Brightspace Tutorials for Instructors

To email, go to the Classroom tab > Classlist and then select the gray “Email Classlist” button at the top of the page.

At the bottom of the page select the blue button “Send Email." Brightspace will automatically generate an email prompt with all of your students.

Enter your message in the body; then select the blue “Send” button at the top of the page.

  1. Go into the Brighspace course shell you want to import content INTO.
  2. Go to your gear icon in top right and click "Import/Export/Copy Components." 
  3. Select the old course you want to import content FROM.
  4. DO NOT hit the blue button that says "Copy All Components" unless you want everything from that course copied in (this is time consuming to un-do). Choose the button on the right that says "Copy Select Components" if you only want some of the components imported.
  5. From here, you can choose individual components from that course and import them in by clicking "Finish."

Brightspace surveys have shown time and again that students prefer the course's structure to be driven by the content area and organized in sequential modules that include all resources and linked activities that students will need for that module.

Here is a video demonstrating this.

Try to set up your Gradebook before setting up assessment activities in Brightspace so that linking your assessments to Grade Items will be easier.

Here’s a short video about creating a Gradebook, including the merits of weighted systems vs. points systems. Contact OTLE if you need any help!

Here's a short video about using the Attendance Tool in Brightspace.

When should I use the Assignment tool?
Written assignments can enable a huge variety of assessment strategies: worksheets, reflection papers, journals, essays, research papers, etc. These can be lower-stakes assignments for formative assessment purposes, or they can be higher-stakes assignments that assess higher-order thinking and cumulative learning.

Setting up written Assignments in Brightspace
In Brightspace, you’ll need to set up a new Assignment folder for each individual graded writing activity. Here’s a comprehensive video showing how to setup an Assignment folder (and here's one showing how to use the new "Assignment Experience"), how to grade and provide feedback, and what an Assignment folder looks like from the student viewpoint. Once your students submit a written Assignment to your folder, you can insert comments, edits, and other annotations directly in the submitted document in Brightspace. No downloading or uploading of files is necessary.

When should I use Quizzes?
Online Quizzes are primarily used for formative assessment: that is, helping you and the students gauge whether they are learning what they should be learning. For instance, Quizzes can test students’ basic comprehension of readings or lecture videos, or help them practice foundational knowledge.

Quiz questions in Brightspace can be created in a true/false, multiple-choice, short-answer, or written response (long answer) format. Generally true/false, multiple-choice, and short answer questions test lower-level thinking; however, they can be designed to test higher-order thinking. Here’s a Tech Snacks handout about designing higher-order thinking questions in Quizzes.

Setting up Quizzes in Brightspace
This video provides an overview of how to make Quizzes from scratch in Brightspace.

If you have quiz questions already created in a Word document that you use for paper tests and quizzes, you can convert them into Brightspace quiz questions. This question conversion tool will let you copy and paste text (with a bit of special formatting) and generate a Brightspace test bank that you can import into your courses. Read the instructions on that page carefully, and contact us if you need help.

Many textbook publishers offer pre-built quizzes and question pools, but we strongly recommend not relying on those if at all possible. Students can find virtually every publisher-created test question and answer on “study guide” websites like CourseHero, Quizlet, and Chegg. Here’s a handout we created on the topic of cheating and cheating prevention.

Admittedly, given the situation you might have no choice but to temporarily rely on publisher questions to supplement your assessments. If that’s the case, you should consider tweaking them and/or using them only for low-stakes, formative assessment and not high-value tests.

When should I use Discussions?
The Discussion tool in Brightspace can be used to engage students with important course concepts while also giving them an opportunity to interact with other students (and the instructor) about these topics. Discussions are typically used for formative assessment purposes and are usually graded as lower or medium stakes assignments.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using online discussion as a learning tool. Discussions in Brightspace, for instance, are not synchronous (real-time). This means that the instructor may have to work harder to facilitate timely contributions and conversational flow than they would in a live classroom. There are also advantages, however. For instance, students who are reserved in person may thrive with the opportunity to collect and organize their thoughts in writing.

Setting up Discussion Forums in Brightspace
Here’s a comprehensive video showing how to set up Discussions. You’ll also want to have your Gradebook set up before you start building discussions. 

Grading discussion activities can feel overwhelming, but it’s manageable if you use a Grading Rubric and the Gradebook. As demonstrated in the video above, OTLE has a generic Grading Rubric for Discussions that is available in all courses. You can use it as-is, make a copy and modify it to meet your needs, or create a new Grading Rubric from scratch. Feel free to contact OTLE with any questions about Rubrics.

A relatively new feature recently enabled in Brightspace is the Video Note tool. You can use Video Notes to quickly record and upload short, auto-captioned videos up to 30 minutes in Announcements, Discussions prompts, Discussion posts, Assignment prompts, and Assignment feedback area.

The Video Note tool is also enabled for students so that they have the option of recording videos and using them in their Discussion posts or Assignment submissions.

You might want to consider Video Discussions as an alternative option or supplement to written Discussion posts to allow students to see and hear each other. Here’s a tutorial video that you can share with your students to show them how it works.

To release the Final Grade:

  1. Select the Progress tab > Grades
  2. Select the Enter Grades tab
  3. Select the dropdown arrow next to Final Calculated Grade
  4. Select Enter Grades from the drop down menu
  5. Select all of the students in the class (if there are more than 20 make sure to select a display option at the bottom of the page that has them all)
  6. Click Release/Unrelease. Now when you go back to the Enter Grades tab, there will no longer be a slash through the eyeball icon, showing that the final grade is visible to students.

If you assigned a quiz that you later realize has a poorly worded, unfair, or incorrect question/answer, you can give a student credit for that question by doing the following:

  1. Select the drop down arrow next to the quiz and click "Grade"
  2. Select the student’s attempt
  3. Scroll down to the question and enter the point(s),
  4. Click the blue button -- "Update"
  5. Use the arrow in the upper right corner to navigate to the next User, and repeat.


If you want to give multiple or all students credit for a different answer than is indicated, then:

  1. Select the drop down arrow next to the quiz and click "Grade"
  2. Select "Questions" tab
  3. Choose "Grade Individual Responses" or "Update All Attempts"
  4. Click on the Quiz Question
  5. Update points received for one or more students (if you chose "Grade Individual Responses") or all students (if you chose "Update All Attempts")
  6. Save