Teaching and Learning Supports for North Island College Instructors
Teach Anywhere

Communications – Brightspace

There are many ways you can communicate through Brightspace whether you are teaching fully online, supporting your face-to-face classes, or something in between. Using communications tools effectively will help your learners engage with you, with the course content, and with each other. This page highlights some of the tools available in Brightspace for communication and engagement including:

  1. Discussions
  2. Activity Feed
  3. Announcements
  4. Email and Instant messages
  5. Welcome Window
1. Discussions

To understand the Discussion tool in Brightspace, it’s important to become familiar with the terminology. In Brightspace there are three elements that make up the discussion tool:

  • Forums
  • Topics
  • Threads

Forum: A forum is like a container for your topics. A course with discussions must have at least one forum for discussion to happen. A forum will be populated with one or more topics. You can create different forums for organizing your discussion topics.

Topic: The topic represents what will be discussed. You may add as many topics to a forum as you wish.

Thread: The first comment within a topic begins a thread. Students and instructors can participate in a thread by responding to others. New threads may be started under one topic.

If your course has been copied from Blackboard you may already have discussion topics and in that case, a forum will have been created for you.
If you are working on a new course, you will have to create a forum before you can create discussion topics.

Here are some videos from Brightspace to help further with using the Discussion tool:


2. Activity Feed

Activity Feed brings a social media aspect to your course. It appears on the course home page. The Activity Feed can open communication pathways between you and your learners, and your learners with each other. Depending on your choice of settings learners can create and comment on posts.

Some ways you might you use the Activity Feed

  • As a social tool. Share reminders or interesting things you find online.
  • Highlight important course materials or dates. You can add links to course readings, activities, and more right from the Activity Feed.
  • Create a weekly bulletin, a welcome or a wrap-up.
  • Build your online community. Use it as a space for questions about quizzes, assignments or course materials to benefit all of your learners.



Announcements are a quick and easy way to communicate with your students right from your course Home Page.

Some ways you might use Announcements:

  • To share important information with your learners. Provide news such as cancellations, reminders, or upcoming assessments.
  • As an introduction. Introduce yourself and guide learners where to go and what to do to begin your course.
  • As rewards. Put conditions on specific announcements to reveal themselves to learners only when they have completed (or not completed) an activity or milestone


Email and Instant Messages

You can access email and instant messaging from the ‘mini bar’ (top white area) in Brightspace by clicking on the envelope icon.

If you want to email your learners from within your course, click on ‘class list’ in the blue navigation bar and you’ll find options for emailing some or all students.


Welcome Window (Quick Launch)

The Welcome Window is a pop-up page(s) that appears in a window that you use to post weekly mesages, important reminders or just an overview of what is coming up. Students see the page(s) immediately upon entering the course and click through the pages and dismiss once they have read. They can revisit the pages either through the Quick Launch blue button on the course home page or via the HTML page in the Content area.

Suggested Uses of the Welcome Window: Webpage

%d bloggers like this: