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Brightspace FAQ

Brightspace @ XULA logo


Where can I find answers to questions specifically about the migration from Blackboard to Brightspace?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) specifically about Xavier's Blackboard to Brightspace migration plan can be found at our Brightspace Migration FAQs webpage.

As an Instructor, what are the benefits of using Brightspace in my classes?
Brightspace is an online learning management system that gives faculty Web-based resources to post syllabi and other course information, offer discussion forums, assignment submission folders, virtual classrooms, virtual office hours, offer tests and surveys, and maintain a gradebook. This content is accessible to students and faculty members anytime anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Where is Brightspace located?
Brightspace can be found at: learn.xula.edu

How do I log into Brightspace?
You log into Brightspace using your Active Directory (or Windows) password. If you forgot your password, you can reset it using this Account Mgmt link.

If you forgot your username, you will have to contact the Helpdesk at (504) 520-7449 or visit their office in the Norman C Francis Science Bldg, room 209 between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.


What are the Brightspace Browser/Platform Requirements?
Refer to the Brightspace documentation for Browser support.

You may wish to use the automated System Check.


Are there any apps available for Brightspace?
Refer to the D2L website for information on Brightspace apps.

What do I need in order to successfully use Brightspace?
In addition to your browser, instructors may need to post files generated in various applications. Brightspace supports almost any type of file (audio, video, images, PDF files, etc.) as long as the target audience has the proper plug-in to read these files. For example, if an instructor posts a PDF file, students should have a PDF reader software installed to be able to view this document.

When is a course created?
Courses are created at least two weeks before the start of each semester. Course information is automatically passed from the Banner Student Information System to Brightspace, almost immediately. If a course is not assigned an instructor in the Banner system (the instructor of record is shown as TBA), that course will not appear on any instructor’s Brightspace page.

Instructors who want to build their course before the normal course creation schedule can request a Master Course Shell (link to request form coming soon).

A Master Course Shell:

  • Is a course environment an instructor uses to develop and maintain course materials that are used from semester to semester.
  • Is not tied to Banner. Therefore, no students or other users are enrolled into this Shell.
  • Can be used as a "master" where one keeps permanent changes to a course.
  • Faculty may copy content from a Master Course Shell into a Brightspace Course shell as long as they are enrolled as an instructor in both shells.
  • Master Course Shells are not deleted except upon the request of the instructor or when the instructor is no longer employed at Xavier.

Can I merge two or more courses together?
Instructors can request to have two or more of their courses combined into a single course. Combining courses can be useful when you are teaching multiple sections of the same course or when you are teaching a course that is cross-listed. Merging courses allows you to have all the students in a single Brightspace course which can be useful for collaborative work.

Merging of courses is typically done at the start of the semester before content is added and before students submit course work. You should wait to request your courses be merged if there is a possibility that there will be last minute changes to instructor course section assignments.

In order to request that your courses be merged together you must fill out the Merge Course Request form (link to form coming soon). Please allow sufficient time when making a merge course request as the turnaround time for the request to be completed is one business day.


When are students added to courses?
Students are automatically enrolled at the end of the registration process, usually the night before the start of classes for the semester.

Why wouldn't a specific student be able to access a course?
Typically if all students within a class are unable to view a specific course, the Instructor has not made the course available to students. If the majority of a class can view the course but a small sample of students cannot, one of the following most likely applies:

  • The student is not properly registered for the class
  • The student was dropped from a course for not paying the tuition bill
  • The student is at a website other than:
    learn.xula.edu.

If a student is certain none of the above apply, the student should contact the ITC Help Desk at (504) 520-7446.

When are students removed? When is a course removed?
Two weeks after the end of a semester, student access to the courses is removed. This causes the deletion of gradebook records for the course. As such, all instructors must download their Brightspace gradebook to their local computer after they submit their final grades. To export the gradebook,

  1. On the Navbar, click Grades.
  2. On the Enter Grades page, click Export.
  3. In the Export Options area, do the following:
    • From the Export Grade Items For drop-down list, select who you want to export grade items for.
    • Select the Key Field you want to use to identify users.
    • Select the Grade Values and User Details you want to export.
  4. In the Choose Grades to Export area, select the grade items you want to export.
  5. Click Export to CSV or Export to Excel. A pop-up window appears. Click on the file link to download it.

