Welcome to Brightspace Essentials for CUNY SPS Faculty and Staff! This series of self-paced mini lessons is designed to equip instructors with the essential skills needed to navigate and use the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS). While this course is not exhaustive, it aims to serve as a quick reference guide for mastering the basics of Brightspace.

What is Brightspace?

Brightspace is a comprehensive learning management system that is modern and easy to use for faculty, staff, and students. It offers new capabilities to support teaching and learning across different modalities, supports growth in online learning, provides advanced analytics that contribute to student success, and lays a foundation for engaging learning experiences that facilitate interaction and learning in online courses.



Brightspace Essentials will help you:

  • Familiarize yourself with basic navigation and functions of Brightspace.
  • Manage content, engagement, and assessment.
  • Provide feedback and manage grading.

Time Commitment

Brightspace Essentials is chunked into 15-minute lessons, so you can go through one or two a day and become familiar with the essential instructor functions of the LMS in a week or two. Units include key information, advice on how to use the tool efficiently and effectively, a quick self-assessment for you, suggested practice activities that you can do in just a few minutes, and links to additional resources.


We recommend creating an account with your CUNY email address in the D2L Brightspace Community site. The Brightspace Community site includes documentation for instructors, training, including live online sessions, and community forums.

The CUNY LMS Transition Team offers training and support resources on their transition website.

SPS faculty and staff can contact brightspace@sps.cuny.edu. Please include ‘Brightspace Essentials’ for support with this self-paced course specifically. SPS faculty and staff may also send general questions about Brightspace or the LMS transition to this address.


Unit 1:  Brightspace Login and Navigation
Unit 2: Course Content in Brightspace
Unit 3: The Brightspace Editor
  • Become familiar with the text editor navigation and tools.
  • Insert links, files, multimedia and equations.
  • Check the accessibility of content.
  • Unit 3: The Brightspace Editor (Opens in new tab.)
Unit 4: Announcements, Emails, and Instant Messages
Unit 5: Online Discussions
Unit 6: Brightspace Assignments
Unit 7: Grading
Unit 8: Video in Brightspace
  • Using Panopto and other external video platforms in Brightspace
  • Creating Brightspace Video and Audio Notes
  • Unit 8: Video in Brightspace (Opens in new tab.)

Acknowledgements & Licensing

The CUNY SPS Brightspace Essentials series is based on collaborative work initiated by the Hostos Office of Educational Technology (EdTech), Hostos Community College, CUNY. Units 1, 2, 4, and 5 are adapted from content created by Ana Marjanovic, Instructional Technology Specialist at Hostos EdTech.

All CUNY SPS Brightspace Essentials content is licensed CC0 1.0. It may be reused and adapted freely.

Accessibility Statement

Brightspace Essentials has been designed following the guidelines in Appendix A: Checklist for Accessibility of the CUNY SPS Accessibility Toolkit. It includes:

  • Easy navigation. A linked menu is available on every page, and ‘back’ and ‘next’ navigation links appear at the bottom of every page. Headings are used consistently throughout. The site is keyboard-navigable and responsive.
  • Accessible images. We’ve attempted to ensure that the text instructions throughout the site are clear and complete. Accompanying images include alternative text in cases where they provide additional information and are marked as decorative when they do not. Images can be enlarged by clicking on them. Annotations in images have been created with maximally contrastive color.
  • Accessible links. All links use descriptive link text.
  • Accessible language. Instructions have been provided in clear, direct language.

Known Accessibility Issues and Areas for Improvement

No known issues.

Please Let Us Know if You are Having Problems Accessing this Resource

We are always looking for ways to make our resources more accessible. If you have problems accessing this resource, please contact us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu.

Please include the following information:

  • The name of the resource, Brightspace Essentials, in the subject field of your email.
  • The location of the problem by providing a web address or page description.
  • A description of the problem
  • The computer, software, browser, and any assistive technology you are using that can help us diagnose and solve your issue (e.g., Windows 10, Google Chrome (Version 65.0.3325.181), NVDA screen reader)

This statement was last updated on 01/02/24.