Get to know your way around Brightspace by familiarizing yourself with some of the most common tasks faculty and instructors need to do when building courses in your school’s Brightspace site and which Brightspace features and tools are available to help carry out these tasks.
Are any of the following statements true for you?
- My school is new to learning management systems and/or new to Brightspace.
- I am new to learning management systems and/or new to Brightspace.
- I want to know what some of the most popular features and tools are in Brightspace, and what teaching tasks they can help me with
- I want to know some suggestions for which Brightspace features and tools to add to my existing course sites
If you've answered YES, then the information on this page is right for you! The information in this topic can help you plan a strategy to build and grow the adoption of your school's Brightspace site. This article maps some of the functionalities available to faculty and instructors through different Brightspace features and tools. We help you link common tasks to Brightspace features and tools that can help you accomplish the task, Then, we provide some How to resources that will help you learn to use the tools that you think might best help you.
I'm just getting started. Where do I begin?
Are you looking for the basics to help you get started with building fully online or blended courses in your school’s Brightspace site? You might be interested in the following Brightspace features and tools to help you get started:
- Brightspace Navigation tools will help you find the things you need to build your course site.
- Content can help you build the framework for your course site.
- Assessment tools provide various grading and assessment options.
- Brightspace Pulse gives students the ability to access the Brightspace site on their mobile devices.
Let's discuss those tools and features in detail.
Brightspace Navigation tools
To build your course site, you need to know how to find the things you need.
The Navbar: A navigation bar is available at the top of the page that contains links to tools and materials that you and your learners will use in your course.
Course Admin: On the navbar, there is a Course Admin link that provides access to all the tools you need to build and maintain your course site.
Homepages and Widgets: Create a homepage and add widgets that put the information you want you learners to see right upfront!
HTML templates: Use our free downloadable HTML templates to make your courses look great! You don't need to be a computer wizard to use the templates; we provide step-by-step instructions to show you how.
Use the Content tool to build the framework for your course site. Set up folders and sub-folders (modules) to organize your learning materials. You can import/export course components from previous versions of a course, drag and drop content from 3rd party tools like Google Docs, create new content with the HTML editor, and create learning activities like assignments, discussions, or quizzes.
It's important to be aware of the various assessment options available to you in your Course site. When planning a course site in Brightspace, you should know how to set up assessment for the activities, assignments, discussions, and quizzes you have included in your course site.
With Brightspace Pulse, learners can access their Brightspace site on their mobile devices, but faculty and instructors need to be aware of what kinds of things must be included when setting up the course site for Pulse to perform effectively.
How do I engage my learners through communication?
If you’re looking for ways to make it easier for faculty to communicate with learners and make sure learners are engaged with their peers and instructors, consider these tools/features.
Announcements provides a formal way to make course-wide official announcements (no interactive elements)
Activity feed provides an informal, interactive, social-media like way to share information in a course - both faculty and learners can author activity feed posts and write comments on posts.
Discussions is a tool for learners to discuss course materials in an organized way, moderated by an instructor. Faculty or learners create discussion posts to ask questions, discuss course content and assignments, and work together in assigned groups and sections, and other learners reply. It is possible to assign a grade and a rubric to discussion posts so that learners receive credit and feedback for their participation.
Add the calendar widget to your course homepage so learners can see what’s coming up in the course. The calendar displays anything that you have assigned availability dates to when you added it in content.
Create a space for interactive video discussions with faculty or between learners. You can also use Video Classrooms to hold virtual office hours with faculty and instructors.
Help learners succeed by making sure your courses are optimized to perform effectively with the Pulse App.
Evaluate and Monitor Learner Progress
Are you looking for an easy way to monitor student activity in your course or looking for ways to make the assessment experience easier for faculty and students? Consider these tools and features.
Class Progress and User Progress
View, compare, and track learner performance.
Build quizzes from a question library or from scratch. The quiz tool allows for many question types including equations, multiple choice, short answer
Create or use existing rubrics to evaluate an activity or item based on a predefined set of criteria. Rubrics help ensure that activities and items are evaluated fairly and consistently and deliver effective feedback for students. Using rubrics as part of your course assessment options streamlines the grading workflow.
Sset up a grading system for your course and connect it to your course assignments, discussions, and quizzes. It takes a bit of effort to set up the grade book for your course, but once you’re done, the Grades tool records the grades you assign learners for any of the associated learning activities in your course site and calculates each grade contributes to the learner’s final grade. The Grades tool can even record the grades you’ve assigned to learners through Rubrics.
View all ungraded student submissions in one place. In Quick Eval, you can see a summary of the grading work you have left to complete. You can sort submissions by course, learner, and assignment so that you can grade learner work however it suits you. You can evaluate submissions and publish feedback and grades right from within the Quick Eval tool so you don’t need to navigate all over the place to get your grading done.
Note: Quick Eval is only available to clients clients who have purchased the Brightspace Core package.
Annotation Tools for assignment grading
Use built-in annotation tools to mark-up assignment submissions and give meaningful feedback using highlighting, freehand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting.
Note: Annotation Tools are only available to clients clients who have purchased the Brightspace Core package.
If providing your learners with a personalized learning experience is important to you, consider using these tools in your courses.
Awards and Badges
Provide merit-based awards to motivate and engage learners as they progress through your course. There are two types of awards: Badges and Certificates. You can automatically award Badges and Certificates based on release condition criteria or you can manually awarded them.
Gain insight into learner’s involvement in your course so you can automate and personalize how you interact with them. The intelligent agents tool finds an activity that matches predetermined criteria, and then automatically (and proactively) triggers an action. For example: emailing users that have not accessed your course in a week or have missed an assignment submission due date.
Use release conditions to create a custom learning path through the materials in your course. When you attach a release condition to an item, users cannot see that item until they meet the associated condition. For example: attach a release condition to the second topic in your course’s content area that hides that topic until users viewed the first topic; or attach a release condition to a quiz at the end of a module that restricts the start of the next module until the quiz has been attempted.
Add special access for learners who require different access to content or quizzes in your course, For example: use special access to allow a student to submit an assignment after the due date or take more time to complete a quiz.
Use data to improve student success
Data analytics is an exciting area of the Brightspace platform that allows your school to create reports and data visualizations to analyze what learners and faculty are doing in Brightspace. Typically, these data-related tools are used by your school’s Brightspace administrators, not by individual faculty and instructors. To learn more about data and your school’s Brightspace site, speak to your school’s Brightspace administrators.
Data Hub combines Brightspace data sets and Advanced Data Sets to provide a picture of all your data from Brightspace. Advanced data sets give a slice of the overall data and a more complete report. You can download Brightspace Data Sets regularly and load them into a data warehouse for use with a Business Intelligence tool by joining them together.
Note: Data Hub is only available to clients clients who have purchased the Brightspace Core package.
Insights contains the Adoption, Engagement, Learner Engagement, and Assessment quality dashboards. Each dashboard is built for mid-level to administrative roles that need to have data visualized across courses or the entire organization.
Note: Brightspace Insights is only available to clients clients who have purchased the Performance+ package.
Student Success System (S3)
Use this predictive analytics tool to be proactive in identifying and making interventions with students who might be at risk in your course. S3 uses historical data to make weekly predictions about student performance.
Note: Student Success System is only available to clients clients who have purchased the Performance+ package.
Not in Higher Education?
If you're a Corporate or K-12 Customer, we have a Mapping Brightspace Functionality article just for you!