal information. 

One area of teaching and learning in which you may not have adequately considered privacy or coached students to withhold personal information and respect confidentiality is peer assessment. Peer assessment or peer review provides a structured learning process for students to critique and provide feedback to each other on their work. It helps students develop lifelong skills in assessing and providing feedback to others and equips them with skills to self-assess and improve their own work. However, in sharing their work, students may also be sharing personal identifying information, such as student numbers, or personal experiences. To help protect students’ personal information and support confidentiality, we recommend that you consider the following points.

Privacy Considerations for Peer Assessment 

  • If student work will be shared with peers, tell students not to disclose sensitive personal information. Sensitive personal information may include, for example, medical history, financial circumstances, traumatic life experiences, or their gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. 
  • Inform students of ways in which their work will be assessed by their peers. 
  • Consider having students evaluate anonymous assignments for more objective feedback.  
  • Coach students to exclude all identifiable information, including student number. 
  • If students’ work is to be posted online, consider associated risks, such as
    • another person posting the work somewhere else online without their consent; and
    • the content being accessed by Generative AI tools like ChatGPT that trawl the internet to craft responses to users’ queries.

This article is part of a collaborative Data Privacy series by Langara’s Privacy Office and EdTech. If you have data privacy questions or would like to suggest a topic for the series, contact Joanne Rajotte (, Manager of Records Management and Privacy, or Briana Fraser, Learning Technologist & Department Chair of EdTech.

Learning Labs

Introducing Learning Labs

Learning Labs are interactive, focused, and supported learning sessions where you can learn how to implement Langara’s teaching and learning technologies and tools. Capacity is limited to ensure all attendees have an opportunity to ask questions, try out tools, and receive support. Support in the room will reflect the technology, tool, and learning outcomes; however, you can expect to interact with EdTech Advisors, Specialists, and Technologists as well as TCDC Curriculum Consultants. The Labs are an opportunity to implement something new or improve what already exists with experts who can answer technical questions and provide advice.

Fall Learning Lab session topics include:

Brightspace HTML Templates

After participating in this lab, participants should be able to:

  • Use the Brightspace HTML editor.
  • Explain the benefits of using the Brightspace HTML templates.
  • Apply the templates to a new Brightspace HTML page.
  • Apply the latest version of the template to an existing Brightspace HTML page.
  • Mix and match HTML elements—such as image placement, accordions, callouts, tables, and tabs—from the various templates.

Adding closed captions to a video in Brightspace

After participating in this lab, participants should be able to:

  • Upload a video to MediaSpace.
  • Add closed captions to a video.
  • Use the MediaSpace captions editor.
  • Use the OneDrive captioning tool.
  • Embed a video in a Brightspace course file.

Creating an accessible Word document

After participating in this lab, participants should be able to:

  • Employ plain language.
  • Select styles that improve legibility of text.
  • Structure a document.
  • Create accessible hyperlinks and tables.
  • Add alternative text to visual content.
  • Use the built-in accessibility checker.

Improving the accessibility of existing PowerPoint slides

After participating in this lab, participants should be able to:

  • Avoid the most common PowerPoint accessibility mistakes.
  • Use the accessibility checker and make corrections.
  • Apply templates.
  • Apply structure.
  • Select accessible fonts and font styling.
  • Employ accessible use of colour.
  • Add alternative text to images.
  • Write meaningful hyperlink text.

Save time marking with Rubrics

After participating in this lab, participants should be able to: 

  • Define the purpose of the assignment or assessment 
  • Decide which type of rubric will be used with assignments
  • Create statements of expected performance at each level of the rubric 
  • Transfer analog rubrics into a digital version on Brightspace 
  • Associate their rubric with the assignment in Brightspace 


Brightspace – New Quiz Experience

Brightspace has released a New Quiz Creation Experience, a similar appearance to what you find in the Assignment tool. We want to highlight a couple changes that you should be aware of: 

  • Description is automatically visible – doesn’t need to be toggled on (but also can’t be hidden from students) 
  • Custom pagination is not possible – here are the options: all questions on same page, by 1/5/10 question(s) or by section.

Watch the New Quiz Experience video for more details.

Brightspace – Introducing “New Experience” Discussions

As of August 28, 2023, Brightspace Discussions has a new look and feel, as well as some changes to functionality. Below we summarize the most important changes to the new version of Discussions.

