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What's New in Brightspace at Ryerson

What's New - Fall 2021

This page is the home for news and resources for teaching using D2L Brightspace. Throughout the term, we will add information about new features, upcoming workshops and more.

On Sunday, November 14, a new version of  the tools we use to request and manage our Brightspace shells was introduced!

With this new version, we see a number of fantastic new features.

Here are some of the highlighted changes:

  • Google Groups are now included! All shell requests (course and organization) include a Brightspace shell AND a Google Group.
  • Your demo student will be added to all new shells you request! (and if you don't have a demo student, it's easier for you to request one)
  • The Shell Name will be synchronized from the Self Service tool to both the Brightspace shell and Google Group (so you will need to change it there from now on)
Watch this space as we add more details about the changes! 

Google Groups are now included!

All shell requests (course and organization) automatically include a Brightspace shell AND a 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

Demo Students are automatically added

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.

The Shell Name will be synchronized

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.

Faculty & instructors

Explore the Remote Teaching hub, designed to help faculty and instructors prepare their courses for fall remote delivery. 



Explore the Continuity of Learning Guide, which provides instructions on how to join online classes and adapt to new learning processes while away from campus.

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.

In late July, D2L removed the Introduction field from Quizzes because the Introduction and Description fields were used in very similar ways. 

If you have copied a course shell with quizzes that were created prior to July, the content in the Introduction and Description fields have been merged into the Description field. Please review any content in the Description field as it may require some editing.

If you have a quiz that contains both questions that are autograded AND questions that you need to grade manually AND your quiz has the "Allow attempt to be set as graded immediately upon completion" option disabled, a new Pending Evaluation status appears beside the quiz attempt on the Grade Quiz page.

This serves as an excellent visual reminder that you need to grade part of a quiz.

Once you've graded the outstanding questions, make sure to publish graded attempts to the gradebook, as that will not happen automatically. 

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 Ryerson 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 Ryerson?

The best place to start is our Getting Started section!


View the latest video tutorials and webinars 

Find all of our D2L Brightspace video tutorials and webinars on our Brightspace Ryecast page, opens in new window.