Brightspace from D2L is a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) that helps K 12 institutes, higher educations and corporate organizations run both blended and fully online courses. Brightspace comprises of three integrated platforms - learning environment, learning repository and ePortfolio.
The Learning Environment from Brightspace allows teachers and instructors to design interactive training courses and evaluate assignments. The solution offers a multimedia environment that allows content creators to use images, videos, audio files and other digital content in their courses. Its analytics tool facilitates performance tracking.
Brightspace Learning Repository allows academic institutes and organizations to create, organize and find learning resources in a centralized content database. Users can search content using keywords, ratings, comments or any other business-defined search criteria. The Brightspace ePortfolio is a common platform where learners can share their experience with peers and mentors.
Every D2L solution comes with 24/7 customer support via phone and email. Additionally, users can also join Brightspace community or watch video tutorials to learn more about the product.
Jess from Argosy University
Employees number: 5,001-10,000 employees
I love BrightSpace. My old school switched from another LMS that did not have near as many features as BrightSpace. I was happy to learn that my new school also uses BrightSpace.
I cannot think of any cons about BrightSpace. However, starting a job at another school after using BrightSpace taught me that it is very important that it is set up right. My new school is not using many of the features that my old school uses. I think it is important to make sure that each school sets it up to make sure that students are able to get everything they can from it.
Paul from Stepanov Trucking
Specialty: Accounting / CPA
Employees number: 1 employee
Great layout and design. Very easy to navigate and a breeze to learn how to use. Great for an online student because everything is step by step and you don’t feel overwhelmed with your work.
I have not had any negative interactions using this online student portal. I believe there was only one instance that brightspace was down because of a planned upgrade and they did a good job notifying their users ahead of time.
Evaggelia from Primary/Secondary Education
Employees number: 11-50 employees
Possibilities for educators:
Communicate with students via email and online conference.
Accept online discussions.
Manage their grades.
Customize the appearance of the course pages.
Share the content of the lessons and the multimedia with the students.
They can comment.
Develop instructions and assignments in foreign languages.
Create instructions and assignments using a mathematical note.
Through its own builder that provides quizzes, multiplechoice, ruby and even games.
To incorporate portfolio-based activities into the work using the integrated ePortfolio system
-It places the student at the center of learning.
-It provides collaboration and interaction.
-It has a variety of tools.
-It combines most learning theories.
-It can be used by both educators and trainees.
-It combines education and learning resources with assessment and analysis features to create an integrated e-learning environment.
-The cost: It has an annual cost and is tailored to the number of users connected at the same time.
-It is not installed locally.
Course files are stored on a remote server that manages D2L.
-Network delay time is often slow and disturbing.
Mary from Falls Baptist Music School
Employees number: 11-50 employees
I took most of my master's level courses using this platform. After learning to navigate it, I became very familiar with it, and it was a decent platform for the professors to present material on. I liked how it would show notifications for discussion posts (particularly when someone would reply to something you had written). Also, it would alert you when a professor had submitted a grade for an assignment. These are great features that other learning platforms do not have, and I most definitely miss them when using those platforms.
It was not a very clean way to present material. It was a little cumbersome at times, took a lot of "getting used to," and was missing some features that would have been helpful that I had experienced on other platforms.
Jessica from MTSA
Employees number: 11-50 employees
We switched to BrightSpace about a year ago when the company that owns cOllege went out of business. BS is way better than cOllege! It is much more up to date and you can do so much more with it. For example, I like the IM feature, and the app is pretty good.
From an instructor stand point it seems like there are some things that could improve. For example, the process of entering feedback with grades. At first, some of our instructors were entering feedback, but students couldn't find it. Um not sure if that was used errors or what.
Steve from You Can Endure
Employees number: 2-10 employees
Integrated learning platforms can be hit or miss but Brightspace is a big success for the average user.
Educational applications come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each promising to be a fully integrated learning platform but a number fall short. Brightspace provides an impressive array of options, each delivering a reliable experience. Brightspace is constantly looking to improve and seems to listen to feedback from users to make a more compete experience.
While the updates make a better product, they can be jarring at times, especially after one finds a sense of confidence in their normal routines with Brightspace. The interface dashboard can be a bit overwhelming at times, with button placement being oddly set up.
Jennifer from Community Hospice
Employees number: 51-200 employees
A learning module is so important to my classes, and Brightspace does allow for easy announcements to the entire class, setting up homework assignments, reminders, calendars, etc.
From a professor's POV, setting up assignments is so difficult! Navigating Brightspace is no easy feat, either. Brightspace would be well served to simplify processes for their users.
