Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I learn how to use Brightspace?

How do students get trained in the use of Brightspace?

We are collaborating with the Learning Commons to produce training for students. The LC’s Learning Assistants will also be trained and ready to help students for Fall. The student training is finished. There is a button on the USM Brightspace landing page that will take them there and you can also give them the following link or include it in your syllabus:

I have a course with multiple sections. Can I get them combined?

There is a new process for this. Please contact the Office of Registration & Scheduling Services to request the course section merge. They will determine if merging these sections is a FERPA risk. If they decide it is not a risk, they will update MaineStreet accordingly which will trigger Brightspace to automatically create a new course shell containing all of the students from the former individual sections. If you already had course materials in one or both of the old individual section shells, you can copy them to the new shell with our Course Copy Instructions.

How can I hide the unneeded sections from my view?

If your sections have been linked in MaineStreet and Brightspace, yes. Perform the following steps in the section/s you don’t need to access:

  1. In your course’s blue Navbar, select Course Resources and then Classlist.

  2. Click the checkbox next to your name and select Unenroll from the row of options just above the list.

Why can’t my students see everything in my course on the Brightspace Pulse app?

The Pulse app is primarily meant for students to receive course announcements, and updates via push notifications on their mobile devices. The Pulse app is not “Brightspace for mobile devices.” The Brightspace site ( itself is mobile friendly. The full content for a course can be accessed from the Pulse app by tapping the menu button in the upper-right corner of the screen and selecting “Launch Course Homepage.” This will take students directly to the full course on Brightspace in their device’s web browser..

Can I manually adjust a grade, and how?

How can I add a colleague, TA, or non-credit student to my course?


  • Because of the way Brightspace's roles and permissions work, Instructors can only add individuals to their courses, but not remove or change the roles of people in their courses, so select the role carefully!

  • If someone who is already added to your course in a non-Learner role needs to be removed or have their role changed, reach out to CTEL and we will take care of it for you.

  • Faculty, CTEL, or IT cannot add or give anyone the "Learner" role in credit-bearing courses listed in MaineStreet. (see the question below for explanation).

  • If the person you need to add does not have a account, please contact us.

To add a colleague or TA to your course:

  1. In your course’s navbar, select Course Resources and then Classlist.

  2. Click Add Participants and select Add Existing Users.

  3. Search for the person you wish to add. Be careful. There are many people who share the same name! You can discern between them by searching with their user name or their ID number instead of first/last name.

  4. Click the checkbox next to the correct name that corresponds to the person you wish to add.

  5. In the Role column, select one of the following depending on your situation:

    • Instructor for co-instructors that have completed have completed the UMS FERPA training.

    • Librarian for USM Libraries staff you are coordinating with for course materials or information literacy sessions.

    • Teaching Assistant for TAs that will be grading AND have completed the UMS FERPA training.

    • Learning Assistant for student tutors and/or TAs that will NOT be grading and do NOT need to edit the course content.

    • Course Guest for students or other situations where the person needs to participate in the course as if they were a student, but will not receive university credits for it.

  6. Click the Enroll Selected Users button.

Can I manually add / remove students to my course?

No. Brightspace stays in sync with whatever happens in Mainestreet. If faculty were able to add students to their courses from within Brightspace, they would be removed again because the student would not be in the course's roster in MaineStreet. CTEL or IT cannot add students to a credit-bearing course in Brightspace. If a student is unable to see your course, please verify you have made your course Active and ask the student to contact the Office of Student Registration to ensure they are correctly enrolled in the course.

Do grades automatically transfer to MaineStreet?

Currently, no. However IT is working on adding an option in MaineStreet to optionally import final course grades from Brightspace.

How do I post final grades in MaineStreet?

Please refer to the Posting Final Grades in MaineStreet video in our Grading & Feedback chapter. For additional MaineStreet tutorials, please visit Registration & Scheduling's USM MaineStreet Faculty/Staff Resources Brightspace page.

If you need personal assistance with MaineStreet, please visit Registration & Scheduling's site or email

Does Brightspace have a built-in plagiarism checker?

Yes. The UMaine System recently acquired Turnitin. This is a very new development. As such, CTEL has not yet had a chance to learn more about it or prepare training for instructors.. You are free to use it, but as of this time please rely on the following documentation:

Why is my upcoming course in Brightspace empty?

Course generation works the same as it did in Blackboard. Each semester, IT generates empty course shells for the upcoming semester. Faculty must copy the contents from a previous course into the empty shell. Consult Copying one Course to Another in the CTEL Brightspace Guide for instructions.

How do I Copy my Course (or just parts of it)?

Consult Copying one Course to Another section for instructions.

Why can’t my students see my course?

Please see Activating your Course so your Students Can See It from the CTEL Brightspace Guide.

How can I hide/unhide my course modules based on date?

This is currently not possible in Brightspace. Module Start, Due, and End dates only make the links inside unclickable. You either need to use the manual visibility toggle button on each Module, or set a Release Condition that triggers the Module to visible/hidden.

What is required to make my course accessible to all students?

Please see Accessibility in Brightspace in the CTEL brightspace Guide.

What do I say about Brightspace in my course Syllabus?