After the removal of student access, courses remain on the Brightspace system for three semesters. This means for example, courses created for the spring 2018 semester will not be removed until after the start of the fall 2019 semester. Instructors can create a backup copy of their course contents by using the Export Components option. This process will create a backup of the course in a compressed zip format. This file can then be imported into another course. Do not modify or edit the contents of the compressed file at this may corrupt the file. To export a course,

  1. Goto the Course Admin for the course and click on Import/Export/Copy Components.
  2. Click on the Export Components radio button and then click on Start button.
  3. On the Select Course Material page, select the portions of the course to be exported and then click on the Continue button. You will receive a message letting you know the export was successful.
  4. Click the Finish button.
  5. On the Export Summary page, you will see a link where the export packaged file can be downloaded to your local computer.

The My Courses widget allows you to “pin” courses so that your favorite courses appear at the top of the course list. Likewise you can unpin courses that you do not want to appear at the top of the course list. You can manually pin any of your courses to your My Courses widget by navigating to the All Courses page. Unpinning and re-pinning a course may be useful if you want to keep the course in your pinned list from semester to semester.


Can I change the name of the course that appears in Brightspace?
The names of the courses on Brightspace are identical to the names that appear in the Banner system. Instructors however have the ability to modify the names of the courses to suit their needs. Care should be taken to make sure the new name of the course can be recognized easily by the students enrolled. To change the name of your Brightspace course,

  1. Goto the Course Admin for the course.
  2. Click on Course Offering Information.
  3. Enter the revised course name in the Course Offering Name field and then click on the Save button. You should see the updated course name.

Can I copy my course contents into another course?
Yes, you can copy content that you created in one course into another course. For example, if you are teaching multiple sections of a course, you can create all the content in one course section and then copy the content into the other sections. Copying course content is particularly useful at the start of a semester as it allows you to copy your content from a previous semester to a newly created empty course. To copy course content,

  1. Goto the Course Admin for the course and click on Import/Export/Copy Components.
  2. Click on the Copy Components from another Org Unit radio button and then click on Search for Offerings button.
  3. On the Select Course Offering window, search for the course you want to copy content from. When you see the course in the list, click the radio button to the left of the course name and then click the Add Selected button. You will be returned to the Import/Export/Copy Components window.
  4. Choose either the Copy All Components or Select Components option and follow the prompts. You will receive a message letting you know the copy was successful.

Why should I export my course content?
The Export Components feature creates a package of the course content that can later be imported and used in another course. It is important to note that, user data is not copied—the export only includes the course structure, content, and tools. For example, if you copy the discussions component, only the forums and topics are copied, not the posts inside the topics. Similarly, if you copy assignment submissions folders or quizzes, user submissions and quiz attempts are not copied.

Export packages are downloaded as .zip files and are imported in the same format. Do not unzip an Export package or remove files from the package, otherwise the package will not be usable.


Can I export my course contents to use in another course?
Yes. The Export Components feature creates a package of the course content that can later be imported and used in another course. It is important to note that, user data is not copied— it only includes the course structure, content, and tools. To export a course,

  1. Goto the Course Admin for the course and click on Import/Export/Copy Components.
  2. Click on the Export Components radio button and then click on Start button.
  3. On the Select Course Material page, select the portions of the course to be exported and then click on the Continue button. You will receive a message letting you know the export was successful.
  4. Click the Finish button.
  5. On the Export Summary page, you will see a link where the export packaged file can be downloaded to your local computer.

Can I use the import components feature?
Yes. The Import Components feature allows Instructors to insert course information from another course. The Instructor will first need to open the old course and use the Export Components feature to save the necessary content to the local machine or separate storage device before using the import Components feature in the new course.

Alternatively, an instructor can simply copy components from one course to another course (provided both courses are in the Brightspace system and the instructor is listed as the instructor in both courses).


How does an Instructor make a course available to students?
All courses are created as being available. As soon as students are automatically enrolled at the beginning of classes, they will have access to the course. Instructors can limit what students see by changing the availability of course items as they are posted. Instructors can easily set the time and date when a specific item can be viewed by students.

