Content in Brightspace

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About this article

This article includes a summary of the features and functions of the Brightspace Content Tool. It is intended for instructors.

Fig 1. Select Materials...Content
Fig 2. Edit Course link

Accessing the Content Tool

Instructors can access the Brightspace Content Tool in one of two ways. From the course home page:

  1. Select the Content link from the Materials dropdown menu (Figure 1), or
  2. Select the Edit Course link (Figure 2) to go to the Course Administration page and select Content under the Site Resources heading.

The table of contents format

Brightspace presents course content in a table of contents (TOC) format. Students see a tiered list of modules and topics (Figure 3). Modules are simply headings used to organize the topics. Topics can link to a variety of files and activities, including:

  • Documents that the instructor has uploaded to the course (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF)
  • Publisher-provided material
  • Movies, images, and other multimedia elements
  • External websites
  • Content pages that the instructor has created directly in Brightspace using the Editor Tool
  • Other Brightspace activities (e.g., quizzes, dropbox folders, discussion forums) within the same course
Fig 3. Part of a typical Brightspace TOC
Fig 4. TOC actions menu
Fig 5. TOC expand or collapse all

Table of contents actions

Select Table of Contents from the sidebar and then select the down arrow to the right of the title Table of Contents in the content area to view the Table of Contents' action menu (Figure 4). From this menu, you can set the default completion method for all topics, download all course content, delete all of the modules in the TOC, publish the entire TOC to a learning object repository, add objects to the TOC from a learning object repository, and edit the metadata associated with the TOC.

Building a table of contents

Most instructors build their course TOC manually. Brightspace also offers tools (e.g., Course Design Accelerator, Course Builder) that help guide TOC construction. One method does not preclude the other. Once instructors have a TOC built for a course, it can be copied from one semester's course to another. Note that importing content from a publisher often results in modules and topics being added to the TOC. Select the links below to review articles with more detailed information about using the Content Tool:

Expanding and collapsing

Select Table of Contents from the sidebar and then select either the Expand All or Collapse All link (Figure 5) to apply the command to the entire TOC.

Copyright responsibilities

Instructors are responsible for following copyright law when building Brightspace courses. This is particularly important when creating digital copies of copyrighted material and uploading them to Brightspace. For example, you might scan an image or part of a book chapter and then upload that file to Brightspace. Are you breaking copyright law or is it considered fair use? If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to consult your Library Liaison or a TLT staff member. Note the following:

  • If you are ever in doubt, ask for permission. Owners are happy to explain any conditions placed on their copyrighted content and would much rather talk with you before you upload a copy of their property than sue you for violating copyright.
  • If you are simply linking to material that is hosted legally elsewhere, you are not making a copy of the material. Always check to see whether the material is already available online before making a copy.
  • There is widespread confusion among instructors about the doctrine of fair use. It does not allow teachers to post, without permission, a digital copy of any copyrighted material online as long as it is being used for educational purposes. Posting copies to a secure online system like Brightspace does not absolve instructors from their responsibility to follow copyright law. There are four criteria that are applied in any fair use case:
    • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes and whether you are using the work in a way for which it was not intended.
    • The nature of the copyrighted work
    • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

It is easier to argue fair use if the copy was made strictly for educational purposes and is being used in a way for which it was not intended, the work was not a song, poem, movie, or other creative performance, only a portion of the work was copied and it wasn't the "heart" of the work, and your actions no way affected the value of the original work. Again, if you are questioning whether to make a copy, get help. Please consult the MnSCU Board policy on copyright for more information.

Disabled features and functions

The following Content Tool functions are currently disabled in the WSU instance of D2L. Want them enabled? Contact TLT.

  • Content Feedback: D2L allows students to rate each content topic in a course using a five-point "star" scale. They can also attach open-ended comments to their ratings. The feedback can be either anonymous or identifiable. Instructors can review this feedback via a report.