Please keep in mind that this site is actively being revised and content may change.
Learning Management System
If you need assistance with any of the strategies listed on this page, please schedule a one-on-one consultation with a CELT consultant.
The Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) and IT Services (ITS) and Brightspace faculty advisory board members have collaboratively created two Brightspace course templates. They provide a simple navigation sidebar to help students quickly find the course content. If you need help copying or modifying the course templates, please contact a CELT consultant.
In this section, you will find practical tips for supporting student learning in Brightspace and keep your workload manageable.
Question & Answer Forum
Instructors can create an online Questions & Answers discussion forum in Brightspace to address students’ questions in a timely manner. This will also save you from answering the same questions multiple times. Strategies to make the best of this tool include:
- Allowing students to subscribe to the forum. By subscribing to the forum, you and your students will receive automatic emails when new questions are posted or answered.
- Communicating clearly your response timeframe.
- Instructing your students to use the forum to seek answers to their questions. When students email you a simple question, encourage them to post to the forum.
- You can follow the step-by-step instructions in the video on how to create and subscribe to a Questions & Answers Forum in Brightspace.
Revised Syllabus Quiz
One innovative use of the Quizzes Tool in Brightspace is to create a simple quiz on the revised syllabus. It can not only quickly check your students' ability to take online quizzes, but also provide you valuable information on how they understand your current expectations listed in the course syllabus. For more information, please read Using a Syllabus Quiz to Reinforce Course expectations.
Preserve Integrity in Online Assessments
Integrity in online assessments is a priority shared by many online instructors. While there are no fool-proof ways to prevent someone from cheating if they are intent on doing so, there are ways to make it difficult to do so. The following are strategies to create barriers to cheating:
- Use quiz libraries and generate randomly selected questions for each student.
- Use quiz settings to limit the availability of quizzes and exams. (Please read quiz settings below.)
- Redesign assessment activities (e.g., case analysis) to require application of new knowledge and skills.
- Allow students to choose projects relevant to their interests, real-world responsibilities and needs.
Please note, there are proctoring solutions available. But they should be used with caution.
If you need teaching or pedagogical help, please schedule a one-on-one consultation with a CELT consultant.
You probably know that instructors can use quizzes and surveys to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students. The settings in Quizzes allow you as an instructor to do the following.
- Specify when and for how long the quizzes will be available.
- Specify how many attempts the students can take and how their final scores will be calculated.
- Adapt the time and attempt limitations for students with special needs.
- Add feedback for students for correct and incorrect answers.
- Specify when the students will be able to see their score and your feedback.
Note: For technological reasons, we recommend the following settings in general for quiz settings in Brightspace.
- Have a start date
- View all at once
Assignments: It's More Than a Dropbox
The assignments tool can help you better organize student submissions and your feedback, but it can also be more than that. Here are some of the features that will enable you to support student learning in a more manageable and effective way.
- Use group assignments for group project submissions. There is no need to worry about finding who's in which group in the Gradebook
- Use rubrics to make the grading process more transparent.
- Give students multiple submission attempts. You can also require them to do a self-assessment with their first submission to encourage them to integrate your feedback.
- Use due dates to manage late submission easily.
Use Groups Tool to Support Student Collaboration
Students can submit one group assignment, participate in small group discussions, or create a group wiki. The work submitted within the group space is only viewable to the instructors, TAs and the group members. Here are some practical considerations for group work.
- Only enable tools that the students will use. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming to students.
- Create a short guide or video to help students use the Groups tool. This way, they can focus on learning instead of trying to figure out the technology.
- Never delete a group category if it was linked to any activity, assessment or content. Deleted group categories cannot be restored.
Reconsider Online Discussions
When transitioning to an online course environment for the first time, many instructors try to duplicate discussions in the face-to-face environment with the online discussion tool. Many soon discover that the online platform has a different dynamic as compared to a face-to-face class. Watch this video regarding some common challenges for online discussions, and strategies to support students learning. Please find below some practical considerations for online discussions.
- Remember online discussion is not the only way to check student understanding. Other activities such as case analysis, reflection papers, and quizzes can serve different assessment needs.
- Online discussions should not be used as an attendance tool. Otherwise, students are likely to consider them as busy work.
- Consider small group discussion, instead of whole class discussions. More meaningful and in-depth conversation can happen during small group discussions.
- Require a summary or group reflection to bring closure to discussions. This will give students something tangible to capture their learning.
- Require individual responses to be created before students can see others’ postings. This can help improve individual accountability.
- Set clear expectations on both the content (e.g., questions to address, length, structure) and timing (e.g., due dates).
- Do NOT respond to every single student post. Instead, consider different strategies to facilitate student to student interaction.
Brightspace Resources for Faculty
Please visit the CELT Brightspace page for more handouts, short videos, and pedagogical suggestions for using Brightspace to support learning and teaching.
Brightspace Help for Students
If your students need support with Brightspace, they can use the following resources.