Look & Feel

New Experience Discussions has been changed to bring it into alignment with how Assignments and Quizzes in Brightspace look and function. This consistency across tools is meant to make it easier for new users to Brightspace.

On the create/edit topic page, the main settings (title, grade out of, description, etc.) are on the left side of the page (1), and the more advanced settings (availability dates, restrictions, evaluation settings, etc.) are in the expandable tabs along the right (2).


The are several changes to functionality and locations of settings that are significant in New Experience Discussions.

Automatically Create New Forum When Creating New Topic

All discussion topics need to sit within a forum (a container for topics). In New Experience Discussions, creating a new topic will automatically create a new forum of the same name. This eliminates the necessity of creating a forum prior to creating a topic. After the topic is created, instructors will be able to edit the name of the newly created forum or associate the current topic with another existing forum, if wanted.

Post and Completion

The Post and Completion settings are where you can allow anonymous posts and specify posting requirements. In New Experience discussions, only one of the following three options is possible:

1.     Default participation, which is a new option and has been added so that the default settings are clearly stated. The default settings do NOT allow for anonymous posts or require that users must start a thread.

2.     The option of Allow learners to hide their name from other learners is the setting that allows anonymous posts.

3.     The last option is Learners must start a thread before they can view or reply to other threads.

Manage Restrictions (replaces “Topic Type”)

The default for discussions is an “open topic” that all learners in the course can participate in; however, accessing the Manage Restrictions settings allows instructors to restrict discussions, if needed, so that learners can only see and reply to their own group or section’s posts. To set topic restrictions in New Experience, go to the Availability & Conditions settings on the right side of the edit page and look for Manage Restrictions.

Note: In Classic Experience, topic types could not be revised once set; however, in New Experience topic restrictions can now be revised up until a topic has an associated post, providing greater flexibility.

Restricting Topic and Separate Threads

To restrict a topic so that learners can only view threads from their group or section, go to Manage Restrictions and choose the option Restrict topic and separate threads. Then select which group category or section will have their threads separated.

Restrict Topic

To restrict a topic so that only selected groups or sections can view a topic and all threads, choose the radio option Restrict topic in the new Manage Restrictions workflow. Then select which sections/groups can see and participate in this discussion.

Availability Dates

Managing availability dates in Discussions is now similar to Assignments. Once a start or end date is added, additional settings can be adjusted to specify how learners see and access the topic outside of the availability dates.


If you need assistance with Brightspace Discussions, please contact EdTech.

Accessibility Teaching Practices at Langara College

Accessible Teaching Practices

Accessible BC Act – Start acting now. 

On June 21st, 2021, the Accessible British Columbia Act came into effect. The intention of the act is to create accessibility standards that will reduce accessibility barriers and promote inclusion throughout the province.  The act is being implemented in a phased rollout, with education one of the first sectors expected to comply. This mean that course content, such as presentation material, communications, documents, and videos will need to be made accessible to students with disabilities. 

EdTech is publishing resources, offering workshops, and providing other learning opportunities for instructors and other employees to develop the skills needed to improve the accessibility of course materials. 

Improving accessibility in the classroom. 

When aiming to improve accessibility in the classroom, instructors need to consider learning spaces, course design, assessment, content, and delivery. Read Bridging the Gap to get a sense of the ways in which critical barriers to learning may be addressed. 

Langara’s Assistive Technologist is here to help. 

Langara instructors (and students) are uniquely supported in improving access with an Assistive Technologist. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Luke McKnight, consider joining one of EdTech’s upcoming accessibility focused learning opportunities. Luke will be on hand to offer expert advice and support in improving accessibility. 

Participate in EdTech’s upcoming accessibility-focused learning opportunities. 

Start developing your accessibility skills and knowledge by joining us for: 

Learning Lab: Brightspace HTML Templates 

September 15th, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM in C202 

How to Create Accessible PowerPoint Slide Presentations 

September 27th, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM online 

Learning Lab: Adding Closed Captions to a Video in Brightspace 

October 13, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM in C202 

Learning Lab: Create an Accessible Word Document 

November 3rd, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM in C202 

Learning Lab: Improve the Accessibility of Existing PowerPoint Slides 

December 8th, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM in C202