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Brightspace Guide for Instructors

In this guide, you will find resources for setting up your Brightspace course and managing it throughout the semester. If there are additional resources you'd like to see on this page, contact us! 

Table of Contents

Copying a Course Shell
Merging Courses
Grading & Rubrics
Discussion Boards
Peer Review & Groups
Integrating Digital Textbooks
Teaching Multiple Sections of a Course
Commmunicating with Students
Contact & Support


Looking for a general overview of Brightspace before you dive into specifics? This one-hour video workshop will walk you through the basics of using Brightspace: Brightspace Basics by Purdue's Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT) team.

Starting From Scratch:

If you are setting up your Brightspace course for the first time, use this Introductory Guide to Brightspace slide deck. Follow along with each step to set up your gradebook, assignments, and more.

FAQs and General Guides:

Browse this helpful guide created by TLT for answers to frequently asked questions about instructor use of Brightspace.

Brightspace provides an in-depth, searchable guide for instructors using Brightspace.

Copying a Course Shell

Knowing how to copy courses in the D2L Brightspace learning management system is especially useful when building a course based on a shell or based on a course you or someone else taught previously.

Read this guide, Copying Courses in Brightspace and REVEL, for instructions for how to copy courses in the LMS as well as how to set up the Pearson REVEL integration in Brightspace. 

Merging Courses

Brightspace offers this step-by-step guide on how to merge multiple courses into one single Brightspace course. If you are teaching more than one section of the same course, merging will allow you to make changes and updates to your course page only once rather than multiple times.   

→ For more on Merging Courses vs. Copying Courses, see the Teaching Multiple Sections of a Course section below.

Grading & Rubrics

This Grading Overview Guide provides a wealth of information on every aspect of grading assignments, from using grade categories to using grade schemes.

Quick links to topics within the Grading Overview Guide:

How to Grade Using Rubrics:

For a quick overview on grading assignments, watch this short tutorial video.


These step-by-step guides with images will walk you through each aspect of creating and managing assignments in Brightspace:

Discussion Boards

The following resources contain videos and step-by-step guides with images to help you create and manage discussion boards:

Peer Review & Groups

Step-by-Step Tutorial: Setting Up Peer Review Groups with Discussion Boards on Brightspace


Integrating Digital Textbooks & Digital Learning Tools

  • Tutorials on using Pearson REVEL and integrating it into your Brightspace course 
    • Added bonus: this page also contains materials for you to show your students how to use REVEL
  • REVEL Quick Start Guide includes information on setting up your REVEL course, creating and editing assignments, and managing grades

Are you using an digital learning platform from a publisher not listed here? Contact the Online Course Coordinator so we can update this page with resources for you.

Teaching Multiple Sections of a Course

If you have more than one section of the same course, you can:

  1. Work entirely too hard creating modules separately for each section. But why? 

  2. Copy Your Course - create a course once and copy it into your other sections (you can still individually edit each section throughout the semester)

    1. Create a DEV shell and import it into each of your sections.

    2. Create your course directly in the current semester and copy that section into your other section(s). 

    3. Copy your course from a previous semester then adjust the assignment due dates and times. 

  3. Merge Your Courses. - create your course once and combine all sections into one large class (any edits to the course will be shown to all students, all students will participate in the same discussion boards, and your gradebook will include students from all sections)

  4. Copy Individual Elements - choose which elements you’d like to copy across courses, including discussion boards, files, and modules.

This tutorial document offers a guide on how to copy courses, merge courses, and copy individual course components.


Communicating with Students

Announcements vs. Email Classlist

Brightspace offers two features for communicating with your entire class: the Announcement feature and the Email Classlist feature.

Announcements: Posting an announcement will show students the announcement when they log in to Brightspace. Students have the option to enable email notifications for announcements, but this option isn't automatically enabled for every student, so posting an announcement will not immediately reach every student.

Email Classlist: The best way to immediately convey information to all of your students through Brightspace is the Email Classlist feature. To access this feature, click on "Classlist" on the top black navigation bar. On that page, you'll see three buttons at the top. Click the third one, "Email Classlist." Then click "Send Email," which will open a window with all of your students listed under "Bcc." You might choose to add your own email to the "To" field so that you get a copy of the email for your own records and so that the students see your name right away when they open the email. You can change the Subject line to whatever you'd like and then enter your message in the body text. Then click "Send." This email will reach each student's Purdue email account.

Helping Students Access Feedback

When you evaluate student work, you may leave feedback in a number of ways: inline comments using sticky notes, highlighting, and underlining; rubric score selection and in-rubric comments for specific criteria; summative commentary in the feedback textbox; and finally the numeric score. Students may not know how to access all of these modes of feedback, and may be left confused about why they received a numeric score with seemingly no feedback.

It is highly recommended that you show students how to view their feedback at the beginning of your course and/or after the first assignment has been graded. If you are unfamiliar with how students access feedback, watch this two-minute explanatory video. You can even show this video to your students!


Contact & Support

Need help with something not on this page? Email 

You can also attend a drop-in session with the Teaching & Learning Technologies staff for online, one-on-one help. See the available time slots here under "Upcoming Brightspace Drop-In Sessions." Sessions are available most weekdays.