James from Non Profit
Employees number: 51-200 employees
SNHU rolled this out over Christmas break 2017/2018 and provided a 30 min webinar for students. Although the webinar was instructive, the rollout seemed slightly different that the original student instructional. I read older articles and blog posts regarding the RFP that lead to BrightSpace and it didn't sound like the tech dept at SNHU was asking the right questions. I hear time and again how much the staff like it, but have yet to read how students were engaged in the process, which befuddles me.
Slick student facing design, seems to be many options for instructors to utilize the functions they're familar with, or those they find value for their courses but...
Too many rabbit holes to go down, too many dead-ends that seem to not have tied ends. Not very intuitive, as a student, too many way to get an end result, resulting in a steeper learning curve and longer timeframe to develop a standard operating procedure.
Instructors are asking me to finish previous weeks work, but failing to unlock the content so I can proceed because of their learning curve. Dislike the linked textbook content, and the ability for instructors to force the work, one way.
Val from SNHU
Employees number: 1,001-5,000 employees
Do not make a mistake and switching to this platform.
Using embedded rubrics is nightmare. No option to add due dates on assignments. Who design this platform should have taken a Blackboard first and try to improve their features not make them worse. Not worth the money and hassle. I miss Blackboard.
John from North Island Distance Education School
Employees number: 51-200 employees
Flexible and versatile. Provides many basic features that facilitate the learning of students in our K-12 DL school. Students and parents find it easy to use and teachers find it easy to provide quality content in their courses.
Difficult to get specific detailed help on specific issues particular to our K-12 organization. Help to implement single sign on and Google integration to our Education Google Apps account seems difficult to get.
Vijay from Saint Leo University
Employees number: 1,001-5,000 employees
If I were in the market for a new LMS I would consider Moodle hands down.
Good features and functionality. Easy to navigate. Not all products are bundled together in the base learning platform.
Reporting and integration needs improvement. Implementation takes longer that other LMS. Annual licensing fees are very high. Many changes to Customer assigned resources. Currently, API calls to production Database is unavailable.
Mary from PSU Research Professors
Takes the LMS to the next level with ease of use, focus on the learner and on learning analytics.
Not always stable, sometimes the learning curve can be challenging for new users.
Look for feature set, analytics and data reporting and ease of use.
Sherri from Bob Jones University
I really like being able to use restrictions to force students to do certain things before they are allowed to see other things. I think I will also like their adaptive learning--once they make it a part of their base system rather than an extra charge.
Improvements come at a cost. I believe that as they make improvements (for example, closed captioning) that they would include them in the price that we are already paying.
Be aware of the updates that are coming. It is nice that they come in small chunks, but that makes it quite difficult to get the information to all of the users. When an update happens they all of a sudden have to use a different procedure to do something. When instructions have been added to all of your courses, minor changes become a major issue.
Jeremy from Bob Jones University
Brightspace puts a lot of options at the user's disposal. It is a powerful, robust LMS that can be customized to fit a wide variety of preferences. As an admin and as an instructor, I really appreciated that the system did not lock me in to one way of doing things.
I also really like how much, especially in recent years, the Brightspace development team seeks for input from its users (and provides great forums for sharing ideas for improvements).
Currently, Brightspace does not have a very robust way of setting up communications throughout the course. They use a feature called "intelligent agents" for sending notices to students when they meet certain criteria (for example, sending a particular note to a student when he is inactive in the course or performs particularly well on an assessment). This feature, however, lacks a good deal of "intelligence" and is pretty restricted in what it can do.
I also feel that much of Brightspace is not particularly intuitive or streamlined. I'd like to see them improve on ease of use (without sacrificing power). A good example of this is the quiz feature where finding the exact page you need to get to in order to edit questions and grade values is a bit like a scavenger hunt.
Let your faculty and admins try out a number of different LMS's. Each LMS will have strengths and weaknesses and the question is which best fits the culture of your institution. In the world of LMS's, one size definitely does not fit all.
Maria from Southwest Minnesota State University
The support team is very fast in replying to any issues that may arise. Additionally they provide many webinars and conferences that help the users to create a network and exchange knowledge.
The not so intuitive construction of the LMS. Some navigation buttons can be confusing. One of the drawbacks is that it doesn't keep preferences like restrictions as default and you have to push lots of buttons or tick many boxes for each course.
Compare the product with other LMS and try it first as a student and as a faculty.
Nathan from University of Northwestern-St. Paul
As an administrator at my previous employer, I appreciated the flexibility to change pretty much anything that I wanted in the system. The ability to change what things were called in the system were very nice. In the most recent version that I had used, Brightspace had taken steps to make some changes on how system settings were handled to update the interface. Previously, the interface of the DOME was one of the most painful parts of the system.
