Pima Community College

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Getting Started with Brightspace

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Welcome to Brightspace

The Brightspace Learning Environment is software that allows Pima Community College to create and host courses on the internet. Every Pima Community College course in Brightspace is unique. For example, your instructor may be using Brightspace to supplement a course taught in a regular classroom environment and may only add a couple of key tools to Brightspace. Alternatively, your course may be taught entirely online and a variety of tools and content may be used in your Brightspace course.

You can use Brightspace to view course material, reading lists, goals, quizzes and assignments presented by your instructor. You can complete assignments and quizzes, and then submit them to your instructor for evaluation. After your instructor has evaluated your assignments and quizzes, you can view your grades. You can also monitor your own progress in a course. To communicate with your instructor or other students, you can use an Email tool, or post messages in online discussions.

Introductory Tasks

Once you login for the first time, you may want to set your Brightspace preferences and create your own Brightspace personal profile. Completing these tasks will help further familiarize yourself with Brightspace.

Understanding the Interface

My Home

My Home is your starting point inside Brightspace. From here, you can access your courses. My Home is also your college's homepage, where you can read announcement items and access any organization-level content (i.e., special notices), links or other available resources.

Brightspace   user My Home page with the navbar and My Courses areas highlighted.

The following topics cover the basic interface and some common tools you will come across within Brightspace.

The Minibar

The minibar is the banner at the very top of the Brightspace page, displaying the course title, your name and profile picture, and icons with settings and notification information about new messages or activity that has occurred recently. From the minibar, you can also set up your profile and edit your preferences.

The minibar is located above the navbar on the homepage.

The Navbar and Widgets

A navbar, or navigational bar, is a banner right below the minibar that displays a set of links used to navigate between tools and homepages. Each course and homepage has its own navbar that links to relevant tools. For example, if you select the Grades tool link from the Assessments dropdown menu in a course navbar, you are taken to the grade book for that course, but if you select the Email tool link from the Communication dropdown menu, you are taken to your personal email.

Widgets are mini-web application on your My Home and Course Home pages that quickly and easily provide users with specific information, extra functionality, or even a bit of fun and games.

Note: Instructors may use a different version of the navbar shown in this site's screenshots.

Brightspace   Course Home page showing the navbar at the top and widgets in the middle and bottom of the page

Accessing Your Courses

Your courses are listed in the My Courses widget on your My Home page. Simply select the name link of the course you want to enter to access it.

Each course may have its own unique navbar providing links to the tools and resources available inside the course; the course homepage provides a showcase for course related information like announcements and updates.

To get back to My Home, select My Home on the minibar.

Brightspace   user My Home page and a Course Home page highlighting the links used in My Courses and on the Course Home page to navigate back and forth between the two pages

Searching for Courses

If you have more than a certain number of courses, your My Courses widget might display a search field and a list of the 10 most recently accessed courses.

Course Home

Course Home is the first page you visit when you enter a course. Like My Home, it contains your personal tools and different widgets for displaying information, including course specific content.

Sample course homepage in Brightspace

Remember: Brightspace relies on its own internal navigation. You are strongly encouraged not to use your internet browser back/forward buttons to navigate your way through the course. Use the course tool icons and the Previous/Next buttons.

If you encounter questions while using Brightspace, you can access helpful resources for using Brightspace by selecting the Help dropdown menu that appears on the right side of the navbar.

Because each course is unique, the tools you use and how you navigate your Brightspace course will depend on how it's been set up. However, there are some features that are commonly used to organize course content and to allow you to access tools. Let's get started by taking a look at these common features.

To go to the next page, select Next > at the bottom right corner of this page.

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