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Academic and Student Services

Educational Technology Corner

Welcome to the Ed Tech Corner.  We are pleased to have this new opportunity to share updates, ideas and opportunities with you. Some of the topics we will be presenting include product updates and improvements for Brightspace, Tophat, Aquifer, ExamSoft, and Biolucida Virtual Microscope. Looking forward to sharing our tech knowledge with you!

Monthly Updates

April 2019

Tech Tips

Tip: As Brightspace users, everyone is welcome and encouraged to create a Brightspace Community account. 

Microsoft is introducing Teams. Think of this app as Skype with expanded group and file sharing functionality. Teams is not a distinct replacement for Skype for Business, it is several features all rolled into one interface. Check with MCW IS on starting up a Team space for your close colleagues. Microsoft has several informational pages on Teams – no need to compare plans or purchase. This comes to us as part of our Office 365 Institutional Agreement.

Highlight: Panopto

This month, the tech highlight is Panopto. This is a service most know as our Lecture Capture Platform. However, it does so much more for you. You can review user statistics, as well as create your own screencasts.

  • Panopto is integrated with Brightspace, which means you (1) don't have to login a second time and (2) your Brightspace permissions pass to Panopto. 
  • Access Panopto by opening your Webcast folder in Brightspace, then click on the Panopto Recordings link. Your Panopto page will open in a new tab. 
  • From the green "create" button, you have options to record or upload, as well as create a new folder (which becomes a sub-folder of your course folder).
  • If you hover over the title of any recording, you will see a sub-menu appear, including Statistics. Use the menus to see how the videos are being viewed, or if there are areas of the videos with multiple views.
  • Want to create a webcast, but keep it private until you are done editing? You can do this! Contact for simple to follow instructions.

Panopto offers a series of support videos for the Windows and OSX operating systems. Take a look and let us know if you have questions.


Brightspace Update Summary

  1. When instructors evaluate assignments and new or updated feedback is published, email instant notifications are available for learners.
  2. Instructors can now align learning outcomes to discussion topics, enabling them to map discussion topic activities to a learner's demonstration of learning outcomes in a discussion. By viewing the learning outcomes that align to discussion topics, learners can understand what they need to demonstrate in discussion topic activities. 
  3. Instructors can now assess discussion threads against learning outcomes aligned to a discussion topic. This allows instructors to easily assess learner progress against learning outcomes. 
  4. Users with the See Rubrics permission enabled can now create Quicklinks directly to Rubrics with the Rubric is visible to Students setting enabled. In addition, users with the Manage Rubrics permission enabled can also access Manage Rubrics at the bottom of the Quicklinks menu.
  5. Instructors can now align learning outcomes to rubric criteria, enabling them to demonstrate how assessment criteria maps to a learner's demonstration of learning outcomes in an activity (quiz or assignment). 


Looking for fresh ways to create content for students? Consider using Tophat Assignments. This is a user-friendly way to personalize your content, offer students support with course concepts via questions and interactive elements.

Did you know that Tophat and Brightspace are synchronized? This makes it convenient to keep students enrolled in the correct Tophat course. This synchronization does extend to the grade book, for ease in ARS or homework grade calculation. Reach out to the LMS Team for more information on how to leverage this service.


March 2019

Tech Tips

  • As Brightspace users, everyone is welcome and encouraged to create a Brightspace Community account.
  • You can access Box directly from your desktop! This will allow you to store files or have a close at hand backup. Check the Box Drive and Edit webpage for a full description of this useful tool. You may need to reach out to IT support for install of this tool.


Looking for more content review options? Brightspace has a Question Pool feature. Questions pools can be used to give random questions in random order to students, for a complete review of content. It is easy to set up and can be used from year to year.

Release highlights

Instructors can now use the built-in annotation toolbar in Assignments to provide contextual feedback with highlighting, free hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting. This allows instructors to complete all their evaluation and feedback work directly in Assignments, without the need to use any external tools or applications. Annotations remain editable until the feedback is published by the instructor. If instructors want to add additional feedback after publishing, they can update the annotations and re-publish them.

