Brightspace D2L Quick Reference

Pellissippi State Community College

Course Messages

Send messages from the class list, Assignments, Grades, etc.

Message Forwarding: Only Instructors can forward their course messages to an external email address by going to Settings from within course messages. Note: these messages cannot be replied to from the external address


Add a new Module

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Type a name in the Add a module text field (left column)
  • Press the Enter key.

Add Files (drag and drop)

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Select a module from the Table of Contents
  • Drag file(s) from your desktop to the drop target in the content area

Add Topics from existing files in your course

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Select a module from the Table of Contents
  • Click New | Add from Manage Files
  • Check the boxes to the left of the files you want to add
  • Click the Add button

Add a Topic from a new HTML file

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Select a module from the Table of Contents
  • Click New | Create a File
  • Enter a title and type or paste (using the special Paste from Word icon) content in the HTML editor.
  • Click the Publish button.

Link to an activity

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Select a module from the Table of Contents
  • Click Add Existing Activities
  • Select the type of activity
  • Click on an existing activity to link to it or use the Create New option

Delete Modules or Topics

  • Select the module from the Table of Contents
  • Open the context menu (option triangle dropdown next title)
  • Choose the Delete (trashcan icon) option

Hide or Reveal Topics

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Select a module from the Table of Contents
  • Click the Bulk Edit button
  • Click Published / Draft and choose your setting

Rearrange Modules or Topics

  • Click Course Materials | Content in the navbar
  • Click and drag a module from the Table of Contents to a new location and release
  • Hover over a module until it turns orange to move the selected item inside the module
  • Drag topics from the main content pane to the Table of Contents to move topics between modules


  • Create an announcement from the Course Home tab by activating the context menu next to the Announcement heading and choose New Announcement
  • Delete items by navigating to the Announcement tool, check the boxes to select items, and click the trash icon
  • Edit an announcement by accessing the Announcemnt tool and clicking on the announcement title. Check the Major edit option to make the item reappear for users who had previously dismissed it

Note: Clicking the X in the upper right corner of an announcement pane only dismisses items from your view. Your students can still see these items until they are deleted or expired past your date settings.


Course items, quizzes, assignments, etc. that are given dates in the course automatically appear on the course calendar

Create a calendar event:

  • From Course Home click Calendar | Create Event
  • Set details, dates, or associate with Content

Pulse App

Students can see course updates, Content, dates, announcements, and grades for all their courses Direct students to download the app for iPhone and Android devices!

Copy Course Items

  • Enter the Destination course
  • From the navbar click Course Tools | Copy Course Items
  • Click Select Course
  • Select the course to copy from and click Add Selected
  • Click the button marked recommended to select the items to copy
  • Select your items to copy
  • Continue after confirming your choices
  • Click Finish and wait for the green checkmarks to appear

Upload individual files

  • From the navbar click Course Tools | Manage Files
  • Click the upload icon and a pop-up window will appear
  • Drag and drop files from your computer to the popup window or click the Upload button

Upload a folder of files

  • Locate the files / folders on your local computer and highlight or select them
  • Create a .zip file (PC: Right click | Send To | Compressed (zipped) folder Mac: CTRL-click | Compress)
  • Upload the archive / zip file (see directions above)
  • Locate the uploaded zip file, activate the context menu for the item, and chose the Unzip option
  • Once files are unzipped, delete the original zip file


From the Course Hometab in any course you can click on the D2L Help tab at the bottom right of the screen to ask any questions you might have about your course or about D2L in general

NEW eLearn Documentation Site at ETS

A place for 'How Tos' in D2L and Accessibility

Official Brightspace Documentation

Click Resources | D2L Documentation at the top of any page in D2L

Class List

Message from the class list by clicking the checkbox(s) next to the student(s) you'd like to message and then click Message

Enroll a Student or other Instructor

  • Click Add Participant | Add Existing User
  • Search for their username
  • Select a role that they will have in their course ( Instructor or Student)
  • Check the box next to their name and Enroll Selected Users

Unenroll from the Class List

  • Select the checkbox next to the user to unenroll
  • Click unenroll at the top of the list

Careful: be sure you don't accidentally enroll a student as an instructor as they would be able to change anything you can in your course

Groups Tool

Create Random Generated Groups

  • From the navbar click Communication | Groups
  • Click New Category
  • Provide a name and description
  • Select enrollment style from the menu ( Groups of # or # of Groups), entering the number you would like
  • Check boxes to add discussions or Assignments (if needed)
  • Save

Create Groups that you assign

  • Click Communication | Groups in the navbar
  • Add a new category
  • Select enrollment style from the menu ( # of Groups | No Auto Enrollment
  • Check boxes to add discussions or Assignments, if needed
  • Save


Create new discussion forums and topics

  • From the navbar: Communication | Discussion
  • Click the New button and select either New Forum or New Topic
  • Complete the form including: name, description, and availability (if desired)
  • If it is a new forum then click Save and Add Topic then complete the topic form
  • Save or Save and Add Topic
  • Use the Assessment tab to link a topic to a grade item

