The New Assignment Experience

You may have noticed that the DC Connect Assignments tool has undergone an update (actually, it happened a little while ago), the "new assignment create/edit experience". D2L announced the update on the Brightspace Community Product Blog back in May of 2020.

The "new experience" updates start with an opt-out feature, which allows professors to continue to work in their preferred environments. However, the opt-out features will eventually go away, and we will all be working with the new layouts eventually. It is a good idea to get familiar with these new layouts sooner rather than later.

According to D2L "The new interface will simplify those tasks for first-time or infrequent users as well as make it easy to access our most powerful features that our most experienced power-users love." Whether you agree or disagree with the new experience description above, there is a behavior I have noticed that is potentially problematic and I want to draw your attention to it.

If you are creating a new Assignment and intend to associate it with a Grade item, the recommended process is to make the Grade Item first (in the Grades tool) and ensure the Maximum Points are accurate and the Weight aligns with that described in your course outline. This recommendation remains unchanged.

New Assignment Create and Edit Experience - Choose from GradesThe behavior I’d like to draw your attention to occurs when creating the Assignment. After you have set the Score Out Of field, and subsequently click the In Grades pull-down menu, the next step is to select the Choose from Grades option.

New Assignment Create and Edit Experience - Create and link to a new grade itemA window then appears, with the default selection being "Create and link to a new grade item" and the name of the Grade Item being the same as the Assignment name.

It is very easy to see the name of the Grade Item, presume everything is good-to-go, and click the OK button. Unfortunately, this will result in a duplication of items in the Grades and your Assignment being associated with the duplicate.

New Assignment Create and Edit Experience - Link to an existing grade itemAfter selecting the Choose from Grades option, you must be careful to select the "Link to an existing grade" item and then choose the appropriate Grade Item from the available list.

It is now safe to click the OK button and continue setting up the Assignment.

TLDR (Coles Notes); When connecting your Assignment to the Grades using the In Grades pull-down menu, Choose from Grades option, be sure to select the bottom radio button (Link to an existing grade item) in the Choose from Grades window so that you do not accidentally create a duplicate Grade Item and confound your gradebook.