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User Access: Add users to your D2L shell

Add users to your D2L shell

There are two categories of users in your Brightspace shells: 

  • individually-added "members" (like the Instructor, TAs, and others who participate in the course, but are not enrolled)
  • users who are added based on their enrollment in a course or program, or another criteria

Find out how to provide your students with access to your course shell, and the various approaches to providing access to the other members of your Brightspace shell.

Find Classlist in the top menu. If it isn't there, review how to enable course tools.

How are users added to your shell?

Add your student sections

You can now use Self Service to add any course sections that are assigned to you, to your Brightspace shell.

Individual students cannot be added manually. Students must be enrolled into a course section through the Registrar's office. All official student access must come through the enrollment system.

Make the course shell "active"

Once the students have been loaded into your course shell, are listed in the "Classlist", and you are ready for the students to see the course shell, you need to make it "active".

Add individuals using "Manage Shell Members"

Individual shell members can be added using a self-service tool called "Manage Shell Members".

This will allow you to add individuals, such as a TA, Course Builder or Auditor, but should not be used to add your enrolled students (with a few exceptions).

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.

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.

How do I get a demo student?

If you don't already have a demo student account, you can request one by going to Self Service in the portal

  1. Login to, find the Self Service section, and click on Courses and Organizations.
  2. Click Request and Manage Course Shell, then "Request your demo student account". 

We recommend submitting the request and immediately following the on-screen instructions to activate the account. If you don't have time to complete the activation, please be sure to follow the activation instructions sent to you via email.

Once activated, your demo student account will be added to all Course Shells where you have a role of "Instructor".

  • If you don't see the request option listed in Self Service, it means that you already have a demo student account. 
  • If you already have a demo student account, but do not remember the password, contact for assistance.

Once you have a demo student account, as long as you are an active Toronto Metropolitan University user, you will continue to be able to use this account. You do not need to request it again.

Enable Google access for your demo student

If your course makes use of Google Workspace to share resources and facilitate group activities, we recommend enabling Google for your demo student account as well.

  1. Login to as your demo student.
  2. Go to the Self Service section of the portal, and click "Personal Account".
  3. From the "Personal Account" menu, click "Manage My Online Resources".
  4. Here, you will see a list of resources available for the demo student account. Find "G Suite" in the list and click the button so that it switches "On".

This change may take some time to complete. 

Add a demo student to your course shell

Your demo student will automatically be added to any new course shell you request, but you may want to add someone else's demo account to your shell.

This account can be added to any of your Course Shells using the Manage Shell Members tool.

We recommend giving demo students the 'Auditing Participant' role. This will be sufficient for testing content, assessments and grading. If you need to test Discussions or Groups as a student, please contact our support team, at, and include a detailed explanation of what you wish to do. Our team can help you find an alternative option.

What is Library e-Reserve?

If you have requested electronic articles for your course, through the Library (e-Reserve), their team will require access to your course in order to help support you and your students.

Add the e-Reserve users to your course shell

When you initially request a Brightspace course shell, you have the opportunity to indicate that the Library e-Reserve team should be added.

If you didn't do this in the request form, you can add Library's user accounts using the Manage Shell Members tool.

  • Add the user reserve_01 with a role of 'Course Builder.
  • Add the user ds_library with a role of 'Content Viewer'.

Select an appropriate user role

In general, it is best to provide the necessary amount of access without providing too much.

Consider the following:

1. Private student data

Consider whether this user must have access to private student data (think grades, the list of student names, assessment submissions, or even discussions).  

Not everyone is eligible to access private student data. People who are provided this level of access should be affiliated with the course in some official capacity. A user's HR role will determine their eligibility - they must be an Instructor, Staff or Academic Assistant.

These roles should only be given to those who require access to the students and their confidential information.

2. Course content

Consider which functions the user must complete, regarding their access to contents and the creation of assessments.

Should they only be able to view, or also be able to modify various areas of the shell?

Roles marked with an asterisk (*) denote roles that have access to private student data, and therefore are restricted to users who are eligible, based on their role in eHr.

Role Main purpose Eligibility

This is an ownership role, providing not only technical features, but the authority to request changes to the course and the addition of users. They also have the authority to copy the course shell and authorize copies for others. An instructor will have access to almost all course components.

Someone with an Instructor role does not, however, have the authority to remove or demote another user who has an Instructor role in the shell.

This role should only be given to the actual Instructor(s) of the students loaded into course, and not to those assisting.

Limited to users with one of the following eHr roles: Instructor, Staff.

Shell Manager*
(organizations only)

This is an organization-only role intended to provide shell management support to the Instructor (owner) role. This person has all of the access of a TA, plus the ability to add new users to the shell (using the self-serve tool).

This role is available by request to the Brightspace support team. Please add the intended recipient to your shell with a "TA" role prior to contacting the team - they will upgrade the role from "TA" to "Shell Manager".

This role is only available for organizations (not course shells).

Limited to users with one of the following eHr roles: Instructor, Staff.

TA* TAs have access to most course components. They are able to manage/add grades to the Grades tool, post announcements, add/edit content, create/view assignments, import course components, and view/email the classlist.

This role should only be given to those who require access to the students and their confidential information, for privacy reasons.

Limited to users with one of the following eHr roles: Instructor, Staff, Academic Assistant.


Graders are able to manage and enter grades in the Grades tools; they can also mark quizzes and assignments.

Graders have access to the course shell and can view the course content posted, discussions, and the news and announcements. Graders can also see the classlist and send emails to students.

This role should only be given to those who require access to the students and their confidential information, for privacy reasons.

Limited to users with one of the following eHr roles: Instructor, Staff, Academic Assistant.


Facilitators are responsible for running communications only. They have access to create Announcements, Discussions (including Forums and Topics), Groups and Chat sessions. As such, they have access to some private student data.

Facilitators have access to view all content (including content that has not yet been released to students), and no access to assessments or grades.

Limited to users with one of the following eHr roles: Instructor, Staff, Academic Assistant.

Students (or Participants) have access to course components made available to them.

Students cannot post announcements, add/edit content, create/view assignments, import course components, or view/email the classlist.

They can submit assignments, take quizzes, view their own interim grades, and participate in discussions that the instructor has given them access to.

Since they have access to communication tools involving the other students, they have access to *some* private user data.

*This user type cannot be added using the self-serve Manage Shell Members tool.
Course Builder Course Builders are able to create content within the course, adding new modules or editing existing ones. They will also be able to create/edit quizzes, assignments and surveys. Course builders will not have access to student information, such as students' emails, grades, assignment submissions or discussion posts.  
Auditing Participant

Auditing participants have access to the course materials and assessments like Students, but do not have access to the collaborative tools in a course, as they not officially enrolled in the course.

An auditing participant will be able to view the content of the course, complete assessments that are not tied to collaborative tools, be graded and tracked. Shell Instructors may use this role for a student who is approved to audit a course or a colleague who wishes to see how the course shell is run.

Content Viewer

Content Viewers have access to view the "Content" tool and "Announcements" in the course.

This role may be used to provide access to someone who just wants to review the content in the course, and does not require access to assessments or communication tools.

This role is also the one recommended for course note-takers.