Getting Started with Brightspace for 9th–12th Grade Educators | D2L
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Getting Started with Brightspace for 9th–12th Grade Educators

  • 3 Min Read

Create an engaging digital classroom for high school learners with virtual communication tools built specifically to boost student progress.

In a previous blog post, we explored some of the online learning tools that can help K-8 educators get started with Brightspace platform. Now let’s look at some of the specific Brightspace tools available to secondary educators to engage students in a virtual classroom setting.

There’s nothing more exciting than a fresh start! If you’ve just been given access to a course in the Brightspace platform—what should you do first? While it may seem difficult to know where to begin, there are a few key communication tools that we recommend you prioritize as you set up your online classroom.

Let’s dive into three solutions you can focus on right away to get started on creating an engaging online experience for your secondary learners.


The homepage is the first page your students will see when they enter your course. You can easily customize this page to include different pieces of information in the form of widgets—a collection of puzzle pieces that can be combined to amplify your course content.

You can also decide how you want each widget to be arranged whenever you edit the homepage. As a best practice, be sure to first create a copy of your homepage before editing widgets, as the default is shared with your entire school. One of the more prominent widgets is the Activity Feed, which we’ll focus on next.

Activity Feed

The Activity Feed is a social media–style newsfeed for your course that you can use to support your existing student communication best practices. As a bonus, if your district uses Brightspace Parent & Guardian, posts on the Activity Feed will appear in the Brightspace Parent & Guardian portal. This allows parents and guardians to stay up to date on what’s happening in the classroom and monitor student progress on shared learning goals.

Activity Feed is also great for those quick messages you need to send to students or parents. It can even be used to create new projects and pin important messages to grab students’ attention. You can also perform a variety of different tasks in the Activity Feed, such as post reminders, share assignments, and create Virtual Classroom meeting links and Video Assignments, to name a few.

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Groups are a great way to build a community and foster collaboration in your learning environment. Within the Brightspace platform, organizing student groups is a simple and flexible process that enables you to assign groups for a variety of learning purposes.

The Groups tool gives you the choice to select which students are grouped together, allow students to select their own groups, or let Brightspace randomly divide students into groups on your behalf. Once groups are created within Brightspace, you have the power to assign discussion topics or group assignments to help differentiate learning for students’ needs or interests.

Next Steps

These three tools will set you up for success in Brightspace as you continue the rest of your course creation. Now, you’re all ready to start adding content, activities, and assessments—and this is just the beginning! Other tools that secondary teachers love include Announcements, Discussions, Quizzes, and Surveys.

In our next post, we’ll explore some of the specific Brightspace tools available to principals to help maximize success for their schools.

Register for our monthly webinars for K-12 educators to learn more about Brightspace tools available to you so you can make the most of your online courses.

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