Technology Enhanced Learning

Learning Materials

The Learning Materials panel lists the module structure in unit format. Here you can view and manage content items and sub-units. Ideally you should aim to create a transparent module structure that supports and scaffolds learning using the Brightspace structure to sequence learning materials and activities and to design an optimal learning pathway. Brightspace allows you to organise and structure your module using units and subunits containing content items as described below.

  • Units are broad (level one) categories, which are used to structure module content i.e. weekly, thematically or by module components. You must create a Unit before you can add module content items.  


  • Content items are learning materials/activities contained within a unit (or sub-unit), these can consist of content files, embedded content, links to (existing) learning activities (i.e. quizzes, assignments, discussions etc).


  • Sub-units are used to divide learning materials/activities further within a unit (level two/three etc).

It is recommended that you organise your module’s learning materials and activities into units as appropriate to your teaching context. Brightspace offers flexibility in that you can structure units by; 
   a. Timeframe (i.e. weeks of semester)
   b. Module components (i.e. lectures, tutorials/labs, assignments etc)
   c. Theme/subject (i.e. if you have content that encompasses more than one week)


Regardless of the structural method you choose when creating units (sub-units) it is recommended that you consider the following;

  • Create unit titles that ideally include the theme as well as the week/date it begins as is appropriate to your module and which are meaningful for students.
  • Add unit (sub-unit) and item descriptions which will appear below the title, they can be used to provide student with a learning pathway (or prompts as to the purpose) or specific instructions on how to complete the activities.
  • List your units (sub-units) with learning materials and activities in the order that you would like students to view them (the sequence should be logical).
  • Include links to all your module learning activities (i.e. discussions, quizzes, checklists, assignments) in the appropriate units (sub-units).
  • The use of sub-units is optional and should be carefully considered from the perspective of student navigation as it adds additional layers of complexity (see tip below).
  • Use HTML content templates to structure units (currently generic templates are available in Brightspace while a UCD version of these templates is in development). You must create a unit or subunit before you can add a new HTML page via the ‘create file’ option, essentially this allows for the creation of web pages which can contain text, links, images and embedded video.
  • Use the module builder tool within Brightspace to structure, visualise and review your entire module (see outline of this tool)

Practical Tip

Use sub-units with caution as they can add an additional layer of navigational complexity for students. Consider using them only if you have a lot of content items within a unit (12-15 content & activities items). If you do need to use a sub-unit limit it to one and place it at the end of your unit items.



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