The new SCORM engine now includes Interactions and Objectives reports and can be accessed by navigating to SCORM Reports from a course's reports page (Content > Table of Contents > Related Tools > View Reports > SCORM Reports). In addition, three new buttons appear on the screen to access reports for selected topics and users:

  • Summary: Displays a summary of the attempts a user has made at completing quizzes.
  • Interactions: Displays a list of the interactions corresponding to submitted answers to questions
  • Objectives: Shows a list of the objectives defined within the SCORM package, and the user's progress toward attaining them

To offer a more streamlined and intuitive interface, the new Content experience (Lessons) has been significantly updated for learners. It includes the following:

  • Enhanced table of contents: The new table of contents allows the learner to explore all available content within the course. At any time, the learner can choose an available module to view, and isn't forced to view modules in a specific sequence
  • Full screen viewer for content: When a learner decides what they want to view, clicking a module or topic displays the item in a full screen viewer, allowing them to focus exclusively on the content.
  • Completion tracking: New to the Content experience for learners, completion tracking allows a learner to see their overall completion of each module in the course, as well as completion of individual topics.
  • End of module experience" When a learner reaches the end of each module, a dynamic page congratulates them on their achievement or reminds them about incomplete content topics.


Tophat presents an active blog on all things related to Educational Technology. This month’s feature is the blog on Active Learning.


Aquifer offers a host of resources with our Institutional Subscription. Take a look!
February 2019

Tech Tips

  • As Brightspace users, everyone is welcome and encouraged to create a Brightspace Community account. The Brightspace Community is a complete resource for you, from basic questions to more advanced use ideas.
  • Using Tophat Audience Response in your lecture? Let’s practice! Just reach out to, let us know when your lecture is, and what days you are available to practice. We will reserve a conference room and supply a laptop with all the necessary software to make your practice session realistic.



Tophat responses are recorded in the Tophat gradebook. If you have an instructor account, and you are on the class list as a Professor, you can easily see this by signing into your Tophat course, then click on Grades. All data can be exported for analysis.

If you prefer to have your questions in line with your lecture slides, you can upload your PowerPoint slides to the Tophat course for presentation. This will eliminate the need for using the Presenter tool. Using movies in your lecture? Make sure they are linked in your presentation. Movies will not upload to the Tophat servers.


MCW offers a robust subscription to Aquifer (formerly known as MedU). This collection of patient cases can be used to advance clinical teaching and learning. This month’s feature is an article on using Aquifer resources to Flipping the Classroom.

Contact for information on accounts and Aquifer course set up.

January 2019

Tech Tips

  • Did you know that you can manage content dates in bulk? See our 1-minute video on how to use the Manage Dates Tool. This tool will let you streamline your workflow by using the Brightspace system dates, rather than entering dates in the content titles. No more re-naming files from year to year! It’s a good thing….
  •  If you are enrolled as an instructor in several courses, you can easily copy content between course offerings in Brightspace in as few as three clicks. We created a short video on how to use the Import/Export/Copy Components tool.


Assess learner progress using outcomes

Instructors can assess assignment submissions directly against outcomes aligned to an assignment. Learners are also able to view the results of the instructor assessing their assignment submissions directly against outcomes aligned to the assignment. This change makes it easier for learners to understand their progress against an outcome and locate areas for improvement.

Improvements to Assignments List view

When accessing Assignments, the list view now displays updated information. instructors see information on the assignment name, the number of learners who have completed the assignment, the number of learners who have been evaluated, the number of learners who have had feedback published, and the Due Date. This allows instructors to quickly determine what assignments they need to evaluate, how far along they are with their evaluations, and if they have published the evaluations.

HTML Editor

Descriptive error message for quicklinks to unavailable activities

A specific error message now appears to users who click a quick link to an activity that is outside the availability dates (not yet available or no longer available).

Intelligent Agents

Export agent run history to CSV

Intelligent Agent run history, previously only visible in Brightspace Learning Environment, can now be exported to a CSV file. This feature allows instructors to better track learners that are triggering Intelligent Agents.


Improved rubric creation experience

To improve on the new rubric creation experience, rubric creation has been changed to a single-page workflow. the two previous Rubric Tool options Properties and Levels and Criteria are now condensed into a single Edit option.

The LMS Team has to configure this for MCW. More information to come on this.

Top Hat Updates

If you are unfamiliar with the Top Hat Marketplace, please sign into your course and take a look. The Marketplace link can be found in your Courses sub-menu, upper right corner:

Tophat image

The Top Hat Marketplace contains over 2500 interactive textbooks and course materials. Feel free to browse!


Students now manage their own case resets. Learn more.

You—and your students—already have access to Aquifer Radiology. Are you taking advantage of these deep resources?

Aquifer Radiology’s 18 virtual patient cases and module on professionalism take a patient-centered approach to diagnostic imaging that is ideal for clinical teaching through a range of disciplines. Cases cover imaging issues related to:

  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Geriatrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology

Contact Us

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