Instructor FAQs

What are the advantages of using Brightspace?

From a faculty perspective, Brightspace allows you to:

  • teach courses using tools that are familiar;
  • create, maintain and add course materials interactively through the Web and release materials in a timely manner;
  • assess student performance at any time during the course and track results;
  • quickly update and change course content;
  • restrict access to specified materials until a certain level of learning is achieved, or a date is reached;
  • have students participate at any time, from any place;
  • give timed online tests, general comments on student answers, private feedback on student answers, automatically graded quizzes with class grade records that provide data for analysis of performance statistics.

What eLearning principles can Brightspace support?

Some of the eLearning principles supported by Brightspace are:

  • encourage communication between instructor and students;
  • encourage cooperation among students through discussions and chats;
  • provide prompt feedback;
  • effective use of time;
  • communicate expectations;
  • Respect for diverse talents and ways of learning.

Do I have to request my course offerings for upcoming terms?

All credit courses are provisioned in Brightspace - instructors do not need to submit a course request for credit courses. However, an instructor may choose to request a Sandbox or Practice course for creating/saving course content outside a given semester or to test out D2L features not yet utilized. Instructors have on-going access to any Sandbox or Practice courses requested and built.

To request a sandbox and/or practice course, instructors should call the eLearning Administrator at 912-358-4213.

When will my courses show up for the next term?

Course offerings for upcoming terms will typically be provisioned within a few weeks after registration begins for that term. Once the next term courses are loaded, instructors will see credit course offerings in the MyCourses widget under the header for the appropriate term. Student enrollments are updated nightly from Banner.

How do I make my course visible to students?

When instructors make a course active, the course becomes visible and accessible to students between the start and end dates of the course. Students are able to see their courses 24hrs before the class start date.

What if a course that I am teaching doesn't show up in MyCourses after that term has been loaded?

The course and enrollment information in Desire2Learn comes from what is in Banner. Instructors must be listed as the "Instructor of Record" in Banner for courses to automatically appear to the lead instructor(s) of any credit course offering. Instructors should work with the department and the Registrar's office to have "Instructor of Record" information correctly reflected in Banner. Note that multiple "Instructor of Record" accounts can be associated with any credit course offering via Banner. Note also that lead instructors can add a co-instructor into a course.

How do I make a backup of my course?

Brightspace does not have a process for instructors to individually backup course offerings with user data intact. All courses remain on the server and are backed up administratively on Brightspace servers. Courses will be maintained on the server as long as SSU continues to contract with D2L.

Instructors can use the export function to make a copy of a course's content but no student data or participation is exported or transferred. Grade sheets can be exported from the Grades area for retention and filing with a department.

Importing and Exporting D2L Course Material

Exporting old course information that can be imported into a new course

1. Log into the D2L system
2. From the My Courses section on you're my Home page
3. Select the course you want to export
4. On the right side of the Course Home page select Edit Course
5. Select Import / Export / Copy Components
6. Select Export Components
7. Select Start
8. Select what items you want to export
9. Select Continue
10. Confirm Components to Export
11. Select Continue
12. Select Finish
13. Select Click here to download the export Zip package
14. Save it to your local computer
15. Follow the Importing Template procedures again for your old course material

Importing the old course information

1. From the My Courses section on you're my Home page
2. Select the 2015 course you want to develop
3. On the right side of the Course Home page select Edit Course
4. Select Import / Export / Copy Components
5. Click Imports Components
6. Browse to find the file you saved from the old course
7. Click Next
8. Click Next again
9. Click on Select All Components
10. Click Next
11. Click Next again
12. After this process finishes you can click on your Course Home

Can I forward my mail out of D2L?

Yes. Email in Brightspace is both internal and external to the system. Mail can be forwarded out and users can receive messages from external mail servers.

How do Banner and D2L work together to set up my classes?

Almost all of the student, instructor, and course information in Brightspace is imported in an overnight feed from Banner. This requires care in creating information in Banner and patience in being able to access that information as it makes it's way to D2L.

Why don't my calendar events show up on the calendar when I enter them?

The course must be active or open in order for entries to show in the 30-day Calendar view. To prevent students from entering the course while you are constructing it and see the calendar entries, set the course to active but put a start date on the course ahead of the current date.

Why do I see messages from all my courses in the D2L email?

Brightspace email is not tied to each course. It is available throughout the program. You can filter which messages you would like to see by selecting either All Message, a specific course, just course offerings, or a Group from the Filter By drop-down menu in the email tool.

The text on my screen is too small. How can I fix it?

  1. Select My Home from the navbar at the upper left portion of your screen.
  2. In the Welcome Box widget, click Preferences.
  3. Select the Appearance & Accessibility tab.
  4. In the Font Settings section, use the Font Face and Font Size drop-down menus to change the font and font size.
  5. Click Save.

Can I copy and paste text from Microsoft Word into the HTML editor in D2L?

Yes, you can paste text from Word, but you should use the Paste from Word option.
  1. Within the HTML editor, select the Advanced tab.
  2. Select the Paste from Word button, which looks like a clipboard with a W in the lower right corner.
  3. A window will pop-up with a text box area where you can paste the text from Word.
  4. After pasting the text into this area, simply select Insert from the bottom left corner. The text will then appear in the HTML editor as normal.
  5. Continue editing or select Post in the bottom right corner if you are finished.

