Phase II - VLE Transition

Dear Colleagues,

D2L with their solution Brightspace has been chosen as the new supplier for UCD's virtual learning environment.

Phase II, the scope of which is to smoothly transition to the new learning environment, is now well underway. Over 3,000 students are using the new live environment and we have received valuable feedback from Early Adopter students, staff and faculty. All modules have now been migrated across for the next Cohort (Cohort 1). Extensive face to face training, which has been designed by UCD specifically for UCD users, is running regularly to facilitate staff in using the new platform and all Cohort 1 students will receive access to Brightspace on the 14th January 2019. For further information on supports and steps involved in the process please read on.

Kind regards, 

Professor Jason Last

Introducing Brightspace

Here's what D2L says about Brightspace:

Brightspace is Easy
The user experience makes it easy for instructors to design courses, create content, and grade assignments. That gives you more time to focus on what really matters: teaching and learning.

  • Simple tools for course building and management
  • Available anytime and anywhere via mobile devices
  • Designed to facilitate compliance with accessibility standards

Brightspace is Flexible
Instructors can teach the way you want to teach. There’s support for inline collaboration and rich multimedia. And you can even customize content, assessments, or the interface itself.

  • Support for blended, online, and competency-based learning
  • Seamless integration with third-party LTI tools
  • Personalized audio and video feedback

Brightspace is Smart
Built-in analytics reports help you track and understand performance for departments, courses, or individuals. These can be used to tailor each learner’s experience to fit their needs and goals.

  • Powerful analytics tools and assessment capabilities
  • Class-wide performance dashboards and progress reports
  • Automated notifications and actions based on learner activities

See our introductory overview of Brightspace here and you can find Brightspace video tutorials on their YouTube channel or visit their website: 

brightspace logo

Key Milestones - Phase II

System Integration, Content Design, Training and Support

D2L Contract Signed – January 2018 ‌‌ Early Adopter modules 2018 - April - September 2018
Oversight Group formed – February 2018

Early Adopter – test integrations - April 2018
Implementation Group formed – February – April 2018 ‌‌‌‌‌‌ Early Adopter - build modules April – July 2018
Official Launch of Phase II - 20 March 2018 ‌‌ Early Adopter – train resources supporting EA modules
May – August
Develop integrations – March – July 2018 ‌‌‌ Early Adopter – transition modules - August 2018
Early Adopter Module Selection April - May 2018 ‌‌‌ Early Adopter – student orientation – September 2018
‌‌ UCD Customisation & Design of platforms - May - June 2018 Early Adopter – support and feedback September – October 2018
User Acceptance Testing - April – May 2018 Early Adopter – decomissioning of BB service - September 2018
Production ready environment – July/August 2018  ‌ Cohort 1 - is comprised of all Semester 2 modules with the exception of final year undergraduate modules and year long modules that commenced in September 2018
    Cohort 2 - all remaining modules (pending review) in Semester 1 (September) 2019-2020 Academic Year

What to expect when your modules are due for transition

My modules are coming up for transition. What happens next?

Step 1 - staff account is enabled for Brightspace access     Step 6 - staff member receives access to online training
 ‌ Step 2 - individual/private test module is created for staff member   Step 7 - staff member spends some time working in Brightspace with access to resources and training materials
  Step 3 - Module is migrated to Brightspace holding area for review   Step 8 - staff member attends training session 2
Step 4 - staff member is invited to book face to face training session(s)   Step 9 - staff member is advised of support methods and additional support resources available and any other optional training that could be made available
Step 5 - staff member attends training session 1   Step 10 - staff member notified of date module will be visible to
students (i.e. once student enrolments are processed)

Training Schedule

Cohort 1

If you have modules moving to Brightspace in Cohort 1 (click here to see a full list of modules in Cohort 1) it is important to book and attend the training provided, as it will take you through the content transfer process in more detail. Your sandbox module will be used for training.

