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About Brightspace

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Enhanced accessibility

Meeting the needs of our students with disabilities and other individualized learning needs is critical to our mission. Ally, the tool that generates alternative formats that enable students to choose how to engage with the course’s digital content, is available only in Blackboard/Brightspace. Use of Ally supports CUNY’s compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which mandates that course content assigned within our programs is accessible to students with disabilities.

Brightspace provides accessibility features such as automated closed captioning.

student smiling

Consistency and standardization

Enhanced consistency in interface and navigation structure makes it easier for students to locate and access course materials, assignments, discussions, and grades.

This consistency eliminates confusion and empowers students to focus on the content of the course rather than grappling with various interfaces and tools.

Training Resources

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Integration with CUNYfirst

Official course rosters are automatically uploaded to the LMS prior to the start of the term. Adjusted class rosters are uploaded during the Add/Drop period.

With Brightspace implementation, there will be more frequent data load to LMS, reducing the time to access course material/content for student and faculty during enrollment peak periods.

Any updates made in CUNYfirst, such as changes to course schedules or instructor assignments, will be reflected in Brightspace. This will ensure that students always have access to the most up-to-date information about their classes.

Integration will enable automatic syncing of final grades from Brightspace to CUNYfirst. This will save time by eliminating the need to manually enter grades in CUNYfirst.

Combined data from CUNYfirst and Brightspace will provide a comprehensive view of student performance and engagement. We will be able to analyze this data to identify trends, track progress, and make informed decisions about curriculum and support services.

Users (students and faculty) will access both CUNYfirst and Brightspace using the same set of credentials, Single Sign-On (SSO), enhancing user convenience and security.

Brightspace Login
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Expanded features and Improvements from Blackboard

Mobile-friendly, responsive platform and native mobile applications.

Integration with third-party tools (Zoom, Echo360), publishing platforms, Respondus, anti-plagiarism tools (TurnItIn) and more.

The Student Success System provides instructors with predictive analytic dashboards so they can quickly see at-risk students. This enables instructors to provide tailored interventions to help correct the student’s learning path earlier in the semester.

The adaptive learning tool, LeaP, determines gaps in a student’s skill set and then provides the right content targeted to each student’s specific areas of improvement. This smart engine dynamically adjusts and recommends content based on student achievement and progress through course material, which not only creates efficiencies for instructors, but also engages students and promotes their success by adjusting to their activities and needs throughout the semester.

Learning Objective Repository (LOR) contains resources and shared content within courses, disciplines/departments or schools that may be accessed directed within the LMS bringing content such OER, quizzes, study guides, model assignments, media or readings to students without exiting the learning environment.

The Student Success System, Adaptive Learning tool (LeaP), and Learning Objective Repository (LOR) might not be included in the original implementation. If not, it will be added in at a later date.

Classic Content Experience details the content within each topic module allowing students to better plan their activities and assess their progress towards completing learning activities. Deadlines for activities, assignments and assessments are reflected in a calendar which enables students to manage their time within courses and term.

group of students outdoors

Centralized communication

Video conferencing tools, i.e., Zoom and Teams are incorporated in Brightspace.

After testing the the email options available, the University’s preferred email option “Course Mail” faced numerous challenges. As thus, the University has opted to use the “Send-only” email option. Send-only email allows users to send but not receive email. In Brightspace, after the email is sent, the correspondence will occur in local email accounts (Course Mail will be revisited in the future).

The LMS acts as a centralized hub for communication between instructors and students.

Important announcements, updates, and reminders can be effectively conveyed to the entire class through the LMS, minimizing the likelihood of students missing critical information and promoting a strong sense of community within the virtual classroom.

Brightspace LMS

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Enhanced student engagement

The LMS offers a wide range of interactive features that foster student engagement and active participation.

Discussion boards, quizzes, polls, and multimedia integration provide instructors with tools to create dynamic and interactive learning experiences. Students can engage with the content and their peers in meaningful ways, promoting a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Brightspace Community


Enhanced data privacy, security, and retention in compliance with federal and state laws

Brightspace is designed to support the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of course content. Specific examples are provided below. Online courses delivered outside of the university-supported LMS lack the requisite level of privacy, security, and retention.

Higher Education Act (HEA), 34 C.F.R. §600.2, regulation requires that all classes offered as distance education contain regular and substantive interaction between the instructor and students, which can be tracked through the LMS.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title II, requires enhanced accessibility.

There are numerous state, federal, and international privacy laws that CUNY must comply with, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Using Brightspace enables CUNY to ensure data privacy and security for students in online classes.

CUNY is required to report student and online course data to various entities such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Homeland Security, Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Using Brightspace enables CUNY to provide accurate data as required.

Federal regulations require that students receiving Title IV aid, which includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loans, and Federal PLUS Loans must attend class regularly and have verified attendance remain eligible to receive financial aid funds. Using Brightspace enables the Financial Aid office to verify attendance of students in online classes.

CUNY’s Intellectual Property Policy