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.
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?
Lance from HGTC
Ease of use for faculty. Good training helped me understand the product much better.
It almost seems like there are too many options or tools.
Familiarize yourself with the product. Learn as much as you can about the various tools the software has to offer.
Shickre from Midlands Technical College
Format, structure, and ease of use in navigating the site. I like how it is easy to drag and drop files, and if a mistake is made, to erase the file. I also like the Dropbox feature and how students receive a confirmation they have successfully uploaded a file. Though other faculty may have not liked the change, I very much like how you can move through student discussion posts to read their responses. The menu on the side allowing us to click on posts and to see which ones we haven't read yet is a big help. (Please do not change the discussion board.)
I do not really like the email client. I find it tough to easily search through email, though it is a minor complaint. I have most of my email forwarded to Outlook and use its search feature when needed.
Compare site organization and drag and drop features of D2L with your current LMS. I think the ease of use here will leave you wanting to switch from other products (especially Blackboard). Also use of Dropbox for loading student files is very easy.
Jonnie from Florence-Darlington Technical Colelge
The structure of the pages is visually appealing. It is easy to be consistent among your different classes.
It is difficult to do some tasks that should be easy. (Example: When you forget to associate a test with a gradebook item, you have to come back and do that. The test will not automatically populate to the gradebook.)
The mobile app is not good.
Sit down with someone who uses it daily and ask lots of questions.
Rose from Midlands Technical College
I like that I've been able to do away with collecting paper in most of my courses. I am also able to easily arrange course materials for my students to access. Depending on your course, the original setup can be intense, but it is very easy to copy the course over for a new semester of a different section.
I enjoy being able to post grades and attendance in D2L.
I love that I can grade a quiz by question. Sometimes, I need to only look at one question.
There can be some misleading language such as "locked" on the calendar list next to a discussion assignment. Students see this as meaning that they cannot access the activity. But what it really means is that there is a period of time for which the assignment will be locked. It doesn't necessarily mean that the assignment can't be accessed at that time. I get lots of questions about this.
I still find the grade calculating tool is not as robust as I need it to be.
Consider how well it integrates with other technology tools that you use - (MyMathLab, Datatel, etc.)
Consider how well it performs on different platforms (pc, tablet, smart phone).
Candace from Midlands Technical College
Brightspace allows me to manage my classroom, department and adjunct faculty. It acts as a single repository for information that is vital to effective communication. Faculty and students alike can get what they need to be successful. Tech support is wonderful.
Downloaded material gets renamed with a number making it difficult to know who the assignments belong to.
The more you use it the more valuable it becomes. You are able to be creative and provide many learning opportunities for your students and faculty.
Devorah from Trident Technical College
It has an intriguing layout - easy to find information. The action banner is alive and draws you in, rather than being stagnant and flat.
I'm hard pressed to find something I don't like - its all there. It's done in an intuitive way.
Tour the entire site - discover the many features that's there to offer.
Lahcen from Brunel
I like the online learning possibilities and face to face courses.
The search function is difficult to use, especially when searching for specific training.
First, try all features of the software to be able to give a full judgment.
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
Margaret from HACC
Employees number: 1,001-5,000 employees
Previously I have used Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, and Brightspace, and find Brightspace serves my needs.
The Brightspace has excellent resources for learning to navigate the system. The tutorials are very useful.
It has many updates throughout the year.
My advice is to take advantage of the webinars offered by Brightspace to stay abreast of upcoming changes.
With Brightspace, I can personalize the experience for every learner and predicts learner performance so that i can take action in real time to keep them on track.
- easy to use.
- easy to personalize the experience,
- take real time action,
- only great for newer user
Jeremy from Bob Jones University
Employees number: 1,001-5,000 employees
We use Brightspace to create and deliver our undergraduate and graduate level online courses. Overall, we've been pleased with the platform. As an admin and an instructor, I appreciate how flexible Brightspace is. I am able to customize my courses however I want to.
Brightspace is also good at seeking out user feedback to improve their product.
The LMS is very robust and flexible. It is also reliable.
The interface is often not intuitive. Often multiple clicks are needed to find an important setting in an assessment.
The communications piece ("intelligent agents") which allows the faculty to send automated emails when a student meets certain criteria (for example, sending a note to the student if they haven't logged into the course in 5 days) is quite limited and lacking in "intelligence."
Lamar from Florence-Darlington Technical College
Employees number: 201-500 employees
What an easy platform to use. I have used 4 different ILP's over the years and I have to say this one has to be the best and easiest to use. Brightspace was very helpful when we had to convert from our old system to theirs. Out entire campus uses the product and we have been very please with the product.
Ease of use for faculty and students. Third-party platforms work well with the system and good apps available for faculty and students. Customer/Technical support is second to none. Every time I call I get a great technician on the phone who quickly addresses my needs.
Other than the system being a little pricey I really do not have anything negative to say. Overall good system.
R Craig from Temple College
I have dealt with many different classroom management/learning management systems... but far and a way Brightspace, by D2L (formerly Desire2Learn) is my favorite. Easy to pick up from both the student and administrator/faculty side, Brightspace is also incredibly full featured. I have found the company to be very responsive in implementing suggestions, as well.
Brightspace hit a bit of a rough patch with release 10, but 10.3 is very stable and robust.
For a bit, some of the training videos were an addition fee, but now they are available free on YouTube.
Lee from Arapahoe Community College
The video is innovative using voice and animation in a creative way. It is easy to understand and clearly shows how Brightspace serves as a superior platform. The product seems to fully support The Universal Design for Learning theory. Brightspace seems to be reaching all students by putting them at the center of the learning experience. I love the animations in the video. It has elements of gamification and holds the attention of anyone looking at it.