Please book your training slot as soon as you can. Note it is not necessary to have your content already migrated to book onto training. The training plan focuses on 2 face-face training sessions per faculty/staff member:

1. Getting Started with Brightspace

2. Assessment, Feedback and Grading

Support Resources


Support Resources


Contact Details




Sample Queries



Brightspace Helpdesk

“Brightspace Helpdesk” widget on
the landing page

1800 903 294 (free)

Queries can be made via email,
phone, or chat
Just in time training and support relating to Brightspace features and functionality "How do I set release conditions?" 
“Can you remind me how to do create a quiz?"
“I wonder if it is possible to use html templates for content…“

IT Services Helpdesk

Extn 2700

Please include Brightspace in the subject of the email so the call can be routed straight to the ETS team.
UCD IT Support for troubleshooting queries relating to the use of Brightspace (& Blackboard) in UCD “Something is not working the way I expected it to.. “
“I cannot access my module…” 
“I have a problem with a test and not being able to edit questions"
Mon - Fri 
9.30am - 5.30pm

Future VLE Project Updates & Enquiries
Updates on the transition project and enquiries that relate to the transition process. “Is my module due for transition?”
“When can I expect to hear from you?"
“What information is being made available to students?”  
Mon - Fri 
9.30am - 5.30pm

Future VLE Training Team

Enquiries that relate to training for Brightspace “I want to book on training?"
“What type of content do you cover?”
“I can’t make it to any advertised sessions, what should I do?”
“I am not based in Belfield how can I get trained?”
“I want to suggest training on different topics
Mon - Fri 
9.30am - 5.30pm

See What Others Have Asked

Platform Queries and Approved Changes Responses to platform functionality queries received to date, approved change requests and expected deployment timeline, list of known functionality differences between Brightspace and Blackboard "What are the differences between Blackboard and Brightspace?"  Always

IT Support Web

IT Services Brightspace Information Pages IT Support pages and answers to common queries about Brightspace and the Pulse
Mobile App.
Useful information for instructors Always

Brightspace Community Webpages

Community Pages on the Brightspace Platform Brightspace Community pages for all Brightspace users globally to avail of articles, updates and discussions relating
to the platform.
The community is a great place to search for use cases or get some queries answered by other community members.  Always

Brightspace YouTube Channel

Brightspace on YouTube A series of video playlists designed by Brightspace for their users. A good source of short impactful videos showing some of the features and functionality in use. Always


Phase II Key Milestones
Road Map

phase II key milestones road map

Early Adopter Modules

Below is a list of the 60 Early Adopter Modules transitioning to the Brightspace environment (along with 40 ALC Modules). These modules are now live and over 3,000 Early Adopter students are accessing them since Monday 10th September.  

