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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Introduction

Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/stc/brightspace/intro.html

If you are new to D2L | Brightspace, this is a great place for you to start. Below we will be going over what D2L | Brightspace is, how to get into it as a student, and how to navigate the program. If you ever have any questions on the subject you can either ask them on our Contact Us page or by going down to the IT Solutions center, located in the basement of Wissink Hall in the ACC.

What is D2L | Brightspace

D2L | Brightspace is a Learning Management System or LMS for short. What that is exactly, is an online program to assist in teaching classes. Minnesota State University, Mankato, along with the other colleges and universities in the Minnesota State system, use this program to help teach their classes. This LMS allows for courses to be taught completely online through it, simply and easily. As a student here at Minnesota State University, Mankato, you may find that you have a class or two that is entirely online through D2L | Brightspace. However, this is also a great tool to enhance classes that are taught in person, and you may find this in your classes here as well. Instructors can place online quizzes, course materials, host discussions, and so much more through this system. As a student here at MSU you should get familiar with D2L | Brightspace, as you will likely need it throughout your time here.

How to get into D2L | Brightspace

To login to D2L | Brightspace there are a number of different places to go to get to the link to the login page. If any of the following suggestions aren't suitable for you to find easily here is a link to the page as well: http://d2l.mnsu.edu/. Once you are there, we recommend that you bookmark this page for easiest access to it, but you can certainly try any of the following to get there easily as well.

Through MSU's Website

While you are on any page on the MSU site (www.mnsu.edu, ahn.mnsu.edu, cob.mnsu.edu, etc.), there is a footer at the bottom of every page. On this footer there are several columns of links that are categorized by the type of information you will recieve by following each link.

While you are viewing our website through a mobile device such as a smartphone, or just have the window rather thin on your computer, the footer will appear as a set or dropdown menus with the same headers.

Whether you are on mobile or a computer you will find that there is a heading titled Campus Services. Under that heading or dropdown menu you will find a number of links to various services that the campus provides. Here you can find a link titled D2L Brighspace. This link will directly bring you to the login page for D2L | Brightspace.

Using the Search Bar

If you don't want to scroll down to the bottom of an MSU page, you can always just stay right up at the top to get to the D2L | Brightspace login page. At the top of every MSU page, there is a small black bar with some links to various campus resources. On the right hand side there is a Search Bar. Here you can type in whatever you want to search through our entire website. If you type in the keywords D2L or Brightspace you will find that the top link is for the login page:

Logging In to D2L | Brightspace

To login to D2L | Brighspace you must enter your StarID and password. If you are not sure what your StarID is, don't know where to find it, or more go to http://www.mnsu.edu/starid/ for more information. Once you have logged in, you will be able to see all the classes that you are currently enrolled in at MSU.

D2L | Brightspace Homepage

The homepage of D2L | Brightspace is fairly simple. At the top of the page you will find a small menu bar. This menu bar will stay up no matter what page you are on within D2L | Brightspace. Here you can get quick links back to the homepage, jump to specific courses, and more. Below there is a series of dropdown bars that should be open for Announcements, My Courses, Course Evaluations, Student Resources, and System Information. Below System Information there is an additional block that has links to Library Services, D2L Helpline, and the Center for Academic Success.

Menu Bar

The Menu Bar is a great way to quickly switch between your courses in D2L | Brightspace as well as manage your student profile. As previously stated, this bar will be atop every page you are on while in D2L | Brightspace. The furthest left links, House Icon or the MNSU Logo, brings you right back to the homepage from anywhere.

Across from the MNSU Logo is the Waffle Icon . Here you will see a full list of courses which you are currently enrolled in. Here you can click on any of them to bring you right to each course's homepage. Over your time here at MSU, you may find that you enroll in other certificate programs or other non-class courses, and they will also be showing up here in this dropdown menu. To get to the courses you use most frequently we recommend that you click on the pin icon next to the name of any course and it will pin it to the top of this list as well as show up within the My Courses Widget.

Alternatively, if you are looking for all of your courses you will be able to find them by clicking the View All Courses link at the bottom of the My Courses Widget.

On the right-hand side of the Waffle icon you will find a series of three other icons, the first of which being the Letter icon. This particular icon will bring you to either Instant Messages or Email. There is an instant messaging feature within D2L | Brightspace that will allow you to directly contact your classmates within your courses, or even your professors. Otherwise you can also send them an email through D2L | Brightspace as well. Here at MSU we use Office 365's Outlook program for our email so you can only send emails through D2L | Brightspace, but not recieve them. To check your email go to http://mavmail.mnsu.edu/ and login using your StarID and Password.

