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What's New in D2L Brightspace

Winter 2022 Exams

Finding help during an online exam

Preparing for online exams

The Brightspace support team has put together a collection of tips for preparing for online exams, including things you can do in advance and the things you may need to do just prior to starting an exam.

Winter 2022 Updates

The tools we use to request and manage shells have been updated to include a number of new features. Below, you will find a brief overview of the changes, with links to more detailed information.

Shell Management Tools

  • Course shells and Organization shells have been split into their own sections, including their respective shell request forms and management tools.
  • Request a demo student account for testing your course shells. The request form can be found in the "Request and Manage Course Shell" section if you don't already have one.
  • When managing a specific shell, some important details are listed on the main page, including the shell name, end date, and the number of added instructors or teaching assistants.
  • Update the shell name from the main page (updates both the Brightspace shell and corresponding Google Group).
  • When managing members, you can now add multiple usernames at the same time (provided they all require the same role).

Shell Requests

  • Every shell request will now automatically come with a corresponding Google Group, making it easier for you to leverage the Google Workspace functionality for your class.
  • If you already have a demo student account, they will automatically be added to your new shells with a role of "Student".
  • Student sections can only be added by the instructor assigned to the lecture section, according to MyServiceHub. This brings the request form inline with other request processes at the University, prioritizing the protection of our students' private information.

From now on, when you request a Course Shell or Organization shell, you will automatically get both a Brightspace shell AND a corresponding Google Group. If the Brightspace shell code is abc123_f21_02, the email address for the Google Group will be

The Brightspace shell and Google Group contain the same members - including automatic updates based on enrollments (for example, students enrolled in a specific section of a course) and members added individually using the Self Service tools in There are a few exceptions, mostly in non-course training shells and a few organizations. 

You can find a list of the members included in BOTH the Brightspace shell and the Google Group by going to  the Self Service tools in

Will pre-existing Brightspace shells now have Google Groups?

Yes. You will see groups for your recent shells listed in Google Groups. This is useful for course and organization shells that are ongoing - you can start to make use of the Google Groups if you want to start sharing Google-based resources.

Where can I get help with Google Groups?

Google Groups is supported by Computing and Communications Services - you can contact them at with any questions

A "demo student" is a separate user account that you can login to in order to try the course shell from a student's perspective.

From now on, when you request a course shell, your demo student will automatically be added as a Student. If you have never had a demo student account, you will see the option to request a demo student in Self Service. Once the new account is activated, it will automatically be added to all active course shells where you are an Instructor.

Have you ever noticed that your Brightspace shell name is different from the name listed in Self Service?

From now on, you can update the shell name from Self Service and it will synchronize to both the Brightspace shell and the Google Group. This ensures that the name is consistent across all three applications. 

This also means that the name is no longer editable in the Course Admin in Brightspace. You can see the name listed there, but it is not editable.

In late July, D2L made some changes to how you grade rubrics in Assignments. Now, when you click on the rubric name, you will see the rubric in the right-hand panel. 

This new view makes use of sliders to indicate the level of achievement. Once a level is selected, you will see a checkmark appear, and the mark will be indicated in the lower right, just below that criteria slider. 

Alternatively, there is a button that allows you to "pop out" the rubric into a new window. This view will give you the full rubric evaluation view, and is recommended for people who have the benefit of two monitors a lot of screen real estate.

At the end of February, Brightspace introduced a new "Accommodations" feature in the Classlist tool that will allow instructors to set quiz accommodations for their students.

This new feature sets accommodations on a per-student basis, that will be applied to all quiz activities in the course. This is in addition to the existing "Special Access" feature (in both Quizzes and Assignments) that allows instructors to change access settings for individual assessments. 

Quiz-specific Special Access settings can be used to override accommodations, if required.

The quiz accommodations will include:

  • Modified time limit, either as a multiplier of the original quiz time (i.e. 1.5 times) or as a set amount of added time (i.e. 30 minutes)
  • Always allow right-click during a quiz

Here is a collection of new documents and updated documents related to the use of D2L Brightspace at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Due to the changing nature of our teaching and learning practice, our resources are regularly updated.

We'll do our best to add links here!

Are you new to Brightspace at Toronto Metropolitan University?

The best place to start is our Getting Started section!