Module Coordinator                       Module Code                      Module Name
James Sullivan CHEM10030 Chemistry for Engineers
Damian Mooney CHEN10040 Intro to Eng. Computing
Amanda Gibney CVEN10040 Creativity in Design
Simon Kelly EEEN10010 Electronic & Electrical I
Christopher Boyd MATH10250 Intro Calculus for Engineers
Vladimir Lobaskin PHYC10150 Physics for Engineers
David Jennings UTL40180 Becoming a Better University Teacher
Terry Barrett UTL40200 Designing modules for learning
Terry Barrett UTL40240 Getting Published in Teaching
Geraldine O’Neill|Terry Barrett UTL40140 Assessing for T&L in Higher Ed
Michelle O’Connor RDGY30290 Practice of Radio: Adv Technique
Jennifer Grehan RDGY30300 Clinical Prac Rad 3-1
Jennifer Grehan RDGY30310 Clinical Practice Rad 3-2
Edel Thomas RDGY30590 Computed Tomography
Shane Foley RDGY41220 Cross Sectional Anatomy
Claire Cave ARCH40900 Cultural Heritage Conservation
Claire Cave ARCH40910 World Heritage Convention
Claire Cave ARCH40920 Natural Heritage Conservation
Fergal Brophy IA40360 Creative Thinking (Online)
John Byrne ARCH40980 Marketing and Management
Francis Butler BSEN40410 Food Chain Integrity
James Lyng FDSC40030 Food Process Technology I
Frank Monahan FDSC40060 Fresh & Processed Meat Products
Mick O'Sullivan FDSC40080 Milk and Dairy Products
Séamus Fanning PHPS40610 Food Safety
Celine Murrin PHPS40690 Public Health Nutrition - FS
Amalia Scannell FDSC40630 Food Sector Entrepreneurship
Nigel Brunton FDSC40120 Project
Stephen Boyle BMGT43710 Proj. Mgt. Risk
Paul McGrath BMGT43730 Projects & Organisational Dyna
Joe Houghton BMGT43860 The Project Mgt Lifecycle
Bernard Faughey BMGT43370 Business Strategy
James McDermott MIS41150  Intro to Business Analytics
Sean McGarraghy MIS41160  Optimisation in Business
James Sweeney MIS41130  Statistics & Simulation Methods
Miguel Nicolau MIS41110 Programming for Analytics
David Fagan MIS41060  Data Management
Damian Dalton COMP10130  Computer Science in Practice
John Dunnion COMP10070 Formal Foundations
John Dunnion COMP10280  Programming I (Conv)
Sean Paul Teeling NMHS43370 Prof Cert Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare PT
Amber Cushing IS40800 Intro to Dig Info Mgt
Monica Gorman RDEV40600  Ag Extension & Innovation Online
Monica Gorman RDEV40610  The Reflective Agri Advisor
Tomás Russell RDEV40640  Agricultural Education
Robert Sands ARCH40870 Intro to GIS in Archaeology
Arun Kumar VET40440 Evidence-based approach to SAM
Arun Kumar VET40460 TEARAP
Peter Keenan MIS41040  Bus Intell & Visual Analytics
Michelle Downes PSY10060 Brain and Behaviour
Cliódhna O'Connor PSY10080 Intro to Social Psychology
Suzanne Guerin PSY10130  Key Skills and Concepts in Psy
Louise McHugh PSY10050  Introduction to Psychology
Rachael Fionda LANG40590 The English Language for TESOL
Rachael Fionda LANG40600 The English Teaching Context
Rachael Fionda LANG40610 The TESOL Programme
Rachael Fionda LANG40590 The English Language for TESOL
Betting Migge LING40290 Sociolinguistics for AL
Stergiani Kostopoulou LANG10590  Academic Listening and Speaking I
Stergiani Kostopoulou LANG10600 Academic Reading and Writing 1 
Katie Wedgeworth NMHS32700 Cert of CPD Nation FoundEdu Module in Critical Care Nurs PT (OCT)
Bairbre Fleming IDIS00010  First Steps -Intro to HE
Bairbre Fleming IDIS00020 Digital Literacy
Bairbre Fleming IDIS00030 Applied Academic Writing
ALC   Global Language Modules


FAQs for Students

1. What is a VLE?

  • VLE stands for virtual learning environment and at UCD this is a digital learning hub supporting your studies where your lecturer will post course content, you can submit assignments, engage in discussion threads and virtual classrooms and keep up to date with announcements, deadlines and notes.

2. Which VLE am I using?

  • Following an in-depth review and selection process, UCD is currently undergoing a transition from the 'Blackboard' and 'Moodle' VLEs to the 'Brightspace' VLE. During this transition period all VLEs are available. A number of Early Adopter modules are using Brightspace in Semester 1 2018-2019. You can find them listed directly above. If you are enrolled in one of these modules you will use Brightspace for that module and you will receive communications regarding this. All other modules will use Blackboard/Moodle until next term when the next group ( Cohort 1: approximately 2,000 modules) will move to Brightspace. We will give all those involved in Cohort 1 plenty of notice prior to the move.

3. How do I log in?

  • You log in to the VLEs using your UCD Connect credentials (username and password). Students: please remember to change your password from your default ddmmyy on first login. If you cannot login to Brightspace, then you are not registered to any modules currently running on it.

