Authored by Customer Success at D2L.
To know if this play* is right for you, ask yourself if any of the following statements are true:
- I want to engage parents and guardians to provide them a virtual window into the learning activities that take place in the classroom
- I want to know some recommendations on how my school district/board can get started with the Brightspace for Parents tool
IF you’ve answered “yes” to the above questions, this adoption play is right for you!
If you’ve answered “no”, another adoption play might be better suited. Check out the Adoption Playbook to review other available adoption plays that might be better suited.
Note: A "play" in this context is a plan or strategy to build and grow the "adoption" (the process by which something new becomes accepted and incorporated into everyday routine practices) of your school district or board's Brightspace site.
The Play: Using Brightspace for Parents* to create parent engagement
The Brightspace for Parents (BfP) tool is purposefully designed to work in tandem with some of the most popular Brightspace features and tools to create a virtual window for parents and guardians to look into the classroom and see due dates for their child’s upcoming work, Portfolio items, learning activities, review recent grades that have been released to the student, and read classroom updates.
This article summarizes the benefits of using the BfP tool for engaging parents/ guardians in their child’s education and outlines the main three buckets of work that need to be completed to ensure that BfP is successfully launched within your organization.
Note: The term “parents” is used here to refer inclusively to all individuals who are recognized, authorized primary caregivers and guardians of students.
- Highlight the benefits of using the BfP tool to assist educators in generating parent/guardian engagement
- Provide an overview of the three main buckets of work required to successfully launch BfP for your school district/board
Benefits of using the Brightspace for Parents (BfP) tool
Studies show that getting parents and guardians actively engaged with their child’s education in meaningful ways results in improved student outcomes. The BfP tool effectively delivers parent/guardian engagement by:
- giving parents and guardians a safe and secure way to have visibility into the learning activities in their child’s classroom. Approved parents/guardians will only view information related to their children in BfP, so educators don’t need to be concerned about privacy (parents/guardians cannot see classlists or student comments in the Activity Feed)
- facilitating deeper insight into their child’s education. For example, BfP displays items like overdue items and shared portfolio objects* that parents and guardians can use to have great conversations with their kids about what’s going on at school. They can reflect together on the latest portfolio items, talk about specific classroom news items that the teacher posted in the activity feed, strategize together on how to plan their week given their upcoming work, or review and discuss grades.
Figure: Parent view when logged into their BfP account.
“Parent involvement in education is crucial. No matter their income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school” - National Coalition for Parent Involvement in education
Special Considerations: Associated tool dependencies
BfP is designed to show parents/guardians student work that happens elsewhere in the learning environment. Specifically, BfP pulls information from Activity Feed, Portfolio, Gradebook and any learning activities with dates attached (ie/ discussions with an end date, assignments and quizzes with due dates etc.).
If educators are not using any of these features and tools in their online classrooms, and BfP is turned on, parents/guardians will be able to access their BfP account, but it will not display any information about their student’s work.
Some specific dependencies to be aware of when working with tools associated with BfP include:
- IF your school district or board has the Portfolio tool or the Grades Tool disabled at the org level, then these items will not be visible in Brightspace for Parents.
- Portfolio items that have been marked as shared will appear in the parent view of BfP.
- Only grades that have been recorded in the Gradebook and released to students will appear in the parent view of BfP.
Getting Started with Brightspace for Parents
Step 1: SIS data clean-up
The first step in getting started with BfP is understanding the status of the data within your SIS. To create parent accounts that can access their children’s information, you will need to map authorized parent/guardian accounts to students. BEFORE you get started integrating your SIS data in Brightspace it is important to ensure that your SIS data is “clean” – ie/ free of inconsistencies like duplicate accounts or inaccurate information.
Tip: It is important to have a well thought out plan for how you will manage the maintenance and up keep of your student and parent account information. How will new student information be added each year? How will new parent accounts be added? And how will you check whether this student or parent information already exists in the SIS to avoid duplicate accounts? How will you manage if there is a change?
Step 2: Creating Parent-Child relationships
Once all the data in the SIS is organized and a system is in place to track and validate parent data, you will need to create a relationship between authorized parent user accounts and their associated student(s). There are three different ways to create parent-child relationships using SIS integrations:
- Brightspace Parent & Guardian platform requirements
- D2L Standard CSV with Brightspace for Parents
Tip: The method you choose to import SIS information and map the parent-child relationship will depend on your organization’s SIS compatibilities. Refer to Brightspace for Parents platform requirements (linked above) for more information.
Step 3: Communication
The successful launch of Brightspace for Parents in your school district or board relies on an effective communication plan that lets educators and parents know exactly what they need to know about BfP and what they need to do to get started using BfP.
Communication about Brightspace for Parents with Educators:
Educators needs to know that the BfP tool exists and understand how it works so that they are aware of what information is (and is not) visible to parents in their view of the learning environment. Specifically, educators need to be aware that:
- Individual teachers don’t usually have control to decide whether BfP is available to the parents of students in their class (because BfP is turned on at the school or district/board level)
- It is possible for parents to log into BfP and find nothing to view
Educators also need a clear understanding of which information from the learning environment is connected to BfP. When parents log in to their BfP account, they can see up to 5 widgets on the BfP homepage:
- Overdue items – based on due dates and/or end dates that have been attached to learning activities (ie/ quizzes, assignments)
- Upcoming work – based on end dates/due dates
- Recent Grades – displays grades from the gradebook (includes rubrics if they’re attached to a grade item, haven been assessed, and grades released to a student)
- Portfolio objects – parents can view portfolio objects and teacher feedback IF the object has been marked as “shared” by the teacher
- Activity feed – parents can view teacher posts to activity feed but NOT any student comments
Communication about Brightspace for Parents with Parents/Guardians:
First and foremost, parents need to be aware that the Brightspace for Parents tool exists, and they need to know exactly how they can access it. Any parent communication should include:
- Easy to follow instructions for account creation and login information to access BfP
- A clear explanation that BfP provides a visualization of student work and is NOT a communication tool to engage in conversation with their child’s educators
Select the option that matches how you’re feeling:?
National Coalition for Parent Involvement in education. 2006. Research Review and Resources. www.ncpie.org/WhatsHappening/researchJanuary2006.cfm.