I graded a quiz or assignment from the dropbox, but the grade is not showing up in the grade book.

It could be one of two things: a) that you did not link it to the grade book, or b) you do not have the auto grade check box marked. You will need to manually link the quiz to the grade book in the quizzes area:

  1. Edit the quiz that you would like to link the the grade book by clicking on the name of the quiz.
  2. On the Properties tab, you will find a the Grade Item drop-down menu. If you have already created the grade item in your grade book, the quiz name will be listed in this menu. If you have not created a grade book item in the manage grades area, you will need to click on the blue Add Grade Item link to create your grade book item.
  3. Check the boxes beside Auto Export to Grades and Automatic Grade.
  4. Click the Save Quiz button in the upper right corner.
  5. Check your grade book. If the grades are still not showing, you will need to go into each student's attempt and click the Auto-Grade button in order for the grades to show up in the grade book.

Note: This applies to quiz question types that will be auto graded, such as multiple choice, true and false, or matching.

Can I use Brightspace platform in my face-to-face class?

Yes. In fact, we recommend that you use the tools available in Brightspace for all your classes. All classes are now available in Brightspace. You can use it:

  • to post the syllabus and other course material;
  • to email students;
  • for the calendar tool;
  • maintain grade book;
  • give chapter quizzes;
  • for assignment submissions;
  • to make announcements.

How can I add another instructor to a Course Offering in which I have an instructor role?

With the role as instructor, you can add instructors yourself. Follow these steps:
Select Add Participants on the top tool menu of the Class list page.

To enroll an existing user
1. Click on Add Participants link on the class list page. Then select Add existing users.
2. In the Set all roles to drop-down list, select the role that you want the users you are enrolling to have, and click Set all roles.
3. Select the Enrollment email check box if you want to send users an email informing them of their enrollment.
4. Search for the users you want to add.
5. Select the check box beside the users you want to enroll.
6. Select a Role if you want it to be different from the role set for all users
7. Click Enroll Selected Users.
8. Click Done.

How do I find tips for writing good learning objectives?

Student Learning Outcomes

As faculty members, we all have broad goals that we set out to accomplish in our courses. Often, these capture important domains within our fields and disciplines. Learning objectives are concrete actions of what a student should be able to do upon successful completion of the course. These can include changes in knowledge and competency areas, as well as attitudes and values.

1. Tips for Writing Learning Objectives:
  • Be as specific as possible
  • Be sure the outcomes are stated in terms of what the students will "know" or be able to do - this makes measuring them much easier to both understand and assess
  • Work for clarity in language - remember that your audience are your students
2. Example Language for Learning Objectives:
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of basic information about …
  • Students will know the major ideas of …, and be able to discuss their interrelationships.
  • Students will be able to analyze information, and make judgments about the validity of that information.
  • Students will understand the approaches and underlying values of …
  • Students will be able to communicate their knowledge about this subject orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences.
  • Students will be able to apply the course information and skills to real world situations.
  • Students will have a greater appreciation for and interest in …

How do I know if my course was successful?

Evaluating Your Course

Whether you are designing or redesigning a new course, it is important to employ strategies that will help you gauge the success of your course (re)design. Generally speaking, this means gaining an understanding of what your students have learned and assessing what specific learning activities, assignments, resources, texts, conversations, etc. may have been significant contributors to that learning. Of course, assessment can also shed light on the gaps in student learning and what you might consider to address those gaps.

As much as possible, assessment should be varied and occur at multiple points throughout the semester. Remember that it does not have to be exclusively your job. Having students evaluate their work and the work of their peers is a valuable learning experience because it makes evaluation criteria explicit, it helps students learn to apply the criteria, and ultimately, it gives them ownership of what they learn. Equally importantly, assessment will enhance your teaching and learning practices.

Getting Useful Course Feedback

1) Student Grades. One of the most familiar strategies that faculty use to determine the success of course is to review how well students perform on their assignments, exams, projects, papers, and other learning activities - in other words, grades.

2) Student Feedback. Student feedback is an important source of information about what is working well or what might be improved with respect to your course. Students can be refreshingly open about what aspects of a course are fostering their learning and what course components they find less valuable. It is critical to point out that just because students say a particular component of a course is not valuable, this does not necessarily make it true. However, it can provide an indication of where you might need to be more clear about what you expect students to learn and benefit from an assignment, text, or class activity. Many faculty find that the course adjustments they make in response to student feedback significantly strengthen the course, improve the learning experience for students, and inform their teaching practices.

3) Course Evaluations. At the end of each semester faculty are required to ensure that students complete the university's Course Evaluation Form. The Course Evaluation Form consists of a number of close-ended questions about the course and instructor, as well as open-ended questions for students to complete. While the form includes two required open-ended questions, there are also spaces for you to generate your own questions that seek feedback about any aspects of the course that you might find useful.

Course evaluations are made available to faculty several weeks before the end of the semester. Paper versions of the course evaluation are sent to each department, please check with your departmental office to pick up your evaluations. Online versions of the course evaluation, which are required for online courses and can be requested by faculty at the start of a semester, are distributed via email.

Course evaluations play a critical role for faculty at Savannah State University. They are used in faculty annual reviews and decisions about faculty renewal, promotion, and tenure. They also inform academic units in their decision-making processes for rehiring adjunct faculty members.