I also appreciated the service desk that Brightspace has built up over the last three years. When I began using Brightspace, items could get lost very easily with the technical teams, but after some difficult issues, Brightspace has turned around a great deal, and updates to tickets were timely and applicable for a while before I stopped using it.
I found that there were little things that Brightspace did not do well. For instance, workflows between different tools were very different based on the time that the original tool was designed. This led to user frustration and an increase of time training users on the common functions of the LMS. I also found that Brightspace tended to minimize small updates or fixes in order to focus on major updates. While major updates are important to survive in the field, sometimes known bugs would remain for years without a fix.
I have found that any LMS will introduce its own set of problems, and no single LMS will perfectly fit every single use case. Most LMS's will be able to fulfill the same basic sets of tasks: quizzing, assignment submission, and gradebook. I would suggest that you have end users try out multiple LMS products and look at which system fits your existing or ideal workflows best.
I would also recommend that you look at the flexibility of an LMS to fit your current academic or corporate ecosystem. This would include the ability of an LMS to integrate third-party software. No LMS can do both everything an LMS should (quizzing, assignments, gradebook, content distribution) and a lot of other things equally well, so you should look at the LTI extensibility as well as how well the LMS company works with other vendors and try to find out its reputation.
Richard from Des Moines University
To be fair to D2L, the LMS has a nice look and feel about it (especially in the student facing view). Hence, students seem reasonably happy with D2L most times. They also seem to be able to navigate around the various tabs with some ease. Students DO have issues with the e-Portfolio feature which is far from intuitive and simply doesn't work at times.
From the course creation standpoint, the software is very unintuitive and inconsistent. It appears that this LMS was created by a team of software engineers that did not commit to a consistent architecture. Hence, methods to accomplish certain tasks vary by where you may be in the LMS. This makes it very challenging and time consuming to use.
The discussion forum functionality is very dysfunctional and quite restricting. Many students have commented on how archaic this feature is and I agree with them.
The help function is virtually useless. One flounders until an answer is "discovered" or one gives up.
Finally, the number of clicks to accomplish the simplest of tasks is mind numbering.
I would not consider this product under any circumstances. There are simply too many better alternatives available to consider D2L.
Tonisha from Newbury College-Brookline
It is very easy to set up and maintain a course. I really like that there are multiple means to complete tasks (i.e. upload course content, grade assignments/quizzes, contact students, change course structure). To add, the availability of supports and video is phenomenal. I was part of the Brightspace implementation team for our campus. The amount of time and effort put into making sure the product met the needs of the faculty and unique student body, and training of the first use faculty was quite impressive. It is also helpful to have easy access to student progress and monitor learning out comes.
It is a bit difficult setting up the gradebook. It is not impossible, but not easy. Also, since it is required that one create a new rubric, it is time consuming. It would be much easier if one could upload a rubric from another LMS (as is done with quiz content).
Make sure you have time to learn the product before it goes live.
Debra from MN State University Moorhead
Well organized, easy to use, flexible, appropriate learning environment for my work.
Some aspects are not intuitive and are cumbersome. Some changes made don't make sense and are not helpful.
Try it for a variety of courses. Get help setting up your course. Look at all aspects. Get feedback from students.
Lindsay from Midlands Technical College
I like how easy it is to organize content. I like the updated look of Brightspace vs D2L. I like how easy it is to import & export content. I liked that everything was in one place for the students when I taught. Now I use Brightspace for an orientation to the simulation center. It is a great resource for faculty and students alike to be able to review material.
The grade book can be a little awkward to set up to get exactly how I want it. Also would like the ability to easly add bonus questions to tests, to give the student the ability to earn over 100% on a test.
When evaluating software think about usability: Is it well structured and straightforward? Is it easy to learn how to use? Does it crash often, or is there excessive, inconvenient downtime? Does it fulfill all of your needs?
Brightspace by D2L was useful for implementing a live course's online material, but the program lacks important components that are necessary for online courses.
This Learning Management System is GOOD but not the best. It is great that D2L and Brightspace have an easy-to-use portal that differentiates between student, instructor, and even TAs. However, the options that come with competitors like CANVAS are far superior...
CANVAS, a competing LMS, provides more external resource use, such as Virtual Office Hours during Conferences, and even grouping students into smaller groups to use MS Office through Collaborations. Brightspace is user friendly for students but more difficult to manage for administrators/teachers.
Course building tools are intuitive for the most part.
