Being Faster and More Productive with Brightspace Tools and other Web Tools

Nate Wadman, Pikes Peak Community CollegeBarry Dahl, D2L


Five Free Tech Tools to Make You More Productive at WorkWhat good is technology if it doesn’t make your life easier, or your work more productive, or both? In this session, you’ll learn about five free tools that you can use with or without Brightspace to help you get things done. Phone apps, browser apps and extensions, tablet apps, and PC programs – we’ll look at a few tools that just might surprise you with what they can do.Top 10 Tips to Being Faster in Brightspace Learning EnvironmentIt’s Friday night and you have social plans. However, you have course work in Brightspace. How do you get these tasks done quickly without compromising quality of instruction? Come see 10 Tips to help you be faster and more productive in Brightspace!

Top 10 Tips to Being Faster in Brightspace Learning Environment

  • Put direct links to pages (discussions, etc.) into a bookmark folder and open all tabs at 1 time.
  • Use Manage Dates to adjust dates when copying courses
  • Use QuickLinks
  • Bulk Edit tools (like in Grades)
  • Edit account settings
  • Rubric with Pre-Loaded Feedback
  • Use Grade All / Set Grades
  • Use email wherever possible, and using the email functionality that provides context (email from within the Grades tool, Discussion tools, etc.)

Five Free Tech Tools to Make You More Productive at Work

  • Voice-to-text
    • Dictate using Evernote app for phone, have Evernote convert to text, then copy paste text into Discussion, etc.
  • Text Expanders
    • Create canned text that gets reused over and over
  • H5P – Create interactive HTML5 content that can be embedded into D2L
  • OneTab – Chrome extension
  • Screencast-o-matic
  • Relax

Everything Else: Program-level Courses in Brightspace

Ted GirardQueen’s College of Nursing


Queen’s School of Nursing, and Health Quality Programs department uses Program-Level Communities in Brightspace. These communities are set up for each program, and are used for automating student interaction, data collection, and administrative tasks as well as coordinating clinical requirements.


The program-level courses are not for curriculum/course content. The communities are set up as course offerings so that they can be copied from year-to-year.Students are enrolled in the program-level courses upon acceptance into the institution.When students are accepted, the 4-page letter with instructions is cut down to 1 page. The instructions direct students to log into the LMS, access the program-level course, and do the other admin stuff upon entering the LMS.

The first 90 days: Engaging with students before they get to campus


  • Required forms, training modules, quizzes
  • Set Brightspace notifications
  • Calendar subscribing
  • Access to university and clinical resources
  • Student support services
  • How

    • Move the “start” of the program back 90 days
      Treat the first 90 days as an online course
      Apply pedagogical concepts to administrative tasks

    Benefits of Using Brightspace Communities – Students

    • An introduction to Brightspace
    • Platform consistency with courses
    • Everything in 1 place
  • Benefits of Using Brightspace Communities – Staff

    • Fewer emails (written & sent out manually)
      Less paper (and digital documents)
      Automated processes
      One master student list
      Stretches administrative submissions over several months, instead of all at once
      Fewer sick days

    Uses for Communities

    • News & announcements
    • Events calendar
    • How-to videos/technology support
    • Social media
    • Course introductory videos
    • Student Handbook
    • Intensive week information
    • Required form submissions
    • Online discussions


    I wanted to attend this session because of our recent implementation of D2L. We’ve been using it for more strategic programs and are now considering a widespread rollout for all employees to use D2L as a central training/learning hub. Assuming this takes hold, what are the next steps? I’m seeing the possible use of Brightspace to expand to more community based site. In thinking about new hires within our company, having a community site that every employee is enrolled in could prove to be helpful. Including things like our company history, resources that are available, etc. could be beneficial. It would also help us get through some of the housekeeping work that we typically have to do at the beginning of the strategic courses. Having all of the students do this work when they first join the company would allow us to cut down on that work at the beginning of the courses.I thought session was very well done in terms of explaining how they implement these communities at Queen’s School of Nursing. Now I just have to figure out the best way to implement these in our organization.