Grade a Discussion Topic

  • From the context menu of a topic select Assess Topic
  • Click on the Topic Score link under the student’s name
  • Enter score(s) and check the published box to send the score to the grade book
  • Save and Close

Assignments - DropBox

Creating an Assignment folder

  • From the navbar click Assessment | Assignments
  • Click on the New Submission Folder
  • Complete the form (create or connect to a Grade Item if desired)
  • To check for plagiarism, make sure the Originality Check option is enabled
  • Set due date or time on the Restrictions tab
  • Optionally, you can create and associate rubrics with an assignment

Grade and Provide Feedback for submissions

  • Click the name of the Assignment folder
  • Choose Users without feedback option in the pulldown menu
  • Click the file name to view, grade, and provide feedback
  • Click the percentage information to check for originality and use Turnitin "Feedback Studio"
  • Click the Publish button to release feedback to the student


From the navbar click Assessment | Quizzes

Create a Quiz

  • Click New Quiz
  • Enter a quiz name on the Properties tab
  • Visit the Restrictions tab to set dates of availability and time limits
  • Associate a quiz with a Grade item on the Assessment tab
  • Check the Auto Export to Grades and Automatic Grade options if desired
  • Set the number of attempts allowed
  • Setup student view of results on the Submission Views tab

Reset a Quiz attempt

  • Activate the context menu next to the quiz name and choose Grade option
  • Click the Display Options button and check Allow Reset (if necessary)
  • Check the box next to the student’s attempt
  • Click the small trashcan icon at the top of the listing
  • Click Yes

Set Special Access for a Quiz

  • Click on the Quiz name
  • Click on the Restrictions tab and scroll down to the bottom
  • Click on the Add Users to Special Access button
  • Make choices and settings for individuals or groups as needed
  • Save changes when finished

Quick Edit Quizzes

  • Use the checkboxes next to quizzes or select box at the top or bottom of the list to select all
  • Click the Bulk Edit
  • Make changes to name, category, active status, or attempt number
  • Save

Create a Random set of questions in a Quiz

  • Click on Quiz name
  • Click the Add / Edit Questions button on the Properties tab
  • Click the New button and choose the Random Section option
  • Name the section and Save
  • Important: Click on the random section name to enter it (purple folder)
  • Click Import
  • Select questions from the question library and Save
  • At the top of the questions, enter the number of questions and the point value for each
  • Save

Grading Quizzes

View Student Answers, Grade Long Answers,

  • From the context menu next to the quiz name choose the Grade option
  • Click attempt under student’s name
  • Scroll down to view/grade answers and give feedback for the student

Grade all students on one question

  • From the context menu next to the quiz name choose the Grade option
  • Navigate to the Questions tab
  • Click question title and then make any changes to score or feedback
  • Use the icons at the top of the screen to navigate between submissions
  • Save when finished


Find grades from the navbar under Assessment | Grades

Using Grades Wizard

  • Click the Setup Wizard tab at the top of the Grades page
  • Answer questions to define your grade book settings - weighted, grade scheme, display options, etc.
  • Click Continue on each page and Finish on the last page Note: all these settings can be modified at any time by going to Setttings from within the grade book

Create grade items or categories

  • From within Grades click the Manage Grades tab
  • Click New
  • Choose either Item or Category in the context menu
  • Name the item or category and make property selections
  • Save

Edit multiple grade items

  • Check the top box to select All grade items
  • Click Bulk Edit
  • Make changes and Save

Extra Credit Items

  • Click on an item’s name
  • Check the Bonus option
  • Save and Close

Re-order Gradebook Items

  • Click the More Actions button and select the Reorder option
  • Change the sort order using the pulldown menus to the right
  • Save

Show / Hide points / scheme / color

  • Click the Settings in the top right corner of the grade book
  • On the Personal Display Options tab, check the boxes in the Grade Details section to show points, grade scheme symbol (A, B, C), or grade scheme color
  • Set student view properties on the Org Unit Display Options tab

Drop lowest grades in a category

  • From the Manage Grades tab click on a Category name
  • Check the box next to Distribute Points Evenly
  • Set the points for each item
  • Enter the number of highest or lowest items to drop
  • Save and Close

Enter Grades for an Item

  • Access the Enter Grades tab
  • Activate the context menu next to a grade item and choose the Grade All option
  • Enter points for each student and Save

Enter Grades for a Student

  • Access the Enter Grades tab
  • Click on a student’s name
  • Enter grades for each item for the student
  • Save

Calculating and Releasing Final Grades

Students cannot see final adjusted or calculated grades until you release it to them

  • Clicking Settings | Calculation Options from within the grade book, allows you to choose whether you release the adjusted or calculated grade
  • From the Manage Grades tab
  • Click Adjusted or Calculated Final Grade link
  • Use the pulldown menu to select Grade Scheme
  • Use Display Options to set what your students will see
  • Save
  • Access the Enter Grades tab
  • From the context menu next to Final Grade click Grade All
  • At the top of the page next to Final Grade activate the context menu and select Recalculate All
  • If you are releasing an Adjusted grade, choose Transfer All also from the context menu at the top of the page
  • Adjust any values in the Adjusted Grades column
  • Save
  • From the context menu next to Final Grade click Release All
  • Save and Close