Academic Technology Updates for November 2023

We have new updates for MyCourses! See below for details, and please contact if you encounter any problems or have questions.


D2L will disable the MyCourses Chat Tool in January 2024.

“Online communication has evolved over time and has been replaced by instant messaging on mobile devices. Even AOL closed its chat rooms in 2010! Use of our chat tool has been declining over the years, and this decision allows us to simplify our platform by reducing confusion around tools that do similar things.” – D2L

IT recommends the Instant Messages tool or the Microsoft Course Connector as an alternative to the Chat Tool.


Announcements – Copy announcements to other courses

This feature adds the ability to copy announcements to other courses. Users must be enrolled as Instructors in both the source and destination courses.

A single announcement can be copied to multiple course offerings. Instructors can copy announcements from the Announcements tool or the Announcements widget from the context menu of an announcement by selecting Copy to Other Courses. Once copied, the announcement is in a draft state and instructors must publish the copied announcement in the destination course to complete the copying process.

The following attributes are copied:

  • Headline
  • Display Author Information
  • Content
    Note: The copied Content attribute includes any associated files such as inserted images.
  • Start and End Date
  • Attachments
  • Pin state

Note: Release conditions are not copied.

Click Copy to Other Courses from the announcement drop-down, select the course and click Next, click Copy then click Done when Copy Complete message appears
Figure: Click Copy to Other Courses from the announcement drop-down menu.
Assignments and Discussions – Review key assessment information when publishing evaluations

The Publish All dialog for Assignments and Discussions is improved and standardized to show key information about student evaluations. Dialog messaging is consistent for both Assignments and Discussions as it notes complete and incomplete student evaluations and other key information, like how many students have feedback and how many students or groups are assigned to an activity. This change improves the user experience by including additional information about the status of student evaluations and creating evaluation consistency across MyCourses.

Previously, the Publish All dialog did not display any information about student evaluations or other key information, and the dialog messaging was not consistent across the Assignments and Discussions tools.

The Publish All dialog displaying the amount of learners assigned to the activity, the amount of feedback being released, and the remaining learners with unpublished feedback
Figure: Review student evaluation information in the Publish All dialog before clicking Publish.
New Discussion Creation Experience – Choose default group and section restrictions

This new configuration variable determines the default selection in the Group and Section Restrictions dialog of the New Discussion Creation Experience. It allows users to either select Restrict topic or Restrict topic and separate the threads as the default in the Group and Section Restrictions dialog. Before selection, the default option remains as Restrict topic.

This selection appears when users launch the Manage Restrictions dialog from the Availability Dates & Conditions accordion.

Note: This change does not impact topics with existing group and section restrictions.

The Group and Section Restrictions dialog showing the Restrict topic and Restrict topic and separate the threads options.
Figure: Select either Restrict topic or Restrict topic and separate the threads to choose the default restriction in the New Discussions Creation Experience.
Quizzes – Deduction option for incorrect answers

Administrators have the option to enable a deduction setting in Quizzing for special circumstances. When enabled, instructors can set a quiz to deduct a percentage of a question’s point value for incorrect answers submitted. This feature applies specifically to question types that can be auto-graded, for example, multiple-choice and true or false questions. The only question type that can’t be auto-graded is written response.

The Deduct points for incorrect answers option of the Evaluation and Feedback section.
Figure: Under Evaluation & Feedback, instructors can select Deduct points for incorrect answers and enter a Deduction percentage.

Instructors can also enter negative values when manually grading individual quiz questions or manually updating all quiz question attempts from the Quizzes tool.

A negative grade entered for an incorrect quiz answer.
Figure: Instructors can manually enter negative grades when grading quiz questions.

To ensure that instructors can view accurate quiz statistics, Question Statistics are also updated to account for this new functionality. Therefore, if negative grading is enabled, Question Statistics may display the following differences in statistics:

  • Point Biserial results may be lower when negative grading is enabled.
  • Standard Deviation has a wider distribution to account for negative grading.
  • Questions with a negative average score appear below zero in the Grade Distribution graph.
A negative grade as shown on the Grade Distribution graph.
Figure: Question Statistics displays updated values to account for negative grading, including a below-zero average score.

To ensure that students are fully aware that negative marking is enabled for a quiz, the Summary page of a quiz explicitly notifies the student that for each question answered incorrectly, a percentage of that question’s point value is deducted from the final attempt grade.

The Summary Page of a Quiz.
Figure: Before starting a quiz, students are notified on the Summary page that point values are deducted from the final attempt grade for incorrect answers.

Also, students are given the opportunity to explicitly clear previously selected answers to auto-graded questions by clicking Clear Selection. This gives students the opportunity to leave the question blank and receive a mark of zero (0), instead of forcing them to guess and enter an answer that could possibly incur a percent deduction.

The Clear Selection option of a quiz question.
Figure: Students can select Clear Selection to remove their answer from a multiple-choice or true or false question.

Students who are given the ability to view questions after submitting their quiz by their instructor can review questions that received negative score deductions for incorrect answers.

A negative grade displayed for an incorrect answer to a question.
Figure: Students can review incorrect questions with negative deduction grades when they submit a quiz.

Previously, instructors could not set a quiz to deduct a percentage of a question’s point value for incorrect answers submitted.

Note: The overall quiz score cannot be negative and caps at zero.

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