CTEL has updated its Syllabus Template to v5 of the Office of the Provost’s template and added Brightspace technical requirements. If you already have your syllabus written, feel free to use the following text:

D2L recommends having the latest version of whatever browser is being used on any computer or mobile device. Brightspace works very well on mobile Apple and Android devices via web browser. The Brightspace Pulse app in the Apple App Store and Google Play also allows you to receive notifications regarding your courses on your device.

The Pulse app is primarily meant for students to receive course announcements, and updates via push notifications on their mobile devices. The Pulse app is not “Brightspace for mobile devices.” The Brightspace site ( itself is mobile friendly. The full content for a course can be accessed by tapping the menu button in the upper-right corner of the Pulse app screen, and selecting “Launch Course Homepage.” This will take you directly to the full course on Brightspace in your device’s web browser.

How do I reset a student’s attempt at a quiz/exam?

See the Resetting Quiz/Exam Attempts instructions.

How do I view my course as a student?

Please see Viewing Your Course as a Student in the CTEL Brightspace Guide.

Why doesn’t the “View as Learner” mode from the profile menu not work / not do what I want it to?

Use the Learner Preview instead. See the response to the previous question.

How can I turn exam/quiz questions in an MS Word file into a Brightspace quiz/exam?

We've installed a copy of D2L’s Quiz converter in the Self-Paced Brightspace Training. Note, If you have never visited the training before, the previous link will not work. Enroll in the training and then try the first link.

How do I connect my course to ARES E-Reserves?

Instructions for this can be found in this section of the CTEL Brightspace Guide.

How do I change the image on the module tile images on the front page of my course?

The module tiles use the first image found in each Module's Description field in the Content tool. If there is no image there, they use the course banner. Note, you may have to clear your browser cache if the tile images do not update consistently.

How do I change the Navbar?

The Navbar in brightspace works differently than Blackboard's course menu. It is shared across all courses in the institution, thus changing it would change it for all courses that use it. However, faculty can hide certain items in their courses by going to Course Admin => Tools, and turning off tools they are not using in their course. Those items that have been turned off will no longer show up for that course in the navbar. As governance and processes mature for Brightspace, programs and departments will be able to collaboratively propose a navbar structure to be used for the courses in their program or department.

How do I change my Course Homepage?

Faculty can’t edit the default homepage in their course, but they can create a NEW one and set their course to use it. To do this:

  1. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of your course homepage.

  2. Click the black square button in the right corner.

  3. Select "Manage Homepages."

  4. On the next screen, click the "Create Homepage" button.

  5. Important: Give your new homepage a distinctive name you will be able to find again.

  6. From there you can add/remove widgets, change the layout, etc.

My assignment/quiz/discussion is graded. Why isn't the grade appearing in the grade book?

This could be due to one of several things. First, ensure that the assignment/quiz/discussion has a corresponding grade item created in the grade book. This section of the CTEL Brightspace Guide covers how to create grade items. Next, verify that the grade item is connected to the assignment/quiz/discussion in question. Please refer to step 8 of the assignment creation guide and the corresponding screenshot for an example of how to attach a grade item to an assignment/quiz/discussion.

If a quiz is already attached to a corresponding grade item in the gradebook, and grades still haven't shown up in the grade book despite the item being graded, it my not be set to automatically export grades to the grade book. Part 1 of the Quizzes & Exams section of the CTEL Brightspace guide covers how to enable auto-export to grade book, particularly the second bullet point. Please note: This is not retroactive. You'll still need to manually export grades to the gradebook if the item in question has already been graded. To do this:

  1. Navigate to the assignment/quiz/discussion section

  2. Click on the item in question (if this is a discussion, click the little arrow beside it, then click "assess topic.")

  3. On the screen with all the student attempts/grades, select all students. This can be done quickly by clicking the upper left box in the table. This image illustrates where to find this check box, as well as the publish button.

  4. Once all students are selected, click "publish feedback." This is located just above the table of students.

  5. This will bring up a confirmation box. Click "yes."

  6. That's it! All grades have now been manually sent to the gradebook

Can I have a Brightspace course shell to use for my program/organization/other non-course activity?

CTEL can create a course shell that can be used to house materials and stay in contact with a group of faculty, staff, or students. We call these "Non-Course Shells", or "Org Shells". Their purpose must be academic in nature and the group making the request must be aware of the following very important details:

  1. Someone needs to be in charge. At least one individual from the group making the request must be set as an "Org Manager" in the shell. Let us know who that will be. Org Managers have all the abilities of an Instructor, with the additional ability to add/remove people to the course and change their roles. As such, the Org Manager should be someone familiar and comfortable with the use of Brightspace.

  2. Org Managers are responsible for Adding and Removing members and addition of all other content. Managing the routine activities your non-course shell is outside of CTEL's scope of responsibility. Whoever is set as "Org Manager" is responsible for adding and removing people from the shell. You can do this using these instructions. That said, we can do an initial bulk enrollment of students for you. To accomplish this, we will need an excel file with an accurate list of the students' accounts and student ID numbers.

  3. To make membership responsibilities easier, the shell can be set to "Discover" mode. This will make the course visible in the Discover portion of Brightspace and will also generate a link you can provide to students so they can enroll themselves. The caveat is that anyone with a account can add themselves to the shell.

  4. If you don't use it, you may lose it! Our Brightspace access is not without limits. Since Brightspace's main purpose is to serve credit-bearing courses, IT (not CTEL) may choose to delete a proliferation of infrequently used, non-course shells.