It can be a bit buggy. Students have complained about their work being lost when they go to submit. This could very well be operator error, but still.
Jessica from Southern New Hampshire University
Employees number: 501-1,000 employees
Overall smooth transition with nicely organized rubric.
My university was previously using Blackboard before switching to Brightspace. During the transition we were able to explore and train in the new Brightspace course shells. The menu organization and dashboard tools are wonderfully intuitive, and I can easily switch between multiple courses.
While adaptable, there is some jumping required in some of the thread grading. I would love to see that set up become more harmonious with fewer windows to navigate.
Brightspace is a great way for young people but even older people to use as a platform to learn. Navigating around the website was easy and keeping track of assignment was too hard. This program is flexible and easy to manage.
The setting up can be tricky and requires some trial and error until we get the right combination. There are little things that are annoying and requires to take that little extra step every time.
Mavares from Universidad Nacional Experimental Politécnica 'Antonio José de Sucre'
Create pleasant spaces for interaction among the participants.
Technological advances in modern platforms seek, in one way or another, to redefine the concept of human learning. That is why platforms like Brightspace seek not only to manage all the most important aspects of educational management, ranging from the earliest ages to the most advanced students of high school, changing with them and adapting to their cognitive and emotional needs, accompanying them, but without imposing rhythms. And this is possible because Brightspace seeks to personalize learning, focusing them, in a very short time, effectively and in a very simple way. The versatility of the platform makes it absolutely compatible with the wide range of smart devices.
The process of teaching is not limited to the simple act of speaking or explaining in the classroom, this process must be thought, planned, developed, executed and, more importantly, evaluated. Brightspace all those tasks, using their useful tools. As a direct consequence, we can observe a significant improvement in classroom work, which will be noticed, due to the amount of activities that users will begin to share, which will involve parents and tutors, who will be able to manage feedback processes in real time. with personal messages.
Platforms such as Brightspace must have control or ability to configure pop-up windows, as well as other tools that must adapt to the changing requirements of users. The platform must be more managed so that it can reach more places and be more recommended.
Candace from Student
I have gained the ability to take some higher-level courses online which are necessary for college admissions/success, which I could not fit into my senior year schedule due to being a busy student!
I love that I can take these classes outside of school. I am currently taking four classes on Brightspace (Sociology, Psychology, Spanish III Semesters 1 & 2) because I could not fit them into my schedule for my senior year. In addition, each class comes with a "90 Day Plan" in the course materials, which helps keep me on track; I try to do more per day than what is on the plan, as I'm trying to get most of the workload finished before school starts again.
This brings me to my next point: Working at my own speed! As evidenced by my taking four classes over the summer, I am an advanced student who is serious about her education. Brightspace gives students the flexibility of working at their own speed. Although a "90 Day Plan" is offered as a guideline, there are no daily requirements set by the software itself. As a high schooler, some days I'm just busy, plain and simple. I don't have to worry about fulfilling a daily requirement with Brightspace. Again, the flexibility of completing online courses at my own pace is invaluable to a busy student like myself.
There's not much to complain about with this software. However, there is one issue I face on the daily with Brightspace. When working on a lesson, every now and again there will be a little box that pops up warning the user that if the session exceeds 30 minutes of inactivity, they will be logged out and will have to log back in again. I understand that it is set to do this for security reasons, but it is incredibly annoying when I'm taking notes on the lesson (which takes a decent amount of time) to have to be wary of the pop up appearing.
Aleksandra from Fully Managed Technology Inc.
I like that there is a list of the classes I take, and there is a chance to view the files of each class and submit assignments.
It's extremely inconvenient to use. (not only for the student but for the instructor as well). Especially at the beginning, it takes a lot of time to get used to it.
The best part about brightspace is the class progress tool which allows me to monitor the grades I've received. This has provided me with a much better understanding of how I'm doing in the class overall.
Its a bit confusing at first and often times sends me too many emails confirming a submission of an assignment
Neal from Kennesaw State University - College of Science and Mathematics
Use it for posting assignments, content resources and grades for students in a Mathematics class. Sometimes even use it for grading.
The everything in one place aspect of it. This means fewer different logins and software platforms to keep up with, which means more focus on things that matter.
Occasionally there is maintenance that prevents logins, but it is usually announced in plenty of time to make arrangements for alternatives. And they do try to make it happen during off-peak hours.
My students (middle and high school) are able to become proficient in the navigation of the system in just a few days with minimal questions and challenges.
