Northwest Florida State College

D2L Brightspace - Tool Basics

                                             Online Students


The assistance on this page is to help NWF State College students use any of the popular tools of D2L Brightspace. There is also a D2L - FAQs webpage that offers additional assistance if needed.

The basics of popular D2L Brightspace tools:


Classlist and Email

E-mail your instructor or your classmates using Classlist.

To begin: If Classlist is available in the course navbar (sometimes located under Communications), click the name of the person you'd like to E-mail. Fill out the form and send. If available, you might want to use the E-mail link in the navbar.

Q: May I edit the blank profile for myself?

A: Yes. Click the blank picture next to your name in the Classlist. Edit and save your personal profile information. All courses and all classmates will see this info.

Q: How do I view other classmate's profiles?

A: Click the image next to a classmate's name in the Classlist to see their personal profile.


Video Assistance for Classlist & Email (1:55)

Brightspace Documentation for Classlist & Email

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Types of Content found in a D2L course include, a variety of course documents, PowerPoint or lecture slides, videos, links to websites, Publisher Content links, Checklists, News, Calendar items and more.

To begin: The Content link will likely be found in the course navbar (sometimes located under Course Materials). After clicking it, look for the Table of Contents to quickly move through Content. Move through the Content by clicking the Previous and Next buttons. Bookmarking is available for quickly locating any critical pages. Many pieces of content will have a download option for later review outside of D2L. 

Q: Have I found the course Syllabus in D2L?

A: The course Syllabus is a key item of Content. Likely a News item or one of the first pieces of information in the Table of Content will contain the course Syllabus. Many extremely useful pieces of course information will be found in the Syllabus. Find it first and review it before moving to quickly through the course.

Q: Can I find the Table of Contents in D2L for course material?

A: Look in the navbar area where you see logos and links. Likely Content will be one of your choices (often located under Course Materials). The Table of Contents is within the Content area of D2L.

Q: Course News seems to be the only thing I see. What do I do?

A: Keep up with the News. Some instructors run much of the course through the News tool only. Links in News may take you to Content, a course Syllabus, Content websites, lecture slides, videos, Publisher Content (3rd party) and more.


Video Assistance for Content (1:36)

Brightspace Documentation for Content (several pages of reference including downloading content)

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The Discussions tool is a collaboration area to post, read and reply to threads on different topics, share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or work with your peers on assignments and homework. Discussions in the class allow for student-student interactions and teacher-student interactions. Know that your instructor will be able to see all discussion items posted throughout the course and often all of your classmates will also be able to see those posts too. Instructors might elect to create a few specialized group discussion areas in the course.

To begin: Click Discussions in your navbar (often located under Communications).

Q: How do I get started with a course discussion?

A: Find Discussions in the navbar and click the appropriate course discussion. Click the title of the discussion topic and then click Start a New Thread. Fill in the Subject and your post of information and then click Post. At times you may want to attach a file too. When you would like to reply to a post, click within a course discussion until you see Reply to Thread and then begin your reply - remembering to click Post when you are finished.

Q: Is there a way for me to be alerted when someone responds to my course discussion post?

A: There will be a dropdown next to the title of a course discussion to click and then choose Subscribe. Check the D2L minibar area for alerts about posts.

Video Assistance for Discussions (1:45)

Brightspace Documentation for Discussions

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Dropbox and Turnitin (Submitting Digital Assignments)

The Dropbox tool enables digital submission of class assignments in your learning environment, eliminating the need to E-mail work to instructors. Simply upload your submission (Add a File) to the appropriate Dropbox folder and Submit. Instructors using Dropbox will be able to keep a copy of your work, papers, reflections, journals, essays or any type of assignment in a digital format.

To begin: Click Dropbox in your navbar (often located under Assessments).

Q: How do I find the score on my Dropbox assignment?

A: Click the Dropbox link in the navbar and look under the score and/or feedback columns. Sometimes you will find the score in the Grades area too.

