MaterialsPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/stc/brightspace/materials.html
Quite literally, this is a calendar of your course. You will see all of the assignments, due dates, and scheduled tests in your course on here, laid out in a calendar view. You can choose to view the events within your course by day, week, month, in a list or daily agenda view. That will show up on the left-hand side of the page. If there are events shown, you can click on them to bring up a small pop-up to show you the event in more detail.
On the right-hand side there is a small calendar shown. Each day's number will be shown in gray unless it has an event that day, then the number will be black. You can click on any of the numbers to immediately bring up that day on the left-hand side to see in more detail what is happening on that day.
Below the calendar on the right-hand side, there is a Task list. Tasks can be created by yourself, or by your instructor as a reminder of what you should be doing within your class. Much like the Checklist feature below, you will be able to have a digital list of tasks that you can check off to help you stay on track with your course. Once you have checked them, they will disappear. However, you can always look at all of your completed tasks by clicking a link that will be right under the Tasks section, View Completed Tasks.
In the top right portion of the Calendar page, you can see a Print, Settings, and a Search Bar. With the Print link, a window will appear that will allow you to print out a page with all the events that you want to see within a particular set of dates. There are printing options within this window that you can remove or show the MSU D2l | Brightspace branding, showing full event details, and having events be on their own page entirely. Also within this window you will see a preview of what the page will look like that you are going to print, and changing the printing settings previously mentioned will also update the preview with those changes as well. When you click to print, you can send it to a printer, or you likely have an option on your computer to Print to PDF. It may be called something else, but you will likely have an option so that you can save this page as a PDF on your computer.
Within the Settings you can change when the "Core Hours" are for you. I would take a look at this on a semester basis and change your "Core Hours" to reflect when your classes will be using the calendar the most. This way you can more easily see the important information on your calendar.
It is highly recommended that you check the Enable Calendar Feeds check box. This is not turned on by default. By checking this box, this allows you to subscribe to your class calendar in an external fashion. You can then link this calendar to your Outlook calendar on Office 365, or any other digital calendar you want. A link to do so will appear next to the Settings link. Subscribing to an external calendar helps you to stay organized, and stay on top of important test and assignment due dates.
Here you can also change the settings for the Tasks menu. If you would like to always see your tasks even when you complete them, you can change that setting here. You can also edit how long the tasks appear for. There is also a check box for whether or not you want a confirmation box to come up when you are deleting tasks.
The Checklist feature is a great way to digitally keep track of what you have to do in D2L | Brightspace. Instructors can use this feature to have a list of tasks that students should accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly, or more basis. You can then click to check things off that you have done, and be able to go back and look at what you still have to get done. It is a great way to just double check within your classes that you are doing everything that your professor wants you to do.
The Content area is where you will find all the materials for your course. Here most instructors will have their courses laid out in a weekly or chapter basis. On the left-hand side of the page you will find a series of menu links. At the top is a Search Bar. If your instructor talks about something specific on D2L | Brightspace and you are unsure where to find it, this is a great tool to get you there just a little bit quicker. Just type in a keyword of what you are looking for and it should show up for you to click on.
Below the Search Bar is a link to Bookmarks. If you are in a course that has quite a bit of content, the Bookmarks link may be useful to you. While you are looking at any of the material in the content section, you can bookmark it for later viewing, and it will show up under the Bookmark link. Using this in combination with using the Search Bar to find things quickly can help you to be a little more organized in the future. Doing this will help you get to content that you may be using quite a bit. For example, if your instructor has put the syllabus for your course on D2L | Brightspace, you would certainly want to bookmark that so you always know where to find it.
Course Schedule is another way to access the calendar information. Here you can see a list of events happening in an "Upcoming" or "Full Schedule" tab. The "Upcoming tab shows a list events that are happening Today, Tomorrow, and over the Next 7 days. The "Full Schedule" tab lists all the events that are occuring within your course over the course of the entire semester in chronological order.
Below these you will find another section of links headed by the Table of Contents. This is all of the content within your course organized into sections. Going to the Table of Contents will display all the content within your course on the main portion of the page. The content will be sectioned out into blocks that have headers synonmous with the left-hand menu.
You will see that next to each of the links in the left-hand menu, there is a small black number. This is showing you the ammount of viewable documents and links within that section. Once you have viewed each document or link, the number will begin to go down. When you have viewed all the content within that section, there will appear a green check mark in the left-hand menu where the black number was previously. To check whether or not you have viewed the content in each section, you can do so after having clicked on that section. In the main content area of the page, you will see all the documents and links in that section. On the far right hand side next to each document or link there will either be a gray check mark or a gray dot. The gray check mark means that you have viewed that content, while the gray dot means that you haven't yet viewed that content. To make a gray dot into a check mark, simply click on the document or link and it will then show that you have viewed it.
Next to each item within the content section you will see a small black dropdown arrow. This brings up a small menu for options to interact with this document or link. You will see options to View Topic, Submit Feedback, Send to Binder, and Download. Clicking View Topic just brings you right to the document or link as if you had simply clicked on the document/link title.
The Submit Feedback link is a way you can give your instructors feedback on specific parts of the course. If you really enjoyed, was disapointed, or otherwise with particular documents/links/etc. within the course you can click this link and provide feedback on. You can give a rating from 1 to 5 stars, as well as add a written comment for your feedback. There is even an option to submit the feedback anonymously.
Binder is an online file storage created by D2L | Brightspace. It is simply a way to keep and organize files online, and you can directly send files from D2L | Brightspace to it. What makes this program unique is that you can download a an app on your phone or mobile device to manage all of these files on the go. What makes this tool great is that you can download all of the files that you put into this app to view offline. In this way you can even keep up with your course material on the go without an internet connection.
Download simply allows you to download the file onto your computer. Once you click that, and after the download completes, you can see the file on your computer's Downloads Folder. Then you can take the file and put it anywhere you like on your computer.
The FAQ, or Frequently Asked Questions, is a place that your professor can place very common questions they may get about them or their class, and provide answers to them. These are designed to help solve simple questions that students might ask on a common basis. At the start of your semesters you should take a look over at this section, just in case there are questions answered there so you don't have to ask your professor!
The Glossary is a place where your instuctor can add vocabulary words and their definitions. This can be particularly helpful in courses with quite a bit of specific terminology. Here the words will be alphabetized, and put into sections by their first letter. You can view all the words in the Glossary at one time, or only view sections of it by letter by using the lettered links at the top of the page.
The Links page is a great place for your instructor to place links to common things you may need throughout your course. They may commonly be to databases for research purposes, especially useful articles, or even some websites. These links can be categorized, but if there are not very many links provided by your instructor, there will likely be only one header to place all the links under. While on the Links page, you can just click on the links to bring you right to where you want to go. These links will likely open within a new window or a new tab depending on your browser settings. Be aware of this, in case you lose track of where on are when using your browser.