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 27,000 students are using the new live environment and we have positive feedback so far. Extensive face to face training, which has been designed by UCD specifically for UCD users, is running regularly to facilitate staff in transitioning and using the new platform. 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

What to expect when your modules are due for transition

Cohort 2 modules are being transferred (by College) from Blackboard to the Brightspace environment. The Live environment will be available from 15th July and module content will be visible to students from the 26th August. This means that all content has to be prepared by Module Coordinators and in the live environment in advance of this date. Three scenarios and workflows (pdf) are encountered depending on your whether your module is new or existing. You will also find information on how to set start and end dates and hide content here.

Step 1 - staff account is enabled for Brightspace access     Step 6 - staff member receives access to online training and spends time working in Brightspace with access to resources and training materials
 ‌ Step 2 - private sandbox is created for staff member to familiarise themselves with the platform and housekeep modules     Step 7 - staff member is advised of support methods, FAQs, support clinics and other resources available and additional training available 
  Step 3 - staff member books into face to face training session(s)   Step 8 - staff member attends training session 2: Assessment Grading & Feedback
Step 4 - module is migrated to Brightspace holding area for review. A migrated module will be denoted by _mig for example 'Financial Accounting Migrated - ACC10040_mig'. Use the checklist provided to make sure that your content has fully transferred.     Step 9 - staff member receives access to the Live teaching modules in Brightspace. This means that these modules are no longer available in Blackboard. Live teaching modules are denoted by a date at the end eg 'ABCD10000-Introduction 2018/2019 Semester 2'
  Step 5 - staff member attends training session 1: Getting To Know Brightspace   Step 10 - staff member prepares content and moves it to the live teaching module. Three scenarios and workflows (pdf)

Training Schedule Staff

Cohort 2

If you have modules moving to Brightspace 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 and Grading

3. Creating Quizzes and using the Grade Centre

4. Feedback using Rubrics

5. Using Release Conditions and Intelligent Agents

6. Additional Tools in Brightspace eg Module Builder, FAQs, Glossary, Virtual Classroom

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


FAQs for Students

 1. Top Tips for Students Using Brightspace

2. How do I log into Brightspace?

  • You log in to all 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 find that you cannot login to Brightspace, then you are not registered to any modules currently running on it.

3. How do I know when my modules are on Brightspace?

  • You can see if your programme or modules are moving to Brightspace for Semester 2 by checking your module listing in SISWeb (Uview). You can access UView through the Registration, Fees & Assessment menu in SISWeb. See below.

If you see the Brightspace logo appear beside a module that means it has moved over to Brightspace and you will be using the new platform to access it.

4. My module is not showing on Brightspace but should be there?

          NB When a change in registration is made, please allow up to 24hrs before seeing this change refleced in Brightspace.

5. Is there any training available?

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

6. 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

General FAQs

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 is available?

  • There is a dedicated training programme available for those involved in module delivery. Training will consist of 90 minute introductory sessions followed by Q&A. This is supplemented with follow-on training sessions on key topics such as Assessment & Grading, Quizzes, Release Conditions and intelligent Agents and Rubrics. 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 their Blackboard modules as usual. Modules that are part of Cohort 1a have now moved over to Brightspace. All remaining modules will now be moving as part of Cohort 2. 
  • Students will continue to use Blackboard and Moodle to access their modules as usual until they are enrolled in Brightspae modules.

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?

  •  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.

2. Cohort 1 - all Semester 2 modules (January 2019) have transitioned with the following exceptions: 

    • 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

2.a. Cohort 1a - approx 350 Semester 3 modules moved in February in advance of April 2019

3. Cohort 2 - all remaining active modules will transition September 2019

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.

Staff migrating

FAQs for staff whose modules are currently migrating to Brightspace 

1.  I now have access to my live module-what's the next step?

  • The process is that you would transfer content from your holding module to the live module or if you don't have a holding module (migrated blackboard content) then you would create the module either in your sandbox and copy to the live module or directly within the live module.  The choice is yours.  All options are covered in training. Live modules will be available from 15th July.

2. How do I transfer my content from the holding module to the live module?

3. I have a live module, but I don’t have a holding module?

  • If the module in Blackboard/Moodle did not have content, then you will not see a holding module as there was no content to migrate. In this instance you will create your content from within the live module or within the sandbox and copy to the live module.

4. What does a migrated module look like?

  • Holding modules containing migrated content, have a module title that ends in "Migrated" and a module code that ends in "mig", for example, "Financial Accounting Migrated - ACC10040_mig

5. My module isn’t appearing?

  • The following modules have been excluded from Cohort 1a (Summer Term/April Start):

     - Year-Long Modules 
     - Level 3 UG modules in the College of Arts and Humanities, Business, Social Sciences & Law, and the School of Architecture.

  • All remaining active modules will transition in September

6. Are post graduate modules being migrated?

  • Yes, all graduate modules are being migrated. The only exception is if the modules are year-long.
    All remaining active modules will transition in September

7. When will students be able to access Brightspace for Semester 1 (Cohort 2) modules?

  • Students will be able to access the module from Monday 26th August. 

8. My colleague needs access to the module, who do I contact?

  • The Module Access Management System (MAMs) controls who has access to the module. (The VLE project team are unable to grant access to the module.)

9. My module isn’t running (inactive) but it has a live module and the content is migrated.

  • You should contact your College Liaison person in Registry to mark the module as inactive.

10. An exemption was approved for my module, but I see a migrated module, what does this mean?

  • You may see a migrated module, but you should not see a live module. Exemptions will not apply from September

11. Is it too late to request an exemption?

  • Yes, the date for receipt of approved exemptions was July. The exemption process is not valid for Cohort 2 as all active modules will be transitioning.

12. Do you have drop-in clinics where I can get help?

13. If I have a question out of hours - where can I get help?

  • Faculty, Staff and Students can avail of just-in-time support directly from Brightspace by accessing the Brightspace Support option on the landing page. Support will be available via chat, email or telephone. Click on the UCD logo to bring you to the landing page of Brightspace on the right-hand side of the screen you will see an image of a blue lightbulb. Click on the image to launch Brightspace support.

Phase II Key Milestones
Road Map

phase II key milestones road map

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