Be aware: Some faculty use a plagiarism check on your work; this service is called Turnitin. File types currently supported for plagiarism checking are .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .rtf, .ppt, .pptx, .pps, .hwp, and .html
Know there is a date and time stamp on your digital work. Work ahead of never know when technology might fail for you.

Tips: Do not use $& or any special characters in the name of your file. It will produce an error in D2L Brightspace. Example to avoid in a file name: Professionals&TheWorkEnvironment.docx instead use ProfessionalsAndTheWorkEnvironment.doc

Know that iPads and tablets may not have the functions to upload files to the D2L Dropbox. You may need to acquire use of a Windows machine. Check the Is Your Computer Ready webpage for more information.

Video Assistance for Dropbox (1:38)

Brightspace Documentation for Dropbox

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Viewing course grades will be different for every class. Instructors decide how to design and use the D2L Brightspace Grades area.

To begin: Click Grades in the navbar area (often located under Assessments).

Tips: Questions about your Grades should be addressed with the instructor. Find the instructor contact information in the course Syllabus.

Q: Why does my grade seem so low? I've been making good grades.

A: Some faculty count all gradebook items without grades as a zero. So in essence, you continue to increase your grade as you successfully work through the course and those blank items begin to be filled with your good scores.

Q: I took a quiz or submitted a written paper but the grade isn't in the gradebook for that item. What do I do?

A: Contact the instructor. Some instructors don't automatically move quiz or dropbox grades immediately to the gradebook. Also, you can check your User Progress in the Navbar (often located under Assessments) to confirm that you have completed this work for the course.

Video Assistance for Grades (1:29)

Brightspace Documentation for Grades

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Use the Locker tool to upload course assignment documents in progress. Upload these documents from your PC and store them in D2L Brightspace. You can then access these assignment documents within the D2L Locker when you are traveling and need to edit them while in a different location. Think of the D2L Locker like you think of the My Documents area on your computer.

To begin: Click Locker in your navbar (often located under My Tools). Then click Upload Files and follow the prompts. Use Folders if you like and remember to delete and clean up your Locker area. Think of using the Locker like you would use the My Documents area on your home computer to create a folder and store documents in those folders.

Q: What happens if I delete a folder in the Locker?

A: That Folder and all the documents within it will be deleted. 

Video Assistance for Locker (1:40)

Brightspace Documentation for Locker

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Quizzes or Tests

Quizzes in D2L Brightspace have many options for instructors. Know that some of your quizzes may be timed. Some quizzes may allow for several or unlimited attempts. Some may require a password for access. Some may be for practice only and not have an associated grade. 

To begin: Click the Quizzes link in the navbar (often located under Assessments).

Tips: Realize that some quizzes will likely be timed in D2L Brightspace. Watch for that notification on the first page before clicking to Start the quiz and then watch your time carefully.  Be sure to begin when you will not be interrupted. Be sure to have a strong connection and if using a laptop that you have a full charge or are plugged in. Be sure to work early on quizzes instead of waiting until near the deadline date. Technology can fail at that last minute!

Q: My quiz won't start.

A: The quiz start begins with a pop-up page and ends with a pop-up page. Do you have pop-up blockers in place? If so, allow the pop-ups for the D2L site. Notice the quiz dates too. You will not be able to access the quiz outside of the dates of availability.


Best practices: Save every answer as you go. That way if anything goes wrong, those question attempts will not be lost. While submitting the quiz, take note of all the prompts because it will alert you to any unanswered questions that may have missed and you will have an option to go answer those before submitting. Again, if the quiz is timed, watch your time carefully! Quizzing that goes past the time limit may result in a score of zero depending on the setup chosen by your instructor.

Video Assistance for Quizzes (2:06)

Brightspace Documentation for Quizzes

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Please let us know if you have additional questions about tools that were not answered here. We want this webpage to be helpful for our students' success. Send suggestions.

Revised: Sept. 2015 


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