Universiteit Leiden

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Brightspace (FGW)

Brightspace is the online learning environment of Leiden University.

The faculty of Humanities uses Brightspace intensively as an online addition to education. Brightspace is used to access other applications, such as for plagiarism checks and online grading (Turnitin), peer review (FeedbackFruits/Pitch2Peer), videos (Kaltura) and voting during classes (Wooclap). Links to weblectures and knowledge clips are also offered through Brightspace.  


For all questions regarding Brightspace you can contact ecole@hum.leidenuniv.nl. We are happy to make an appointment to go over all your question, digitally or, when possible, at the university.

Trainings and open office hour

Before the start of each academic year, an open office hour is organised where you can ask all your questions regarding the digital learning environment. Trainings are organised for some Brightspace functionalities. These trainings are announced through the faculty newsletter and this website.

Instruction videos

Through several instruction videos you can get acquainted with how Brightspace works. An overview of all available videos is accesible here. The faculty also offers some videos:

Manuals and getting to work

  • On Screensteps, all functionalities in Brightspace, from Assignments to Quizzes, are explained in an easy to follow, step-by-step, way.
  • Log in to Brightspace here. To log in, you use your ULCN login details (like Blackboard).
  • Practice in your Sandbox. You will find this personal practice environment when you sign in on Brightspace.
  • Take a look at this online training. This training module can be found on Brightspace when you log in and you can go through the training at your own pace. 


How are Brightspace modules created?

Brightspace modules are created based on the courses that are scheduled in uSis. Scheduling in Usis therefore needs to be finished before Brightspace modules are created. Separate modules are, in principle, not being created.

What if my course is missing before classes begin

It is most probable that you cannot find the course because you have not been added to the course yet. For the time being, this is done semi-manually. It is also possible that the course has not been scheduled in uSis yet, or has not been put through to Brightspace yet. In all cases, make sure to contact ecole@hum.leidenuniv.nl.  

Can I change my course’s title?

Probably not; titles in Brightspace are taken from uSis. In uSis, course titles are, in principle, not changed. Contact the education administration office to make sure.

How do students register for the correct course? 

Students register for a course in uSis and are automatically registered for the correct course in Brightspace. The two systems are linked, which was not the case with Blackboard.

Can students be added to Brightspace modules?

Do you want to add a student to your Brightspace module? If enrollment via MyStudymap/uSis is not an option and it's not a student assistant (for whom a staff account is required), an enrollment link can be generated which can be used by the student to gain direct access to the Brightspace module. They will have a read-only role and will be able to see what regular students see, but cannot interact within the Brightspace module. Interested? Get in touch with ECOLe.

Can students gain access to a course just to “have a look”?

Students who do not register in uSis for a course can be added as a Student Observer (read only) participant. They do need their own access to a ULCN account in order to do so. The course has to be added to the Discover platform within Brightspace’s environment. Students can register by using a registering link. Request this link by contacting ecole@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Can students not registered at Leiden University log in as well?

Currently not yet. The registering of students registered at other Dutch or foreign universities is not really an LMS problem. Agreements must be made between the educational institutions on how to deal with "cross-registration". Once that has been arranged (via uSis), students from outside the university will automatically be registered in Brightspace. 

What if a student is not able to access the course on Brightspace?

Students who are registered in uSis but cannot find their course in Brightspace are to contact ecole@hum.leidenuniv.nl
If they are not able to log in to Brightspace, they should contact the ISSC. Students registered in non uSis courses (such as the Academic Language Centre) should contact their administration.

Can I manually register students as a lecturer?

This is not possible. All student registrations are handled through uSis. Should students be registered directly in Brightspace outside of a uSis registration, the students will not be known in uSis. This means that grades for these ‘ghost students’ cannot be registered.

Can I manually register other colleagues as a lecturer

Yes, this is possible so long as your colleague has a ULCN account (either a staff member or guest account). Take a look at the online manual on Screensteps (Dutch) or take the following steps:

  • Click on course tools -> Classlist -> Add participants -> Add existing users.
  • Enter your colleague’s name or username.
  • Press Enter.
  • Select the correct person from the list.
  • Add the role: Instructor or Assistant Instructor.
  • Click Enroll Selected Users.
  • Click Done.

It often takes longer for exchange students to be known in uSis and with the uSis-Brightspace link, they might miss a course’s content for the first few weeks. How can this be fixed? 

Students without an account cannot be registered. A student can be found in uSis as soon as the student is registered at the university and has a student account (with an s-number). 

How can I add files to Brightspace? 

Several, and maybe unintentional, consequences can occur, depending on how you add files to Brightspace. Make sure you choose the correct one. 

Note: make sure that you do not add literature or other copyright protected materials to your course! Click here for more information. 

    1. Content > Add Existing > Browse or Drag&Drop. This way, you upload a file to Brightspace where it automatically converts to a .pdf file. Make the file accessible for a specified timeframe with Manage Dates and/or for a specific target group through Release Conditions.
    1. Content > Create New > HTML Document > Insert Stuff or Add link. This creates a link to a file, which opens in a new tab. Note: never add examination questions or other sensitive documents this way. Instead follow the protocol exams.
    1. Course Tools > Course Admin > Manage Files > Upload. This uploads a file to Brightspace, but does not convert it to .pdf, which allows you to, for example, play PowerPoint slides with audio. You can add the file to a Content folder through Content > Create New > HTML Document > Add link > Course file.

Can a section easily be made invisible for students? 

Yes, there is a clear option (link) to do this in the course. Afterwards, you can check whether content is displayed correctly by using the option View as Student.

What about copyright and Brightspace?

Click the orange copyright widget on the Course Home page of each course, or check the website: https://www.library.universiteitleiden.nl/teachers/copyright-for-teachers

Do you have a lot of assignments in your Brightspace gradebook that you'd like to put together? Use a Grade Category! Do this via Grades > Manage Grades > New > Category. Under Weight, enter the weight of all the assignments combined towards the final average grade. If the assignments all have the same weight within the category, choose "Distribute weight evenly across all items" under Distribution. Click Save and Close. Add the individual assignments to the category by opening them, then choose the category from the dropdown menu. You can collapse the category in Enter Grades. More information on Grade Categories can be found here. Check out the steps in this instruction video (01:05). 

Do you have an announcement that you would like to post to multiple Brightspace modules? It is now possible to copy announcements! Post an announcement to one Brightspace module and then click on the drop-down menu next to the title. At the bottom, you'll find the option 'Copy to Other Courses'. You can then copy the announcement to multiple courses at the same time. 

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