4. Is there any training available?

  • Please see an overview of Brightspace here. There are lots of useful links to help you get started using the new VLE once you login. When you login please check out the Discover IT module where you'll find information about navigating the new environment, personalising your experience and submitting an assignment and much more.

5. What Support is available for students?

  • Students using the new platform can access support directly from within the platform via chat, email or telephone support. Simply click on the support link on the login page. In addition, you can always drop into an IT Centre in the Daedalus or Health Sciences building or contact the IT Helpdesk via email: or tel: 01 716 2700 if you have any queries.

FAQs for Staff

1. Why this solution? 

  • Overall it was felt that D2L was best placed to advance UCD's Teaching and Learning requirements (measured on a range of criteria including pedagogical, technical, support, cost, user experience).

2. What is the timeline for implementation?

  • The overall project is expected to take 18 months to complete from start to end. The transition phase of the project commenced in February 2018. 

3. What sort of training will be available?

  • There will be a dedicated training programme available for those involved in module delivery. Training will consist of two half day sessions involving an Introduction to Brightspace followed by a more advanced session. These face to face training sessions will take place in various locations across campus and all staff involved in module delivery will be notified in advance. A number of additional training resources will also be made available.

4. What does this mean for my existing modules on Blackboard and Moodle?

  • Module Coordinators should continue to archive modules as usual. 
  • Students will continue to use Blackboard and Moodle as usual unless they are enrolled in an Early Adopter module

5. How will content be migrated?

  • When your modules are ready to transition you will be notified and your module content will be migrated to a private holding area in Brightspace where module coordinators can review content and familiarise themselves with the new layout before deciding what to display in the live environment.

 6. Do I need to do anything?

  • No, you don't need to do anything for now. Our Early Adopter modules are paving the way for the larger cohorts and providing valuable feedback. You will receive communications prior to your module(s) migration and if you can housekeep the module(s) in advance of this, it helps make the migration as seamless as possible. Some content items are more complex to transition and we will advise about these. 

7. When will my module(s) be moving to Brightspace?

  • There are approximately 6,000 modules in total to be migrated from Blackboard to Brightspace, therefore a phased approach involving a number of cohorts, is being used to support the transition, allowing for content migration and staff training.

1. Early Adopters - September 2018

    • Approximately one hundred Early Adopter modules have been migrated from Blackboard to Brightspace and will commence in September 2018

2. Cohort 1 - all Semester 2 modules will transition in time for the January 2019 semester with the following exceptions: 

    • Approximately 2,000 modules will be migrated in January 2019
    • Year long modules i.e. modules that commence in September and have a one-year duration. 
    • Final year undergraduate modules i.e. students in the final year of their degree programmes should where possible finish out the degree in the Blackboard/Moodle environment.

3. Cohort 2 - all Modules in Semester 1 (September) 2019-2020 Academic Year

8. When is Blackboard being switched off?

  • Please note that after August 2019 the Blackboard environment will no longer be available. This is why substantial transitions are planned for January 2019 followed by May 2019.

9. Will Brightspace have a tool to check the originality of student work submitted?

  • Yes, Urkund is an automatic text-recognition tool made for detecting, preventing and handling plagiarism. Students can access the tool when submitting an assignment on Brightspace.

PHASE II Background

Over the last 10 months UCD conducted an extensive VLE Review with the objective of choosing the most appropriate platform for our diverse user needs into the future. Strategically, this project falls under UCD Strategic Objective no.2 To Provide an Educational Experience That Defines International Best Practice (UCD Strategy 2015-2020) and it relates to the supporting UCD IT Strategic themes of Enhancing Educational Technology Services and Contributing to the Student Experience (IT Strategy 2020).