Do Instructors have the ability to create new courses?
No. To simplify and make consistent the course creation process, information is automatically transferred from the Banner SIS system to Brightspace.

Can Instructors create new Brightspace accounts?
Since the authentication system uses the Active Directory (or Windows) username and password, it is impossible for users to authenticate if they don't have a Xavier Active Directory account. As such, instructors cannot create Brightspace accounts.

Should I, as an Instructor, enroll students in my courses?
No. Students will automatically be enrolled at the end of the registration process, usually the night before the start of the semester.

Can an Instructor enroll a SI (supplemental instructor) in their course?
Instructors do not have the ability to enroll users in their courses. If an instructor wants to have a supplemental instructor (SI) enrolled in their course, they should make the request by sending an email to Yamlak Tsega (ytsega@xula.edu).

Can I, as an Instructor, allow guests to access my course?
Guest access in not available in the Brightspace system.

When would an Instructor need to remove a user from a course?
There is no need to remove students from the system. Two weeks after the end of a semester, student access is automatically removed. During the first week of classes, Brightspace class rosters are updated more than once a day to match the Banner system. After that, class rosters are updated less frequently throughout the semester but happen on a regular basis.

Where can I go to find additional assistance for Brightspace?
Students:
For information on how to use Brightspace, refer to the documentation for learners at documentation.brightspace.com. Learner video tutorials are available. If you're having a problem with the course material, students should first contact their instructors. If the problem can't be resolved, students can submit a ticket via email to request technical support from D2L or use the D2L Live Chat. Log in to learn.xula.edu and click on the links to submit a ticket or to chat live with D2L support. Links can be found on the main landing page in Brightspace.

For account authentication/login related issues and course enrollment issues, students should contact ITC Helpdesk at (504) 520-7446 or visit their office in the Norman C Francis Science Bldg, room 209 between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.

Faculty:
Brightspace training for faculty is offered through the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. Check our website for upcoming Brightspace workshops or contact Janice Florent at (504) 520-7418 or email.

If you experience problems with publisher materials such as, Pearson MyLabs, Cengage, etc. you should contact the publisher.

Brightspace manuals, documentation, how-to guides, tip sheets, and video tutorials are available at these links:

Join the Brightspace community to get support, answers, tips and proven ideas from thousands of Brightspace users.


Where can I get information on Brightspace outages?
We expect minimal system outages because of the Continuous Delivery approach that is used to update our Brightspace system. However, there are planned maintenance outages that are scheduled to occur during our routine maintenance window (i.e., first Sunday of each month between midnight and 6:00 am Central Time). Users will receive a message alerting them that the system is unavailable if they try to login during our routine maintenance window. If in the unlikely event an unplanned outage occurs, an email message explaining the cause of the outage and duration of the outage will be sent out to users.

All instructors are encouraged to avoid assignment due dates that coincide with our routine maintenance window (i.e., first Sunday of each month between midnight and 6:00 am Central Time).


How can I find out about updates, bug fixes, and known issues in our system?
To find out all of the details about updates, bug fixes, and known issues for previous, current and future releases to the Brightspace system, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases.

What is Continuous Delivery? Instead of large, disruptive upgrades, our Brightspace learning management system uses an update process called Continuous Delivery. The Continuous Delivery model will allow D2L (the company that owns the product) to deliver updated technology to clients, enabling rapid, incremental delivery of high quality, valuable new functionality to users. This frictionless model also makes it possible to increase collaboration with clients and to adapt software in line with user feedback and needs, resulting in incremental and easily integrated changes. The Continuous Delivery model replaces the system of “Big Bang” releases (large updates released once or twice a year) with regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes. For more information about Continuous Delivery, refer to the Brightspace documentation for Continuous Delivery.


I have a suggestion for improving Brightspace. What can I do?
If you have ideas for changes to the Brightspace learning management system program, D2L (the company that owns the product) hosts a Product Ideas Exchange (PIE) website, where you can both submit new ideas for product changes and vote on existing ideas. The product developers use this site to determine which changes are important to end users, like yourself.

Go to https://community.brightspace.com and click on the Product Ideas Exchange link. You’ll need to sign-up for a free account on the Community in order to use the exchange.

Refer to the Brightspace Product Idea Exchange Overview that explains how the PIE works.