BrightSpace includes all of the typical features of any LMS. However, D2L has improved the platform over time and has made the system more intuitive and user friendly. I also use CourseDen (the higher ed version of BrightSpace) for my college courses and the features are essentially the same with a few differences. However, the two platforms are enough alike that, once you know one system, learning to use the other one is a cinch. The features allow for very specific customization of assessments, discussions, and other features. I have built my own courses within the LMS, so I am familiar with a majority of the features and capabilities of the LMS.
Brandon from Woodlake Church
I have loved using D2L for both my undergraduate and graduate studies. It has made submitting and keeping track of my assignments very easy. I love that it keeps everything on one easy to navigate website. I don't know what other options are out there, but I can't imagine anything being more user-friendly for students than this!
I did not realize course access expires when I first started using D2L for my school work. I didn't bother downloading a lot of my class materials to my computer beacuse I assumed it would always be there for me to reference. I looked back a year or two later and saw that my classes had disappeared. I understand why, but I really wish there was a counter or notification before course removal so I could download any content I wanted. This is probably something managable by the school, but it would be great if D2L would notify the students.
Jeff from Saint Leo University
If the organization is centralized, D2L seems to be the best choice for an LMS that I know of (I've been working in this space a long time!).
Our school needed a lot of flexibility and customization, as well as integration capability. They have a rich API layer that allowed us to create an "uber" system - a next-gen learning system that all appeared to be a single entity even though it was made up of multiple platforms.
The costs for flexibility and data are problematic - it's an issue for all LMS companies but it would be great to see more progressive thinking around our school's data.
Jennifer from Georgia Virtual School
I can customize my course to meet the diverse needs of my students as well as the content areas that I teach. The process is user friendly, there are lots of resources on YouTube if you run into any questions. There are also lots of tutorials in print at the Help Desk within the platform and there are help desk representatives to chat with as well.
The LMS is user-friendly and consistent with other D2L products. If you have used CourseDen at the college level, you will find the move to BrightSpace easy! The components are all easy to customize and are seamless once the course shell is in place. Teachers can customize the shell to work for their grade level, content areas, etc. Adding external enrichment resources is easy too. You can add web links or embed codes and images, etc. to make your course your own!
There are sometimes just one little detail that can be elusive and make a big difference. But once you "know" the one "box to check," you can repeat the same "trick" repeatedly.
I like how teachers can organize the different parts of the lesson for the week into different categories. Also, I love that you can sign up for text notifications for when new items are posted. It makes taking online classes so much easier!
I don't like how there are so many different tab options. Maybe if navigation were simplified a bit, it would be easier to use. With that being said, they updated D2L a while ago and the new update has had some major improvements.
Ray from Trimal
Allowed me to manage many courses and keep track of student attendance, and when assignments were handed in. Automated the grading process.
- could see which students had handed in assignments,
- could place deadlines after which the system would not accept submission of assignments,
- could monitor attendance
- able to email entire class or individual students regarding assignments or attendance
Old-fashioned interface seems somewhat unresponsive and unintuitive at times. Some of the descriptions and confirmation buttons seemed awkwardly worded and placed.
Was able to have classroom resources outside of the classroom.
I like this product a lot because it is very cut and dry. Even some users that had little to no computer skill were able to successfully use this product. It has a lot of features in its own way.
Some of the UI looked a bit outdated. Certain features were complicated for students. Can be complicated with pricing
I think the customer support is the best feature. There are online tutorials and easily accessed instructions.
There is some limited functionality and it is not necessarily intuitive in every way. It is user friendly, but could be even better.
Neal from Kennesaw State University
Employees number: 501-1,000 employees
It is easy to use, and students are pleased with it.
I like that platform in that it has so much available from one login. Grading, student contact, administering assessments, and pretty much everything that one might possibly need all in one spot.
Because of the amount of things it does, at times switching from one thing to another can be a bit clunky. That is merely a minor inconvenience, however.
Leslie from ETSU
Employees number: 5,001-10,000 employees
I use D2L daily not not use it in the typical fashion of teacher-learner. I use it as a place to store data (Physician lectures, journal reading links, PowerPoint's, etc.) for resident physicians. This is a great way to get info out and I can track each resident to see how they are progressing. I can send emails and messages individually or as groups. I can see login attempts, pages they have been to and how much time was spent. I really like the dropbox feature. This allows them to put specific 'assignments' in and it is time stamped and does not crowd my email. I can easily see the information they upload and I can leave comments. I highly recommendD2L. There is so much to offer!
So many options for different uses.
Donna from Southwestern College (IDEAL-NM Brightspace)
I have used many online course delivery systems over the years. This platform is the least intuitive I have ever used.
Not very flexible, nor intuitive