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Brightspace – Content & Activities


Course content is organized through Modules and Topics. Modules organize the units of your course (for example, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and so on) and Topics organize the content within each module (for example, Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, and so on.)


When learners access a Content & Activities , the first area they see is Syllabus.  Instructors can: 1) Add descriptive text about the syllabus using the Brightspace Editor beneath the Syllabus title, and 2) add a file attachment by dragging a file from your computer onto the upload target, or by clicking  Add Attachment from the Syllabus page.

Note: If you decide not to add anything to the Syllabus page, the link and page is hidden from student view.


Topics you bookmark appear in a list on the Bookmarks page. Click the Add Bookmark icon while viewing a topic to add it to your bookmarks list. The number beside the Bookmarks link indicates how many bookmarks you have.

Course Schedule

The Course Schedule page lists course material start dates, due dates, end dates, and other course events for the next seven days. If you set availability dates or a due date for a course object, it appears in the Course Schedule page and the Agenda view in the Calendar tool.

The dates listed on this page are not exclusive to Content topics; upcoming events include all events within the course from the Calendar tool. Click Course Schedule to view all past, current, and future course events. The number beside the  Upcoming link indicates how many upcoming events you have.

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents panel lists all Modules available in your course.

Read about Modules

Modules are like folders and are the “containers” for all course content. Brightspace calls content placed in Modules “Topics.” You must create a Module before you can add Topics. You can create Submodules (modules within existing modules) to establish a deeper hierarchy. However, creating 3 or more levels of folders will create display problems on mobile devices.

  1. Once inside of Content & Activities click on Add a module. Add a title and press enter.
  2. To Edit, Move or Delete that Module, click on the dropdown icon next to the Module’s title.
  3. To add dates and restrictions, or add a description for the Module, click on the area below the Module title. For more details visit our Knowledge Base article on managing dates.
  4. To add a Sub-Module click on the Add a sub-module button.

Click on a Module to view and manage its details, add topics, and sub-modules. You can also stay on the Table of Contents page to view and manage all modules and topics. Click the  Table of Contents link to access the Table of Contents page. This page enables you to view and manage all modules and topics. You can add new topics to existing modules by dragging and dropping files from your computer onto upload targets on the Table of Contents page, and you can also rearrange course materials by dragging and dropping topics between modules.

The number beside each module name in the Table of Contents panel listing indicates the number of topics you have set Completion Tracking for. The number beside the Table of Contents link indicates the total number of Topics you have set Completion Tracking for. Use the number totals to determine the task load being put on students per module.

Add Things to Modules

There are multiple ways to add things. The primary benefits of our suggestions below are that you can provide students with context for the files you’re linking to.

Brightspace is designed for students to navigate through modules using the Next/Back arrows. If you follow these suggestions, when they click the Next arrow, and they’ll see a page where you’ve written, “Here’s a PDF or Word doc I want you to read because…xyz.” Then they will be able to click the link to the file that you’ve included. (While Brightspace has more direct methods, we don’t recommend them in most cases, because you don’t have a clear way to provide context for the content you’re linking to.)

Add a PDF or Word Document

This option allows you to enter a description or context for the PDF or Doc you’re linking to.

  1. In the Module, click Upload/Create
  2. Click Create a file
  3. Enter a page title
  4. In the main text box or the HTML Editor, write the context for why you’re asking them to read the PDF, if desired.
  5. Click Insert stuff in the toolbar
  6. Select My Computer and then Choose File to browse for the file
  7. Click Upload, then Insert, and then Save and Close

Using this method, PDFs display within the browser window; however, Word documents are downloaded using this method. See Upload Files below and read how to add a Word document that displays within the browser window.

Pros and Cons of this alternative for Word documents
Pro: These steps will allow the Word file to open within the browser window rather than downloading it.
Con: Even if you add a description, students won’t see it unless they scroll to the very bottom of the page.
Therefore, if you want the Word document to display within the browser window rather than being downloaded, you might consider adding your description or context at the top of the Word document itself.

  1. Click Upload/create
  2. Choose Upload Files > My Computer
  3. Click Upload and select the file and click Add
  4. Click Add Description at bottom
  5. To also add a description that appears on the module list, click the down arrow next to the file name in the module.
  6. Choose Edit Properties in Place
  7. Add a description or context here, as well as dates of availability if desired

You might think that the best way to add a link is to click the Upload/Create button and then, “Add a Link” but we don’t recommend that! Why? Because when students navigate through the module components using the “next” or “back” arrows, they’re suddenly dumped unceremoniously on the website. No explanation. No warning, No context. So the best way to add a link is to:

  1. In the Module, click Upload/Create
  2. Click Create a file
  3. Enter a page title
  4. Click the link icon in toolbar. (See image.)
  5. Scroll down and click Url from the list. (See image.)
  6. Paste in the URL and enter what the link text should say. (See image.)
  7. Click Insert. Then click Save and Close

Connect Existing Activities or Third Party tools to Modules

  1. Click on the Existing Activities button within the Module and select one of the tools listed, or choose External Learning Tools where more are listed.

Audio/Video Content Type

If you have a video already created, upload it to a streaming service such as UVM Streaming, Microsoft Stream (log in with UVM NetID here: Office.com) or YouTube follow these steps:

  1. Click Upload/Create
  2. Choose Video or Audio
  3. Do not choose Upload
  4. Under Web Video or Audio, enter the link to the video.
  5. After you’ve saved it, you can click the down arrow on the module page to add a description which will appear to students under the video player. (A link to the video still displays it on the page – embedding isn’t necessary.)

If you’d like to record yourself for up to 30 minute, Brightspace will caption the video for you.

    1. Click Upload/Create
    2. Choose Create a File
    3. Give the page a title and then choose Insert Stuff from the text box toolbar.
    4. On the Insert Stuff options list, choose Audio/Video Note
    5. Click record on either the audio or video view
    6. For it to be captioned, you must choose the language type
    7. Save and Close – processing the media will take some minutes but after you’ve saved it you can leave that page.

Updated on January 25, 2024

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