When you first enter your Brightspace course, you are taken to the Course Home. Like the homepage for a website, the Course Home is the main page for your course, as it provides an access point to the tools and content that have been added to the course.
The Course Home can contain a variety of links; you can open the content and tools that have been added to the Course Home by selecting any one of the links.
Let's review some of the common course tools you will come across within the system.
Any tools that are a part of your course will appear in dropdown menus on the course navigational bar. The course tool links always appear in these dropdown menus on the course navigational bar of any page you navigate to in the course.
When you access a tool from the course navigational bar, or navbar, you are taken to the main screen for that tool. For example, if you access the assignments tool by choosing the Assessments dropdown menu from the navbar and selecting assignments, you are taken to the main screen for the assignments tool, where you can see all of your assignments.
A quick way to return to the Course Home from anywhere in the course is to select the course name link on the left side of the minibar, which is the bar located directly above the navbar. This link always appears in the top left-hand frame of any page in your Brightspace course.
Some of the tools you may have listed in dropdown menus on the navbar include:
The Calendar tool allows you to manage course-related or personal events. You can view dates posted for courses, such as project due dates, office hours, and exam information, or you can add personal events to track group meetings, milestones, and deadlines.
The Chat tool is a real-time, text-based collaboration tool. You can use the Chat tool to brainstorm ideas, hold a question and answer period, have a debate or discussion, or organize a remote study group. As opposed to other collaboration tools, such as Discussions, Chat conversations occur in real-time.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Chat page of the Communication Tools module.
A checklist is a way to highlight important or required assignments, readings, or other items to complete. A checklist may list all the items you need to complete at once or may have items appear as you complete other items.
Each checklist contains one or more categories, in which checklist items are organized. For example, you might have an “Assignments” checklist with categories for written assignments and quizzes, both of which could have multiple items that you need to complete.
You can use the Classlist to see who’s enrolled in your course, check who’s online and to send emails and pages.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Classlist page of the Communication Tools module.
The Content tool is used to organize course materials, such as the syllabus, lecture notes, readings, etc.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the Course Content page of this Brightspace Learning Environment module.
The Discussions tool is a collaboration area where you can post, read and reply to messages on different topics, share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or work with your peers on assignments and homework.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Discussions page of the Communication Tools module.
The assignments tool enables you to submit assignments through the Learning Environment, eliminating the need to mail, fax, or email assignments. Simply upload your assignment to the appropriate folder.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the About assignments page of the Evaluation Tools module.
The Email tool allows you to send email from within Learning Environment. You can also organize received mail using folders and store email addresses using the Address Book.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Email page of the Communication Tools module.
This is an alphabetical list of terms defined in a course. You can either scroll up and down the list until you find the term you are looking for or you can use the "Alphabet Search" (A, B, C, D, etc.) to jump to the general alphabet area of the term to speed up your search.
Use the Grades tool to check your grades on assignments and tests. You can see your individual grades and comments, as well as class averages and feedback. You can also view your final grade and the grade formula used to evaluate you if your grades are released.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the Common Brightspace Tools page of this Brightspace Learning Environment module.
The Groups tool is used by your instructor to create group work areas for students. Groups can be used to organize students’ work on projects or assignments, or to create special work areas for students with different learning needs.
You can belong to any number of groups in the same course. For example, you could belong to a group for each class project, a special interest discussion group, and a group for advanced students all at the same time. Each group can have its own discussion forums, and assignments folders. Members of groups can be graded as a team or individually.
In the Links tool, you can view a list of Internet addresses compiled by your instructor. Your instructor may have these links organized into categories.
Use the Quizzes tool to take a quiz, review your quiz results, and see class statistics for a quiz.
This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Quizzes page of the Evaluation Tools module.
Rubrics are an assessment tool used to evaluate an activity or item based on a predefined set of criteria. They help ensure that activities and items are evaluated fairly and consistently.
Your instructor can create self assessments to use as topics in your course content modules. Doing this allows you to judge how well you understand material as you work through it. In addition, feedback can be embedded into a self assessment. Think of self assessments as quizzes that will not be graded.
Brightspace puts the same tools in many places so you have them where you may need them.
Now that you've been introduced to some common tools, let's navigate through the course content and take a look at some of the other Brightspace tools in greater detail.