This Course Setup Guide is designed for instructors to inform their Brightspace course setup at the start of term. Completing the tasks on this guide will help ensure that the Brightspace course has the foundational elements of a successful learning environment.  For instructions, or more information on each task, visit the Brightspace Community > Learning Centre for helpful videos and guides. 

→Where to get help with Brightspace?

Brightspace Course Setup Guide


Customize your course homepage by adding modules

The course homepage is the first page students see when they click into a course. At first, your course homepage will appear to be mostly blank. As you add modules to the content area of the course, your course homepage will have more structure. You may also do some customization of the course homepage to provide specific course information. 

 Review the video: Add Modules and Submodules  or Create and Manage a Course Homepage. 

Add your contact information

Establish your presence in the course early on. Post your name, office hoursoffice location and contact info to a course module, such as a “Getting Started” or “Course Essentials” module. You may also wish to use an HTML template, such as the Meet Your Facilitator, template to create a specific page with your contact information.  

Review the instructions for: Edit a Module or Submodule or Adding Files or Using HTML Templates

Post your course outline to Brightspace

The course outline provides a framework for students on course structure, expectations, and assessment. Encourage students to read the course outline by making it easy to find and referencing it regularly. 

See Adding Files or review the video tutorial: Create a File and Insert Stuff. 

Add a Teaching Assistant (TA)

Teaching assistants must be manually added to the course by the instructor to grant TA access. Teaching assistants are able to see all course content, to engage in all course communications, and to perform all grading functions.  For a complete list of the TA’s capabilities in Brightspace, please see the support site page on Roles and Permissions. 

For instructions on adding TAs to your course, see Enrolling Users

Add Brightspace activities and dates

Online activities, such as assignments, quizzes or discussion forums, can be completed inside or outside of class. Add key dates to the calendar. 

For a video overview of using the calendar, see Calendar: Create an Assignment,  Create a Quiz, and Create a Forum.  To add calendar events, review: Calendar 

Add course content 

Add content to your course in a structured way by using modules for weeks, topics or units. Use submodules to chunk related content together and to organize your course page. Content topics (i.e. files and activities) can then be added to your modules and submodules. 

For instructions on building modules and submodules, see Adding Modules and Submodules.  Once your modules are ready, try: Creating an Assignment, Creating Quizzes, Creating Discussion Forums, as well as Adding Files and Adding Links.

Setup the Gradebook

The gradebook can be used to display grades and calculate course totals. The Ed Tech team is available to provide consultation and advice on your gradebook setup and grading questions. Connect with us if you need assistance. 

For instructions, see the Brightspace Support site page Gradebook or  Grades-Understanding Grades.  

✓ Make the course visible to students

All courses are hidden by default to give instructors time to set them up. When you are ready, show your course to the students so they have access.

For instructions, see Making Courses Visible.

✓ Send a welcome announcement

Connect with your students right away by sending an announcement welcoming them to the course.

For instructions, see Posting Announcements and Teaching Tips-Make Regular Announcements 

Did You Know… 

Brightspace is a multi-functional tool with such a large range of capabilities that it’s challenging to know about all of them. The list below includes just a small selection of available tasks instructors can do in Brightspace to make teaching easier. 

Where to get help with Brightspace

Teaching and Learning Services is here to support your course development. If you have any questions about how to get started, how to setup your course, or if you’d like training on any aspect of Brightspace, email us at or call extension 4433. We’re happy to help! 

D2L Brightspace Technical Support Contact

Teaching and Learning Services Contact

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