Frequently asked questions and answers about CNM's transition from Blackboard to Brightspace. These answers will be updated as more information becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new learning management system (LMS) called?

The new LMS is called Brightspace. It was created by the company D2L. The specific package that CNM purchased is called Brightspace Core.

When will the new LMS go live?

The first courses to be taught in Brightspace will be Dec. 2020—Jan. 2021 Intersession courses. In January 2021 all online, hybrid, and web-enhanced CNM courses will use Brightspace. 

What are the differences between Blackboard and Brightspace?

There are several differences that allow faculty more customization and flexibility in creating course content. Some of the new features include:

  • Instructors and students have the ability to create video notes or video discussions.
  • An activity feed allows for real-time rolling questions and answers or quick class posts without using a discussion announcement tool.
  • Instructors can create awards, certificates, and badges for students.
  • Instructors can use data analytics to track student progress in the course.
  • Instructors can set up hints in quizzes.
  • Instructors can disallow access to IM, email, or other communication during a test or quiz, so students cannot contact each other.
  • Instructors can restrict discussions to individuals, groups, or the entire class. This allows faculty to set up spaces for collaboration or for individual reflection.
  • Intelligent Agents allow faculty to customize automatic communication to students using several criteria, such as submission of an assignment or not accessing the course for a set period.
  • Students have better control over content they create through the e-Portfolio.
  • Faculty have access to a mobile grading app.

There are more functionalities that Brightspace offers that you will learn about during training.

Will I still access the LMS through

You will be able to access Blackboard courses at the URL through fall 2020.

Brightspace access will be available through a new URL in spring 2020 that will continue to be used after the transition.

Is there an app for Brightspace?

Yes. There is a student app, Pulse, and a faculty grading app that allows for online or offline grading and feedback. You can find out more at the Brightspace Apps site.

In general, the Brightspace website is better suited to mobile web browsers. Much of the site’s functionality is available without an app.

When will I have access to Brightspace?

Faculty will gain access to Brightspace when training starts in spring of 2020.

If you want to see what Brightspace is like as a student or instructor before then, you can sign up for the 30-day trial. See "How do I access the 30-day trial?" on this page.

When will the training occur?

Training will start in late spring of 2020 for faculty and will continue throughout the year. Orientation for students will occur in fall 2020.  This site will be updated as needed.

What type of training will CNM offer?

Self-paced, online training and face-to-face training sessions will be available to faculty and staff. starting in spring 2020.

After training, what type of support will be available if I need help using Brightspace?

Each school will have peer coaches and subject matter experts available to provide hands-on help. Distance Learning Staff will be available to provide support. Faculty can also search for information and post in the Brightspace Community.

Will there be an orientation or Jumpstart module for faculty and students?

Yes, there will be a redesigned Jumpstart module for both faculty and students.

When will TLOL courses switch to Brightspace?

The tentative date is fall 2020.

Who will copy courses from Blackboard to Brightspace?

The Distance Learning Staff will copy Blackboard courses into Brightspace. Faculty will have access to these courses after they are copied and any required training has been completed. Faculty will need check the accuracy of the copy and verify that the course components work.

Which courses will be copied from Blackboard to Brightspace?

Distance Learning will copy courses that your department has designated as “Template” or “Consensus” first. They will copy the master shell into the shells for every section of the corresponding course. After this, they will fulfill course-copy requests for courses your department designates as “Individual”.

At this point, DL does not plan on copying content from instructors' modified versions of "Template" and "Consensus" courses for spring 2021. Training in 2020 will show Faculty how to export specific content from their Blackboard courses and import it into Brightspace.

How much will faculty need to modify a course after it has been copied from Blackboard?

Course content transfers well from Blackboard to Brightspace. DL and ITS are currently building and testing the Course Migration tool and making adjustments as needed to ensure the best outcomes.

After a course is copied, instructors will need to check that links, assessments, and other learning resources work. Instructors will need to recreate their gradebook and link any thrid-party content into Brightspace.

There will be a detailed checklist for instructors that will help them make sure the course is ready for students.

What will happen to publisher and other third-party content?

The transition to Brightspace will not affect third-party content. Instructors will need to link the third-party content to Brightspace. Training in 2020 will address these issues.

Do test pools and assessments copy from Blackboard to Brightspace?

Yes. Test pools and assessments copy, but faculty will need to check and modify settings to ensure they function as before. Training in 2020 will address these issues.

Can I continue to use Collaborate Ultra in Brightspace?

Brightspace has a tool called Virtual Classroom, powered by Bongo. You will have similar functionality in the Virtual Classroom as you currently do in Blackboard Ultra.

What will happen to old courses that I may need in the future?

Because of the number of courses DL needs to copy before the transition, they will only be able to copy content for courses that you’ll be teaching in spring 2021. If you will not be teaching a course in spring 2021, you must personally archive the Blackboard content for that course by the end of December 2020.

Archive the content from a Blackboard course by clicking “Export/Archive Course” under “Packages and Utilities”. Save these files in multiple, secure locations. You will be able to import that content into a future Brightspace course or request that DL import it for you through a course-copy request.

What will happen to the documents and information currently housed in Blackboard Community Sites? Can we move those to Brightspace?

Brightspace does not have a feature like Blackboard Community. Departments will need to move these materials before spring 2021. More information will be available about this move in spring 2020.

How do I access the 30-day trial?

The 30-day trial will let you see what Brightspace looks like as a student and instructor, but its features and organization will not be exactly the same as they are at CNM. Any content you create there may not transfer to our implementation of Brightspace as expected. Distance Learning staff will not be able to assist you with the 30-day trial or moving content from the 30-day trial.

If you want to check it out, go to the D2L trial site, click on “Higher Education”, and then sign up for an account.

Can I renew my 30-day trial?

You cannot renew your 30-day trial, but you can create a new account using a different email address. The content you created using the old account will not be available in the new account, but it can be saved and imported.

If we create content in the 30-day trial, can we save it for later use?

Be aware that some content and settings may not transfer well, or at all, between the 30-day trial and Brightspace at CNM. Distance Learning staff will not be able to assist you with these transfers. At this point, we do not recommend doing extensive work within the trial.

To save content from the 30-day trial, use the “Import/Export/Copy Components” tool under the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the site.

Can I import content from Blackboard into the 30-day trial?

Yes, but not all content and settings will migrate as expected. Distance Learning Staff is still learning about the migration tool and will not be able to provide support.

We recommend that you go through the 30-day trial’s introduction as a student and instructor before importing content.

When you are ready, export the content from Blackboard by clicking “Export/Archive Course” under “Packages and Utilities”. Import the content into the 30-day trial using the “Import/Export/Copy Components” tool under the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the site.

More questions?

If you have additional questions about the transition to Brightspace that you think should be addressed on this page, contact Judith Tomasson.