Inputs to this process included a Faculty and Staff survey (607 respondents), a Student survey (5,080 respondents) an open digital comment box, a dedicated email address, this microsite, a number of reports from special interest groups, a facilitated workshop with Educational Technologists, User Experience Trials for staff and students and various reports and strategic documents including the Curriculum Review and Enhancement recommendations. The output of this analysis was a Request for Proposal for UCD's Future VLE which was then issued to the existing framework established by HEAnet. The proposal sought detail on five key areas: Pedagogical Features and Functionality, Technical Requirements, Support and Training, User Experience and Cost. 

Having selected D2L Brightspace as the recommended future VLE, the decision was ratified by UMT in December 2017 which brings us to the Implementation phase: Phase II - Your Future Is Bright.


The Phase II Project is sponsored by the Registrar and Deputy President, with the Project Oversight Group reporting upwards to UMT Education. The Project Oversight Group is a representative body comprised of key stakeholder staff and students. See membership listed below.

This Group is tasked with overseeing all aspects of Phase II transition to the new environment (including integration of systems, content design, training and support, communications) with particular emphasis on ensuring a smooth and timely transition to the new UCD environment. 

Project Oversight Group

  • Prof Jason Last, Dean of Students (Chair & Sponsor)
  • Ms Marian O'Connor, Project Manager
  • Prof Marie Clarke, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
  • Dr Susan Rackard, Vice Principal of Teaching & Learning, College of Health & Agricultural Studies
  • Professor Eilis Hennessy, Vice Principal of Teaching & Learning, College of Social Sciences and Law
  • Mr John Dunnion, School Head of Teaching & Learning, Computer Science
  • Ms Bianca Shaw, Deputy Director of Assessment, UCD Registry
  • Ms Aine Galvin, Director, UCD Teaching & Learning
  • Ms Leone Gately, Educational Technology Coordinator, UCD Teaching & Learning
  • Mr Phillip Fischer, Chief Information Officer
  • Ms Genevieve Dalton, Chief Services Officer, UCD IT Services
  • Ms Trish Mountjoy, Head of Educational Technology Services, UCD IT Services
  • Mr Robert Sweeney, UCD Students Union


Staff Survey 2017

Thank you to all 607 respondents who participated in our staff survey on the Future VLE. This data combined with the valuable feedback we have received through a number of inputs (listed below) has been combined with our upcoming student survey to guide and inform the next UCD VLE.
We also consulted the following resources:
  • Curriculum Review and Enhancement Process Steering Committee Final Report March 2017
  • Gartner Report: Market Guide for Higher Education Learning Management Systems September 2016
  • Reports from Special Interest Groups within UCD (Library, Centre for Distance Learning, College of Business, Registry, UCD Online Community)
  • Future VLE Staff Survey (Quantitative) 2-19 May 2017
  • Future VLE Staff Survey (Qualitative) 2-19 May 2017
  • Vendor Presentation Days 16 and 17 August 2017
  • UCD Educational Technologists Network workshop August 2017
  • Digital Suggestion Box for Staff and Students (ongoing)
  • inbox (ongoing)
  • Future VLE Student Survey (Quantitative) 18 Sept - 1 Oct 2017
  • Future VLE Student Survey (Qualitative) 18 Sept - 1 Oct 2017
  • User Experience Trials 23-26 October
  • Evaluation of vendor responses 6 Nov - 11 December 2017
Careful consideration has been given to any UCD specific policy issues that have arisen as a result of our outreach, to ensure we are providing for future growth. In the meantime here are some of the highlights from the staff survey.

Future VLE Staff Survey Topline Results Infographic

VLE staff survey topline results infographic

Student Survey 2017

5,080 UCD students participated!

Thank you to each of you for taking the time to share your views. This feedback was used to help us choose the virtual learning environment that is best suited to your needs.

Please see some highlights from the Student Survey.

Thanks again from the Future VLE Team

Future VLE Student Survey Topline Results

‌‌‌student survey results topline

Unpacking the Box

Brightspace is here. Your feedback is important to us.

You can share thoughts or suggestions on your Future VLE anytime by clicking on the button below or contact the Future VLE Team at 

Suggestions Welcome