Next to the Letter icon icon you will find a Chat Bubble icon. Here you will find notifications on items you are subscribed to within D2L | Brightspace. When you are in a course that utilizes online discussions in D2L | Brightspace, those are items you will be able to subscribe to. For example, your professor may assign you to make a post on a discussion question. After you have created your post, you are automatically subscribed to your owwn posts. When another classmate or your professor makes a comment on your post, you will get a notification here.

Beside the Chat Bubble icon, you will find a Bell icon. This is a dropdown of recent notifications from your courses. For example, if a professor of yours has updated your class with a new announcement, or assignment that is due. You will get a notification here. You will know if you have a new notification if there is a small orange dot on the icon. Make sure when you login that you pay attention to the icons on the Menu Bar so that you can stay up to date with your classes!

Finally on the Menu Bar there is a profile dropdown with your name on it. Here you can manage your profile, edit your notification and account settings, and log out from here. You will notice that even without clicking on this dropdown, you can see your name and an image. If you click the Profile link you can edit a nickname for yourself, and change your profile picture for D2L | Brightspace. Notifications link allows you to manage how you get notifications besides just them showing up on your Menu Bar. You can set D2L | Brightspace to send you emails and/or text messages when there are a number of different updates within the site. Account Settings link is the place to go to change your personal experience with D2L | Brighspace.

Announcements

On the hompage of D2L | Brightspace there is a number of dropdowns that will likely be open when you first login. The first of which is the Announcements dropdown. Here is where you will find announcements directly from the Univeristy. There will never be any from your individual classes on here. You can click the down arrow directly next to the title to manage this particular section of your homepage. The arrow on the far right end is to control the dropdown for it.

Next to each listing within the Announcements sections there is a small X so that you can remove any of the listings to no longer appear there. This would be helpful to you if you read the listings, then closed them so that whenever you logged in and saw a listing under the Announcements, you would know that it is new information. Otheriwse, if you click on the Xs unintentially, or just want to go back and look at all of your past announcements, there is a link to follow at the bottom of the section Show All Announcements.

My Courses

The My Courses Widget will show you all the courses you have pinned along with a link at the bottom to all your courses. Throughout your time here at MSU you should be looking to pin your courses so that they will show up here and at the top of the Waffle icon's menu. This will give you quicker access to these courses, but you will have to re-pin new courses you are taking every semester. However, doing this does keep your homepage cleaner and smaller, which is extremely helpful if you are using D2L Brightspace from a mobile device.

Clicking the View All Courses link will open up a page that shows you all of the courses you have access to. Courses you have pinned will show up on the top of this page, as well as within the My Courses Widget and at the top of the Waffle icon menu. To pin courses from here, simply mouse over the image for the course. Click the elipsis icon. Click where it says Pin.

Student Resources

There may be times in your classes that you need a little extra help. Whether that be with your class or otherwise, we have resources here to help you any time that you need it. The Student Resources dropdown menu is a great place for a number of different things you might need. These are organized into three sections for you, to distinguish the types of help you might need.

Technical has some great resources on help you might need with particular software. If you need help figuing out D2L | Brightspace a little better, download the Lockdown Browser to take a quiz for a class, and more. An extremely useful resource to use here is the link for Lynda.com. This is a training site for more or less, anything you can think of. All of their trainings are in video format with files that you can download and work alongside the presenter. They even have manuscripts for the videos if you need them! MSU provides free accounts to all students and faculty.

Student Success makes sure you have access to resources that you might need. The Accessibility Resources link is especially crucial to those students whom need the support. If you are a student with accessibility needs, please contact the Accessibility Resources office by either following that link or by calling them at (507) 389-2825 and they would love to help you. Also to make sure you are following our code of conduct here at MSU there is a link to the Student Handbook if you need it!

Finally, the Academic section is for a great set of links to help you with academic success. If you need class support by tutoring or assistance writing a paper you can check out the Center for Academic Success and the Writing Center respectively. There are also links to connect you to advising resources, library servies, and more.

Course Evaluations

The Course Evaluations dropdown will likely be blank for most of the year. However, check back here at the end of each semester. There will likely be a online survey here for each of your classes that you take here at MSU. These are evaluations for you to fill out about your classes. These are entirely voluntary, however we here at MSU are continuously trying to improve upon your student experience. If you liked the class or professor, let us know! If you didn't like your class or professor, we want to know that too so we can help improve all of our courses across the campus!

System Information

System Information will likely be rather small when you first see it, and throughout your time here at MSU. This is where the University will be placing information specifically about D2L | Brightspace as it may effect your student experience. It is important to note that there will always be a link here for scheduled downtimes for D2L | Brightspace when they do mantinence. You should definitely check out this schedule to plan accordingly if one of those times falls in line with an assignment deadline.