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About this article

This article includes a general overview of the Brightspace instructional management system, login instructions, explanations for why you might not see all of your courses listed in Brightspace, and where to go for help learning how to use Brightspace. The buttons on the right link to articles with additional learning resources designed specifically for instructors and students.

What's Brightspace?

Desire2Learn's Brightspace is what's known as an instructional management system (IMS), course management system (CMS), or learning management system (LMS). Most colleges and universities provide their students and faculty with access to an IMS of some sort. An IMS is actually an integrated suite of web-based tools that help instructors manage their courses and develop online resources and activities for their students. An IMS allows students to access learning resources any time via their favorite web browsers. WSU creates a Brightspace starter course or course shell for every section of every class offered every term. Class rosters are automatically loaded into every course shell and updated daily. Course shells are made available to faculty at least two months in advance of the start of the upcoming term. Faculty then choose whether to activate, customize, and use their Brightspace course shells each term. WSU migrated to Brightspace from another IMS in January 2007 and now most WSU instructors use Brightspace to support at least one of their courses each semester. Using Brightspace, instructors can:

  • Communicate with their students using built-in email, chat, news, and discussion tools.
  • Moderate online forums that allow their students to interact with one another around course-related topics.
  • Provide feedback to their students using the built-in grade book, gather and comment on written assignments using online drop boxes, and deliver various high-stakes (e.g., exams) and low-stakes (e.g., practice quizzes, surveys) assessments online.
  • Monitor other student performance indicators (e.g., whether or not a student has accessed a particular activity or resource) and intervene as needed.
  • Publish course materials such as handouts, readings, links to external web resources, and multimedia in a well-organized table of contents that is available to students online through their web browsers on any of their networked devices.
  • Copy course content and activities to other course shells and share them with other instructors.
  • Decide to integrate all or some of these features into their courses, many of which can be used immediately with little to no customization.

How do I login?

Use your favorite browser to navigate to Login with your StarID. If you have any trouble logging into Brightspace, contact the Technical Support Center (Somsen Hall 207;; 507-457-5240).

Why don't I see my classes?


  • Either your instructors have not have activated their Brightspace courses yet or they do not intend to do so. They will let you know if they plan on using Brightspace.
  • If the course is listed, but you cannot access it, that means it's activated, but the start date has not yet elapsed. Instructors control the date and time when access to the course opens and closes. This function and the course activation function are independent.
  • You may not be registered for the course officially. It takes up to 24 hours to add you to the Brightspace course roster after you register for the course officially. If you think something is amiss with your registration, contact the Warrior Hub (Maxwell Hall 222; 507-457-2800).


  • You may not be listed as the official instructor of the course. Consult with your department chair or administrative assistant to make sure the proper TCF Request has been submitted. If so, contact the Warrior Hub (Maxwell Hall 222; 507-457-2800) to check on the status of that request. Once the request has been processed, it takes 24 hours for the course to appear in your My Courses list in Brightspace. If you have been assigned as the official instructor of the course for more than 24 hours and you still do not see the course listed in D2L or the request is being processed, but you are in dire need of course access, contact TLT (Maxwell Hall 130, 507-457-5240; TLT will add people to courses manually upon request in emergency situations.

How do I learn how to use Brightspace?


  • Brightspace FAQ: Log into Brightspace. From the main Brightspace homepage, select Help. Then select FAQ to access answers to the most commonly asked student questions.
  • Technology Knowledge Base articles: This wiki contains D2L for Students articles for with more detailed information about Brightspace features and functions.
  • Face-to-face: Contact the TLT Digital Learning Center (Somsen Hall 207;; 507-457-5240) to ask a question or make an appointment.


  • Technology Knowledge Base articles: This wiki contains D2L for Instructors articles for with more detailed information about Brightspace features and functions.
  • LinkedIn Learning: There is a LinkedIn Learning course designed for instructors called Learning Brightspace.
  • Face-to-face: Contact the TLT Professional Resource Center (Maxwell Hall 130;; 507-457-5240) to ask a question or make an appointment.

Additional articles