Faculty member’s advice for Brightspace: Get started now (it'll be worth your time)
Ask April Cheung what advice she would give other faculty members who are moving course materials from Blackboard Learn to D2L Brightspace, and she’ll boil it down to three words: Get started now.
“It’s going to take you some time to get everything set up the way you want it in Brightspace,” says Cheung, an assistant professor of practice in Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute. “But also, the work is worth it – there are so many things about Brightspace that are just better for students.”
The Purdue University system is in the midst of transitioning from the Blackboard to Brightspace. Courses for the 2020 summer term will be taught using Brightspace, unless instructors request to continue using Blackboard Learn. The deadline to opt out of Brightspace is April 27 for summer courses.
Blackboard Learn access will end on Aug. 24, and Brightspace will be the University’s learning management system at the start of the fall semester. Instructors who wish to move their content from Blackboard to Brightspace should do so before the spring semester ends. Click here for content migration instructions.
Brightspace feature: Intelligent Agents
Cheung, who began using Brightspace in January as part of a “soft launch,” says her students like the system’s clean, simple design and the calendar function which gives them a clear picture when assignments are due. She likes that Brightspace works on phones and tablets, and the system’s “intelligent agents” function, which helps her keep students engaged during remote learning.
“Intelligent agents allow me to send a personalized message to students who haven’t checked in to see how they are doing, or sends a reminder to those who haven’t attempted the pretest yet – it comes to them as a personalized message, but it’s very easy to set up for different scenarios and it’s all done automatically,” says Cheung. “It helps create engagement with students in a way that’s more helpful than just a mass email to everyone in the class.”
Cheung said faculty switching from Blackboard – especially those who migrate content from Blackboard – should be aware there will still be work to do after the content is moved, like making sure links to videos and other materials copied correctly and making sure gradebooks are configured properly.
“I found it was actually better to just start over with a blank gradebook and rebuild it,” says Cheung. “That might save people some time rather than trying to migrate it over and fix it.”
Virtual workshops are available to help instructors learn more about Brightspace. All workshops are delivered remotely via WebEx. Colleges, departments and other campus units can request their own Brightspace training event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming events include:
- April 28: Transition Course Materials from Blackboard, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
- April 28: Brightspace Essentials, 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.
- April 28: Brightspace Gradebook, 12 to 1 p.m.
- May 4: Brightspace Essentials, 9 to 10 a.m.
- May 4: Brightspace Gradebook, 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
- May 7: Transition Course Materials from Blackboard, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- May 7: Brightspace Essentials, 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.
- May 7: Brightspace Gradebook, 2 to 3 p.m.
- May 11: Brightspace Essentials, 10 to 11 a.m.
- May 11: Brightspace Gradebook, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Notice: Updated link
Instructors currently using Brightspace to teach, and any who are using a provided template within Brightspace to build future courses, should verify that they have the latest version of the provided template. If you see different verbiage than what appears in the screenshot below, you still have the soft launch version and need to update the template. Everyone else will only need to update the link for Purdue’s Web Accessibility Policy, found in the Accessibility Information folder:
Simply edit the old link and replace the URL with: https://www.purdue.edu/policies/information-technology/s5.html
To stay up-to-date with implementation plans, including specific information for the Purdue Northwest and Purdue Fort Wayne campuses, visit www.purdue.edu/learning-management.
Have questions about the Brightspace? Contact implementation team members at:
- West Lafayette: email@example.com
- Fort Wayne: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Northwest: email@example.com
- Global: firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Dave Stephens, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue, 765-496-7998, email@example.com.
Last updated: April 20, 2020
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