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Overview: Communicating with your students

Overview: Communicating with your students

*An instructional video is also available at the end of each section for this topic. Scroll down in each section if you wish to watch the video. *


There are multiple ways to communicate with your students in Brightspace and you should pick the way that matches your intention.

The most common way, and preferred way of communication is with an announcement, posted on the front page on your course.

Below find a quick summary of the different ways to communicate in Brightspace.

Announcements are the preferred way to communicate. Many instructors have as their general course policy that announcements posted are expected to be read by their learners. The responsibility lies with the students. Students can choose, but must set this themselves, that these announcements are forwarded to their email.

The announcements also trigger a push notification, if the student has the Pulse app from Brightspace installed (link for Android; link for Apple). We recommend asking your students to install the app so that they can receive notifications as well as the materials from your course on their mobile devices.

For more information, please visit the page on Announcements.

The second way of communication is to send an email. Please note however, that by sending an email, from Brightspace, does not mean the students receive it and read it in the time frame that you hope them to do so. We recommend that you reserve the use of e-mail for situations where you need to communicate a change of venue or cancellation of a lecture or postponement of an assignment.

There are other ways that you can use email effectively in your course and that is here, in the assignment area. It is possible to e-mail students with no submissions or, while you are grading an assignment it is also possible to e-mail a student or a group of students directly over there.

For more information of how to communicate using email, please visit this link.

Another way you can communicate with your students is via a discussion board. An option is to create a discussion forum for the entire course, on your course website. Here students can ask general questions to each other, but also to yourself and the TAs (teaching assistants). If you use a lot of group work in your course you can also create a discussion board for each group. On this forum, students can then communicate amongst themselves, share files and if you have a coach leading the group, that coach can participate in that discussions and file-sharing as well.

If you are a coach you can email the students in your group directly from the groups tool and you can e-mail multiple groups that you are responsible for. This way you can target just the section of the class that you need to.

You can add chat boxes in your course. Simply open a module in your course.

  1. Click on the Existing Activities to open the drop-down menu;
  2. Select Chat.
  3. Click on Create New Chat and give the conversation a name and description.
  4. Scroll down and click on Create and Insert. It is advised that you make it clear in the Description what the purpose of the chat box is, and how often you will monitor what the students are posting in it. It is also a good idea to add a date restriction (or set it on Draft when not in use) to this item, so that the students do not use old chat boxes that are no longer monitored.
When creating a chat this way it will be a General type chat by default.


You an also create a chat by going to Course Admin and selecting the Chat option under Communication. When creating a chat from Course Admin it is possible to specify if the type of chat should be General or Personal. The general chat will allow all users enrolled in your course to participate. Users from other courses will not be able to access this chat. The personal chat allows you to add or remove users from its members list. You can also add users from other courses to allow them to participate.

How to use this to improve your course

There are multiple ways to communicate with your students. Announcements are the preferred way, followed by email and discussion boards. 

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