Instructor Support for Educational Systems

How do I navigate through a course?

Updated Mar 08, 2021

This article will cover all you need to know about navigation through a course. Are you looking for information on how to navigate through the Brightspace Homepage? Please click here.

1. The Course Homepage

When you click on a course from the Brightspace Homepage, the course homepage will be the first page you land on. Every course homepage has the same layout (regardless of whether you are a student or a staff member).

  1. The header within courses contains a minibar with the ability to send mails from your course, see notifications etc.
  2. From the blue navigation bar you can access several course tools.
  3. The Welcome widget enables you to set a message and change the banner on the course homepage.
  4. From the Visual Table of Contents you can quickly navigate to course content.
  5. In the Announcements on the course homepage you can place announcements for your students.
  6. In the Calendar widget you can review upcoming events/activities/deadlines for this specific course.

Please click on the topics below for in-depth information of each element of the course homepage

2. The Course Header

  1. Click on the Universiteit Leiden logo to return to the Brightspace Homepage.
  2. Click on the Course Name to return to the course homepage.
  3. Click on the Course Selector icon to quickly navigate to another course.
  4. Click on the Message Alert icon to access Sent Mail. See here for more information [manual under construction]
  5. Click on the Subscription Alert icon to review notifications on  discussion threads/fora you subscribed to.
    • If there is an orange notification badge present, it means there is an update in one of the discussion threads/fora you subscribed to.
    • You can control if you receive updates on subscriptions. [manual under construction].
  6. Click on the Update Alerticon to review.
    • If there is an orange notification badge present, it means there is a new update for you.
    • You cannot control the update alerts that come through here.
  7. Click on your name or picture to access your personal profile or to Log Out. See below for more information on:
  8. Click on the Cog to quickly navigate to Import/Export/Copy Components. See here for more information.

3. The Course navigation bar

  1. Click on Course Home to return to the course homepage.
  2. Click on Content go directly to your Course Content. See here for more information
  3. Click on Grades to access the Grades tool. See here for more information.
  4. Click on Course Toolsto access the following tools (click on the tool name to see more information):
  5. Click on Help to go to the Brightspace online manual

4. The Welcome widget

You are able to adjust the course home banner and text in the Welcome Widget. Please see below how you can do this.

Homepage - 2021-S1 English 101 - Mozilla Firefox
  1. Click on the three dots of the Welcome widget, to change the text and banner image.
  2. Upload your own image
  3. OR choose one of the default images.
  4. Adjust the Text Contrast Level as desired
  5. Adjust the Text in the banner as desired
  6. Finally, hit Save.

5. The Visual Table of Contents

The Visual Table of Contents consists of tiles with direct links to Units in your course content. Click on the image/name of a tile to directly navigate to that specific Unit.

Homepage - 2021-S1 English 101 - Mozilla Firefox


As you can see in the image above, you might see an extra icon or two on top of the Unit tiles. When you click on the Information icon the tile will flip and the introductory text will be shown. If you click on the Forward icon you will go to the first topic of the course.

In the example above we have:

  1. A Unit called General Information with content topics
  2. A Unit called Assignment(s) with an introductory text.
  3. A Unit called Web Lectures with both content topics and an introductory text.
  4. A Unit called Exam(s) with no content topics and no introductory text.

See here for more information how you can control what is shown in the Visual Table of Contents and how you should design the Unit pages in content [manual under construction].

6. Course Announcements

Homepage - 2021-S1 English 101 - Mozilla Firefox
  1. Click on the arrow to create a new announcement, reorder your announcements etc. Click here for more information.
  2. If you click on the x next to an announcement, you only dismiss it from your own view.
    • If you wish to delete the announcement for students, see here for more information.
  3. Under Show All Announcements you can review all (dismissed) Announcements in your course.

7. Course Calendar

  1. Click on the current date to open the Month View of the course calendar
  2. Click on a date with a dot, to review that day's events/activities/deadlines.
  3. Click on Upcoming events to review all future events of this course.

Tip! Review the extensive manual on the Calendar widget to see all possibilities and features.

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