Facilitating teaching and learning online with Brightspace

As we move into the next semester, here is a timely reminder of some of the digital tools at your disposal to facilitate your online teaching delivery.


Pre-recording lecture materials

Panopto can be used from your office, or at home, to create recordings providing you with the opportunity to create more detailed content that is not time limited, or content that is broken up into bitesize learning chunks. Videos can be added to the content area of your unit on Brightspace for students to access.

Delivering live lectures and seminars online

Zoom is the recommended platform for the delivery of live lecture and seminar sessions. It provides a number of benefits including a 300 participant limit, up to 50 breakout rooms, polling, chat and the ability to stream video to your attendees. Integration with Brightspace makes it easy for staff to schedule sessions and students to join them from the unit on Brightspace.

Unit Structure

Ensure that your unit is easy to navigate by organising information into the standard content modules, with learning materials added to further content modules using a week-based or theme/topic-based approach. Consider using date release or more advanced Release Conditions to manage how and when students access their learning materials or to develop self guided learning approaches.

Digital Pedagogies Framework

Developed as part of an integrated plan for digital and online pedagogies to support staff at BU in their preparation for online and blended teaching, the Digital Pedagogies Framework outlines key content areas with suggested pedagogical approaches to promote student learning and engagement, with examples of TEL tools to facilitate unit structure and design.


Personalising learning

Video Notes are short video recordings which are a quick and personal way to engage with students. Videos can be more authentic, are quick to record and can contain a lot more information than can be typed or read in the same amount of time. Video Notes work well in situations where you want to give a brief introduction to a unit or a topic.

Enhancing engagement with Intelligent Agents

Intelligent Agents allow you to create email messages that are automated to be sent to students under specific conditions. For example, a reminder to students who haven’t logged into the unit in the last week, a prompt to view specific content, congratulations for a good grade or guidance where further work is needed. 

Bringing interaction to teaching sessions

Mentimeter is a tool that lets you engage and interact with your audience in real-time. Audiences can pose questions, respond to quizzes, vote in polls or create word clouds all via their mobile phones.


Keeping students informed

The Announcements tool on the home page of every unit is the ideal place for informing students of key course updates or any unit changes. Announcements can be added instantaneously or released with date restrictions. You can include files, images, videos and links to your unit content and also add Release Conditions, for example, only displaying to students in specific groups.

Meeting one-to-one

MS Teams provides a quick and secure platform to connect to students for 1:1 meetings. Teams supports screen-sharing and collaboration on Microsoft Office documents, useful for discussing progress. (If preferred, Zoom can also be used by scheduling meetings outside of Brightspace from the BU Zoom Portal).


Enabling online discussion

Discussion boards can be used to encourage students to ask questions or share their thoughts on learning topics with their peers. Discussion topics are created within forums and can be set up for individuals or groups. Students can include different media when posting replies.

Enabling online co-creation

Padlet is an online virtual bulletin board where students can collaborate and share ideas, links and pictures. It can be embedded in the content area of a unit, capturing live feedback from your students on the interactive pinboard.


Best practice

Ensure that a clear explanation on how students’ engagement with the activities set up on the Brightspace unit will be assessed. Information on assessment should be made available in the Assessment area of your unit. You may also wish to make further announcements to keep students informed on assessed activities.

Progressing learning with formative assessments

Regular quizzes can be created on your unit to increase student engagement, review students’ progress and highlight any gaps in their knowledge. Quiz results can be set to be viewed by students automatically and feedback/feedforward provided with answers.

Facilitating online presentations

Panopto can be setup to allow students to capture/edit their own presentations and upload them to Brightspace to a submission folder. It can be a creative way for assignment submissions too, with feedback being provided via the assignment tool in Brightspace. Contact your Faculty Learning Technologist for assistance and they will set up the assignment and provide student guidance.

Further guidance and support

If you have questions about any of the above, or require further support, contact your Faculty Learning Technologist.

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