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Getting Started: Teaching with D2L Brightspace

These are the first things you should do when preparing to teach using Brightspace. Once you're done, proceed to the instructor tutorials for more detailed information on various tools.

On Sunday, November 14, a new version of the Self Service tools used to request and manage Brightspace shells was introduced!

Learn more about the changes on the What's New page.

If you are creating a course shell using content from an existing shell, you may find our Getting Started Part 2: Reusing D2L shell contents tutorial more helpful.

Get your course shell ready in a few steps!

Enroll yourself in a sample D2L Brightspace shell, "D2L101 - Brightspace Basics for instructors". This short course models ways to approach announcements, content, and activities.

Self-enroll in "Brightspace Basics for Instructors"

  1. Log in to D2L Brightspace.
  2. From the homepage, click "Tools" in the top menu bar, then select "Discover" from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click on the name of the course you want to access (i.e. "Brightspace sample course"). 
  4. Review the Course Description and click the "Enroll in Course" to enroll.
  5. To access the course: either click the "Open Course" button on this page, OR go to your D2L Brightspace homepage, where the course will be listed under "My Courses".

'Shells' are the spaces in the D2L Brightspace learning system that are created for delivering online components to courses and other collaborative projects ('course shells' and 'organization shells', respectively). We offer 'course' shells specifically for official courses, and 'organization' shells for other uses.

The Instructor of the course will need to request a course shell for each iteration of your course (unless you teach an online Chang School distance course).

When you request a Course Shell or an Organization Shell, you receive a Brightspace shell and a corresponding Google Group containing the same members.

Use your my.ryerson username (not email address) and password to login to the my.ryerson.ca portal, and access Brightspace. From here, you will see all of your current Brightspace course and organization shells.

Are you sure your computer and its software are compatible with D2L Brightspace? You can check your system to find out.

Find out how to get your enrolled students loaded, and how to add other people to your course (TAs, collaborators, auditing students).

All members (indivduals and those added based on their enrollment) are updated in both the D2L Brightspace shell AND the corresponding Google Group.

Adding the course outline is one of the first things that all instructors do once they have a course shell. Attaching the course outline is the same as uploading any other content file.

If you requested your course shell before your RAMSS section(s) were appearing, you may find that when you go to Classlist in your course shell, you cannot see any students. If this is the case, you can use the Manage Student Sections tool to add sections to your Brightspace course shell.

By default, your course shell is 'inactive' when it is first created. This prevents the students from accessing your shell before it has been prepared - but it doesn't prevent the other administrative users (like Instructors, TAs, Course Builders, etc.) from going in and making changes.

Once you are ready for students to access your shell, you must make it 'active'.

What is a demo student?

A demo student is a separate Toronto Metropolitan University account that an instructor can add as a student to their course in order to test/navigate the course from a student’s perspective. The instructor would logout of the university’s systems and login with their demo student account.

Starting with the Winter 2022 term, if you already have a demo student it will automatically be added to any new course shell you request.

Testing your course using the demo student is a great way to make sure tests and assignments have been made available, as well as to see the process students go through when submitting tests and assignments.

Use a demo student to:
  • Submit a quiz or assignment.
  • View a quiz attempt or a file submitted to an assignment.
  • View items with restrictions or release conditions set such as Discussions, Quizzes, or Assignments restricted by date, or released by group.
  • View actual scores in Grades.

Note: If you use Google Drive to share resources with your students, you can enable Google Workspace access for your demo student. See the instructions below.

Related video tutorials and webinars 

Find all of our D2L Brightspace video tutorials and webinars on our Brightspace Ryecast page, opens in new window.